Eleazar Mitchell plays a role in Abby, Laurilla, and Mary Ann. He first married Olive Hickok. After Olive died, Eleazar married the widow Abigail Johnson Hickok, mother of Hannah Hickok Smith. Eleazar was the only grandfather the Smith sisters knew.
Mitchell Wedding Centennial Celebration, 1758–1858
In 1758 Olive Hickok wore a blue-brocade silk dress with matching shoes for her marriage to Eleazar Mitchell. After the ceremony, Eleazar and his bride rode to their new home on four acres in the midst of the Pootatuck tribe. The location was half a mile from the Great (Housatonic) River, a mile from any house belonging to a White person.
The newlyweds were accompanied by nearly a half-mile train of horses, two abreast. On each horse a gentleman sat in the saddle with a lady behind him on the pillion (cushion). The entourage took a meandering route, crossing the Pomperaug River three times. “The afternoon and evening was spent in joyous hilarity, feasting, and dancing.”
On October 5, 1858 the Mitchell Family celebrated the 100th anniversary of the marriage of Eleazar Mitchell and his first wife, Olive Hickok, in the old, uninhabited family mansion the descendants had decorated for the event.
The lovely wedding dress and matching shoes, 100-year-old embroidered linen curtains, an almost-150-year-old brocaded-silk blanket, and an oak chest from 1700 with the initials M.N., for Mary Noble, were arranged for guests to see. The chest had belonged to Abigail Johnson Hickok Mitchell, second wife of Eleazar. Mary Goodman Noble was her grandmother.
The 100 guests included fifty-eight Mitchell descendants from four different states. Mitchell daughter, Eunice Hinman, age ninety-seven, remembered being in her mother’s lap on a pillion with her father and oldest brother in the saddle—all on one horse for the four-mile trip to church.
The guests observed old customs. The oldest sat at the head of the table—men sat on one side, women on the other, according to age. Everyone stood at the start of the meal for the blessing; and at the end of the meal to give thanks.
Rev. Prudden (his children were related to the Mitchells) spoke about the progress made in science and mechanical arts, steamboats, railroads, the telegraph, and the trans-oceanic telegraph, in the last century. Before the Trans-oceanic telegraph cable was laid, he said, it took three weeks to communicate with New York.—Abby, Laurilla, and Mary Ann, pp. 28, 180–182.
A hundred years ago Our grandsire’s bridal train,
As Mitchell annals show, Crossed rock, and hill, and plain
Escorting here, with pomp and pride, His Olive tree—a new made bride.
The gallant horsemen, two abreast, Brought each a lady gaily dress’d,
On pillion placed. Thus, to and fro They rode, a hundred years ago.
—Excerpt from Sketch of an Anniversary Festival of the Mitchell Family, 11–13.