Doris Mitchell

Conversation with Doris Mitchell Budd (DOB 6/29/1921) on March 5, 2017.


Mother remembers moving to the house when she was about six years old, which would have been in 1927.

The circumstances of how the house came into the family are as follows:

Uncle Dave Taylor (David J. Taylor 1834-1912) was married to Mary Lou Cooper (1834-1914) but they had no children. In the codicil to his will dated 28 Oct 1910 Dave Taylor left his estate to his wife but upon her death a portion of his land was willed to Ira Brown Mitchell, his nephew. (David Taylor's sister, Mary Elizabeth Taylor Mitchell, was Ira Brown  Mitchell's mother).


In Ira Brown Mitchell's will dated 6 Dec 1919 he left his land located in Macon and Russell Counties equally divided to his three children, Mary Elizabeth Ingram, Elvie Pearl Ellison and W.B. Mitchell. He left his land in Lee County to his wife, Virginia C.  (Key) Mitchell, and upon her death to be equally divided between his three children. Ira Brown Mitchell died in 1927. His wife continued to live in the house but could  not manage the farm by herself. It was at this point that William Brown Mitchell moved to the house with his family to help her manage the farm. Upon her death he inherited the land and house.


William Brown Mitchell and his wife, Frances Marnie Ingram, moved to the house with their three children, Virginia, Doris, and Charles. Mamie Laura and Joyce had not yet been born. They shared the house with Granny Key (Virginia Key Mitchell) and Grandma (?).  (I'll try to find out who Grandma was).


Mother (Doris) remembers that she and Virginia shared a bedroom with their parents. The two grandmothers shared another bedroom. She isn't clear on where Charles slept. The front room was used as the parlor. She believes the other bedroom was used as a guest room as they often had overnight visitors.


The footprint of the house was the same as it is now. She can't remember any structural changes being made to the house after they moved in other than they did lower the ceilings.


There was no electricity in the house when they moved in. They primarily used kerosene lanterns but also had a few carbide lamps.  It was Mother's job to clean the lamps weekly and refill them with kerosene. There was a carbide tank out in the yard. If you went out the kitchen steps, it was located in a shed to the left. Mother doesn't remember when electricity was installed in the house. She left at age 17, after graduating high school, and moved to Montgomery to attend secretarial school. She isn't sure if they even had electricity at the time she moved out.


One thing the house did have was running water, which was certainly not the norm at that time. It was only cold water, not heated. They had water in the bathroom and the kitchen. There were two water wells on the property. One was located right outside the kitchen. It had a hand pump but it also had another pump that pumped water to a water tower which is what provided water to the house. In the summer the family would take baths in the bathroom tub but during the winter they bathed in the kitchen in front of the fireplace, using a large galvanized tub filled with heated water.

There were a number of buildings on the property. There were two barns - a horse barn and a cattle barn. One of the barns was located directly across the street. There was also a smokehouse and a chicken house. There was a second water well located behind and to the right of the house. There was also some type of structure where they slaughtered and cleaned hogs.


Before moving to the farm, the family lived in Opelika. W.B. Mitchell had a candy store. He made all the candy in the kitchen and sold to the public from a counter in the front of the store. He also had a delivery truck that drove through town  and sold candy from the truck. The family lived in the back of the store. It was at this location that one of the boilers exploded in the candy kitchen and  Doris and Charles were burned.


When the family moved to the farm, W.B. Mitchell built a building across the street from the house for his candy store. He also sold gasoline at the store. He continued for some period of time to run the candy store and also take care of the farm chores. At some point it became too much to do both so he closed the candy store and focused on the farm.


The front yard of the house was surrounded by a  picket fence.


There was a large vegetable garden in back of the house. It was just down the stairs from the back porch and to the right. It was enclosed by a fence.


Mother doesn't remember any special events like weddings taking place during the time she lived there. They did have a lot of company, though. Daddy was always bringing people home for lunch after church. Her mother never knew how many people to expect. Mother remembers picnics with homemade ice cream and family social gatherings.


- Valerie Ganann