Saturday, July 30, 2016

William George Owned Mitchell's General Store

The mercantile operated by Francis and Ida Mitchell was the heart of Bayocean. It stood on the southwest corner of 12th Avenue and Bay Street, the town's main intersection. In the mid-1940s, the children of Bayocean would catch the school 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, shows 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 another loan for $1200, which paid off the first, and agreed to keep $1000 insurance on their store.

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 on 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 on June 19, 1958 (DB 166:579). Two years earlier the store ruins had been burned and buried by contractors who built the breakwater 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 the Mitchells no longer owned their store, they must have kept it to themselves. 

So who was William George? Deed records and tax foreclosures show no middle name or hometown. The Tillamook County Pioneer Museum has folders for families with the last name George, but none mention a William. But the Corps of Engineers found out who he was in 1956 because they added the middle initial "A" to their records. They didn't get his signature. Constructing the breakwater without it meant he had died. The most likely candidate is William Albert George of Kansas City, who died on January 7, 1952, without heirs (located via Find-A-Grave on Ancestry.com). 

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