An Early History of Mitchell, Georgia
Margaret J. Wilcher
As told primarily by
B. C. Kitchens, Sr.
H. N. Raley,
John F. Wilcher,
Mrs. U. A. Wilcher,
Gus E. Walden,
Nell R. Marsh
Dickens Crossroads was like most other crossroads in Glascock County in the
late 1800's. A log cabin nestled back in one corner where the Dickens family
lived. On this spot Tim Kitchens later built his home, the house where the
Lloyd Hilson family now lives.
It was on the old Indian trail known as "Georgetown Road," Georgetown being
an old abandoned German settlement on the Ogeechee River pas Fords Creek. This
property is now owned by Felts Kitchens and is located on what is now known as
A stagecoach line bringing news from he outside world came by the crossroads.
It came from Savannah, through Louisville and on to Milledgeville, the capitals
of our state at one time.
Scruggsville was down the road a ways, in the area where Sandy Grove Church
is now located. It was named for Dr. Scruggs, the first medical doctor in the
community. It had a post office; Sim Hodges was postmaster, also a church, a
school, and various other buildings.
The Augusta Southern Railway Company came through building a railroad a few
hundred yards from Dickens Crossroads, and things were never the same. About
1885, "the Ironhorse" started coming through, going from Augusta to Tenniville,
and buildings began going up in the area. Some of the early settlers to build
were Sim Hodges, Dr. Boze Kitchens, Arthur Kitchens, T. L. Kitchens, Jerry C.
Kelly, Charlie Snider and Mrs. Mattie Underwood. This was to about 1900.
Today the old Jerry Kelly House, owned by H. W. Hattaway, is believed to be
the oldest house still standing and probably the Arthur Kitchens House, the next
oldest. It is now owned by Mr. Kitchens' only grandchild, Betty Ruth Kitchens.
The post office at Scruggsville was moved to be near the railroad and its
name changed to Mitchell, for the president of the Railway Company, Mr. Robert
Mitchell. This was on February 18, 1887, and now Dickens Crossroads had a new
name. Many people had moved in by 1896, so Mitchell was incorporated into a
town. The story goes that Mr. Mitchell gave the town a bell, which was used as
its first school bell.
The school at Scruggsville was moved to Mitchell, and a two-room schoolhouse
was built. The only church being Methodist was sold to congregation of Negro
Baptist; this now Sandy Grove Baptist Church. A new Methodist Church was built
in Mitchell in 1886. The Mitchell Baptist Church was built in 1901, Friendship
Baptist in 1841, and Mt. Nebo Primitive Baptist in 1886. Griffin Chapel
Primitive Baptist was organized in 1915. Prior to this, it had been a Methodist
Church and campground. Saint Paul, a Negro Methodist Church, located in
Mitchell was built in 1903.
The first Mayor of Mitchell was Sim Hodges. Although all are not known, some
have been Sol Scruggs and Charles Gibson. Later on Cain Johnson, grandfather of
Jack Haywood, a local merchant, was mayor. The present mayor is Gus E. Walden.
The first marshall we're told was Frank Snider; others have been Sam Walden
(father of Gus E. Walden) and Tom Raley (father of Herbert Raley). Mitchell now
has a town policeman who is Otis Williford. The present mayor pro tempo is
Hubert Pulliam. H. C. Kelly, son of the late Clarence Kelly is the town clerk,
and the councilmen are Jack Haywood, J.H. Hutchenson, and J. W. Griswell.
Early merchants were Henry Daniel, Arthur Kitchens, Tim L. Kitchens, J. C.
Kelly and Sons, Charlie Snider, and Tom (Boss) Scruggs. Mr. Charlie Snider was
the first build a brick store in Mitchell; this was also a first for Glascock
Can you imagine hitching posts all over Mitchell? Sounds like a dusty
western town doesn't it? The story goes that Saturdays were big days; everyone
came to town for their week's supply of groceries and farm supplies; and yes,
everyone had to see friends and neighbors and catch up on the news.
Arthur Kitchens operated a general mercantile store from about 1900 to 1904,
the first gooseneck soda fountain was also there. It was located in the two-
story house where Billy Johnson now lives. Sime Hodges later sold coffins in
this same house. Since then this house has been called "The Coffin House."
The first livery stable was run by Sim Hodges. Traveling salesmen coming to
Mitchell by train would use Mr. Hodge's mules and horses to travel the area
selling their products. J. C. Kelly and Sons later bought out Mr. Hodges and
ran the livery stable. The Kelly had a surrey used as a taxi for traveling
people. Ernest Snider was the taxi driver. At one time Charlie Snider also had
a livery stable and a taxi.
