Rebecca Mitchell celebrates 104 years

Thursday, February 12, 2004
Joining Rebecca Mitchell for her 104th birthday celebration is her children and brother. Pictured from left, are: Front: Dallas Mitchell, son; Mrs. Mitchell; Harold Thompson, brother. Back: children, Elizabeth Warren, Mildred Bruschi, John Haskin Mitchell, and Julian Mitchell. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

Rebecca Mitchell celebrated her 104th birthday at Monette Manor on Saturday, Feb. 7, with family and friends. Mrs. Mitchell was born on Feb. 8, 1900. She had lived most of her life in the Blytheville/Promised Land area.

She has lived through over a century of history -- dating to the horse and buggy days to being able to watch a man walk on the moon.

She was 12 years old when the Titantic sank and that was one of the first of many world news making events she can remember, as well as local floods, tornadoes, and the depression. Of course, there were the changes that she experienced that made life better, such as electricity, modern appliances, better travel and the medical strides that were unheard of during her childhood.

She and Roy Mitchell married on Christmas Eve, 1916. They were farmers and owned a country store, Mitchell's Grocery, for years. Mr. Mitchell died in 1960.

Before they could become farmers, they had to clear the land and she was also a part of that era.

The Mitchells raised seven children. Her oldest son, Roy E. Mitchell, was killed in World War II in Patton's Army in Europe.

All of her other children are still living and five were able to attend her birthday celebration. Her oldest daughter, Mildred Bruschi, 86, lives in Ringgold, Ga. Her son, Dallas Mitchell, 81, lives near Paragould. Her youngest daughter, Elizabeth Warren, 79, lives in Blytheville. Her sons, John Haskin Mitchell, lives in Blytheville, and Julian Mitchell, lives in Burdette. Her youngest son, Ken Mitchell, lives in Texas and was unable to attend the party.

Several of her 15 grandchildren and their children were present for the birthday party. Guests were from the Northeast Arkansas area, Tennessee, and Georgia.

Also on hand to wish Mrs. Mitchell a happy birthday was her brother, Harold Thompson, Sr., who is 97 years old. They agreed to have their picture made again when he is 100 and she is 107.

Mrs. Mitchell's grandchildren remembered stories that their grandmother had shared with them. She would recall a tornado that came through the Clear Lake area when she was 17 years old. The family all huddled in one room. Mrs. Mitchell said when the storm had passed the only part of the house that was still standing was the room they were in. She always said the Lord was taking care of them on that day and many other days in her life. She also recalled the 1937 food when people had to leave the area because of the water. The Mitchells lived only one mile from levee and fortunately it held. Their house was on a higher spot than many of the others in the area. They kept a boat tied to the porch and managed to be able to remain home through the flood.

Mrs. Mitchell lived at home until she was 101 years old. She fell and broke her hip and underwent surgery.

The dining area at Monette Manor was decorated with balloons and decorations as family and friends shared birthday cake with Mrs. Mitchell.

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