Lucy Frances Mitchell - An Autobiography

An artistic drawing shows how Lucy Frances Mitchell might have looked as she wrote about herself back in 1932.


The following story was shared with me by Mrs. Ruth Mitchell, wife of Ossie Mitchell, of Livingston. It was written by Ossieís first cousin, Lucy Frances Mitchell McCorkle, who will be 85 years old in October of 2009. Lucy Frances and her husband, Stewart McCorkle, live in Kingsport, Tennessee. Her story entitled "My Autobiography" was written in 1932 when she was 14 years of age. Even though there really isnít an ending to what she has written, it is possible she intended to continue her story, or itís possible that whatever else she may have written was lost or destroyed. Here is what Lucy Frances Mitchell wrote about her life and her family members so many years ago:

My Autobiography

by Lucy Frances Mitchell

Written in 1932 at age 14 years

"My grandfatherís name is Richard Laken Mitchell. When his father was away in the Civil War, he held to his motherís apron and watched while his mother ordered the slaves to throw down the hams to the Yankees. He was left an orphan when he was nine years old. He attended Alpine Institute at Alpine, Tennessee. He then became a school teacher. After that he was a merchant at Hilham and later, he traveled for a company in Nashville. He later became County Court Clerk of Overton County at the age of twenty-one. He then married Lucy Ideria Terry and moved to his own home on University Street, the land on which both schools and the Lady Ann Hospital are now. The trees in front of the grammar school were planted by my grandfather and his sons.

"After serving in county offices for thirty years, he became an Internal Revenue tax collector for the government serving sixteen years when he retired to be at home in Livingston. He was the father of eleven children, nine that are living. The living are six sons, John, a judge, Joe, a druggist, bob, Albert, a farmer, Charles, a worker in the post office, Jesse, my father, a special representative of the Sinclair Refining Company, and three girls, Lucy Price, Ruth Lee, and Irene Anne. And sixteen grandchildren. I am the eldest granddaughter. There are twelve grandsons and four granddaughters, and one great-granddaughter, Joe Anne Mitchell, age three.

"Some heirlooms my grandfather possess are a pure silver pitcher given to my grandmother. Another is a green taffeta bed spread or quilt which was made from the draperies around the guest bed prepared to receive General Lafayette, the French General, who helped us through the Revolutionary War. This guilt has taken many premiums in our Overton County fairs. In my grandmotherís home there is a set of silver bought with the money she received as a prize for being the prettiest woman horse back rider in an old county fair held here after she was married. I asked my grandfather to tell me something about her and he said, "She was the prettiest and the best woman ever." She was beautiful still even before she died when was 62 in 1929. She had natural curly hair and was very pretty. My grandfather is now seventy-nine years old and is a Methodist. My grandmother Mitchell belonged to the Christian church. Grandfather Mitchell is a Democrat.

"My great-grandfatherís name was Joseph Marion Mitchell. He was a school teacher and got his education at the old Alpine Institute. He volunteered in the war and served under Captain J.W. McHenryís Company and was a Colonel in the Civil War. He was trained with General Zollicoffer at Camp Zollicoffer. He got sick while at camp and died in February, 1862, when my grandfather was two years old. His old brick house with his widow, two sons, and slaves, was robbed by the Yankees while he was away at war and after his death. This building stood until about two years ago. It was near Albert Mitchellís home towards Monroe. His wife was Frances Marena Bates. In the Carlock history, it is said that when little girls played, they would proudly name themselves Frances Marena Bates because she was so gracious to all, so erect, and so queenly. My great-great-grandfather was Robert Lynn Mitchell. He was a school teacher and a presbyterian preacher, but after the way, he changed to a Southern Methodist. His wifeís name was Matilda Anne Carlock.

