When we last left Harvey Mitchell (January 31, 2012 post), he was being blamed by Estelle Villagrand Johnston for ruining the Roanoke Female Seminary in Botetourt Springs, Virginia, in 1839 because of a $1,000 debt. Now let's turn to a very different perspective.
". . . Mary Louise Michel (pronounced Mitchell) . . . was the daughter of Harvey Michel, of Bedford County, Virginia, and Jane Johnston Michel . . . . Mr. Michel was a charming man, an artist of some reputation, who received his education at Harvard and was noted among a very large circle of friends for his advanced views and delightful wit. Their home was a gay one and drew to its hospitable doors the pleasantest and most interesting of the people in the little city of Washington . . ." (John B. Larner, "Some Reminiscences of Mrs. John M. Binckley of Early Days in Washington," Records of the Columbia History Society, Washington, D.C., Vol. 29/30, 1928, page 343).
According to several online library catalogs, Harvey Mitchell was born ca. 1801 and died ca. 1863. Let's try to breath even more life back into him, shall we?
On July 22, 1828, he married Elizabeth Griffin in Lynchburg, Virginia, presided over by the Rev. Mr. William S. Reid. (Source: Richmond, Virginia Visitor and Telegraph, August 2, 1828; from the marriage and obituary citations compiled by Bernard J. Henley from Virginia newspapers on microfilm at the Library of Virginia).
On May 15, 1829, Elizabeth Griffin Mitchell died in Charleston, Massachusetts, "they [Elizabeth and Harvey Mitchell] having left Lynchburg about 12 months ago." (Source: Lynchburg Virginian, June 4, 1829; from the marriage and obituary citations compiled by Bernard J. Henley from Virginia newspapers on microfilm at the Library of Virginia).
“Married – in Washington County [Virginia], by Rev. D.R. Preston, Harvey Mitchell, formerly of Lynchburg, to Miss Mary Jane Wood Johnston, only daughter of the late Judge Peter Johnston.” (Source: Lynchburg Virginian, October 4, 1832; from the marriage and obituary citations compiled by Bernard J. Henley from Virginia newspapers on microfilm at the Library of Virginia). My Johnston family notes indicate that the actual wedding date was September 24, 1832, and that Jane Mary Wood Johnston was born on November 26, 1811, making her just under twenty-one years old at the time of the wedding.
It appears that Harvey Mitchell had taken up painting (mostly portraits) as early as the 1820s, and also worked as a teacher, certainly at the Bedford Female Seminary in Bedford County, Virginia, by 1837, and then at the Roanoke Female Seminary, Botetourt Springs, in 1839. Sometime between 1850 and 1860, Harvey and Jane Mitchell moved from Virginia to Washington, D.C., with three kids in tow: Mary Louisa (sometimes Louise), born in or around 1836; William M., born circa 1840; and Susan Henry Mitchell, born circa 1846. In Washington, Harvey and Jane would probably have worked as tutors and teachers, I suspect. In any case, more to come . . .
Special thanks to: Anne Benham at the University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville (Reference); Lorenza Amico, Reference/Reserve Manager, Fiske Kimball Fine Arts Library (UVA); Joey Klein and Dyron Knick, Virginia Room, Roanoke Public Library.
Pictures: Library of Congress. Top: Washington, D.C., circa 1849. Fashion plate: Shankland's American fashions,1849. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.