Almost Wordless Wednesday – Mitchell Children

This is another photo from my great-aunt Susie’s collection.  She was so generous to share photos and stories with me when I visited Kansas last fall.  She has given me permission to share the family photos on my blog.

This photo is the only picture I have seen of my grandmother’s siblings as young children.  Delbert, the baby in the photo, was born in December 1924.  I am estimating that the photo was taken in 1925.  That means Loretta, holding Delbert, would have been 7.  Raymond, to the right, would have been 4.  I wish I knew more about the dog.  He is obviously good with the kids and they must have loved him very much!

mitchell kids

Treasure Chest Thursday – Opal Strickler

I have mentioned several times that I went to Kansas at the end of September to visit family.  During that trip I was extremely thankful that my Mom’s Aunt Susie brought a photo album to share.  I had brought my Flip-pal scanner and she was awesome to not only let me scan the photos but to tell me stories that she remembers from the photos.  I will be sharing some of these photos in the coming months.

The first photo is of my great-grandmother, Opal (Strickler) Mitchell.  This is a photo my Mom and I had not seen before.  I just love the chair she is sitting in.  Since she is wearing a wedding band, I believe this photo was taken between 1916-1918.  Opal was married to Dudley Moses Mitchell in 1916 and they had their first child in 1918.

Opal Strickler about age 20

Census Sunday – Mitchell Children in Jefferson County School Census

While at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Oskaloosa, Kansas I found several years of the School Children’s census.  I have found school census enumerations before in other places, but those have always just included numbers.  These notebooks were a great find because they include the names of the children enrolled in school.

Valley Falls Grade School as seen on Google Street View.
Valley Falls Grade School as seen on Google Street View.

Obviously my ancestors did not attend the modern school in the photo above.  I do wonder if the school was located in the same place in Valley Falls in the 1880s.  By comparing an 1899 map of the area to Google maps today, I can tell that my ancestors lived just outside of the town limits on the land.  Did the kids walk into town each day?

Note the bricks in the road in the photo..  A lot of the small towns I have visited in Kansas still have brick roads.  My mom tells me that every town had brick streets as she grew up in Kansas.

I found my relatives in several years of the Jefferson County School Census.  I have pulled their information from the list.  There are other Mitchells listed in the same school but I have not done any research yet to confirm if these are cousins.

I find it fascinating that my ancestors attended school through their teen years.   It must have been a struggle to have their children in school and not farming their land.  I know the family was slowly having a more difficult time with farming and finances.  Moses and Mary Mitchell would sell their land in April 1889 and move to the Arkansas City area.   Education must have been a priority in the family.

The notebooks I found were titled:

Jefferson County Kansas School Children’s Census

Extracted from original records at Register of Deeds Office and typed by Joy (Ward) Hill, alphabetically sorted and printed by Richard Wellman.

1883 Valley Falls School, District 016

1883 School Census

*I am not sure why Henry Mitchell is not listed.  He was 4 years older than the twins and three years younger than Laura.



1884 Valley Falls School, District 16

1884 School Census






1886 Valley Falls School, District 16

1886 school census





1887 Valley Falls School, District 16

1887 school census






1888 Valley Falls School, District 16

1888 school census

*Henry finally appears.





1889 Valley Falls School, District 16

1889 school census

Sunday’s Obituary – Dollie Mitchell 1876-1896

Dollie Mitchell is my maternal great-grandfather’s twin sister.  Last year I found her gravestone on which gave me a date of death.  My mother’s cousin who lives in Topeka is wonderful.  She visited the Kansas State Historical Society Library and pulled Dollie’s obituary for me.

The most interesting part of this obituary for me is the cause of death.  My grandmother has always told me that Dollie died by drowning in a river.  The cause of death listed in the obituary is consumption.  This generally refers to death after suffering from tuberculosis.  It is crazy in how just one generation stories can change!   As the youngest in her family, my grandma was born almost thirty-five years after her Aunt Dollie died.  That is a large enough time for the story to be retold incorrectly.

Dollie Mitchell Obit


Arkansas City Traveler, Arkansas City, Kansas

January 10, 1896, page 5


Dollie Mitchel, daughter of Mr and Mrs Moses Mitchel was born Oct 20, 1876 in Jackson county, Kans, and died in this city January 6th, 1896 at 10am of consumption.  She was an ambitious child and when at school excelled in her studies.  She was of a sunny, hopeful disposition, making frends [sic] wherever she lived.  This was fully shown by the large number that attended her funeral.  It is natural for one of this disposition to desire to live.  Hence when it was manifest to her that disease was making rapid inroads upon her health, she sought relief by a visit to relatives in the health resorts of Colorado.  But it was too late and it soon became manifest to all that the end was near.

