Person:Mary Mitchell (132)

Mary Mitchell
b.abt. 1724 Prob. Ireland
d.abt. 1792
m. 1707
  1. John Mitchell, of Beverley Manor1709 - Bef 1771
  2. Martha Mitchellabt 1711 -
  3. Jane Mitchellabt 1715 - AFT 1772
  4. Janet "Jenet" Mitchellabt 1720 - 1791
  5. Mary Mitchellabt 1724 - abt 1792
m. abt. 1740/41
  1. Capt. James Tate1742 - 1781
  2. Lt. Thomas Tate1744 - 1833
  3. Eleanor Tate1747 - 1801
  4. John Tate, Esq., Virginia Legislatorabt 1749 - 1802
  5. Gen. William Tate1753 - 1830
  6. Robert Tate, of Middlebrook, Augusta County, VA1755 - 1832
Facts and Events
Name Mary Mitchell
Gender Female
Birth? abt. 1724 Prob. Ireland
Marriage abt. 1740/41 to John Tate, Sr.
Death? abt. 1792


Identity of John Tate's wife Mary

There is disagreement over the identity of the wife of John Tate. Some researchers believe that she was Mary Doak, daughter of Samuel Doak and others believe that she was Mary Mitchell, daughter of Thomas Mitchell.

The records in support of either argument are presented below:

Records in Lancaster County, PA

Records prove that Thomas Mitchell was in Donegal Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania as early as 1720. He is listed as one of the early settlers in the Donegal region, listed as being granted a license to trade with the Indians in 1727, and left his will in Donegal Township in 1734.

Source: site of Kathy Sexton (copyright notice):

It should be noted that several of the early Augusta County families are listed in the early Donegal Township records.

Records in Augusta County, VA

1. We know that John Tate (Mary's husband) and Francis Beatty were brothers-in-law, based upon the following record in Augusta County:

  • Page 437.--10th October, 1769. Francis Beaty, of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, Gent., to his brother-in-law, John Tate, power of attorney to sell all lands belonging to Francis, including land bought of John Keer, on Flat Spring Branch, joining the other land where I last lived; also 200 acres joining Charles Berry. Teste: Robert Gay, John and James Beaty.

Analysis: Francis Beatty married Thomas Mitchell's eldest daughter, Martha Mitchell. The only way for John Tate to have been a brother-in-law of Francis would have been 1), for either John Tate to have married a sister of Francis, 2), for Francis to have married a sister of John Tate, or for both of them to have married sisters. Since no records exist to support either 1 or 2 above, it is logical to conclude that they most likely married sisters. This is perhaps the most compelling evidence in the debate over Mary's probable parentage.

2. We know that Thomas Mitchell named a daughter Mary in his will, written in 1734 (note: John Tate and Mary were not married until about 1739):

In the will of Thomas Mitchell (written 4 May 1734; probated 14 Nov. 1734, Lancaster Co, PA, Will Book A, vol 1, pg 17), Thomas mentions his wife, Elloner, son John, and daughters Martha (eldest), Mary, Jean and Jenat.

3. There is no apparent will of Samuel Doak in Augusta County records to indicate that Mary was his daughter. In addition there are no records of any of Samuel's other children listing her as a probable sister.

4. We know that there are several records linking the Mitchell, Beatty, Tate and Doak families, indicating close relationships between them:

