J. Vessey Mitchell, wholesale produce merchant of Ottawa, Kan., born at Damascus, Wayne county, Pa., Nov. 2, 1859. Mr. Mitchell is descended from sturdy English ancestry and from one of the oldest families of America. The progenitor of the family in America was Matthew Mitchell, who was born in Halifax, Yorkshire, England, in 1590, and emigrated to America in 1635, in the ship "James," in company with an armed vessel named "Angel Gabriel," landing at Boston. He settled at Stamford, Conn., where he died in 1635. He had two sons and two daughters. David Mitchell was one of the sons, and he was the father of Abraham Mitchell, who was the father of Nathan Mitchell. Nathan Mitchell married Hannah Hely and became the father of Nathan Mitchell, who married Betsy Ross, and became the father of Joseph Mitchell. Joseph Mitchell married Abigail Tyler, and became the father of John Mitchell, who married Almira Wheeler, and became the father of Harvey Wheeler Mitchell, the father of the subject of this personal sketch. Harvey Wheeler Mitchell was born at Damascus, Pa., July 28, 1828, and died there August 21, 1867. He was well educated and devoted his life to the profession of teaching. He married Mary E. Avery, who was born at Cochecton, N. Y., and who in years subsequent to her husband's death came to Kansas, in which state she afterwards lived and died. She came of New England stock, of a typical and esteemed Yankee family of Connecticut, dating back to Christopher Avery, born in England in 1590, a weaver by trade, and the father of James Avery, born in England in 1620, they coming to America in 1631. She bore her husband the following children, all of whom are still living: J. Vessey Mitchell, Sadie E. Mitchell and Judson W. Mitchell.
J. Vessey Mitchell received a fair common school education, which was supplemented by a course in the Eastman Business College at Poughkeepsie, N. Y. He became a country merchant at Tyler Hill, Pa., and came to Kansas in 1887, locating at Wilsey, Morris county, where he operated a general store for a short time. He afterward operated a like store at Americus, then at Council Grove, coming to Ottawa in 1900, where he has since been engaged in the wholesale produce business. As a merchant he has been successful. He began his business career on limited capital, but by reason of exceptionally good business ability and of closely attending to business, Mr. Mitchell prospered, and deserves much commendation for having forged his own way to success in the business world. He is the patentee of the Mitchell Poultry Coop, which he has been manufacturing since he patented it in 1902, and which has had an extensive sale.
Mr. Mitchell is a progressive man in business and in public affairs, and since coming to Ottawa has borne an active part in the city's public affairs. He has served as councilman, and in politics is a Democrat. In church and educational affairs he has taken an active part. He is a member of the Baptist church at Ottawa, and has been treasurer of the church for the past eight years. For five years now he has been treasurer of Ottawa University. For the last three years Mr. Mitchell has been president of the Occidental Benefit Association, a fraternal beneficiary association, with headquarters at Salina, Kan.
At Milanville, Pa., Mr. Mitchell was united in marriage in 1886, to Miss Louisa C. Skinner, a native of Pennsylvania, and she has indeed been a helpmeet to him. Their home has been blessed by the birth of three children, as follows: Mary Agnes, Ruel Wheeler, and Harlan Yale Mitchell. The family is one of the most respected of Ottawa. Mr. Mitchell has always manifested strictest regard for honesty in business transactions, and in his personal relations he is always kind to and considerate of others; therefore he is popular among his fellowmen.Pages 520-521 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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