Family Tree


The Enigmatic Life of Alfred Rothwell Mitchell

Our exploration into the tapestry of the Winfield Cemetery in Granite, Colorado, has predominantly focused on the miners and the inevitable fatality that their profession bestowed upon them. This time, however, we deviate from the beaten path to delve into the riveting narrative of an immigrant family from England, weaving a tale not of miners but of mystery and identity.

Our journey begins in 1841 in the heart of Haxton, London. The protagonist of our tale, Alfred Rothwell Mitchell, comes into the world on December 17, 1840, as the first son of Thomas and Elizabeth Rothwell Mitchell. His father, Thomas Sr., is serving his community as a "G Post Officer" while his mother cherishes a maternal retreat.

By 1851, a decade hence, the Mitchells remain in Haxton, with Alfred's father shifting his livelihood to the art of "Map Mounting". Amid these domestic changes, young Alfred begins to sketch his destiny as an Advertising Agent, perhaps full of anticipation about his future. The exact span and success of his stint remain shrouded in ambiguity.

The following years paint a picture of urgency as Alfred finds himself drawn towards Halifax, Yorkshire, a place lying only a few miles from his birthplace. It is here that he crosses paths with his future partner, Emma Aked, born in October 1868, seven years his junior.

By May 1869, Alfred transitions into the role of a Postal Clerk, signifying a potentially positive shift in their lives. Joy greets the couple with the arrival of their first child, Margaret (Maggie), followed by their son Thomas, both born in 1870. The family now finds themselves in Copley Hall, Yorkshire, with Alfred donning the hat of a Licensed Victualer. Here, they find stability and prosperity, even owning two houses, possibly accommodating their servant, Ann Oldham.

From the latter part of 1871 until 1883, the Mitchells' existence revolves around the rich historical canvas of Copley Hall, Skircoat, West Yorkshire, West Riding North. Their last child, Wallace Holgate Mitchell, born in 1875, completes their English chapter before their lives take a dramatic turn.

Delve into their life

Part 2:

Shadows and Secrets

The life of the Mitchell’s witnesses a significant upheaval, post their time in Copley Hall. The 1881 census records Emma, listed as the Head of Household and a Dressmaker, residing at 34 Green Terrace, Yorkshire, her childhood home. In her company are her two sons, Thomas and Wallace. Curiously, Alfred is conspicuous by his absence.

Intriguingly, our investigation uncovers a man bearing a stark resemblance to Alfred, albeit under the alias of Alfred O'Leary, located at the Harrogate Infirmary, situated roughly 23 miles away from Halifax. While the reason behind this alias remains elusive, the man's information aligns significantly with that of Alfred Mitchell, prompting a tantalizing suspicion of identity concealment.

The year 1883 introduces a significant pivot in the Mitchell family narrative as Emma, along with Wallace and Alfred Jr., embarks on the voyage to America, specifically to Granite, Colorado. Their journey is conspicuously absent of Alfred, evoking questions about his whereabouts and intentions.

Intriguingly, a mysterious passenger named Alf S. Edwards, aged 40 and hailing from England, appears on the same ship. Could this man, bearing uncanny resemblances to Alfred, be Emma's estranged husband hiding in plain sight under a pseudonym? Is his intention benign or malicious?

Exploring the passenger list, we find an intriguing entry: Alf S. Edwards, born in 1843, sharing the voyage on the ship, Richmond. Despite the discrepancies in the birth year and the surname, the possibility of this man being Alfred Mitchell hiding behind an alias cannot be ruled out. This hypothesis gains traction considering his family is aboard the same ship, hinting at a clandestine purpose.

After their transatlantic journey, Emma and her children set foot on the American soil on October 6, 1883, while the enigmatic Alfred Mitchell, or perhaps, Alf S. Edwards, remains a spectral figure, lending a touch of suspense and intrigue to their new chapter in Granite, Colorado.

Our tale thus continues, its riddles unanswered, cloaked in a shroud of mystery as we traverse the elusive paths of Alfred Rothwell Mitchell and his family in their new home, Granite. Only time will reveal what destiny has in store for them.

The year 1885 brought the first evidence of Emma and her family's life in the New World, unearthed from the Colorado State Census. Amidst the entries, a surprising revelation unfolds: Emma, her husband Alfred, shrouded in his aliases and uncertainties, and their three children - Thomas, Wallace and a new addition, Charles, born on American soil, in Granite, Colorado, have carved out a life for themselves in this unfamiliar land.

The following years cloak the nature of the relationships within the Mitchell family in obscurity. The only testament to this era is a striking notice from the Buena Vista Democrat dated July 31, 1890: “

"Alfred Mitchell, of Granite, on Tuesday was pronounced insane by a jury of six good and lawful men and will be sent to the hospital for the Insane.” The hospital referred to is the newly built Victorian Era, Pueblo Insane Asylum.

In the aftermath of Alfred's dislocation, Emma remained rooted in Granite, as noted in the 1900 census. Here, she wore the mantle of a hotel keeper on Pleasant Ave., with her youngest child Lewis in her company. By then, she had bid farewell to two of her children, Charles and William, both of whom had met an early demise.

The 1910 Census sheds light on Emma's life a decade later. A successful hotel proprietor, she records herself as a widow - a modest veil to dodge the societal scrutiny that may befall a woman living alone.

It was the year 1913 when Alfred met his maker. A troubled soul, at last able to rest in peace, for the benefit of the entire.

As the year 1920 dawned, Emma bid adieu to the dwindling mining town of Granite to move in with her youngest son, Lewis J., and his family. Hopefully, the twilight years of her life were filled with the joy and comfort of being surrounded by her grandchildren.

Emma's journey concluded on December 31, 1921. She rests in peace at the Granite Cemetery, Block B, Row 3, Lot 28, her eternal sleep nestled between her two sons, who had preceded her in their departure from this mortal realm. They lie in lots 27 and 29, adjacent to their mother, an eternal family in the heart of Granite.

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