Isaac Mize Family

"Isaac Mize
Born: About 1802 in Kentucky, probably in Pulaski County
Died: Between 1 Dec 1893 and 24 Jan 1894 in Rockcastle County

Of all the individuals who I have researched in the Skeggs Creek/Line Creek area, Isaac Mize is one of the most intriguing. Since his life spanned almost the entire 19th century, he lived through a range of the pivotal events we've only read about in history books—the War of 1812 and the Civil War, the presidencies of Jackson and Lincoln, the end of slavery, the beginning of the transformation of the United States from a backwater agrarian confederation to a powerful industrial nation.

His personal life was equally tumultuous. He was married four times and fathered at least 22 children, but attended the funerals of three wives and nine children. He lost his mother as a child and his father as a young man. He was a successful businessman and landowner who lost everything as an old man, then regained a portion of it as an older man.

All we can say for certain about Isaac's parentage is that he was the son of Jeremiah Mize. We don't know his mother's name. His father remarried to a widow, Elizabeth Brown, whose daughter Mary married Aaron Price. Two of the Price children from this union later married John Renner's family. Isaac's sister, Margaret, married Moses Pitman.

There is, I believe, strong circumstantial evidence which points to William Riley Mize as being Isaac's brother. However, placing William Riley in this fashion creates several problems with earlier Mize genealogies and raises the possibility of the existence of two Jeremiah Mizes, a discussion I'll not rehash here.

Isaac grew up along Buck Creek in Pulaski County, probably east of the creek in the Sinking Valley area. As a young adult, the family evidently lived near the Aaron Price family. Isaac, William Riley, and Jeremiah appear as chainmen on two of Aaron's land grant surveys.

The first time Isaac appears on the Pulaski County tax list is in 1823, the same year Jeremiah died. Isaac bought his first piece of land in 1828; it was on Pitman Creek. In 1831 Isaac bought two tracts of Buck Creek land from Shadrack and Nancy Stogsdill which he sold to William Riley in 1836. That same year, Isaac moved to Line Creek, purchasing 110 acres of land from Walker Langford. He added an adjoining 50-acre grant the following year. This land included what is today the intersection of the Line Creek Road and Buffalo Branch Road.

On 14 Dec 1822 in Pulaski County, Isaac married Polly Lester, whose ancestry has proved very difficult to trace. Their marriage record lists her mother as Nancy Lester, but I've been unable to find a Nancy with daughter Polly (or Mary). The first child of record for Isaac and Polly was Maranda, born about 1825 according to later census records. She married Westerfield Renner in 1839 with Isaac's signed consent, as she was "not of age."

Evidently the next four Mize children, two girls and two boys, died between 1840 and 1850. Polly bore Isaac three more children;John, James, and another daughter who also died;before she herself passed away about 1841.

For some reason, Isaac and Polly sold their Line Creek land in October of 1840 to Tilman Duncan and moved to the Eagle Creek/Buffalo area of Rockcastle County. I don't believe the Renner family connection had a great effect on Isaac's decision to move, as Westerfield and the other Renners, with the exception of Elisha, were living well north of Buffalo by then.

After Polly's death, Isaac remarried to Malvina Purvis, who was twenty years his junior and with whom he had seven more children before she also died, in late 1860.

His next wife was Louan McCarty. She and Isaac were married 14 Mar 1861 in Laurel County. There are no children recorded for this marriage, which lasted only a couple of years until Louan passed away. Isaac then married Marinda Tyree between 1862 and 1864. Assuming they married in 1863, Isaac was 59 years old, Marinda was 19.

Isaac and Marinda had at least seven more children, the last being born in 1878 when Isaac was 76 years old. (His eldest grandchild, Martha Renner Brinkley, was 38 years old by that time.)

