I. Life and Times of William B. (Best) Mitchiner
(1) South Carolina Beginnings
(A1) William B. Mitchiner was born in South Carolina on October 27, 1792 and died July 19, 1865 as noted in the family Bible. He was born William H. Best. Perhaps the biological father of William died when he was very young, leaving his mother, Luvicy, a widow. It is assumed that the John Mitchiner she married by 1809 came from Northampton Co., North Carolina after 1790. There are many different variations of the spelling of the Mitchiner surname within the same family and even for the same individual. No relationship has been established between this John Mitchiner and either Jeremiah Mitchener/Mitchenor or Samuel Mitchener/Mitchenor/Mitchner in North Carolina. Jeremiah lived in Chowan Co. in the 1730s. He later moved to Wake Co. and the last record of him there is in 1776. Samuel Mitchiner moved from Wake Co. to Johnson Co. around 1775. It was Samuel's four sons that married and had families who established the Mitchiner/Mitchener name in that region. Three of his descendants served in North Carolina units in the War for Southern Succession. The first record of a variation of the Mitchiner surname in South Carolina is Able Michener who was a shipmaster in Charleston. He is listed three times from 1754-1757 in the South Carolina Gazette. (Able apparently operated out of Rhode Island and is probably the Lieutenant Mitchenor listed in a newspaper article to command the frigate Protector sailing as part of squadron destined for the Baltic.) There are two possible meanings for "Mitchiner" if the name is of English origin. It may mean one that bakes small loaves of bread or biscuits called mitches. It may mean one that comes from Michen Hall in the town of Godalming, Surrey. In 1732 the first of 120 emigrants under the leadership of James Edward Oglethorpe left Godalming for Georgia. If the name is of German origin it refers to one that comes from Munich in Bavaria.
While his biological father is unknown, William is obviously related to one or more of the three families of Bests listed in the 1790 Orangeburg District (South Part), South Carolina Census. The families are headed by Mary, Sarah, and Henry. Mary is listed with one male over 16, one male under 16 and two other females in her household. Sarah is listed with one male over 16, one male under 16, three other females and three slaves in her household. Henry is listed with one male under 16, one female and three slaves in his household. The three Best families are living next to each. (See 1790 Best family information.) These three families in turn are probably related to Absalom Best. In 1790 Elizabeth Best testified she saw Absalom Best sign his last will and testament. Absalom Best was probably from Virginia or North Carolina. In Early Pee Dee Settlers by John M. Gregg he is on the Muster Roll of St David's Parish in 1759. He was a deserter from a Cherokee Expedition in 1760. He received a 200 acre land grant on Catfish Creek on December. 16, 1766 in what is now Marion Co., South Carolina. His land is mentioned in Deed Book L., p.335-340, Clerk of the Court's Office, Marion Co, SC. In describing the land sold by Benjamin Rogers and wife to Anne Maria Wickham on March 15, 1825 it mentions it containing seven acres "... being part of that tract of Land originally Granted to Absalom Best on the sixteenth Day of December seventeen hundred & sixty Six for two hundred Acres & by the said Absalom sold And Conveyed to John Smith by Deeds of Conveyance...." John Smith sold the land to Reuban Dew on April 18-19, 1777.
His first record in the Barnwell area is his purchase of 100 acres, 1770, in Granville Co., (Orangeburg then Barnwell) now Allendade Co., followed by land purchases of 200 acres in the Bull Pond area and 260 acres on Nero's Branch of the Coosawhatchie River. His 100 acres of property was named in a 1770 memorial on Little Briar Creek. Unfortunately a copy of Absalom's will has not been located and there is no other record of the Elizabeth that stated she saw him sign his will. By the 1800 Barnwell District (a section of the old Orangeburg District), South Carolina Census, only one Best, Benajah, is listed. In the 1810 Barnwell District, South Carolina Census two Bests are listed as the head of households. They are John B. Best, born 1773, and Benajah B. Best, born 1775.
William is probably also related to the Browns listed in the 1790 Orangeburg District, South Carolina Census. Abraham Best had been a neighbor of William Brown, the father of Tarlton Brown. William Brown came to South Carolina with his brother, Bartlett Brown, from Albemarle Co., Virginia around 1768. Tarlton Brown wrote in his memoirs, "They settled on the edge of the Savannah River swamp where Briar Creek entered the River at Burton's Ferry. They were pioneers. Wild animals were numerous especially panthers, and wild cats (bob cats). The settlers overcame this difficulty by trapping, hunting, and poison bait. The settlers in Georgia had the same problems."
Tarlton Brown mentions in his memoirs about his participation in the Revolutionary War that his brother-in-law, Henry Best from Georgia, was killed by Tories. Tarlton Brown served in South Carolina as a Captain with the Swamp Fox, General Francis Marion. Georgia was firmly in the hands of the British and their Tory allies. Tarlton wrote, "They often crossed the river, and killed and plundered the Whigs without mercy." Regular British military forces entered the area in force as they captured Savannah on December 29, 1778 and Charleston on May 12, 1779. At Charleston the American forces lost thousands of men and tons of supplies. With the capture of Charleston the British and their Tory allies were free to raid throughout the Carolinas. Even after General Cornwallis surrendered his trapped British forces to the combined Continental and French forces under General Washington on October 17, 1881 at Yorktown, Virginia, the British occupied Savannah and Charleston for two more years.
Henry Best was with Tarlton and two other men when he was wounded by Tories. They had just traveled down Kings Creek to the Savannah River in a canoe and were paddling against the current when they were ambushed by about thirty-five Tories firing from the Georgia side of the River. Henry had just recovered from his wounds and reentered active duty when he was killed in 1780 by some of the very same Tories reportedly at Burton's Ferry. Burton's Ferry was located on the Savannah River near the home of his father-in-law, William Brown, in the Orangeburg District. For a time Tarlton had been part of a company of militia that kept guard at Burton's Ferry. Tarlton wrote, "We exchanged shots almost every day with the British and Tories, who were on the opposite side (Georgia)." Tarlton's father, William Brown, was also killed in 1780 by Tories as well as Tarlton's youngest brother. William Brown was killed guarding his home along with seventeen others at Boiling Springs. His home was burned to the ground. Boiling Springs is near the head of the Coosawhatchie River above Allendale.