Mr. Henry Lockhart had the first blacksmith shop. It was located right below
the old Earl Parrish house, where Joseph Griswell now lives. Here all the
horses and mules were sold.
The first hotel was located on the corner where the old standard station
stands and was run by Mrs. Alick Kelly. Being right across the street from the
depot made it most convenient when strangers were in town. Later Carlos
Underwook had a hotel located between the depot (now jack's Station) and old
store buildings now owned by Lloyd Hilson. The first millinery shop run by Mrs.
Joe Nunn was on the same street. Here some of the fanciest hats in the county
Some early doctors were Dr. Boze Kitchens, who practiced medicine from 57
years, Dr. Scruggs, Dr. Tobe Snider, Dr. Nunn, Dr. Brooks, and Dr. Jones
Olipant. Dr. William Kitchens was from Mitchell and went to Thompson. Dr. Tom
Kitchens practiced in Mitchell for a while and then moved to Jewell. Dr. Neal
Kitchens also from Mitchell was President Roosevelt's doctor when he went to
Warm Springs. Dr. Tom Gibson was a dentist and Dr, Charles Gibson, a dentist in
Mitchell for years, practiced under him.
The first drug store in Glascock County was located in Mitchell and was
operated by Dr. Lewis and Dr. Jones Olipant. It was in the storehouse now owned
by Mrs. Nell Raley marsh and located beside the old J.C. Kelly and Sons Bank.
Mitchell had a "theatre," the old movie house was owned by Dr. Charles
Gibson. It is still standing as silent as were the movies of its day. We're
told that only Paramount Pictures were shown because they were the best; "The
Perils of Pauline" was Paramount, but silent. The old movie house on Kelly
Street is now owned by Lloyd Hilson.
The first automobile in Mitchell, an "A.E.M.F." was owned by Clarence and
O.L. Kelly, the sons of Jerry C. Kelly. About the same year Dr. Boze Kitche3ns
bought a "Baby Maxwell." Dr. Boze would go see a patient (He had a chauffeur)
get in a sand bed and probably have to get out and push before he got back to
Mitchell. Jim Nunn, Sr. bought a "Brush Car" which had only one cylinder, later
He sold it to Arthur Kitchens who used it to carry the mail when the weather and
Tim L. Kitchens had the first guano mixing plant in Mitchell; the mixing
machine was turned by hand and then by a small engine. In 1903, J. c. Kelly and
Sons built and operated the largest fertilizer mixing plant in Glascock County.
They also owned one of the largest general mechantile stores in the county and
furnished many farmers a years run of groceries and farm supplies to be paid
back when their crops were gathered.
The first gin, operated by a horse going round and round, was on land now
owned by J. M. Nunn. It was straight across from where the Griffin Chapel Road
comes into Mitchell-Edgehill Road. J. C. Kelly and Sons later built one
operated by steam, then by diesel engine and finally by electricity.
A big farmers warehouse once was in Mitchell. Around 1908 a "farmers Union"
convention (same as Farm Bureau) was held with a big barbecue dinner. This is
said to have been one of the largest crowds of people ever in Mitchell. Around
1916 a fire of an undetermined origin destroyed stores owned by Jim Braswell,
John May, Mrs. Joe Nunn's Millinery Shop and a hotel owned by Carlos Underwood.
This was the street from jack's station up toward the old store houses owned by
In the early 20/s, r. W. Coleman Motor Company sold cars in Mitchell, where
the Mitchell Paint and body Shop is now located. He started selling Fords, then
Buicks and Chevrolets. He also had a large repair shop. It is told that new
cars would come in on the train and some of the men would be paid one dollar to
help unload them. At one time there were six trains a day going through
Mitchell, two passengers to Tennille and two to Augusta, and a freight going
The community had outgrown the two room schoolhouse and around 1928 a new one
was built of brick. It was large with a beautiful auditorium; the town and
community were very proud of it. It burned in February, 1931, and another one
was built, which was the last schoolhouse in Mitchell. When the school was
moved to Gibson, all was torn down but two rooms and a hall, which was left for
a community house and a reminder of all the memories of long ago. At one time
Mitchell had eleven teachers and an accredited 9th grade school. Around 1911
Mitchell was host tot he "County Wide Field Day," a big day for the whole
county. The town and school had a baseball team, the first about 1914 was
reported as being very good.
