James Leslie Mitchell (1901-1935)

James Leslie Mitchell (1901-1935)

Writer

James Leslie Mitchell used the pseudonym Lewis Grassic Gibbon for his most famous work 'A Scots Quair' set in the Howe of Mearns where he grew up. He worked as a reporter in Aberdeen and Glasgow, was stationed in the Middle East with the Royal Army Service Corps from 1919 and worked in England as a Royal Air Force clerk from 1923. He married Rebecca (Ray) Middleton of Arbuthnott at Fulham Registry Office on 15 August 1925. He published several books before the successful novels 'Sunset Song' (1932), 'Cloud Howe' (1933) and 'Grey Granite' (1934) which form the trilogy 'A Scots Quair'. He died at Welwyn Garden City on 7 February 1935 and his ashes were interred at Arbuthnott churchyard. The Grassic Gibbon Centre nearby holds some of his peronal effects, books and photographs.

Birth in 1901

James Leslie Mitchell was born on 13 February 1901, the son of James Mitchell, farmer and Lilly Gibbon. The entry in the statutory register of births for Auchterless gives the place of birth as Hillhead Seggat.

Birth entry for James Leslie Mitchell

Birth entry for James Leslie Mitchell (34 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1901/173/4

1901 and 1911 censuses

In 1901 James Leslie Mitchell was enumerated at the family farm at Hillhead in the parish of Auchterless. The household includes a farm servant.

1901 census record for James Leslie Mitchell

Detail from 1901 census record for James Leslie Mitchell (21 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1901/173/1, page 7

In 1911 James Leslie Mitchell, 10, a scholar was enumerated with his parents and brother at Bloomfield in the parish of Arbuthnott in the county of Kincardine. The last three columns record data for married women: duration of marriage (13 years), the number of children born alive (2) and the number still living (2).

1911 census record for James Leslie Mitchell

Detail from 1911 census record of James Leslie Mitchell (16 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1911/250/3, page 1