Saturday, July 30, 2016

William George Owned Mitchell's General Store

The store operated by Francis and Ida Mitchell was the heart of Bayocean for most of its existence. It stood on the southwest corner 12th Avenue and Bay Street, which was the central intersection. The Bayside Hotel stood on the southeast corner of that intersection. To get to the natatorium on the ocean beach, you'd travel west on 12th. And to get up to the Bayocean Hotel you'd veer off 12th onto Laurel Street. In the 1940s, the children of Bayocean would hang out at the store and catch the bus across the street. Everyone assumed the Mitchells owned the store. But they didn't. From 1917 on it belonged to William George. 

Photo of the Mitchells in front of their store; Tillamook County Pioneer Museum. 
Tillamook County Deed Book (DB) 21, pages 219-220, show the Mitchells purchasing lot 44 in block 54 of Bayocean Park (the store's legal description) on June 23, 1911 from the T.B. Potter Realty Company for $450. Tillamook County Mortgage Book (MB) U, page 114, shows the Mitchells taking out a loan for $500 from the Tillamook County Bank just a couple weeks later - on July 5th, 1911. On February 3, 1913 (MB U:413) the Mitchells took out a another loan for $1200 which paid off the first loan. They agreed to keep $1000 insurance on the store they'd built.

On August 6, 1914 the Mitchells sold their property to G.W. Rice of Jackson County, Missouri, for $2000 cash. Rice also agreed to pay off their loan (DB 28:268) but did not. The Tillamook County Bank foreclosed on Rice and the Mitchells June 21, 1915, and bought the property back at auction two months later for $1461.85 (including accrued interest at 8% and fees; Circuit Court case 1633; DB 35:187). The bank then sold the property to William George on June 6, 1917 for $1374.30 (DB 36:2). George maintained ownership until Tillamook County foreclosed on the property for non-payment of taxes June 19, 1958 (DB 166:579). Two years earlier the store ruins had been burned and buried by contractors who built the dike that sealed the gap created by a 1952 storm

The 1915 foreclosure and auction notices were published in the Tillamook Headlight, but if anyone noticed that the Mitchells no longer owned their store, they must have kept it to themselves. 

So who was William George? Neither the deed book nor tax foreclosure show a middle name or home town for George. The Tillamook County Pioneer Museum has file folders for families with the last name George, but none mention a William. A mystery that will continue for now.