The Tories and their Indian allies continued to cause problems in Georgia after the war. "Although the war had closed, the Tories were still troublesome, plundering and occasionally killing the inhabitants.' Tarlton Brown reported that "the worst of the clan, made their escape to Carolina, where they murdered and plundered until the citizens were afraid to travel the roads, day or night." Before Tarlton settled down at Boiling Springs he tracked down and saw that justice was done to some of the worst of the Tory clan. In 1784 Bartlett Brown, Tarlton's uncle, was killed by Indians. Henry Best's widow, Mary, received a widows pension from 1786 to 1803. The 1791 widows pension was for her and a child paid to her brother Tarlton Brown. A more detailed document on the possible Best family relations in the Allendale Co., South Carolina area is posted on the SCGenWeb site.
(2) North Carolina Stepfather
William's stepfather to be, John Mitchiner, apparently left Northampton Co., North Carolina in 1791 before the sheriff could take him into custody on assault charges against Silas Vinson. John is listed in the 1790 Northampton Co., North Carolina Census as the head of a household that included two males and five females. It appears the other male was his younger brother William B.(Bryan) Mitchener. It appears that the females were his mother, Barbara (Bryan) Mitchiner, and four sisters; Elizabeth, Mary, Martha, and Sarah. In the will of her father, William Bryan, probated on December 1770 in Northampton Co., Barbara Mitchiner was given use of a 60 acre plantation she was living on. Barbara's husband was probably a senior John Mitchener that perhaps came from Chowan Co. and is last listed in Northampton Co. on the 1780 tax list. Barbara Mitchener is last listed in Northampton Co. with two white males under 21 or over 60 and five females. On October 13, 1798 John's brother William and his three sisters Elizabeth, Sarah, and Mary Mitchiner sold 60 acres in Northampton Co., Deed Book 10, p. 475-476. John Mitchiner's brother, William B.(Bryan) Mitchener, on June 5, 1797, was summoned by the state as a witness against Silas Vinson, Constable. John's assault against Silas Vinson in 1791 may have been justified. William Mitchiner is listed in the 1800 Northampton Co., North Carolina Census with his wife and one son and one daughter. In 1801 in Northampton Co. William B. Mitchiner and his sisters sold 40 more acres. William B.(Bryan) Mitchener moved his family to Tennessee after 1801. One of the sons of John's brother was Edmond E., an "on the road" minister and seller of Masonic supplies and is listed with his family living in 1860 Forsyth Co., Georgia Census. Perhaps another son or grandson of John's brother in the War for Southern Succession served on the Union side in the 13th TN, Co. H and is listed as H. Mitchiner # 2475. He was interned at Andersonville, Georgia and died of typhus fever on 25 June 1864. A grandson, Frank Mitchner, served in the 9th TN and filed in 1911 for a Tennessee Confederate Pension. William Napoleon Mitchener, a grandson of William B.(Bryan) Mitchener, moved to Mississippi from Tennessee. He is listed on October 15, 1861 as the Justice, 11 District, Itawamba County, Mississippi. His father was Marmaduke Mitchener, the eldest son of William B.(Bryan) Mitchener. William Napoleon Mitchener and two of his sons, William Carrol and John Winthrop Mitchener served in the 10th and 2nd MS Calvary.
John Mitchiner may have gone to South Carolina because he had Bryan relatives in the area. The Bryan family in the Orangeburg area may have been related to the Best family that his stepson, William B.(Best) Mitchiner was born into. His stepson was related to John B. Best. John B. Best married Elizabeth J. Colding. She was born on December 1, 1790 and was the daughter of Henry Colding and Jennette Bryan. Their children were Henry Colding Best, Mary Ann Brown Best, Orsamus Harden Best, John Austin Best, Louisiana Bennett Best, William Bartlett Best, Francis Marion Best and Jasper Benajah Best.
(3) Burke/Screven Co., Georgia Records
By 1809 John Mitchiner had married William's mother, Luvicy ______. John received a headright grant for 300 acres on April 4, 1808 in Screven Co., Georgia. By the acts of January 23, 1780, February 17, 1783, February 25, 1784, and February 22, 1785, emigrants from other states were encouraged to come into Georgia and take out free headright grants. Each was granted a quantity of land commensurate with the number of heads (meaning wife, children and slaves) in his family. The minimum grant was 200 acres to a bachelor and the maximum grant was 1,000 acres. On April 10, 1809 John also received a land grant in Screven Co., Georgia for 129 acres. This same year he also wrote his will leaving his plantation, five slaves, and possessions to his wife, Luvicy. John died in 1814 when his stepson, William, was twenty-two years old.
William may distantly be related to John Best, Jr. and his many descendants that once lived in Screven Co., Georgia. John Best, Jr. was born about 1761 in Dobbs Co., North Carolina and died November 11, 1836 at the age of 84 in Screven Co., Georgia. He left no widow. He lived in Duplin Co., North Carolina when he enlisted as a soldier. His father, John Best, Sr., was one of the six sons of Henry Best I. Henry Best I moved to North Carolina from the Isle of Wight Co. area of Virginia around 1732. He lived in Shine Township, Greene County, near Jerusalem Church and built the Best House, also known as the White House in 1735.
John Best, Jr. moved to Screven Co. soon after the Revolutionary War ended. He married Martha Williams in North Carolina on April 28, 1783 with a son named William Williams. Benjamin Best and Jacob were witnesses and bondsmen. In Footprints on the Sands of Time by Youmans he is listed as a Revolutionary soldier whose grave is between Rickey Freeman's and Best's Bridge, Screven Co., Georgia. In 1812 he witnessed the will of Hezekiah Howard with his son Jacob Best and was perhaps the executor of the will of John Mitchiner in 1814. He is listed as being granted 60 acres in the 1817 Headright and Bounty Grants. In 1817 he was granted land with his son Jacob Best from his son Absalom Best. He was also granted land from the same son in 1818. John Best is listed in the 1830 Screven Co., Georgia Census as being between 70-80 years old. In 1834 he granted land to his son Henry Best. His pension application was filed April 6, 1835 in Screven Co., Georgia. His children were listed as: Jacob, George, William, Henry, and Absalom. Jacob, in 1827, became security with William D. Campbell for William B. Mitchiner when he became guardian for Henry B, James J., and John W. Mears, orphan minors of John Mears. In the War of 1812 Jacob served in Lieutenant John Rawl's Co., GA Militia. Since John Best, Jr has a son named Absalom there may be a connection, yet to be established, in North Carolina or Virginia with the Absalom Best that died around 1790 in the Orangeburg District of South Carolina. (See Screven Co., GA Best site.)
