The Mitchell’s of Sugar Creek

This blog post is about Margaret Mary MITCHELL WINTON, sister/sister-in-law to my paternal 5th great grandparents, John MITCHELL and Winnie SULLINS MITCHELL.  For reference, the line of ascent goes from my dad’s dad to his dad (Mark DRAKE) to Mark’s dad (Ervin DRAKE, also known as Poppy) to Ervin’s mom (Hester MITCHELL DRAKE) to Hester’s dad (Mordica MITCHELL) to Mordica’s dad and also my 5th great grandfather John and John’s sister Margaret Mary MITCHELL.  I’ve talked about the MITCHELL and SULLINS families in the following blog posts:

Oh Children Let Us Think On Eternity! (This post talks about Winnie SULLINS MITCHELL’S brother and John MITCHELL’S sister who were married-  Nathan SULLINS and Rebecca MITCHELL SULLINS.  In this post we begin to get a view of just how spiritual the MITCHELL family was.  We’ll be looking into that a little more today.)

Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword, Part 4- The Finale (In this blog post I mention that John MITCHELL is Scottish.)

A Little Drive Up to Sugar Creek

As I mentioned yesterday, my dad needed to get out of the house yesterday so I planned a little road trip that included family history.  Up to this point in the trip, we’d only been to a location connected to my mom’s family.  Now, it was time to continue on our journey.  We traveled about 15 or 20 miles away to a location bordering the Pea Ridge National Military Park.  What brought me to this place was an incredible cache of stories about the MITCHELL family that I found on Ancestry.  The stories were contributed by Katherine Joyce Matlock.  (By the way, you should really check out Katherine’s blog, Matlock Wigley Genealogy Online.)  Through the stories Katherine contributed, I learned that Mitchell’s Camp Ground in Polk County, Missouri (our MITCHELL family members were early and influential settlers in that area) was named after our family.  The MITCHELL family was a deeply devout Methodist family with several of the men becoming preachers.  One of my favorite stories, and the one that inspired me to go to Sugar Creek, was about John and Margaret Mary’s mother, Elizabeth HOOSANG MITCHELL.  I will quote it:

“Elizabeth Mitchell, consort of Morris Mitchell, died at age of 93, buried at Mitchell’s Camp Ground, September 4, 1858. There were 700 relatives at the funeral. Her body was carried by grandchildren and great grandchildren from the home to the churcb. As they crossed the creek, they began singing, ‘We are traveling to the grave, to lay this body down, etc.”. [The Arkansas Family Historian, Vol. 16, No. 1, Jan/Feb/Mar 1978.]

It is said that at the time of her death, Elizabeth HOOSANG MITCHELL had 720 living descendants.  Elizabeth and husband, Morris, lived long enough to see 18 of their descendants become preachers.  Adding to the story above, The Arkansas Family Historian article states:

“Our maternal grandmother, Rebecca Mitchell Anderson, told us of having attended this funeral in 1858 were hundreds of her relatives formed the funeral march here at this Mitchell Camp Ground. Can’t we see and hear the 700 and more relatives marching with the coffin of this Matriarch as they sung, ”We Are Going to the Grave to Lay This Body Down”? 

So after reading this article, you can imagine I had high hopes for this song.  I was up until almost midnight last night searching for this song.  The closest thing I found last night exceeded all my hopes and expectations.  Hear it below:

Long Time Traveller by The Wailin’ Jennys

I did a little more research today and learned that, sadly, this isn’t the song.  I have yet to find an audio recording or tune to go with the actual song but here is what I did find (starting at the bottom of the page at song 295 and continuing through the top of the next page):

mitchell camp meeting funeral song p1

mitchell camp meeting funeral song p2

The two preceding images were found at

The rest is up to your imagination!

So this was what drew me to the Sugar Creek/Pea Ridge, Arkansas area.  I have not found any information that would lead me to a homesite so we just drove around the area and looked.  It’s a beautiful area and I hope to get back there soon to tour the battlefield.


Margaret was the Mitchell family member living in the Sugar Creek area.  She moved there sometime between 1860 and 1869.  Her husband, William WINTON, died at Pea Ridge, Arkansas in 1869.  All of their 10 children were born prior to their move to the Sugar Creek area so at this point, there is no way for me to know whether they were there during the Civil War or moved there after.

There is one Civil War era story that I wanted to share with you that relates to William and Mary MITCHELL WINTON.  This is how it was related in The Arkansas Family Historian article:

“A decade after the death of Elizabeth Mitchell found mambers of their family embroiled in the bitternesses of the Civil War. As one writer said, “some of the sons went North and some South”. At least three of the family men were killed in Mississippi on the side of the Confederacy.

The most vivid Civil War incident involving the Mitchells was that of Reverend Anthony Bewley, son-in-law of William and Mary Mitchell Winton, and husband of their daughter, Jane. The Reverend Bewley took an abolishionist stand in an inflammed pro-slavery area of Texas. He was charged with inciting slaves to riot. Pursued from Texas to Missouri by bounty hunters, he was taken from his wife and returned to Ft. Worth where a lynch mob broke into the jail and hanged him. The evidence of his guilt was a letter he was alleged to have written. It was later proved to have been forged.”

Margaret died in 1881 and is buried in the Sugar Creek/Pea Ridge area.  She outlived William by over a decade and she never remarried.  Her daughter Jane did remarry about 3 years after the death of her husband, Anthony BEWLEY.

Finishing Thoughts

It was a nice relaxing drive in Northwest Arkansas on Friday.  It’s always so interesting to see the places where past generations lived out their daily lives.

I hope you have a great week next week.  Take some time for a relaxing drive for yourself.  You deserve it!  I’ll leave you with a couple of photographs I took in the Pea Ridge/Sugar Creek area.

Pea Ridge Battlefield Pea Ridge AR

Three cannons on the Pea Ridge battlefield.

Pea Ridge National Military Park Pea Ridge AR

Signage on the back side of Pea Ridge National Military Park.

Pea Ridge National Military Park 1

Signage on the back side of Pea Ridge National Military Park.

Twelve Corners Road Old Sugar Creek Township

A storm was blowing in by the time we got to Twelve Corners Road but the sky was beautiful.

Wishing you much more justice than Anthony Bewley received,

Until next time,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog

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  1. Pingback: Revisiting Sugar Creek: Stormy Nights, Buried Treasure, a Bushwhacker Murder, and a Family Mystery | Days of Our Lives

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