The town had two banks in it's history. In 1905 The Bank of Mitchell came
into being and was run by Tim Kitchens and later by Charles Gibson. It went
broke in 1923. The J. C. Kelly and Sons went into the banking business in 1920
and continued until 1954. The old bank still stands next to H. N. Raley's
In 1903 Sim Hodges retired as postmaster and Terrel Kitchens became
postmaster followed by Dr. Charles Gibson, Virgil Snider, Nell Raley Marsh and
Lillie K. Raley, the present postmaster. Mrs. Marsh retired in 1970 with 36
years service. Rural carriers have been Arthur Kitchens, Jim Nunn, P.M. Cawley,
B.C. Kitchens, Sterling Gibson, John f. Wilcher, Alvin T, Downs, Jr. and Marion
L. Snider, the last two being the present carriers. Mr. Gibson was transferred
to Mitchell from the Argicola Post Office.
The first post office was in Sim Hodges store, then in a little frame
building where Mrs. Nell Marsh's old furniture store is now located. When Nell
marsh became postmaster, it was moved where Cathy's Ceramic Shop is located.
The story goes that Dray Bell (Lawrence Bell) who hauled all the freight from
the depot years ago around to the stores, moved all the equipment in the old
post office to the new location. Long ago Lawrence Bell had an ox and cart and
this was knows as The Drey Freight Line. Mr. Bell was of the Negro race.
At one time Mitchell had a news paper, The Mitchell Banner, published by
Arthur Kitchens. Mr. Kitchen's pen name was "Abe Dennis." This was in the
early 1900's. Mr. Kitchen's later wrote the Mitchell news under the same pen
name in the Gibson Record.
Electricity first came to Mitchell in 1926. The records are still intact,
showing that Dr. Charles Gibson (mayor) and Mr. Albert Wilcher (town clerk)
sighed the essential papers that Mitchell might have electric lights fifty years
ago this year.
The first pea cannery in the county was in Mitchell from 1930 to 1942, owned
by Roy Kelly, son of O.L. Kelly. It employed mostly women; this was probably
the first work outside the home for most women other than field work.
The first telephone line in Mitchell was built by Paul Swint of Gibson and R.
M. Coleman. Then old fashion telephones were used with a crank to ring the
bells. When the line came to Mitchell, lines were also built in other parts of
the country side. People wanting telephones built their own lines. Southern
Bell came to Mitchell in 1951, and this was a new day in telephones.
The first Coca cola truck, a Model T. Ford stripped down to make a truck, to
come to Mitchell was run by R. R. Raley who hauled them from Wrens.
Mitchell has about half the population it did 40 years ago. An eye witness
says Negroes by the train car load left Mitchell years ago going north. Also,
farmers in the area left the soil and moved to town to work in factories and
other places to make better livings for their families.
Other Interesting Notes
Railroad was taken up in 1935.
Some remembers and old brick yard on the old Bat Kitchens place where Carvin
Todd now lives. It seems to have been before any brick was used in Mitchell.
Broom factory at Scruggsville was operated by the blind Snider boys.
Shoals was probably one of the first post offices in the area. River boats
would go up the river to Shoals with mail, this being only letters, since there
was no parcel post in that day. We're told the letters would be addressed to:
Mr. And Mrs. So and So
To Shoals on the Ogeechee.
Sand (iron) rock was mined on the old Dickens Place and hauled to Shoals by
ox cart. Iron was melted out of the rocks in a smelting furnace.
George Winn, Dr. Boze Kitchen's son-in-law, ran a garage in what is knows as
the old Wilcher store. Later it became a mercantile store. The little building
beside it was Dr. Boze's office.
Everyone around Mitchell went to Kitchens Mill to have wheat and corn ground
to make bread. Back in the depression some even ate rye bread that was ground
there. The old mill, though not in use, is located on Joe's creek and owned
presently by Buford Kent.
It is told that four or five people were sitting up with a corpse at the "Old
Dickens House," and it seems that the coffin must have been sitting on the floor
with a sheet spread over it to cover the corpse. The sheet started going up and
down like the woman in the coffin was breathing. One lady ran out in the yard
screaming and some decided they had better investigate. They found a little
green frog sitting on the woman's breast and when the little frog would breathe
the sheet would go up and down making it appear that the corpse was breathing.
This is said to be a true story.
Then we're told that some of the young men went out one night to serenade
some newly weds. They were coming back and decided to serenade Mr. Scruggs, who
was an old bachelor. It seems Mr. Scruggs didn't want to be serenaded before he
was married, so he went and got his shotgun, and you now the rest of the story,
the serenading was over and the dancing started...
Enquires concerning this chart should be directed
to Wayne Dorough at
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