The will of William H. Brown of Screven Co. is the first record found of William H. Best using the surname "Mitchiner". The will was written on September 12, 1812 . It was witnessed by John Mitchiner, William H. B. Mitchiner and J. W. Wade. William H. Brown left his property to his two daughters, Zilpha and Eliza. He is probably the same William H. Brown with property near lands belonging to John B. Best that signed a petition on the South Carolina side of the Savannah River for a river landing road.
William's widowed mother died in 1815. She left him the same property, possessions, and five slaves she inherited from her deceased husband, John Mitchiner, plus an additional slave. In her will written May 3, 1815 she called her son William H. Best. William, in a receipt for his mother as the executrix for the will of John Mitchiner on June 5, 1815 gave his name as W. H. Mitchiner. When William inherited six slaves as property from his mother he may have questioned the morality but probably not the legality of slavery. American Presidents own slaves both before and after 1815.
By 1819 William had married Charlotte Oliver. She was born in Georgia. She signed with him on a deed of sale for 146 acres in Screven Co., Georgia. He signed his name as William B. Mitchiner. It was probably Charlotte's property. She may also have owned slaves when they married. In addition to the property inherited from his mother and the property that Charlotte took into the marriage, William also received two Screven Co., Georgia land grants in 1820. Since many of his neighbors were trustees of the Brick (Bethel) Methodist Episcopal Church, he and his wife probably attended services there. As a Methodist and probably a Mason living in Screven Co., he would have been well aware of one of the more colorful events in Georgia state history that took place in 1820 in Jacksonboro and perhaps was a witness. Jacksonboro was established as the county seat of Screven Co. on February 1, 1797 and a jail and courthouse were built. It remained the county seat until December 14, 1847 when it was moved to Sylvania. The book Statistics of the State of Georgia, published in 1849, described Jacksonborough as a place known for its hard drinking and hard fighting residents. The book says, that in the morning after drunken frolics and fights you could see children picking up eyeballs with tea saucers." In 1820 Jacksonboro was visited by a itinerant Methodist preacher from Connecticut named Lorenzo Dow. His preaching elsewhere in the state had drawn crowds of up to five thousand persons. In Jacksonboro some of the drunken patrons from the whisky store broke up the revival he was conducting at the local Methodist church. Lorenze then followed them back to the whisky store and broke open a whisky barrel and pour the contents on the floor. At that point he might have been hung by the mob that formed if not for 24 year old Seaborn Goodall, a Methodist and a Mason. Seeing some follow Masons in the mob he persuaded them to let him take Lorenzo to his home for the night and have him out of town in the morning. As the legend goes, Lorenzo cursed the town as he left except the home of his host that is still standing on US 301, a few miles north of Sylvania. Jacksonboro became a ghost town once the county seat moved. By the 1820 Screven Co., Georgia Census a Jacob Best was a neighbor of Seaborn Goodall.
Charlotte's parents were Priscilla Williams and James Oliver. The father of Priscilla was William Williams (apparently based on age not William Williams the stepson of John Best, Jr. of Screven Co.). The interest of Priscilla as a heir of her father, William Williams, was conveyed in Screven Co. to Enoch Godfrey on July 27, 1797. Land involved was 1/10th interest in 240 acres. This was a pond tract that was divided into 10 equal sections with the names of Priscilla W. Oliver and Mary W. Livingston written on two sections. The will was witnessed by Seth Williams, Francis Godfrey, and Anson Williams. On March 21, 1799 James and Priscilla Oliver conveyed to Enoch Godfrey land described as adjoining land of William Williams deceased and John Williams deceased. The witnesses were John Smith, Henry Cragg, and Charlotte Cragg.
The estate of James Oliver, the father-in-law of William B. Mitchiner, was divided, June 7, 1826, in Screven Co. into five equal shares: Lot # 1 to George Pollock, guardian of James M. Pollock. (Note: The father of George was John G. Pollock. After his first wife, Keziah Foxwell, died his father married Nancy Oliver and they had a child, James M. Pollock, which explains why George as his guardian is included in the will of James Oliver.); Lot # 2 to Thomas W. Oliver (Note: He married Martha Herrington and her sister, Abigail Herrington, married George Pollock.); Lot # 3 to William W. Oliver ( Note: From Screven Co. History, page 158, he married Elizabeth Freeman, daughter of Noah Freeman and Lucy ____. William W. Oliver was a member of the House of Representatives from Screven Co., 1815-16.; Lot # 4 to Dorothy Thompson the widow of Bryan Thompson; Lot # 5 to William B. Mitchiner the husband of Charlotte Mitchiner. Lot # 5 consisted of 500 acres in Screven Co., Georgia. There is no record showing how they sold this property. (Note: On March 3, 1806 Charlotte was granted a warrant for 500 acres on Jackson Mill Branch in Screven Co. which William B. Michiner sold to Ranson Rogers on December 4, 1843.) (See Land Dealings)
William is related in some fashion to Tarlton B.(Brown) Best. When Tarleton B. wrote his will he named both William and John B. Best as his executors. Tarlton B. lived in both Barnwell Co., South Carolina and in Screven Co., Georgia. These counties are just across the Savannah River from each other. In the Augusta Chronicle and Georgia Gazette around 1822 were recorded some of Tarlton's legal difficulties which also involved William. Three Negroes were levied on his property in favor of James G. Salisbury vs Tarlton and William B. Mitchiner and also to satisfy "fi fa" involving Willis Young, Tarlton and Stephen Butler. (The term "fi fa" is an abbreviation for fieri facias. A fieri facias is a writ of authorization for the sheriff to take specified property from the defendant to satisfy a judgment.) One Negro woman was taken from Tarlton in favor of A.S. Jones and also to satisfy execution in favor of R. Cone. A slave was also taken from Tarlton to satisfy an execution in favor of Britton Price. He was also sued by William D. Campbell for $600 and by John Mears for $600. Tarlton sued Stephen Butler for $2000 in damages. He sued John H. Smith for $3000 for property damage to crops on 350 acres of land.