She succeeded in reaching her home and here, surrounded by those that loved her, all that skill and love could do was employed to make her last days of suffering endurable.  To her mother she expressed herself as ready and willing to die.  We all hope to meet her again in the land where there is no suffering.  Her pastor, J. W. Faubion.

Wedding Wedesday – Lawbaugh Mitchell Wedding Announcement

I was so excited to find this wedding annoucement on this week.  It features my maternal grandparents.  The timing could not be better as I fly down to Southern California on Monday to visit with my grandma.  I can’t wait to bring her a printed copy as a surprise!

Hutchinson News Herald, June 25, 1950, Page 7, Column 1


Wedding vows for Roberta Mitchell, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. D.M. Mitchell, and William H. Lawbaugh, son of Mrs. Effie Lawbaugh of Bell Gardens, Calif., were wed at 8pm Saturday in 10th Avenue Evangelical United Brethren Church by Rev. C.H. Hartmann.  Organist, Mrs. Floyd Leatherman, and Duain Crain, vocalist, gave wedding music.

The church was decorated with two pair of candelabra, greenery and white satin bows.  Geraldine Linegarger of Emporia was maid of honor and Mrs. G.E. Cogzill, sister of the bride, was bridesmaid.  Robert Scruton of Wichita was best man.  Ushers were Raymond Mitchell of Augusta, Delbert and Kenneth Mitchell, brothers of the bride.  Donnie and Connie Cogzill, twin nephew and niece of the bride were rind bearer and flower girl respectively.  Tapers were lighted by Delores McAdams of Wichita and Betty Gragg of Guymon.

The bride wore a gown of white satin trimmed with nylon illusion net and a nylon illusion veil held by a crocheted ruffle.  She wore pearls, gift of the bridegroom, and a white Bible topped with an orchid corsage.

Her attendants wore ballerina gowns of pink and blue, mitts and nylon illusion veils held by crocheted ruffles.  They carried pink corsages on white Testaments.  The taper lighters wore yellow dresses and the flower girl wore a gown of white organza over pink taffeta.  Mrs. Cogzill made the bride’s dress and veil and the attendants veils and mitts.

A reception will be held in the Mitchell home with Mrs. Ruby Elliott of Salina in charge of the guest book.  Mmes  Raymond Mitchell of Augusta, Kenneth and Delbert Mitchell assisted at the reception.

For going away the bride wore a tan silk dress with brown and white accessories.  After short wedding trip the couple will be at home in Wichita where Mr. Lawbaugh is employed by Southwestern Bell Telephone company.  Mrs. Lawbaugh has just completed two years of X-Ray training at Wesley hospital in Wichita.

Census Sunday – Dudley Mitchell Household 1940 Federal Census

Dudley Moses Mitchell is my great-grandfather.  I found Dudley and his family residing at 630 19th West, Hutchinson, Kansas in the 1940 Federal Census.  During a research trip to Kansas in 2010, I took photos of many city directories in Hutchinson spanning the years 1937-1958.  This made it easy to find my family.  I also found a collection of index cards for Sanborn Insurance including photos on the back of each card.

The 1940 census finds Dudley (64) living with Opal (wife, 49), Raymond (son, 19), Elbert (son, 15 – real name Delbert), Kenneth (son, 13), Roberta (daughter, 9), Robert Newby (grandson, 5), and Richard Newby (grandson, 4).  The census shows that everyone in the household was born in Kansas and had lived in Topeka, Kansas in 1935.

Dudley rented the house pictured above for $18 a month.  Dudley worked as the store manager of a grocery store in Hutchinson.  He only worked 6 weeks in 1939 and shows in income of zero dollars.  His sons, Raymond and Delbert also worked in the grocery store.  Raymond was in the meat department and Delbert worked as a clerk.  Raymond work for 40 weeks in 1939 and had an income of $350.  Delbert only worked 14 weeks and made an income of $112.  I believe that Delbert only worked 14 weeks since he was also in school.

My grandmother has always told us that she grew up without much money.  This census enumeration documents that there were 8 people in the household living off of $462.  Times were not easy.  Most of the families on other pages in Hutchinson had an average of 4 people in the household and were making $800-1000 a year.  
I found Loretta Mitchell Cogzill living nearby with her new husband, Grant Cogzill, at his parent’s house.  Loretta is the mother of Robert and Richard.

