A Tribute to Rebeckah Mitchell Smith

March is National Women’s History Month, and the topic of the next Carnival of Genealogy is A Tribute to Women. Last year, I recognized my fifth great grandmother Margaret Mitchell for her heroic actions during the Revolutionary War. Now it is time to recognize Margaret’s granddaughter, Rebeckah.

When I first mentioned Rebeckah, daughter of Adam and Elizabeth Mitchell, in Spring House, I spelled the name Rebecca, as several records indicated. However, as I described in What’s in a Name?, I later learned the correct spelling of the name from the family Bible. I’ve spelled it correctly in Adam’s Daughters, my current work-in-progress and the second book in the Westward Sagas. The third book will be titled Rebeckah and will tell my great great great grandmother’s story.

Rebeckah married Thomas W. Smith in Tennessee and in 1836 moved to Stephen F. Austin’s colony in the village of Bastrop, Texas. After Mirabeau Lamar chose Austin as the capital, Rebeckah and Thomas moved to the new city in July 1840. They bought two outlots in the town that had been laid out by Edmond Waller in 1839. Lots 17 and 18 were the furthest north lots in the city, just north of today’s Hancock Golf Course.

Shortly after the move to Austin, Thomas Smith was scalped and killed by Indians about three miles from home. Not long before that, his brother had been killed and his nephew Fayette Smith captured by Comanches.

Following the strong tradition of the women in the Mitchell Family, Rebeckah managed to keep the household together and assist her sister-in-law Angelina Smith in finding Fayette. It took the women almost three years, but they located Fayette, paid a ransom, and secured his return to Austin.

Living in the primitive conditions of the time required endurance and courage, and it took a special kind of woman to be able to support a family and rescue a loved one from captivity by Indians.

The more I research the lives of my ancestors in the early days of Austin, Texas, the more amazed I am by the strength of the women in my family.

[tags]Carnival of Genealogy, Austin, Rebeckah Mitchell Smith[/tags]

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