The will of Tarlton B., dated December 17, 1821, was filed October 5, 1824 by William in Screven Co., Georgia. Tarlton B. had married the widow of Nathaniel Jelks of Barnwell Co., South Carolina. Dated June 22, 1822 from the Barnwell Equity and Chancery Court is the case of Lud Harris vs. John L Atkinson and Tarlton B. Best found in Box 14, Group 28, Frame Number 527. John L. Atkinson had been an executor with Sarah Jelks of the estate of Nathaniel Jelks. Nathaniel had left her with eleven slaves. She died shortly after her marriage to Tarlton B. Best. She left him her eleven slaves. Tarlton listed eleven slaves in his will and some property in South Carolina. The slaves were to be divided between Orasamus H.(Harden) Best, son of John B. Best of Barnwell Co., South Carolina, John H.(Harden) Mitchiner, son of William, and William D. Campbell, son of Israel Campbell, deceased. Tarlton was only three years older than William. His name and birth date of October 13, 1789 is listed in the family Bible of John B.(Brown) Best along with the known children of John B. Best. There is a copy of a page from the John B. Best Bible that records his birth date along with the children of John B. Best and his wife Elizabeth (Colding) Best. It is unknown if this Bible still exists and if it does who might have it their possession. It is apparent from the page that was copied that there are other names in the Bible and a careful examination of the Bible might settle the actual relationship of Tarlton B. with John B. and William B. Mitchiner. William D. Campbell was the son of Israel Campbell and Dicy (Best). Tarlton was the guardian for William D. Campbell in 1820 after Israel died in 1818. John Mears became his guardian in 1822 after he married Leodica (Dicy). Tarlton Best was probably a brother-in-law of John Mears and also related to John H. Smith mentioned in his will. Tarlton left John B. Best, John H. Smith, and John Mears seventy-five cents each. William Mitchiner, as an executor of the estate of Tarlton, was left to settle the lawsuits brought against Tarlton and by Tarlton. William was left no property in the will of Tarlton B. Best.
While William B. Mitchiner was involved in many land dealings, in many cases it is impossible to tell when he sold a piece of land he acquired or acquired a piece of land he sold. On August 31, 1822 William B. Mitchiner is listed as a witness with Anthony Lewis to his father-in-law, James Oliver, conveying 1000 acres to Thomas Oliver for $1400. This land was partly in Burke Co., and partly in Screven Co., Georgia. Because Burke Co. was one of the "burnt counties" destroyed by Union forces in the closing months during the War for Southern Succession, no court records remain. The land was originally granted James Oliver on February 4, 1801. The land was "South westwardly" bounded by the land of William B. Best and Jacob Lewis. If this William B. Best is not a reference to William H. Mitchiner than this could be the only reference to his possible biological father. If this is correct than William B. Best is probably a son of Henry Best, Sr. who came from Georgia and married Mary Brown who is listed as a head of household in the 1790 Orangeburg District, South Carolina Census.
(4) Legal Name Change and Possible Lineage
At the request of William, on December 14, 1822 at Milledgeville, the Georgia House of Representatives legally changed his name from William H. Best to William B. Mitchiner. He also changed the name of his son from John H. Best to John H. Mitchiner, and his daughter's name from Mary W. Best to Mary W. Mitchiner. In a 1823 land sale in Screven Co., Georgia, William B. Mitchiner is referred to as the former William H. Best. In addition to having four children by 1827, William was the guardian of three minors; Henry Best Mears, James Joab Mears and John Wilson Mears. They were the three sons of John Mears and half brothers of William D. Campbell. William D. Campbell married Elizabeth Lewis in Screven Co. on January 7, 1828. She was the daughter of Jacob Lewis and Lucy Ann Smith. William D. Campbell apparently did not become the guardian of his three half brothers. He and Elizabeth had twelve children and one was named Mary and another was named Henry. In 1831 Henry Best Mears became the guardian on his brothers James Joab and John Wilson.
A "best guess" on the lineage of William B. Mitchiner is that Henry Best, Sr. originally came from Duplin Co., North Carolina to Georgia. "The royal governor of Georgia and the Council advertised in the newspaper of New Bern, North Carolina, that free land in Georgia would be given to settlers. The notice began a wave of settlers from the North Carolina counties of Onlsow, New Hanover, Duplin, Sampson, Bertie, Johnston and Edgecombe that would last for over 60 years. There are very few of the early families of Bulloch and Screven Counties that do not trace to the settlers from this area of North Carolina. The very earliest of these families came from Duplin County as early as 1761." While the given name of "Henry" was a very common name in the many related Best families in the Duplin Co. area of North Carolina, the Henry Best of interest that went to Georgia who I refer to as Henry Best, Sr. has yet to be positively connected with these Best families. Soldiers from Duplin Co. also fought at the battle of Brier Creek, March 3, 1779 in Screven Co. during the Revolutionary War but had to retreat to the South Carolina side of the Savannah River, some coming across at Burton's Ferry were the Brown's lived. The Georgian's, however, stayed and fought almost to the last man. The Battle of Brier Creek State Historical Marker is located on Brannen's Bridge Rd. at Brier Creek in Georgia, 11 miles northeast of Sylvania. Some like John Best, Jr. returned to live in Screven Co. after the war.
Continuing along the lines of a "best guess" I assume that about the time hostilities started with the British and their Tory supporters in Georgia, Henry Best, Sr. moved from Screven Co., Georgia across the Savannah River to the Orangeburg District of South Carolina where he married Mary Brown, the sister of Tarlton Brown and they lived close to her parents near Burton's Ferry. They had three sons and two daughters. Henry Best, Sr. probably owned some property in South Carolina as well as in Georgia since he lived there prior to hostilities. When a married man and father died without a will his widow only received a child's portion. A guardian was appointed for minor children to manage their share of the property until the children became adults. Henry from Georgia probably died without a will when he was killed by Tories in South Carolina. Two of their sons are John Brown Best and William B. Best. They are the two males in the household of Mary Best in the 1790 Orangeburg District, South Carolina Census. Tarlton Brown Best is the son of Henry Best, Jr., a third son of Henry and Mary, in the same 1790 Orangeburg District, South Carolina Census. Tarlton's father died and he was raised by his uncle and probable guardian, John B. Best. Through his father William B. Best, William B. Mitchiner inherited property in Georgia as did Tarlton B. Best through his father Henry Best, Jr.
A sister of Henry Best, Jr. and William B. Best would have been Leodica "Dicy" Best. She was born about 1780 which is the year that her father, Henry Best, Sr. was killed by Tories. She married Israel Campbell and then John Mears after the death of Israel. She named her first son by her first husband William D. Campbell, born in 1801, probably after her husband's father who was William Campbell. She named her first daughter Mary "Polly" Campbell probably after her mother, Mary Brown Best. In the 1790 Orangeburg District, South Carolina Census Dicy would have been one of the two females in addition to her mother in the household of her mother, Mary Best. Dicy named her first son by her second husband Henry Best Mears probably after her father, Henry Best, Sr. She would have inherited property along with her three brothers Henry Best, Jr., William B. Best and John B. Best in South Carolina and Georgia. Just south of Mobley's Pond in Screven Co., Georgia is an area called Mears. The Mobley Pond area near the Burke Co. and Screven Co., line is where William B. Mitchiner lived and not far from Brier Creek. Dicy predeceased her husband, John Mears. Her property would have passed to her second husband, John Mears, and then through him to their three sons. John Mears had deeded his slaves to his three sons before his death in 1827, the year that William B. Mitchiner became the guardian of his three sons with William D. Campbell and Jacob B. Best making security. Jacob B. Best was the oldest son of the Revolutionary soldier, John Best, Jr., that came to Screven Co. from Duplin Co., North Carolina after the end of the Revolutionary War.
