James "Jamie" Mitchell

Jamie Mitchell was actually a country-boy. He was born on the Dundonald Road on the way out of Kilmarnock to the village of Crosshouse, his father a farm-worker from Troon and his mother from Galloway. And he was to grow up in a cottage in the fields between Crosshouse and Knockentiber in view of the ruins of ancient Busbie Castle.

That was until his teenage years by when his father had left the land to work at the local colliery and Jamie had followed him. Meanwhile he was playing football, initially a left-half, with the juniort Crosshouse team until in 1900 at the age of twenty he joined Kilmarnock, where he was to stay for the next two decades but not without a major blip. In 1903-4 he was badly injured and for two seasons dropped down to turn out in friendlies for Hurlford. 

However, by 1906 he had recovered and returned to Rugby Park, where he moved to left-back and very soon attracted attention, at the age of twenty-eight winning a first international cap followed by two more two seasons later. Meanwhile, by then he was already eight years married. In 1902 he had wed Dalry-born Catherine Wallace in their home village, he recorded as a boiler-maker's labourer. They were to have four surviving children all born in Kilmarnock, the last in 1916, by when in his mid-thirties he was still playing. In fact he would remain fit enough to feature in the Killy first-team until the beginning of 1919-20 and in the second-team that would take the Scottish Alliance title at that season's end

By then Jamie Mitchell was forty, at which point he stepped back to work as a plasterer's labourer and then painter/repairer of railway wagons and it was as such in retirement that in 1958 he died at the age of seventy-eight, by then a widower. Catherine, whilst registered as staying in Kilmarnock, had predeceased him by fully sixteen years, passing away aged sixty of a heart attack but back in Crosshouse, indeed at its Manse.   

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