An Early History of Mitchell, Georgia


Written by 

Margaret J. Wilcher



As told primarily by 

B. C. Kitchens, Sr. 

 

Additions by 

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 

Shoals Road.



  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 

County.



   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 

were made.



  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 

roads permitted.



  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 

Lolyd Hilson.



  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 

each way.



  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 

filling station.  



  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.



  Amusing Notes:



  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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