Samuel Mitchell was a Tampa merchant who settled in the area near Rye. His wife Jane and their children are listed in the 1880 census, indicating they arrived about that time. Mitchell purchased land and built the first large store on the north bank of the river with a dock to receive supplies. He had visions of a town growing in the area and platted a subdivision with ninety lots and five streets running north and south. The subdivision was then named Mitchellville and at its peak twenty-five families lived there.
Mitchell became prosperous due to the cattle trade and profits from his store. In 1884, despite declining health, he decided to make a trip to Georgia to buy stock for his store. Before departing, Mitchell buried a hoard of gold coins and planted a tree over the site to conceal the spot. While on the trip, he became ill and passed away, never returning to claim his cache. Upon searching for his gold, his relatives discovered someone had already found and stolen it.
The Mitchell’s eldest son, Edward, was executor of the estate, documents from which can be viewed at the Manatee County Historical Records Library. When Thomas Francis, another Mitchell son, died in 1895, Edward was his executor as well. Thomas’ estate was valued at $509.75 ($15,654.85 in 2020 dollars) and consisted of one horse, five hogs, eight cattle, a buggy, plow and other farming implements, 120 acres of land and loans that he held valued at $178.00 ($5,466.93 in 2020). In the 1895 census, Jane is listed with her son Edward who had a family of his own.
Left to Right :
Thomas Mitchell - Grave #1
Samuel Mitchell - Grave #2
All images taken by MVHP staff in 2022 unless otherwise noted.