Discover Your Past

Condon, Kleckner, Gilles, Ethen, Milton, Meyer, Mitchell, and Liston Family History

Home Data Page Obituaries Map Central Historical Documents Pics of New Haven, Iowa Acknowledgements

Mitchell stories

This document was obtained from Margaret Wright Schaub in July, 1999, and came from her mother, Margaret Juliet Mitchell Wright.  Agnes Mitchell, or "Granny Mitchell", nee Agnes Stewart Liston, was the mother of Margaret Wright.  See a more complete story of Granny Mitchell's life in the Liston family section.

          from 'Aunt Jule'

"Auld Granny Stewart" was Agnes Mitchell's grandmother. When Christina Stewart Liston died, Agnes lived with her grandmother until her father Alex Liston, remarried. Auld Granny Stewart's husband died, leaving a large family of seven sons and daughters.  She came to America about 1860 with their mother. They tried to take the small Agnes with them but the child's father had her taken back home by the police.   (She had tried to hide under Granny's skirt but they found her and took her home to "Faither & Steppy".  This family of Stewarts settled in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

My folks worked at farming most of the time. The last nine years they were in Scotland they worked for Alex Patterson on Kilbowie Farm, Clydebank (then 7 miles from Glasgow, now a suburb). They were members of the United Presbyterian Church.  All of the children were baptized in infancy at Clydebank except John and Christina, who were baptized in Edinburough Presbyterian Church.

On February 20, 1892 the family sailed from Glasgow on a Cunard steamship. They arrived in New York on March 2, 1892. We went on the immigrant train going through Toronto, Canada, then to Osage, Iowa. When we arrived at the depot Aunt Lizzie was in Cedar Rapids visiting relatives of Granny Stewart, a widow with six children who came to this country about 1870 and settled in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. One of the sons was mother's Uncle Will and Mary Adams, his sister, who visited us while we lived in Washington. She brought the silver fruit basket and gave it to mother. (Lucille now has the basket). Cousin Will Robertson, Lizzie's son, met us at the depot with a wagon and drove to Jim Eckford's, whose wife was Aunt Nan, a cousin of grandfather Liston. We ate our supper there and the brown glass toothpick holder was on the table.  It was the first time we had seen toothpicks.  She gave us three cane seated chairs (Margaret has them) and the stand the Family Bible has always been on (Dorothy has them).  They had one daughter, Mary, who married Dorse Delaney. Their family lived in Osage.  Aunt Lizzie Robertson, Granny's sister, married Alan Robertson, Aunt Nan Eckford;s brother.

We stayed with him and Aunt Lizzie until April, when Grandpa went to work for Lyman McKinley at Newburg farm.  He was paid $25.00 a month and a house near the river, a cow pasture and a large garden. We walked every Sunday to church at St. Ansgar, which was a mile. We met the Hume family, old, wonderful, nice Scots who had been here many years.  They were great friends and advisors.  Agnes stayed with Aunt Lizzie until fall (1892).  She wanted to adopt her, but the folks didn't allow this.  (Aunt Lizzie was Granny Mitchell's next older sister.)

Mother's Aunt Addie Stewart, visiting her brother's family (Mother's Granny Stewart, a widow that Granny Mitchell lived with in Scotland when her mother died) at Cedar Rapids, Iowa came to see us and bought a farm 1 mile south and 1/2 mile west of Carpenter, Iowa.  In the fall of 1892 we moved to a farm 1 mile south of Carpenter.  We stayed there three years and then moved to near Mitchell to James Eckford farm, then next year to the farm 3 miles west and 1 mile south of Little Cedar.  The folks bought it for $30.00 an acre and in four years sold it to Henry Milton.  They bought a farm at Riceville, found quack on it so they sold it for $2.50 an acre more than they paid for it.  Then they bought the farm 6 miles east of Northwood, Iowa.  They paid $35.00 an acre for it.  The first year, 1901, there was a drouth and they were only able to pay taxes and interest.  No payment.

During World War 1, son Alex served in the Armed Forces in France. With no help on the farm, the folks sold it and moved into Northwood. Granny spent some time writing poetry and taking an active part in church work. They transferred their membership from Presbyterian to Methodist.

NOTE:  Also see another account of life in Scotland and the emigration to this country by the sister of Margaret Wright, my great-grandmother Agnes Sim Mitchell Milton here.

This next document is supplemental material, some of it likely also obtained from her mother Margaret Mtchell Wright.

