Alexander C. Mitchell was a lawyer by profession, and was not only a leader in his profession, but also of men, always active in behalf of public interests and ready to serve his fellowmen. He arose to distinction as a lawyer and then was elected a member of Congress, where he had served only a few months when, at the age of fifty years, he was summoned by death. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Oct. 11, 1860, and with the exception of a period of six years, from 1880 to 1886, and the first six years of his life, he lived in Kansas, to which state his parents removed, with their family, in 1867. He was a son of William J. and Martha (Mitchell) Mitchell, both of whom were born in Ireland, of Scotch lineage; and they were related, the father belonging to "the Mitchells of the town" and the mother to "the Mitchells of the hill." The father came to the United States, in 1847, and the mother in 1849. They were married in Cincinnati, whence they came to Kansas, in 1867, settling on a farm in Kanwaka township, Douglas county, where the father, now ninety-four years of age, resides. In Cincinnati the father was a harness maker, but in Kansas he has followed farming. The mother died at the age of eighty-three years. Of their children four sons and one daughter grew to maturity. In 1880 they returned to Cincinnati, where they resided until 1884, in which latter year they returned to Douglas county, Kansas. They were reared Scotch Covenantors, hut in this country they united with the United Presbyterian church. Their children became members of the Presbyterian church. The late Alexander C. Mitchell was reared on a farm and attended the country district schools. From 1880 to 1886 he resided in Cincinnati, where he followed the trade of a machinist, but it appears that he was not to remain a man of a trade, but to become a professional man. While in Cincinnati he applied himself to study, privately, and it was in that city that he began the study of law, in the law office of a cousin, in 1886 he returned to Douglas county and, in 1887, entered the law department of the University of Kansas, in which he graduated in 1889. He then began the active practice of law at Lawrence, being associated with Samuel D. Bishop until he became a member of Congress, the style of the law firm being Bishop & Mitchell. He was elected county attorney of Douglas county in 1896, to which office he was reëlected in 1898. He served as county attorney four years, bringing to the discharge of his duties that high integrity, splendid courage, and conscientious diligence that always marked his professional life. For six years he served on the board of regents of the University of Kansas. In 1906 and 1908 he was elected a member of the state legislature from his county and as a legislator served two terms, making a fine record in that office. In 1907 he was appointed a member of the board of law examiners, a professional recognition worthy of mention. In 1910, at the solicitation of many citizens who thought him eminently fitted, in ability and spirit, for Congress, he entered the race for the primary nomination against Hon. Charles F. Scott, who for five terms had represented the Second Congressional district. He entered the race as a 'Progressive Republican," and was successful in winning the nomination, and also the election in the following November. In March, 1911, in the special session, he began what promised to be a useful and distinguished career in Congress, but his health soon failed him, and on July 7, 1911, he passed to the unknown. When we come to think of his life it is no wonder that he died at the age of fifty years. He was always a hard worker. In his youth and early manhood he worked at manual labor, strove to obtain an education against odds, and was under the necessity of defraying from his own earnings the expenses of his professional education. With noble aspiration and fixed determination, such as characterize his career, it is no wonder that he succeeded; but his hard work and strenuous life was not destined to ripen into old age; although it terminated in honor and success. A man of deep and earnest conviction, and of exceptional force and energy in promotion of what he believed to be right, he knew no such word as fail. As a public speaker he was plain and direct in his logic, but singularly effective, because his public presentations were always marked by the assurance of sincerity. His friends knew him as a broad-minded, good natured man, thoughtfully considerate of others, though in no sense weak in the presence of the obligation of duty. People who knew him believed in him, because they always found him square in his public relations and frank and straightforward in his private dealings. Broad was his education, though largely self-acquired. He was a man of culture and an intellectual leader. Mr. Mitchell was a Knight Templar Mason and also belonged to the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. In church faith he was a Presbyterian.
On July 23, 1890, he was united in marriage with Miss Helen M., accomplished daughter of Eben Baldwin, one of the highly esteemed and well known citizens of Douglas county. Mrs. Mitchell and three children survive their distinguished husband and father. By name the children are Hannah, Alexander Baldwin, and Eben. Mrs. Mitchell is accomplished in music, in which she has won some distinction. With grace and dignity she presided over the home of Mr. Mitchell. It was in his domestic life and relations that Mr. Mitchell found deepest joy, comfort and delight. He was an excellent and exemplary husband and a fond and devoted father.Pages 432-433 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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