St Andrews / Carnoustie
David Stewart Mitchell was born in Cupar in 1839 and can be found on the 1851 census there living with parents Christopher (a sawyer) and Jane, three brothers and a sister, and a grandchild of the family. He is the youngest child at 11.
By 1865 he has moved to St Andrews and marries a local lass, Jane Foulis. The details of the marriage at the Free Church in January show him as a cabinetmaker but by the time of the birth of their first son, Christopher, at Crail’s Lane in February of the following year, David is described as a clubmaker in the local Dundee newspaper.
The 1871 census has the family living at 166 South Street, now with two boys, and David described as a golf clubmaker. In that same year, at the end of the autumn meeting of the R&A in October, he is playing in a competition for clubmakers and is second behind James Beveridge.
In 1876 Frank Bell, greenkeeper and clubmaker to the Dalhousie club was dismissed ‘in disgrace’ after ‘a series of domestic disturbances’. Mitchell took over from him and would have had the benefit of a sizable workshop the club had recently built for their clubmaker. It all looked promising and he obviously had the opportunity to profit from purses as there is a description of him playing over Carnoustie with J Simpson (presumably the future Open Champion of 1884) against Mr A Willison of Dundee and R Scott of Carnoustie, and triumphing by one hole in 1879. His work in preparing the course was fulsomely praised the following year.
Sadly, though, he drank himself to death, expiring at the Golf Club House on 15 June 1883 after 6 days of delirium tremens. He was only 44.
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