Rev. Gospero Sweet was a Methodist minister and planter, and the 5th great grandfather of my niece’s husband. He and his wife, Ann Munnerlyn, had moved from South Carolina to Georgia before settling in Florida. It was in Georgia where his granddaughter, Deborah, met Russell Crawford Mitchell, a young Confederate soldier, while he was recovering from severe wounds received at the Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam) in Thomasville, Georgia. After his convalescence in Thomasville, R. C. Mitchell went back to the War, fighting to the end. Then he returned to Florida, where he and Deborah Margaret Sweet were married on 10 August 1865.
In the days immediately after the War, Russell Crawford Mitchell made a considerable fortune investing in cotton and selling it to the North, but he got into a fight with a carpetbagger, ran afoul of the Yankee occupation government in Florida, and had to flee to his family in Atlanta. His wife soon joined him there. They debated whether to go to Texas or to stay in Atlanta, and Mrs. Mitchell suggested they remain. She commented that her husband “seemed to have the knack of making money.” He began with a lumber mill, and branched out into real estate investments. Eventually, he became one of the wealthiest men in the city, and also served as mayor for a time.
Deborah Margaret Sweet and Russell Crawford Mitchell had eleven children and many grandchildren, all born in Atlanta. One of them, Margaret Munnerlyn Mitchell, a third cousin (three times removed), was greatly influenced by the stories of the family’s history she heard while growing up. She wrote one of the most influential books of her time, Gone With The Wind.
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