  • Page 275.--15th September, 1750. John Greer's nuncupative will--Debts to be paid to William Long, William Nul, John Kennedy, Nathaniel Patterson; son Alexander to be bound to a trade; one child to be bound to John Mitchell; one child to be bound to S D (prob. Samuel Doak); oldest girl to go to some descent woman to learn housewifery. Executors, John Mitchell and Samuel Doak. Teste: James Cowin, Jno. Mitchell, Saml. Doak, Francis Beatey. Proved, 28th November, 1750, by Cowin and Beatey. (Note: John Greer married Thomas Mitchell's youngest daughter, Jennet).
  • Page 446.--21st September, 1750. John Greer's vendue. Sold to John Lockhart. John Roseman, Sarah Lynn, John Teat, John Mitchell, Christopher Kelly, George Breckinridge, Thos. Scott, James Lynn, Thos. Teat, Francis Beaty, John Mitchell.
  • Page 447.--24th August, 1752. John Mitchell and Samuel Doage's (s/b Samuel Doak's) bond as guardians (appointed) of Rebecca, Alexander, Martha, Mary Greer, orphans of John Greer, deceased, with sureties Francis Beatey.
  • Vol. 1 - NOVEMBER 22, 1754. - (331) Saml. Doak and John Mitchell, guardians of the orphans of John Greer--settled accounts.
  • Vol. 2 - Muster List of 1742 - Capt. John Christian's List: John Christian, Captain; William Christian, Lieutenant; Fran Betty, Ensign; Jhn. Holms, Josep Read, Finley McClewr, George Camble, George Caldwell, Wm. Caldwell, Alex. Thompson, Jas. Caldwell, Isaac McCulough, Jas. Armstrong, Wm. Armstrong, Thos. Henderson, Wm. Henderson, Rob Conigham, Wm. Conigham, Thos. Black, Wm. Johnston, Joh Davison, And. Cowin, Jas. Moody, Jas. Willson, Niol. Leeper, Jno. Turk, Wm. Adams, David Mitchel, Rob. Ramsey, George Breakinsed, John Mitchel, Jas. Fulton, John Fulton, John Brownlee, Chas. Camble, Jas. Camble, Will Camble, Jno. Buchanan, Nathan McClewer, Jas. Robinson, Antho Black, Will Long, Thos. Bell, Jas. Bell, Jno. Black, Wm. Robinson, Thos. Shields, And. McCord, Thos. Beans, Arth. Hamilton, And. Scott, John Maxwell, Pat. Barney, Alex. Brackinsedg, Rob. Brackinsedg, James Brackinsedg, _____ McCoulough, Jas. Miler, Rob. McClenachan, Jno. Doacke, Sam Doacke, Patt Hayes, And. Boyd, Jas. Black, Alex. Fordice, David Steel, Moses Thompson, John Thompson, And. Russell, Rand McDonel, Hug Martine, Joh Robinson, Jas. Beans, Rob. Alexander, Ths. Lewis.
  • Page 330.--13th August, 1747. Wm. Beverley to Helen Mitchell, widow, £6.8.6; 200 acres in Beverley Manor; Brackenridge's line; corner to Teat's (s/b Tate's) line; corner to David Doak; John Lockhart's corner; John Teat's land. Witnessed and proved as above. (Note: this shows John Tate's tract adjoining David Doak in Beverley Manor prior to 1747).
  • Page 217.--5th April, 1749. Wm. Beverley to John Teat, 344 acres in Beverley Manor. Corner James Linn, Steel's land. Corner Jno. Lockhart, Brackenridge s line. (Note: John Tate's patent in Beverley Manor).
  • Vol. 2 - Processioning List of 1748 - Page 17.--James Fulton and John Mitchell make returns, viz: 1748, 26th March, processioned for Samuel Doak, present Samuel Braford; processioned for John Mitchell, present Samuel Doak; processioned for Samuel Braford, present Samuel Doak; processioned for John Buchanan, present James Cowen; processioned for Martha Mitchell (widow), present John Buchanan; processioned for James Cowen, present David Mitchell; processioned for David Moor, present Jas. Cowan; processioned for Robert Wilson, present Andrew Alexander; processioned for Andrew Alexander, present Robert Wilson; processioned for Patrick Campbell, present Joseph Reed; processioned for Joseph Reeds, present Chas. Campbell; processioned for Chas. Campbell, present Pat. Campbell; processioned for Patrick Hays, present Wm. Robinson; processioned for Robert Alexander, present Robert Ramsey; processioned for Robt. Ramsey, present Pat. Hays; processioned for Sarah Ramsey (widow), present Robt. Ramsey; processioned for John Lockhart, present Pat. Hays; processioned for Thos. Beard, present John Lockhart; processioned for Samuel Wilson, present Robert Wilson; processioned for David Doak, present Samuel Wilson; processioned for Eleanor Mitchel (widow), present Robert Wilson; processioned for John Teats (s/b John Tate), present Thos. Beard; processioned for James Linn, present Samuel Doak; processioned for John Brownlee, present Wm. Smith; processioned for George Breckinridge, present, Breckenridge; processioned for James Robinson, present Anthony Black; processioned for Anthony Black, present Jas. Robinson; processioned for Wm. Robinson, present Robinson; processioned for Jas. Fulton, present Alex. Brownlee; processioned for Samuel Steel, present John Fulton.
  • Vol. 2 - Page 161.- Processioners appointed 1755 - (Vestry met. Processioners designated as follows, viz (to report before 1st March next)): -William Lockbridge and Saml. Huston, in Captain John Moore's Company. John Risk and John Shields, in Captain James Lockhart's Company. Samuel Doak and John Tate, in Captain James Mitchell's Company. James Phillips and William Martin, in Captain Patrick Martin's Company.
  • Vol. 2 - Page 176.-(Processioning List of)-1756: Processioned by John Tate and Samuel Doak, in Cap. James Mitchell's Company, viz: for Widow Mitchell, for Wm. Thompson, for James Robinson, for Charles Campbell, for Saml. Brawford, for John Mitchell, for Saml. Doak, for Widow Fulton, for Robt. Alexander, for Nathl. and Robt. Steele, for David Hays, for Helen Mitchell and Jno. Tate, for David Doak, for James Cowan, for Robert Sayers, for John Campbell, for Pat. Campbell, for John Ward, for Widow McTyre, for John and Alex. Brownlee, for Saml. Steele, for Patrick Hays, for John Fulton, for Thomas Tate, for Robert Willson. (Note: this record may be another clue to John Tate's wife's parentage. From this record and from the map below, it shows that John Tate's land is adjoining that of Helen Mitchell, which seems to add credence to her being John Tate's mother-in-law).
  • Vol. 2 - Processioning List of 1768: Page 441.--Processioners' returns, by Thos. Shields and Jas. Meteire, viz: For Patt. Campbell, for Wm. Campbell, for Robt. Willson, for Thos. Brown, for Wm. Thompson, for Pat. Hays, for John Ward, for Wm. Purrens (Purvens), for James Henry, for Nathl. Steele, for Geo. Bright, for Roben Mitchel, for Robt. Alexander, for Wm. Walker, for Roben Willson, for John Mitchell, for James Mitchell, for John Buchanan, for David Cunningham, for Wm. Campbell, for Thomas Mitchell, for James Meteire, for Hugh Hays, for Reuben Steele, for Thomas Steele, for Thomas Shields, for David Doake, for John Teate (s/b John Tate), for Samuel Doake, for Samuel Brawford, for James Cowan, for Saml. McCutchen, for Alex. Campbell, for James Moffett, for Wm. Cunningham, for David Doake, for Hugh Fulton and James Fulton, for Saml. Steele, for Alex. Brownlee, for John Brownlee.
  • Page 497.--5th November, 1771. Saml Doak's will, farmer--To wife, Jane; to daughter, Elinor, unmarried; to wife, to have disposal of all household furniture at her Pleasure to her 3 daughters, Elinor, Mary, Isbel; to son, John; to oldest son, David, plantation David now lives on as Robert Doak laid it off; to son, Samuel, plantation at head waters of Rockfish in Amherst; to son, John, plantation testator lives on; to son, Robert, tract testator formerly lived on in Rockfish, joining Capt. Crawford; daughters, Jane and Elizabeth. Executors, wife Jane, son David, son-in-law Wm. Brown. Brother-in-law John Finley and John Tate to advise executors. Teste: John and James Mitchel, William Tate, John Tate, Jr. Proved, 19th May, 1772. by James Mitchel and the Tates. David Doack qualifies with John Tate. Nathaniel Steel. (Note: this record is interesting because Samuel Doak would have been the brother of Mary, if she was the daughter of Samuel Doak, Sr. Samuel Doak in the will above names his "brother-in-law John Finley (who married Samuel's sister Thankful), but he does NOT name John Tate also as a brother-in-law, which he would have been if Mary (who married John Tate) was a sister of Samuel Doak. This is another key piece of evidence to possibly support Mary as a Mitchell and not a daughter of Samuel Doak, Sr.)