In the 1860 Rockcastle census Isaac was listed as a miller. In an 1896 deed between Ingram and Elizabeth Nichols Renner and their daughter-in-law Rachel Doan Renner, there is a mention of the "Mize Mill Road." The land being sold was a 50-acre tract and included the property where the Buffalo Baptist Church is today. From the deed's description, I believe the Mize Mill Road is what is listed on some current maps as the Mize Road, which turns off toward Eagle Creek to the left, south of the church. It is probable then, that Isaac's mill was near the middle section of Eagle Creek.

There is also a family story which indicates Isaac operated a mill on Hawk Creek in Laurel County. He had purchased land on both sides on the Rockcastle River near Hawk Creek sometime prior to 1859. That year Isaac, John Linville, Thornburg Bullock, and J.C. Evans mortgaged their property to Carleton B. Bachellor and Ephraim L. VanWinkle, both Somerset attorneys. Isaac's portion reads: "and Isaac Mize two hundred and seventy five acres lying in Rockcastle and Laurel County it being the same where he now lives." Then in 1870 Isaac bought the bond Worley Linville had made to William Brown for 50 acres of similarly-situated property.

But between those purchases, Isaac got himself into some financial trouble which resulted in him declaring bankruptcy in Pulaski County in 1868. According to the documents, he lost everything. However, I'm not so sure that he was forced to surrender all of his land (maybe he hid records of some it somehow), since in later years it appears he still owned some of the land he had mortgaged in 1853.

One indication we have of the family's financial problems may be evident the 1860 and 1880 Rockcastle censuses. In those years several of his children were living in other households, including 16-year-old Mary Catherine Mize who was listed as an orphan in the 1860 Holbert McClure household.

Whatever troubles they had, by 1881 things seem to have been getting a little better. Isaac and Miranda bought about 150 acres of Sinking Valley land from brothers William and Shelton Pointer that year. While some of the acreage was rugged, a portion of it consisted of fertile bottom land. In 1883 he sold his Hawk Creek/Rockcastle River land (four tracts) to James Cooper.

Ironically, Isaac's land served as bookends to James Cooper's tenure as a landowner. Cooper, the step-son of Tilman Duncan who had bought Isaac's Line Creek property 43 years earlier, had been virtually landless until Duncan had given him both his and Isaac's former property. Those tracts formed the core of Cooper's almost baron-like accumulation of land which eventually grew to several thousands of acres. His purchase of Isaac's Hawk Creek property was one of the last large purchases he made before his death five years later.

The Sinking Valley property, which lay in Rockcastle County very near the Rockcastle-Pulaski line just east of Plato, would be Isaac's last home. He made out his will 31 Mar 1892, "feeling feeble in body but in perfect mind and memory." He left everything to Miranda.

The last mention of Isaac is in a deed dated 1 Dec 1893 when he and Marinda sold son Samuel 12 2/3 acres of land. His will was presented to the court 24 Jan 1894. Marinda continued to live on their farm after Isaac's death, but financial troubles forced the sheriff to sell the land for unpaid taxes ($4.45 for the year 1898) in 1901. Fortunately, the purchaser was son Tilford Mize, so the land stayed in the family for a while longer. Tilford ultimately sold the farm, including two mules, to Everett Wiser in 1925.

Marinda never remarried. She died of bronchitis 20 Aug 1917 and was buried at the Raspberry Church Cemetery in Rockcastle County.

We are unsure of Isaac's final resting place. Many of his children, grandchildren, and greatgrandchildren are buried in various cemeteries near Buffalo, on both sides of the river. Some have suggested he was buried on Hawk Creek, others in the Mize cemetery near the old rock quarry in Laurel County. I believe it's most likely he's buried with Marinda at Raspberry or perhaps in a family plot on the Sinking Valley farm. Wherever he is, his grave remains unmarked." (retrieved on 12 July 2012 from