(5) Move to Randolph Co., Georgia
Around 1831, William B. Mitchiner moved his family across Georgia to Fort Gaines, Early Co. near the Alabama border before moving to Randolph Co. which had been part of Lee Co. where he had a land grant given December 14, 1831. At the time of this land grant he was living in Screven Co., Roberts District. His land is described as consisting of 202.5 acres, Lot #246 in 9th Dist., Lee Co. from the 1827 Land Lottery of land acquired from the Creek Nation of Indians. Other settlers with land grants in Lee Co. stayed in Fort Gaines at the time as protection against some of the remaining Creek Indians that had not been relocated from the area. He probably returned to Screven Co. from time to time. His wife still had relatives in Screven Co., where he still owned around 1400 acres. After his wife, Charlotte, died at Fort Gaines, he sold 500 acres in 1843 and he sold 415 acres in 1852. In his will written in 1865 he still owned in Screven Co. 500 acres on Horse Creek. In moving out of Screven Co., William was probably happy to leave behind the memories of the legal difficulties he had to settle as one of the executors of the will of Tarlton Best. He would, however, in time face in Randolph Co. some new law suites.
More importantly for his physical health and the health of his family,William was probably happy to leave behind the unhealthy, swampy, climate in Screven Co. along the Savannah River. There were many deadly diseases such as smallpox, yellow fever, dysentery, diphtheria, cholera, scarlet fever, measles, influenza, typhoid fever, and whooping cough that commonly caused great suffering and destroyed whole families. In the South, spring and summer brought malaria, "The Great Debilitation." Malaria could kill its victims, but more often than not it left them in a permanently weakened condition. An effective smallpox inoculation was first developed in England in 1792 when William was born. When a child without immunity was naturally exposed to the smallpox virus the normal mortality rate was 30%. Those that survived could be seriously scarred for life. The mortality rate among Indian populations was even higher. They had no immunity initially and died in large numbers when exposed to smallpox either intentionally or through casual contact with infected whites. Sometimes the populations of whole villages were completely decimated.
Randolph Co. was partly formed out of Lee Co. in 1828. Lee County was created June 9, 1825 and December 11, 1826 from the lands acquired by the Creek sessions of January 1826 and March 31, 1826. Georgia had claim to the southern land east of the Mississippi that Great Britain ceded in 1783 to the United States at the close of the Revolutionary War. When Georgia ceded its western lands which included present day Alabama and Mississippi to the Federal Government in 1802, Georgia was given $1,250,000 and a pledge that the Indians would be removed from Georgia. A constant part of frontier life was white settlers and Indians fighting each other, who were at times aided by the British, and Indians fighting with each other. The Cherokees chose to side with the British in the Revolutionary War. The British government had continued to trade with the Cherokees. British Indian agents and traders had married into the tribe and were raising families there. The British began to heavily supply arms and ammunition and even offered bounties for scalps of colonists as early as 1775. The end of the Revolutionary War brought an end to British aid. Spain, however, was anxious to expand its claims in North American. Spain began to encourage the Chickamaugas faction of the Cherokees to continue their raids on the colonists. The Cherokees lost their Spanish support when Spain agreed to cede in 1800 the Louisiana Territory to France. The French then sold the Louisiana Territory to the United States on April 30, 1803 for $15,000,000. The Creeks, like the Cherokee had been friendly toward the British.
The first Indians to yield their land in Georgia were the Creeks. The Red Stick Creeks under their Scots-Indian Chief Weatherford in the First Creek War from 1813-1814 attacked and massacred at least 350 settlers at Fort Mims in Alabama on August 30, 1813. Those spared were mostly blacks and they were made Creek slaves. The fort was located on the Alabama River 40 miles north of Mobile. The Red Stick Creeks in turn under Chief Weatherford were defeated by Andrew Jackson and his Cherokee allies at Horseshoe Bend in eastern Alabama on March 27, 1814. There were 750 Red Stick men, women, and children killed in the attack. Andrew Jackson was also assisted in his attack on the Red Sticks by the Creek White Sticks. In the Treaty of Horseshoe Bend on August 9, 1814 Chief Weatherford ceded 23 million acres of Creek land in Alabama and Georgia belonging to both the Red Sticks and the White Sticks. After Troup won Georgia's first popular election in 1825 for governor, he began to forcibly remove the Red Stick and White Stick Creeks from Georgia. When President Adams threatened Troup with federal intervention, Troup called his bluff, prepared the state militia, and continued the removal. President Adams backed down, figuring "..the Indians are not worth going to war over." By 1827, the Creeks were mostly gone. Some Creeks fled to Florida to join their Seminole relatives. Some Indians remained in Randolph Co. until 1836 when they were removed following the Second Creek War of 1836-1837.
In north Georgia the Cherokee, however, set themselves up as the independent Cherokee Nation with a constitution in 1827. Because gold had been discovered on the remaining Cherokee land in north Georgia, pressure built in Georgia for their removal. Georgia proceeded with the land lottery of 1832 and gave Cherokee land to whites who began to move in. When Jackson became President he refused to intervene when the state of Georgia began expelling the Cherokee on the pretext that a small part of the tribe had surrendered all of Cherokee territory east of the Mississippi River. In 1838 the Cherokee tribe under their Scots-Indian Chief John Ross as well as the remaining Creeks were deported to the Indian Territory that later became Oklahoma. He had served under Andrew Jackson against the Red Stick Creeks and knew resistance would be futile. In the War for Southern Succession the Cherokee in the Indian Territory sided with the Confederacy. At the end of the war they freed their slaves and made those that wished a part of their tribe.