Age of Mary, wife of John Tate

Mary Doak, the supposed daughter of Samuel Doak is generally estimated to have been born in abt. 1724, which is in line with her approximate marriage date with John Tate of abt. 1743, which would have made her about age 19 when she was married (although she may have been "assumed" to have been born about then based upon the marriage date). There do not appear to be any birth or baptism records of Samuel Doak and his wife to support this assumption.

Mary Mitchell, daughter of Thomas Mitchell would have been several years older, based upon estimations of her birthdate and her father's will, which named her as second-born daughter. She would have been born (based upon estimations of her siblings birthdates) no later than abt. 1710, which would have made her about 33 years old at her marriage if she was John Tate's wife. Although it was somewhat unusual for a young woman of those times to have been married that late, it was not unheard of.

Map Showing proximity of the Doaks, Mitchell's, Tate's and Beatty's in Beverley Manor

The following map of a portion of Beverley Manor shows John Tate's land (highlighted in brown) adjoining that of Eleanor Mitchell, which may add credence to the possibility of Mary being Eleanor's daughter, although it is also clear that the Doak family is also living nearby.


Records of Mary Tate in Augusta County

From Chalkley's Augusta County Records:

  • Page 75.--18th March, 1772. John Tate and Mary to James Tate. Teste: William Campbell. Wm. Livingston. Thomas Tate.
  • Page 520.--15th May, 1779. John Tate and Mary to Hance Patton.
  • Vol. 2 - Reuben Norvell vs. Thomson and Teas--O. S. 367; N. S. 133--Copy of record from Amherst. Bill there in 1802 by Thomson and Teas vs. Elizabeth England, widow; John; William; Sally, wife of Josiah Martin; Mary, wife of John Tate; Patty, wife of Robert Evans; Anna; Anderspn; Elisha (infant); Jane (infant), children and representatives of William Anderson England.

Analysis of Records

After reviewing the records of Mary, wife of John Tate, listed above, the predonderence of evidence seems to support her as the possible daughter of Thomas Mitchell, rather than as a daughter of Samuel Doak, Sr. The will of Thomas Mitchell clearly showing that he had a daughter named Mary (who was unmarried at the time of the writing of the will in 1734), combined with the absence of any will of Samuel Doak, Sr. or other records of the Doak family members proving her as a sibling of that family; mention of John Tate as Francis Beatty's "brother-in-law" in the record above, and the likelihood of John Tate and his wife having land adjoining Mary's supposed mother, make it more likely that Mary, wife of John Tate was a "probable" daughter of Thomas Mitchell.

Acknowledgement: Thanks to Kathy Sexton, who kindly shared her information and has done substantial research regarding this topic. Her website is at the following URL:

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    5. Mary Mitchell (c1724-c1792) married c1741 John Tate (c1718-1801)