On this date ~ July 4, 1884 ~ my great-grandfather ~ James Finlay Mitchell ~ arrived in beautiful Rockledge, Florida. He absolutely fell in love with the area and decided he wanted to live here for the rest of his life. Well ~ 124 years and four generations later ~ we're still right here. My two daughters are the fifth generation of our family to live here on the Indian River.
It was more than a coincidence that while going through old letters and pictures this afternoon ~ I found his obituary where it stated the actual date of his arrival and that means today is the 124th Anniversary. I couldn't believe that it was actually today (July 4th) in 1884 that he arrived here. Isn't that really bizarre? I always thought that he must have fallen in love with this area in the middle of a really mild Florida Winter. I was surprised to learn that it was in the heat of the Summer ~ July. I wonder what the temperature was on that 4th of July in 1884 ~ it was must have been a gorgeous day just like today.
He was born in Scotland and had traveled all over the World before arriving in Central Florida. There are quite a few Articles that he wrote for a Magazine published in Scotland that give colorful details of those early days "roughing" it in Florida. I'll share a few quotes from his writings in a future Blog posting.
This is the picture of the Hotel on the Indian River where he lived when he first moved here in 1884. One evening ~ he was returning to the Hotel via Boat and watched as the Hotel went up in flames. All of his belongings were inside and he watched helplessly from the middle of the Indian River as the Hotel burned to the ground.
This is a picture of James Finlay Mitchell and Lena Norwood Mitchell's four daughters ~ my grandmother "Mary" is standing in the back ~ second from the right. This formal portrait was taken about 1904.