(6) Pre Civil War Life
The first record of William B. Mitchiner living in Randolph Co. is a 1833 grand jury list from Cuthbert, the county seat, showing William as a citizen of that county. Randolph Co. is still a rural area. The 1997 population was 8023. His move across the state was obviously to lay claim to the land he drew in the Georgia land lottery in Lee Co. which was one of the parent counties of Randolph Co. in the 1827. At some point he purchased a town lot in Fort Gaines, Early Co., that he sold in 1840. Early Co. was created in 1818 from Creek lands. Fort Gaines later became the county seat for Clay Co. which was created in 1854. By 1835 William had purchased the first of a number of additional tracts of land in Randolph Co., each measuring 202.5 acres.
Around 1837 his wife Charlotte died. It is not clear where they were residing at the time of her death. Mrs. Larry King of Douglas, Georgia and a granddaughter of Elizabeth Thompson Mitchiner King once visited Fort Gaines, where she thought William and Charlotte were living at the time of her death. Mrs. King does recall possessing at one time a hand-written funeral invitation signed by "William Best Mitchiner" requesting mourners to attend his wife's services at the "Methodist Meeting House" in Fort Gaines. Charlotte is not listed, however, in any of the area cemetery lists but based on the report on the death of their daughter, Amanda L. Crapps, in 1882, "She sleeps peacefully by the side of her mother in the Cemetery at Fort Gaines awaiting the resurrection of the just." William and Charlotte had the following eight children:
(B1) John Harden Mitchiner, born ca. 1818. (B2) Mary W. Mitchiner, born ca. 1819. (B3) Amanda L. Mitchiner, born ca. 1823. (B4) Elizabeth Thompson Mitchiner, born September 27, 1825. (B5) Thomas William Mitchiner, born April 2, 1828. (B6) Raymond R. Mitchiner, born ca. 1829. (B7) James Mitchiner, born ca. 1830-33. (B8) Charlotte L. Mitchiner, born October 13, 1835.
On August 30, 1838, William's two oldest daughters had an apparent double wedding ceremony. Amanda L. married John Barton. His oldest daughter, Mary W., age 19, married David Rumph, age 32. He was a wealthy widower and lived down the road from Benevolence in Cuthbert. Cuthbert was the home of Andrew Female College, founded in 1854. David served on the Board of Directors. Their daughter, Virginia C., was one of two students in the first graduating class. David was involved in many land deals including some land transactions near Benevolence with both his father-in-law and his brother-in-law, John H. Mitchiner.
William's children by his first marriage were probably raised Methodist. Martha Martin Dixon in her 1994 study of the John Pollock Family of Burke and Screven Counties, Georgia discussed a Methodist revival in the area and the formation of three Methodist churches. The singing of hymns, many written by Charles Wesley, was the single greatest contribution of Methodism to Christian worship. Martha Dixon included a copy of "scholars" that signed up for vocal lessons and promised to pay one dollar each. They had to purchase their own books. William placed his name on the list of "scholars." They were to meet at the NeesSmith (or (NeSmith) Church to learn vocal music. This may have been another name used for the Mobly Pond Baptist Church where Rev. Nesmith preached. William's oldest daughter, Mary Rumph, attended the Methodist churches in Cuthbert and Brooksville with her family. Her husband, David, was a Methodist and a Mason as was William's oldest son, John.
Freemasonry is a fraternal association. Those that wish to become a Mason must find a member to be their sponsor. It is a nonsectarian and nonpolitical association. The Masons are organized as lodges and grand lodges. The Masonic lodges, with their related organizations, are best known today for their charitable work. David Rumph was a member of Washington Lodge, No. 19, in Cuthbert.
Less than a month after his oldest daughters married, William, at the age of 46, married Sarah Coram, age 28, on September 10, 1838. She was born in Warren Co., Georgia on December 12, 1811 and died May 15, 1891. She was four years younger than his new son-in-law, David Rumph. Sarah was the daughter of Thomas E. Coram and Deborah Hayes. Her parents were the first settlers of Benevolence, Georgia. Thomas was the son of William Coram, Jr. and Ann Hodo. William Coram, Jr. had served in the Revolutionary War under General George Washington as a member of the Virginia Line of the Continental Army. In 1831 Thomas Coram constructed a bush arbor to shelter his family until a log house could be built. Benevolence today is much like it was in the 1840's. It consists of a church, cemetery, and a building that once served as a general store. Thomas Coram donated five acres for the First Baptist Church of Benevolence and the cemetery. It was a Missionary Baptist Church. Sarah Coram Mitchiner was given a Bible by her parents in 1848. A note in her Bible reads: "This Bible the property of Sarah Mitchiner. A present from her father & Mother Thomas Coram & Deborah Coram his wife the 14th April 1848." This Bible was rebound in 2004 and is the property of Miriam Mitchiner Brown. In 1853 the Benevolence Colored Baptist Church was established from slaves that attended the First Baptist Church of Benevolence with their owners and their families. Church policy in the South before the Civil War was that when more than 50 slaves were members of a church one was ordained to the gospel ministry and they formed a separate church..
William was well established in Randolph Co. by 1840 as a family man, landowner and a justice. He is named as one of three justices for the Inferior Court sitting for ordinary purposes. The other justices were his son-in-law, David Rumph, and Whitefield B. Smith. They heard a case in the July 1840 term concerning a petition for a new road between Fort Gaines and Cuthbert.
William and Sarah are believed to have had eleven children. Their children were probably raised Baptist. William and his wife are listed with their following eight children 1860 Randolph Co., Georgia Census: Martha, Fredonia, Josephine, Susan, Georgia A., Francis, Robert, and David. It may be presumed that William, Louisa, and Alice had died. The names of all eleven of their children are:
(B9) William Mitchiner, born ca. 1839. (B10) Louisa Mitchiner, born ca. 1840. (B11) Martha Mitchiner, born ca. 1841. (B12) Fredonia B. Mitchiner, born ca. 1842. (B13) Josephine Mitchiner, born ca. 1843. (B14) Susan N. Mitchiner, born July 28, 1845. (B15) Georgia A. Mitchiner, born ca. 1847. (B16) Frances L. Mitchiner, born January 30, 1849. (B17) Robert Hayes Mitchiner, born August 1850. (B18) David Rumph Mitchiner, born July 7, 1853. (B19) Alice Mitchiner, born unknown.