"My grandmotherís father was Elijah Washington Terry. He was a Lieutenant under General G.G. Dibrell. He received an honorable discharge on May 9, 1865, in Washington, Georgia. He rode the same yellow horse all through the Civil War and never received a scratch. He was a peacemaker after the war. The moonshiners of Little Putnam and surrounding communities corralled and run Captain Jim Davis and his squad of revenue men into a log house when they were rescued from being hanged. The rescuers were my great-grandfather, Eliza Terry, Captain Calvin Terry M., and William R. Chapin. His wife was Angelina Abigail Camble Denton. She married Robert Burton before she married my great-great-grandfather and had twin sons. They were so small that you could take a large tablespoon and cover their face with it all but the ears and they both lived, although one died when eight years of age. In her possessions during the Civil War was a large silver pitcher left to her by Samuel Denton with his initials and an engraved inscription "To the glory of Andrew Jackson," because he admired Andrew Jackson because of the tariff which made him quite wealthy by the sale of cotton.

"Angelina A. Camble Dentonís mother before she married was Lucinda Fiske and her father was Samuel Denton. Lucinda Fiske was his second wife. He was a very wealthy merchant from New York. Every years he went to Ireland to buy linen for his store so he could get real Irish linen. He brought back with him a woven linen quilt in one piece with no seams. He gave it to his wife and finally, it was passed on to my great-grandmother, and she hand quilted it herself. One of her slaves had lost a certain kind of a needle she needed to put the cotton in with after she had already stitched it. So she sent one of the Negro boys to get her a thorn and she whittled out her a needle and put in each little piece of cotton in with it. That very same guilt is down at my grandmotherís home now. Samuel Dentonís first wife was very beautiful. Aaron Burr was also very handsome so his wife fell in love with Aaron Burr and run off with him. Samuel Denton divorced her and came south to forget her and married a southern girl, Lucinda Fiske. Elijah Terryís father was Curtis Terry and his wife was Elizabeth Kuykendall. All Mitchell ancestors are Scott-Irish. My great-great grandfatherís name was Joe Childres. He was a farmer and he came from Ireland to North Carolina to Tennessee. He was a member of the Church of Christ. He was married to Angeline Childres. My great-grandfatherís name was Andrew Jackson Childres. He was born in 1840 and died in 1928. He was in the Civil War and fought in the Battle of Vicksburg. He was married to Sara Brock. She was born in 1850 and died in 1916 of blood poison from having a tooth pulled and also a stroke. They were both Republicans and members of the Church of Christ.

"Grandfather Joe Childres was born in 1869. He is a farmer. He came from Texas to Tennessee. He now lives in Whitwell, Tennessee. He is now seventy years old. He is the father of six children, three living now. My aunt Myrtle who lives in Oakland, California; my uncle Sewell lives in Whitwell, Tennessee. My aunt Bertha Lee lived in Rock Springs, Wyoming. She died of a heart attack. He has sixteen grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He is a Republican and belongs to the Church of Christ. My grandmother was Frances Phillips. She was born in 1870 and died in 1900 at the age of thirty and was killed in an accident. Frances Phillipsí motherís name was Emma McGarr and her fatherís name was Stephen Phillips. They are all Irish on my motherís side.

"My mother was born August 13, 1897 in Bells, Texas. She lived there until she was two years old, then her family moved to Whitwell, Tennessee, and right after they moved, her mother died, leaving four living children. They are (my grandfather and my uncle) still living in Whitwell, Tennessee. My mother attended grammar school at Whitwell and high school at Marion County High in Jasper, Tennessee. She attended Falls Business College at Nashville. She belongs to the Church of Christ and she is a Republican. She has blonde hair and blue eyes and is 5 foot 3 inches tall. Her maiden name was Emma Childres.

"My father was born September 13, 1897. He went to both grammar and high school in Livingston. He played on the baseball, basketball, and football teams. He went to college at Vanderbilt University. After he finished college, he became a traveling salesman for a dry goods company. He then took a job as a salesman for Sinclair Refining Company. He has had a job with the same company ever since. He is now a special representative. He has lived in Livingston most of his life, but has lived in Nashville and Twinton, Tennessee. He is five feet ten inches tall and has dark hair and dark eyes. His full name is Jesse Thomas Mitchell.