Thriller Thursday – Falling down an elevator shaft

Dudley M Mitchell is my mother’s maternal grandfather.

Dudley was born October 20, 1875 in Valley Fall, Kansas.  He was child number 7/8 born to Mary Frances Coffey and Moses Mitchell.  He had a twin sister name Mary (aka Dolly).  She passed away between 1895-1900).

I heard this story last October from my mother’s Uncle Raymond.  He is Dudley’s second child.

Raymond remembers his mother being pregnant with his younger sister, my grandma, when this incident took place.  Since Raymond was born in 1921 and my grandma is 10 years younger, it was approximately 1930.

His father worked as a laborer in a cold storage unit in Topeka, Kansas.  The cold storage building did not have lights in it because they created heat.  There was an elevator that ran to the second story of the building.  The men were supposed to ride the elevator one at a time.  Someone had used the elevator while Dudley was on the upper floor.  They did not return the elevator to the second story when they were finished.  When Dudley completed his task upstairs, he worked his way back to the elevator in the dark.  Not realizing the elevator was gone, he stepped into the elevator shaft and fell.  He badly injured his back.

Dudley did not return to the cold storage unit after he recovered.  He opened a grocery store in Topeka.  Because of his generous nature, the grocery store would eventually fail during the Depression.  The family moved to Hutchinson where Dudley found a job in another grocery store.

Workday Wednesday – Dudley Moses Mitchell

Dudley Moses Mitchell was my maternal great grandfather (1875-1957).

1895 Kansas Census – Farmer – Arkansas City, Cowley, Kansas
1900 Federal Census – Farm Laborer – Bolton Township, Cowley, Kansas
1905 Kansas Census – Teamster – Arkansas City, Cowley, Kansas
1910 Federal Census – Teaming Flour Mill – Arkansas City, Cowley, Kansas
1918 WWI Draft Registration – Grocer at Scott Grocery Company – Topeka, Shawnee, Kansas
1920 Federal Census –  Overseer Cold Storage – Topeka, Shawnee, Kansas
1925 Kansas Census – Laborer – Topeka, Shawnee, Kansas

I know that Dudley owned a grocery store at the end of the 1920’s in Topeka.  He lost the store during the Depression.  The family moved to Hutchinson, Kansas where Dudley worked as a Grocer in the Save You More Market.

Tombstone Tuesday – Dudley Mitchell & Opal Strickler

Dudley Moses Mitchell and Opal Blanche Strickler are the parents of my maternal grandmother (great-grandparents).  They were set up on a date by Lawrence Elliott.  Lawrence was Opal’s brother-in-law and Moses’ nephew. Despite a fifteen year age difference, Opal and Moses fell for each other and were married December 20, 1916 in Topeka, Kansas.  They raised five children together, two daughters and three sons.  To find work during the Depression, the family moved to Hutchinson, Kansas.  They remained there the rest of their lives.

Opal and Moses are buried together at the Penwell Gabel Cemetery in Hutchinson, Kansas.  I got the chance to pay my respects last October on a research trip to Kansas.  The morning we visited Hutchinson was a brisk 30 degrees and windy.  These photos were taken very quickly before returning to the warmth of the car!


Opal B Mitchell Mar. 1, 1891 – Dec. 2, 1970
Dudley M. Mitchell Oct 20, 1875 – Mar 10, 1957.


Twice Related

Lawrence Elliott has the special distinction of showing up in two different family lines in my family tree.  Here is how:

Lawrence was born Feb 26, 1892 in Hoyt, Kansas to Lewis Elliott and Melinda Mitchell.  On December 12, 1912 he married Ruby Strickler in Fall River, Greenwood, Kansas.  Ruby Strickler was born May 28, 1894 in Narka, Kansas to Abraham Strickler and Effie Amner Flock.

Ruby was the middle daughter in a family of 1 son and three girls.  The brother died as an infant. Opal was born second on March 1, 1891. Emerald was born last on April 1, 1902.  After Lawrence and Ruby were married, Ruby set her older sister up with her husband’s uncle, Dudley Moses Mitchell.  Dudley Moses is the younger brother of Melinda Mitchell, Lawrence’s mother.

Despite a fifteen year age difference, Opal and Dudley hit it off and were married on December 20, 1916 in Topeka, Kansas.

After the marriage, Lawrence became twice related.  He shows up in both the Strickler family line and the Mitchell family line.  Lawrence was related to Dudley Moses as his nephew and brother-in-law at the same time.  He is my 1st cousin twice removed and the husband of my great great aunt.