Byron Teancum Mitchell
was born in Kamas in 1872 to Benjamin Thomas Trotter and Lois Judd Mitchell.
Lois was born in Canada in 1825. Her family joined the LDS Church when she was ten and the family crossed the frozen St Lawrence River in the winter of 1837 to answer the call to settle Zion. They reached Nauvoo in 1840, where her father, Arza Jr, died.
Lois married Benjamin Thomas Trotter Mitchell in 1848 in Winter Quarters as his fourth (third living) wife, and crossed the plains in the Heber C. Kimball company with the rest of the family.
Benjamin was a stonecutter. He cut the first capital on the Nauvoo Temple and was among those chosen to carve the baptismal font. He worked on the Salt Lake Temple before being called to settle Kamas with Lois, his fourth wife. He built a log cabin on what is now Main Street, and the couple raised sheep and cattle. In practice, since Benjamin continued to work on the Temple, Lois probably did most of the work, as well as spinning and weaving wool. Lois was a carpet weaver, charging 10¢ per yard. She made the first carpet for Kamas Church, and for the Relief Society house on Center Street. The couple had eight children – five who survived childhood – of whom Byron was the youngest.
Byron married Emmeline Janett Andersen, daughter of William Ove and Dorthe Kristine Erikson Andersn, in 1895.
Their wedding dance was held in the Carpenter Dance Hall in Kamas. They first lived with Byron’s mother in Kamas but in 1897, after the birth of their first child, Byron began building a new home in Francis.
Byron’s brother ran a brick kiln in nearby City Canyon and so the house was one of the first brick homes in the area. Byron designed the house himself. It is a good example of local vernacular eclecticism using a cross-wing plan and combining Gothic Revival, Second Empire and Victorian styles.
Emmeline wrote: “We moved to Francis on April 1, 1897. Our house was not finished, it only had the floor part way and walls block adobe. In June we got it plastered and the floor finished. Our furniture was a stove, table, three chairs, and a bed, and a tub and a washboard, and a few dishes. I made a cupboard out of two boxes and put a curtain up for a door.”
Byron and Emmeline had four children, three of whom survived childhood. Byron hauled lumber to Park City and Emmeline made butter which she sold to Joseph Warr. They homesteaded in Lake Fork for a while but returned to Kamas in 1917. Emmeline was a Sunday School and Relief Society teacher, and Byron was an Elder and High Priest, superintendent and teacher in Sunday School.
In about 1911 the house was altered to enable a room to be rented out to Lucille Jensen, who moved to Francis as the teacher of the local school. She was not the only Francis teacher that the Mitchells housed.
Byron died in 1948 and Emmeline in 1958. Both are buried in Francis. The Mitchell House still stands at the corner of state routes 32 and 35 in Francis. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.