This is my addendum to the excellent biography for Isaac Mize by Jeff Renner at his website. Evidence indicates that Isaac grew up in the Sinking Valley as the child of Jeremiah Mize. His mother is not known but his father did later marry Elizabeth Brown who was widowed. She had a daughter named Mary who married the neighbor, Aaron Price. Isaac also had a sister named Margaret Mize who married Moses Pitman. There is strong indication that William Riley Mize is the brother of Isaac but on the 1850 census of Pulaski County his birthplace is stated as Virginia. Isaac married Polly Lester on 14 December 1822 in Pulaski County, Kentucky. This marriage certificate states, “Consent of father, Jeremiah Mize, witnessed by William Riley Mize and brides mother Nancy Lestor, Dorson Sewell as the Surety. Apparently Isaac was between 15 to 17 years old at the time of the marriage. Shortly after marrying Polly, Isaac applied for a land grant of 50 acres of land in Pulaski County, on 24 April 1828 located on Pitman Creek in eastern Pulaski County. On the 1830 census of Pulaski County, Isaac is listed on dwelling number 14 and has three females under the age of five and one female who is between five to ten years old. The census lists Isaac’s wife as being born between 1800 and 1810. During 1831, Isaac bought two plots of land located on Buck Creek in Pulaski County from Shadrack Stogsdill. Later Isaac later sold the same two plots of land to his brother, William Riley Mize.

On 10 March 1836, Isaac applied for a land grant of 50 acres along Line Creek which is located at the modern convergence of Buffalo Branch Road and Line Creek Road in eastern Pulaski County. Land was available for purchase for the rate of $20 per 100 acres to anyone in Kentucky except to aliens. This land was later sold to Walker Langford. After moving to Line Creek which was a short distance from his deceased father’s land who lived in Sinking Valley, Isaac would give consent to his daughter Maranda Mize to marry Westerfield Renner on the date of 21 August 1839. The marriage certificate located in the County Clerk’s office in Pulaski County states, “Consent of Isaac Mize, brides father, bride not of age.” Again Joseph Sewell is listed as the surety for a marriage. The 1840 Pulaski County census lists Isaac and his wife Polly as having 2 males age 5-10, 2 males under five (John, James), 2 females age 10-15 (Levina), 1 female under five. Sometime between the years 1840 through 1850, Isaac’s wife died or divorced him. The most probable is death because there are no divorces listed for Isaac in Pulaski, Laurel, and Rockcastle counties. On the 1850 census of Rockcastle County, Isaac is listed with the following people living in his household: Levina age 23, John age 15, James age 13, Catherine age 8, Henry or Hamp age 1. It was during the fall of 1841, the month of October, Isaac sold his property and moved to Rockcastle County after the death of his wife Polley sometime probably during 1841.

Isaac married Malvina Purvis after the death of Polley. She gave birth to seven children and was about twenty years younger than Isaac. On the Kentucky land grants records for south of Green River dated 20 December 1856, Isaac was granted 50 acres between Rockcastle River and Hawk Creek. On 22 December, Isaac is granted another 100 acres between the same Hawk Creek and Rockcastle River in Rockcastle County. Sometime after purchasing this land, Isaac built a grist mill where Hawk Creek adjuncts Rockcastle River. During 1859, Abner Mise was born. Kentucky vital statistics indicate that his parents are listed as Isaac and Laurina which is probably a corruption of Malvina. The 1860 census of Rockcastle County lists Isaac with a new wife named Malvina, age 31 years old, while Isaac is 55 years old. Their children are Andrew Jackson age 9, Robert age 7, Humphrey age 3 and Abner age 1. The 1860 census of Rockcastle County lists Catherine Mise residing in the household of Halburt and Rebecca McClure. Catherine is listed as a 17 year old orphan.

Sometime before 1870, Isaac married Marinda. The 1870 census of Rockcastle County shows Isaac is 67 years old and his wife Marinda is 25 years old. They are listed with the following children: Andrew J., Logan age 10, Umphrey H. age 13, Samuel age 5, Allis age 3, Anna age 1 and Tilford is 7 months old. His estate is valued at $1000 dollars and his personal value is $150.

