David Brydie Mitchell

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David Brydie Mitchell
Davidbrydiemitchell.jpg
27th Governor of Georgia
In office
November 10, 1809 – November 5, 1813
Preceded byJared Irwin
Succeeded byPeter Early
In office
November 20, 1815 – March 4, 1817
Preceded byPeter Early
Succeeded byWilliam Rabun
Attorney General of Georgia
In office
1796–1806
GovernorJared Irwin
James Jackson
David Emanuel
Josiah Tattnall, Sr.
John Milledge
Preceded byGeorge Walker
Succeeded byRobert Walker
Member of the Georgia Senate
Member of the Georgia House of Representatives
Personal details
Born(1766-10-22)October 22, 1766
Muthill, Perthshire, Scotland
DiedApril 22, 1837(1837-04-22) (aged 70)
Milledgeville, Georgia, U.S.
ProfessionLawyer

David Brydie Mitchell (October 22, 1766 – April 22, 1837) was an American politician in Georgia who was elected in 1809 as governor of the state, serving two terms. He was elected again in 1815 for one term.

Mitchell moved to Georgia at the age of 24. He had earlier been elected as mayor of Savannah and was appointed as state attorney general. He also served three terms in the Georgia legislature, two in the General Assembly, and one in the Senate.

Mitchell resigned from the governorship in 1817 to accept an appointment by President James Monroe as United States Indian Agent to the Creek Nation in their lands in present-day Georgia and Alabama. He followed the more than two-decade tenure of Benjamin Hawkins. In 1820 he was prosecuted for being involved in smuggling of American slaves from Spanish Florida. He was replaced in 1821 by President Monroe, who appointed John Crowell.

Early life[edit]

Mitchell was born in Muthill, Perthshire, Scotland, on October 22, 1766. As a young man, he inherited land in Georgia from his late uncle.

He moved to Georgia in 1782 after the American Revolutionary War to Savannah, Georgia to claim it.[1] Enthusiastic about the new country, Mitchell read the law with established attorneys and passed the bar. He was elected as mayor of Savannah (1801–1802) and made connections statewide.

Mitchell married Jane Mills in 1792, and according to family records the couple had six children: William, John, Sara, Edward, Mary, and David II.[2]

Political career[edit]

Mitchell was appointed as Attorney General of Georgia (1796–1806). He moved to Mount Nebo Plantation, near the state capital of Milledgeville. He served three terms in the Georgia General Assembly, two as a representative and one in the Senate.

Mitchell was elected to two consecutive two-year terms as the 27th Governor of Georgia (1809–1813) and a third non-consecutive term from 1815 to 1817.

He resigned from his third term as governor to accept appointment by President James Monroe as the U.S. agent to the Creek Indians. One of Mitchell's responsibilities was the negotiation of the Treaty of the Creek Agency (1818), by which the Creek ceded land to the United States. He was erroneously accused in the American Importation Case of 1820 of smuggling slaves into Creek and US territory, in violation of the 1808 law against the American slave trade. No evidence ever appeared of his direct complicity, but Mitchell did allow those engaged in this illegal activity to seek brief refuge for their captives at the agency he supervised along the Flint River.[3] His long-time political adversaries, led by Governor John Clark, used the incident to vilify Mitchell and secure his dismissal by President James Monroe in 1821.[1]

Beginning in 1828, Mitchell was appointed to serve as the inferior court judge of Baldwin County, Georgia. He was later elected as Baldwin County's State Senator in 1836.

Legacy and honors[edit]

Death and legacy[edit]

Mitchell died at Mount Nebo Plantation, his home in Milledgeville, on April 22, 1837. He is buried at Memory Hill Cemetery of the same city.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "David Brydie Mitchell," This Day in Georgia History: April 22, Ed Jackson and Charly Pou, Carl Vinson Institute of Government, The University of Georgia, accessed February 14, 2012
  2. ^ Rohrer, Katherine E. "David B. Mitchell (1766-1837)". New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
  3. ^ Fair, John D. (2015). "Governor David B. Mitchell and the "Black Birds" Slave Smuggling Scandal". Georgia Historical Quarterly. 99 (4). Retrieved May 18, 2016.
Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas Gibbons
Mayor of Savannah
1801–1802
Succeeded by
Charles Harris
Preceded by
Jared Irwin
Governor of Georgia
1809–1813
Succeeded by
Peter Early
Preceded by
Peter Early
Governor of Georgia
1815–1817
Succeeded by
William Rabun