Supplemental material

From Margaret Gladys Wright Schaub

Grandpa helped on our farm for several summers.  When he called: "Get the yet!" he meant 'close the gate'.  I didn't understand and so the pigs pushed merrily through; he demanded in a very loud voice, 'why dinna ye close the yet?'  I, at sixteen just stared at him and asked 'WHAT?')  Grannie explained, laughing at us both.

(Father) Alexander Mitchell had an uncle David Mitchell, who was knighted by Queen Victoria for outstanding services to Edward, Prince of Wales, who abdicated.

Alexander Liston Sr. had a 'dye works' on Loch Lomond.  He made dyes from the walnut trees that grew there.  He also invented a method of separating parafin (Kerosene) from coal.  He was asked to go to Wales in 1867 or68 to help with a scientific problem.  After completing this he was greatly honored and presented a Silver Tea Service with the story of his work engraved on the tray.  He returned to Scotland.  The Tea Service was lost in a bombing raid when the house was bombed during World War I.  He retired to Balfron Scotland and died there in 1884.


First son after the father's father
Second son after the mother's father
Third son after the father

First girl was named after the Mother's mother
Second girl was named after the Father's mother
Third girl was named after the mother

If two names happened to be the same that of an uncle or aunt could be used.

Some notes about Alexander Mitchell, Sr. and his brothers, from Margaret Mitchell Wright, via Margaret Wright Schaub.

Alex Mitchell family

ALEXANDER MITCHELL--April 22, 1853-August 11, 1934
                                    He was born at Milngavie, near Glasgow, Scotland.  His family moved to Glasgow.  His father married Agnes Simm in 1841.  Died from Yellow Jaundice.

    JOHN,  a writer interested in theater work.  He was given a celebration at opening of a play he wrote and was presented with a gold-headed cane and his wife with a diamond bracelet.  They lived in or near London.

    ARCHIE, had a woolen goods store in Glasgow.  He had one son and one daughter.

    JAMES- nothing known about him.

    ALEXANDER- Farmer.  Came to the United States in 1892.  Had three sons and four daughters [this was Margaret Mitchell Wright's father.]

    ALFRED- Pharmacist in Glasgow.  He had one son-Alfred- and one daughter who had one daughter.  Alfred's son Alfred, came here about 1916, then went to Minnesota, bought a farm, married Mable and had three children.  He died about 1940.  His wife lived in Milwaukee after his death.

This document is a handwritten page describing the brothers of John Mitchell (~1825-1879). I believe it was written by Alexander's daughter, Margaret Mitchell Wright.  Much of the content of the document, above, was originally written here.

Margaret Wright

Father had Brothers Archie oldest Bro he lived in Bears den sub of Glasgow wife Mary had a son near same age as bro John.  Visited us quite often, sister Sus an Uncle ran a woolen goods store.  Mother & father took us there to get underware & blankets to bring here.

Uncle John went London & cities Interior in theater and writing  must have had some success about 1900.  Aunt Mary Mitchell sent a newspaper clipping of a successful play & its opening I think he was given a great ovation & praise & presented with a gold headed cane & his wife a diamond bracelet.  all I know of them.

bro alfred was a pharmacist in glasgow  his son Alfred came to Northwood & Little Cedar  Then he moved to a farm he bought at Motley.  Married & had 3 sons  then moved to Milwaukee  died   his wife Mable corresponded with Mary [unknown].  died

This document is a handwritten description of New Year's Eve in Scotland, by Agnes 'Granny' Mitchell.

New Year's Eve in

New Year's Eve in Scotland

All the family has to be home by midnight & the doors closed.  The white cake, dark cake & shortbread (cookies) laid out in the Silver Cake Basket and the wine made ready.  At midnight father opens the door wide, gives 12 strokes on a heavy gong, then closes it again to await the 1st Footer, or guest of the New Year.

He must be a stranger (not one of the family) and a dark complexioned man is supposed to bring better luck than a Blond.

While waiting for the visitor, the family takes turn, according to age, of pointing to a Bible verse, with eyes closed, and then reading it aloud.  The father of the family, wishes each one a Happy New Year and slips a gold half sovereign (50 cts about) into each ones hand.

Then the visitors start coming, and all enjoy the lunch and wine & go from one home to the other, and sometimes staying for Breakfast.

This is a memorial card for Agnes Sim.  She was the wife of John Mitchell (~1825-1879), the mother of the men described above, and the grandmother of Margaret Mitchell Wright.

Agnes Sim

I've put the collected poems of Granny Mitchell on a separate page.

© 1999-2013 Steven M. Condon. All Rights Reserved