"My autobiography: I was born in Nashville, Tennessee, on October 20, 1924. We later moved to Twinton, Tennessee, where Dad owned a store. I remember only one thing about Twinton, and thatís one of my friends who lived next door to us. Her name is Joanna Rosanbaum. I remember she had a little piano that we used to play on. I am told that when I was about two years old, I took a mouse away from the cat and tried to eat it, but mother caught me in time. After we left Twinton, we moved to east Livingston. We moved by Katherine McDonald. I remember living up there very well though I was only three or four years old. I remember I used to go to see Katherine and I would bit her until mother would have to come and get men and take me home with her. One time I bit her so bad I couldnít go to see her for a long time. I also remember the other family that lived next to us. They were the Eckles family. We moved from that house to another house. My next door neighbor was Louise Zachary. I bit her a lot too, but Louise and I have always been extra good friends. Louise didnít live by me long, but while she was there, we taught my little brother to walk. Then she moved to Hartsville, Tennessee, and I got to go and visit her by myself and be away from home for the first time by myself. I remember a man that worked on the railroad than ran behind Louiseís house. Every morning when the train passed through Hartsville, we would see who could beat seeing the train first. I usually beat because Louise had rather sleep than anything and still like to sleep a lot. I also remember one day Louise and I got in a fight with a little boy that lived next door to her and he went to get his mother and we went and hid. After Louise moved away, Jane Coward moved next door to us. I didnít play much with her because she was younger than I but one day she tore up my best doll and I donít think Iíll ever forget how mad I was if I live to be a hundred.

"When I was six years old, we moved to the house I live in now. I started to school that year. My first grade teacher was Miss Helen Stonecipher. She was my music teacher. I was very "crazy" about her but one day she made me awfully mad because she made me stand outside in the hall and I thought that was the worst thing ever. Another think I remember in the first grade was when Katherine was going to get to go in and read to the high first grade and I cried because I couldnít go. Miss Helen let me go though. In the second grade Miss Nola Smith was my teacher. She is now Mrs. Bedford McDonald. My father had to go to the hospital that spring and mother went with him to Nashville. So I stayed with Katherine for about a month. One day Daisy Bell came down to see us and she threw a rock at a truck and happened to hit the glass but it didnít break. Anyway, it so happened that the driver was drunk. He got out and took our names and Daisy Bell told him her dad was a policeman and he was. Nothing ever come of it but it nearly scared us to death. Miss Mabel Bilbrey was my third grade teacher. She is now Mrs. Estes. She sent me out in the hall one day too and made me fell very bad. I had the chickenpox that year.

"Miss Verna Huddleston, now Mrs. Deane, was my fourth grade teacher. Katherine was my best friend that year. It was that year that I first met Sara Breeding. I almost failed that year because I had the measles and then mother and Tom had them, so I was quarantined for a long time. That summer I visited Louise in Carthage where she had moved to. I only remember skating there and also visiting my great-uncle Jim Cox who lived there.

"Miss Lola Eubank was my fifth grade teacher. I never did learn to like her for a teacher but I certainly did like her out of school. I had the whooping cough that year.

"Miss Lyda Speck was my sixth grade teacher. I certainly did like her. I went out for basketball that year. On our class picnic, I had the best time I have ever had on a picnic. That summer I visited in Jamestown. I visited Louise. She had moved from Carthage to Jamestown. I met Chesterlyn Looper for the first time that year. Since that she has spent a week with me every year. Mr. Hillard Roberts was my seventh grade teacher. We went to Zollicoffer on our class picnic that year. Daisy Bell and I were best friends that year.

Mr. Evie Tucker was my eighth grade teacher and I like him a lot. That year I got my bicycle. Frances Rooker and Sara Breeding were my best friends that year. Frances and I went on a hike through the mountains nearly every day that winter and it got so we knew every inch of the mountain."

Lucy Francesí father, Jesse Thomas Mitchell, died on February 9, 1950, at the young age of 53 following an automobile accident in Knoxville. He was buried at Good Hope Cemetery here in Livingston. Her mother, Emma Childress Mitchell, lived to be 94. She died on February 16, 1990, and was also buried at Good Hope Cemetery.


Lucy Frances Mitchell McCorkle, formerly of Livingston, poses for a photograph taken a couple of years ago.