The year 1841 in Randolph Co. saw the marriages of two more of the children of William by his first wife, Charlotte. Elizabeth married Jasper W. Lawrence on November 29, 1841 and John married Matilda Brooks on March 4, 1841. William was named in a number of administrative cases in which he was involved giving security. On May 1841 with Thomas Coram his father-in-law, George J. Stapleton and William L. Crawford he gave $14000 security for Thomas Coram (page 19) to administer the estate of Joseph Williams. On July 4, 1842 William with Nathaniel Boon and David Rumph a son-in-law he gave $4000 security for Nathaniel Boon (page 18) to administer the estate of James Boon. During 1846 William gave security in two cases. On May 4, 1846 he gave $1200 security for Nathaniel E. Brown (page 51), guardian of Andrew Boon, Jacob Boon, and Martha Boon, orphans of James Boon. On July 6, 1846 with David Rumph, Sarah Moye, Aaron Ethridge and John T. Sergeant he gave $15000 security for David Rumph and Sarah Moye in the administration of the estate of Allen Moye (page 66). In 1847 in Randolph Co. his son, John, purchased 101.25 acres described as lot 113, district 10. This land adjoined the 202.5 acres that William purchased the same year described as lot 143, district 10. In his will William identified lot 143 as his home place. (See Map of Property and Lot 143.) By 1852 in Randolph Co. William's daughter, Charlotte, had married William Poole. His son, Thomas W., married Nancy A. V. Couch on May 20, 1859. William, at age 62, was still fathering children by his second wife, Sarah, while his children by his first marriage were having his grandchildren. On December 20, 1859 his first great-grandchild, Virginia Alexander Fillingim, was born. She was the granddaughter of his daughter Mary by her daughter Virginia C. Rumph.
By 1860 William had apparently given some of his property to the children of his first marriage. Living next to each other in the 1860 Randolph Co., Georgia Census on page 657 with their families are Elizabeth (King), Thomas and his wife Nancy, Charlotte (Poole), and Amanda L. (Crapps). John was living with his family in Quitman Co., Georgia. Mary and her husband, David Rumph, and their children lived on David's property in a different section. James was probably dead. Raymond was probably alive, but not found in any 1860 census..
(7) The War Years
Only one son of William, Thomas W., is known to have served in the War for Southern Succession. He fought nearly three years as a private with Co. K, 47th AL Rgt. He was wounded twice; first at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863, and second at Darby Town on October 7, 1864. He did not see combat for another ten months after his wounds at Gettysburg. In Cuthbert there was a Confederate hospital located in Andrew Female College. William's son, Raymond, may have also served and perhaps died in the aftermath of the war. While he is mentioned as an heir in the will of his father, no records of him have been found. William S. B. Mitchiner was the eldest son of William's eldest son, John H. Mitchiner. William S. B. served in Emerry's? 13 Battalion Georgia Infantry State Guards. Two of William's grandsons by his daughter, Mary W. Rumph, served in the war. William Van Rumph enlisted with Co. E, 13th GA Rgt. in November 1861. He died in Virginia in 1862 of typhoid. Mal Rumph helped to organize Co. E, 3rd GA Rgt. in 1864 and served as a second lieutenant until the end of the war.
The war in the North and the South was not popular with those that had to fight it. A year into the war, in April 1862, the Confederate government started conscripting all able bodied males between the ages of 18 and 35 to serve as soldiers for three years. The North started conscripting soldiers in March 1863 between the ages of 20 and 45 for a period of three years. Deserters in the North and South were shot or hung if caught. Conscription in the North resulted in a number of anti-draft riots. The most infamous was in New York City in July 1863. The North started forming units of free blacks under white officers. The black Union soldiers, subject to Northern racial attitudes, experienced discrimination in pay and bounties. A month before the war ended the Confederate government, in spite of its racial attitudes, authorized the recruitment of 200,000 Negroes as soldiers. The large plantation owners in the South were exempt from conscription. The wealthy in the North and South, if drafted, could legally pay someone to serve in their place.
The ending tragedy of the War for Southern Succession was the treatment of the conquered South as a exploited colony by an imperial North during the Reconstruction period. During Reconstruction vigilante type groups in the occupied states were formed initially for the purpose of protecting the rights of Southern whites. They ended in suppressing for 100 years the civil rights of freed blacks and their descendants in the South. For true Southerners the vigilante type groups became as much of a problem as the carpetbaggers and scalawags. There are no indications that any descendants of William had anything to do with the vigilante groups.
As the war continued William witnessed its destruction and brutality moving relentlessly through Georgia and ever closer to Benevolence. Andersonville Prison, the Confederate stockade for Union prisoners during the war, was situated about 40 miles northeast of Benevolence. It was used from February 1864 to April 1865. The total number imprisoned there was about 50,000 of which 13,700 died from exposure and from disease. Since the Confederacy did not have medical supplies and could not feed its own troops, much less care for prisoners, they wanted to exchange these prisoners with the North. The North would not agree to an exchange for the prisoners held at Andersonville since they had the manpower to replace any prisoners held by the Confederates.
General William T. Sherman with a Union force of 100,000 soldiers captured Atlanta in the heart of the Confederacy in September 1864 after a four month siege. After burning most of the city he began his "march to the sea" with 60,000 troops that were unopposed. He destroyed as much agriculture, courthouses, and plantation homes as he could along his line of march. He took Savannah on December 21 and then turned north through South and North Carolina. After General Lee had surrendered Confederate forces on April 9, 1865 the Union forces, on April 16, 1865, still attacked and destroyed a defenseless Columbus, Georgia. This city is on the Chattahoochee River and just 50 miles north of Benevolence. During the war arms were manufactured in Columbus as well as the gunboat, Muscogee. The gunboat was sunk in the river.
The fortunes of William probably decline during the war. In Randolph Co. in 1863 he lost a suit by James D. Carhart for $123.50. With the added interest and court costs he was ordered to pay $158.50. William did not live to witness the final loss of his fortunes following the Confederate surrender by General Lee, a slave owner, to General Grant, a slave owner until the start of the war. He died on July 19, 1865 and is buried in the Benevolence Church Cemetery. (See Baptist Church and Grave Marker.) His broken grave marker reads "OUR FATHER; Wm. B. Mitchiner; Born Oct. 27, 1792. Died July 19, 1865. Aged 73 Years 3 mo's & 8 days. Dearest Father thou hast left us; Here thy loss we deeply feel; But tis God that has bereft us; He can all our sorrows heal." If these dates are correct, William was really 72 years and 9 months of age when he died. William signed his last Will and Testament on May 25, 1865.
(8) Life After the Civil War
Sarah was 53 when her husband died and 55 when an inventory of the estate was completed on December 6, 1866. The death of her husband came less than a year after her father, Thomas E. Coram, died in December 1864. William's eldest son, John H. Mitchiner, and his son-in-law, David Rumph, were named in his will as the executors but they either failed or refused to qualify. William W. McNeil was appointed the administrator and filed the inventory. Security in the sum of $5000 was posted by John M. Redding and Samuel A. McNeil. William's property after his death was appraised at $1366.97. Considering the lands and slaves he acquired as a young man through inheritance, marriage, and grants he didn't do much to increase his fortunes, but he did not squander his resources either.