An interesting note is that Robert Mize, who is listed on the 1860 Census of Isaac Mise is listed on the 1870 census of Rockcastle County under the household of John and Vina Tyre. John Tyre is listed as a North Carolina born cabinet maker. Robert is listed on the census as being 16 years old. The same Robert is listed in the vital statistics of Rockcastle County under the death statistics: “Robert Mize, 18 years old, place of birth Rockcastle County, resident of Rockcastle County. Single, died of fever and cold on 1 November 1874.” His father is listed as Isaac and his mother is listed as Laurina. On 14 March 1861, Isaac married Louan McCarty. She probably died between 1861 and 1862 without leaving children from this bond. During 1868, Isaac declared bankruptcy in Pulaski County but somehow kept his land property.

On the 1880 Rockcastle County census, Isaac is listed in dwelling 416 next to the Norton family and Whitacker family. Isaac is 75 years old and his wife, Marinda is 32 years old. Her parents are listed as being born in North Carolina. There are five children in the household. Tilford age 6, Mitchell age 5, Nancy Jane age 3, Harvey G. age 2 and Samuel age 12. Isaac and his wife Marinda purchase approximately 150 acres of land within Sinking Valley area and during 1883 James Cooper purchased the property owned by Isaac located on Hawk Creek and Rockcastle River. During December of 1893, Sam Mize, the son of Isaac, purchased approximately 12 acres of land from his father and Mirinda Mize. The residence and farm where Miranda lived was sold for back taxes to their son Tilford Mize during 1901 for $4.45. This same land was sold during 1925 to E. Wiser.

Isaac Mize land photo Isaac Mize land photo
The supposed grave marker, pictured on the right, for Marinda Mize is located in the Raspberry Cemetery in Rockcastle County. Only the word “Mize” is inscribed upon the marker. The marker is located at the rear left hand corner of the cemetery as you look at the cemetery from the dirt road. The marker is difficult to find due to the overgrown condition of its location at the edge of the cemetery. Mirand died on 20 August 1917 of bronchitis.

"Mt Vernon Rockcastle County-in a difficulty near Pine Hill Tuesday morning, John Mullins was shot below the knee and both bones brokes. Ker Pike received a full charge of small shot in the breast and a ball through the upper portion of his leg. Isaac Mize was shot through and will probably die. What the trouble started from we have been unable to learn. V. Mason has been running a Blind Tiger at the place where the fight occurred. Mason is now In jail. It appears that Mullins was trying to keep the peace between the parties, when he was himself shot." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal (Stanford Ky) dated: 29 Dec 1893

This article may pertain to the death of our progenitor, Isaac aka "Ike" Mize. This Isaac would have been approximately 88 years old when this happened. This easily is placed chronologically in Isaac's life span. All sources indicate that Isaac died between 31 Mar 1892 when he made his will and when it was entered into Rockcastle County court records on 24 Jan 1894. The Isaac Mize residence was located near Pine Hill along with the home of John Mize, his son. So in theory this shooting could have resulted in the death of Ike. Although I feel that this is the proper scenario, there is another Isaac J. Mize which was the son of the same John Mize which was living at the time. Isaac J. Mize was born about the year 1870 and would have been around the age of 33 at the time of the shooting. Records show that Isaac J. Mize died during November of 1941 in Rockcastle County. It is possible that the altercation could have been between Isaac J. Mize and V. Mason but there is no proof.

The will of Isaac Mize presented to the Rockcastle County Court states:

"State of Kentucky, Rockcastle County, March 31st, 1892. In the name of God, Amen, I, Isaac Mize of the above named state and county, feeling feeble in body but in perfect mind and memory, do make this my last will and testament.

"Article 1st: It is my will to give my [unreadable word] wife Marinda Mize all my personal property, also any thing in the house such as dishes, beding, & c, to dispose of at her will.

"Article 2nd: I omit giving any of my heirs any thing more that the law requires, one dollar each, as they have had as much of my estate as I am willing for them to have."

In testimony whereof, Isaac Mize of the above named state and county, has hereunto subscribed his name in the presents of "Attest: M.H. Lewis, W.M. Norton