Monday, April 1, 2013

Peeking Through The Window of Time Mappy Monday: Jesse & Frances Mitchell, 1940 Census Leflore, Mississippi

Paternal Birth Ancestry

Almost seventy-three (73) years ago, my paternal (birth) grandparents resided in Rural, Leflore, Mississippi. I searched and searched for my grandfather Jesse E. Mitchell in 1989, and had no luck.  I didn't know he had passed a few years before (d.1984), and I had no idea that my grandmother Frances Mae (d. 1981) had died a few years before him.  The only information I had was their names and that they had resided in the Wilmington, Los Angeles area of California.  My search was unsuccessful during this time finding any living paternal relatives, and that included my father Johnny Roy Mitchell (d.1972) and his wife Rosemary Teresa Lara (d.1983). These four individuals were the compasses to my Mitchell family.

1940 US Census,

I know very little about my grandparents Jesse and Frances Mae.  I couldn't wait to find them in the U.S. 1940 Census.  As I stated earlier, they lived in Mississippi in the 1940's.

Jesse Mitchell Sr. Household in 1940

Jesse & Frances Mae were blessed with ten children, however by 1940 only two had been born.
Jesse Jr.(3 yrs) and Dorothy Lee (2 yrs).  Jesse Sr. was 25 years old at the time and was born in Arkansas; His wife Frances Mae was 20 years old and was born in Mississippi.  Both of my grandparents attended school in their youth.  Grandpa Jesse had a 4th grade education and Grandma Frances had a 6th grade education.  Seeing that they both had gone to school, lets me know that education was very important to them.  It was not unusual for people during this time to  have less than an 8th grade education.  A life of survival and supporting the family required one to go to work and education at times would be secondary.

Jesse Sr. was a farmer and depended on the monies that he made to support his family, while my grandmother helped her husband Jesse by doing labor on the farm.  I am unsure if this means they were sharecroppers, but that is very possible.

I have never been to Leflore, MS.  However, I know in the near future I would love to visit and do some research in Greenwood, MS, and other areas of MS., where my ancestors lived

Here are some maps of Leflore, MS.

This one gives a geographical idea as to where Leflore is located in the state of Mississippi.

Wikipedia Map
I thought this map below was interesting as it was of the landscape of LeFlore in 1895.

Leflore County, MS 1895

Here is a map of Greenwood, Ms.  According to Wikipedia, Greenwood is a city in the county seat of Leflore County, Mississippi, located at the eastern edge of the Mississippi Delta approximately 96 miles north of Jackson, Mississippi, and 130 miles south of Memphis, Tennessee.  

Map of Leflore, MS
Near Greenwood
There is so much African American History in Greenwood, Mississippi.  In my recollections, Greenwood was not a friendly place to be in the 1940's, as it was in many areas of the Jim Crow South.  I believe my Mitchell family migrated to Los Angeles for better opportunities and to get away from the rural south and its discrimination and to give my Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Jesse Jr. a chance for a better education than they had received.  It was time to get off the farm and go to the City!