No records have been found of William either buying or selling slaves. In his will William referred to his slaves as "my negroes." They may have enjoyed as much family stability as the members of his own family until his death. The names and ages of the males recorded in his will in 1865 are as follows: Mannuel (age 43), John (19), Green (age 16), Raymond (age 15), Willie (age 3), Bobby, Bob, Washington, Aaron, and David. The names and ages of the females are as follows: Ritter (age 66), Sallie (age 45), Mary (age 50), Silva (age 40), Eliza (age 37), Harriet (age 19), Caledonia (age 11), Melissa (age 9), Lutisher, Elizabeth, Mary, Emma, Ella, Ducky. Lucy was named with her three children: Evan, Bailow a boy, and Anola. The slaves identified by age were to be divided among the children of his first marriage. In Article 4 William bequeathed his daughter, Amanda Crapps, "My Negro woman Harriet..." to be her property. Since his son James is not mentioned with his children by his first marriage, it is presumed he had died. The rest of his slaves were identified by complexion and were to pass to his wife, Sarah. By the 1870 Randolph Co., Georgia Census some of his former slaves adopted variations to the spelling of the "Mitchiner" surname. On January 9, 1875 on page 198 of Deed Book O a former slave, Emanuel (Mannuel) Mitchiner, purchased lot 233 in the 9th District of Randolph Co. from Martha O Zuber.
The land William bequeathed to his wife in Article 2 of his will he described as the 202.5 acres where he was residing as well as the land known as lot 143. Lot 143 also contained 202.5 acres. The total of 405 acres he bequeathed his wife was probably all of his land under cultivation. In Article 3 he bequeathed to his wife all his farm utensils and household and kitchen furniture. In Article 8 he also mentioned two of his sons from his second marriage, Robert and David. They were to receive his two shot guns. His eldest son by his second marriage, William, was probably not alive since he would have been named with his brothers Robert and David.
William made arrangements for his debts to be paid in his will. To pay for his debts he directed that land described as 160 acres known as the Turner Place, 500 acres in Screven Co., 94 acres in Irwin Co., and his interest in the Gnabsret (sp?) estate be sold. Through her attorney, Sarah petitioned the court that she receive dowers rights for lots 143, 203 and 252 in the May term of 1867. She claimed her husband died intestate. Because he had made a will this means simply that his will was probably revoked or annulled. She notified William W. McNeil, the administrator of her husband's estate, of her petition. In her petition she described lot 203, which was the land known as the Turner Place, as containing 150 acres. As described in William's will and in the inventory of his estate the Turner Place contained 160 acres and not 150 acres. Lot 252 in the inventory is called house place containing 202.5 acres. The total amount of land she petitioned for was 555 acres. These three pieces of land totaled $740 in the inventory of William's estate.
Women at that time had limited property rights. Dowers rights would give Sarah the use of a portion of her husband's real property for her lifetime. All of William's children should have shared equally in a child's share. At her death her portion would pass to the children. This would not protect her from losing the land if she failed to pay the taxes that were due. David Rumph, her husband's son-in-law by his eldest daughter Mary W., was forced to sell his possessions to carpetbaggers for ten cents on the dollar or lose everything to pay his debts. At that rate the entire estate of William B. Mitchiner would have had a value of only $136.70. The problems Sarah encountered with the settlement of the estate is probably behind her refusing to pay her account due January 1, 1867 to Jacob Meier for $158.43 for purchases she made from May 12, 1866 through December 11, 1866. The items she placed on her account included cloth, thread, ribbons, buttons, hose, and shoes.
Sarah was left with at least three daughters and two minor sons to care for. She was probably as well equipped as any widow of her time to deal with the harsh realities. As the wife of a small plantation owner she and her daughters would have shared in doing the domestic work. Her sons and her husband would have shared in doing the field work. William's oldest living sons, John and Thomas, supported themselves and their families by working as small family farmers both before and after the war. They were typical of three-fourths of white Southerners before the War for Southern Succession that did not own slaves and were small farmers. William had acquired books and he probably passed on to his children an appreciation of learning.
In the late 1860's and early 1870's some of the descendants of William B. Mitchiner moved their families out of Georgia to escape the devastation. After her husband sold their property to carpetbaggers, Mary W. Rumph moved with her family to Texas, as did her brother Thomas W. Mitchiner in Alabama with his family around 1869. Seven years after the war John H. Mitchiner moved to Louisiana where he bought a farm. Robert Hayes Mitchiner and his wife left Georgia about eight years after the war when his mother, Sarah, was 62. He eventually joined his half brother Thomas W. in Hunt Co., Texas. David Rumph Mitchiner was the only son of William to remain in Georgia. In the 1880 Randolph Co., Georgia Census Sarah "Michner" is the head of a household consisting of her three single daughters, Martha (age 40), Francis (age 28) and Georgia (age 33). Her occupation is listed as "farmer". Listed next to her is her son David (age 27) and his wife, Mollie (age 26), and their son D.A (age 3). A boy, Q Richardson (age 7) was also living with David and his family. Later Sarah lived with her son David until her death. As noted more than once in the family Bible, Sarah died May 15, 1892.
The children of William, having suffered the loss of lands and possessions, made the pursuit of higher education and professional training for their children a priority. In Texas his descendants seem to have maintained their family relations and sense of common Mitchiner identity down to the generation of his grandchildren.
Most descendants of William would identify themselves as Southerners by their attitudes and outlooks regardless of what region they now live in. Not everyone in the South or from the South is a Southerner. Not all Southerners live in the South. Southerners can be of any racial or ethnic background. It's the gentile way of life with little pretense. It is decency, hospitality and tolerance, but taking a stand for what is right. Being Southern is to eat fried food especially fish and chicken, real barbecue, greens, and peanuts either boiled or roasted. It is to know what sorghum is and to serve cold sweetened tea. It is to value family and to have faith. The biggest problems Southerners face are tolerating the intolerance and misperceptions of some non-Southerners.
Copyright February 1999 by Thomas W. Mitchiner, Greenville, NC. These documents may be freely used for private purposes, and included in your own genealogy. However, this document is copyrighted as stated above and may not be sold, nor given to anyone, who may attempt to derive profit from same. Any verifiable information to substantiate changes or additions is welcomed by the author.
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