William H. Mitchell, the present mayor of Beloit, Kan., is a native of New York. He was born on a farm near Elizabethtown, Essex county, New York, January 22, 1835. His parents were William N. and Mary (Hillock) Mitchell, the former a native of Chittenden, Vt., of New England ancestry. William N. Mitchell was a printer in early life and for a time published the Essex County "Republican" at Essex, N. Y. About 1832 he engaged in farming, which he followed until his death in 1892, at the advanced age of eighty-two years. He spent his life in Essex county. Mary Hillock, our subject's mother, was born in Ireland in 1817 and was brought to this country by her parents when she was two years of age. They settled in Essex county, New York, where they spent their lives.
William H. Mitchell received a common school education and when a boy learned the carpenter's trade and followed that vocation until the great Civil war broke out, in 1861, when, in answer to President Lincoln's call, he enlisted in Company K, Thirty-eighth regiment, New York volunteer infantry. At the organization of the company he was elected sergeant and received his baptism of fire at the first battle of Bull Run. He was in the army two years and was in several engagements and saw much service, but was one of the fortunate who came out of the conflict with honor and without scars. In 1865 he came to Kansas City and was engaged in the livery business until 1867. From 1867 until 1870 he was interested in the patent-right business. He then went to Abilene, where he erected the first business house in that town. In the fall of 1870 he located in Beloit and opened the first hotel in the place, which he conducted four years, and in 1874 was appointed postmaster of Beloit, serving in that capacity twelve years. In 1886 Mr. Mitchell turned to an entirely new business venture, buying large tracts of pine timber land in Arkansas and engaged extensively in the saw mill and lumber business, which he carried on for thirteen years. He retained his residence in Beloit all this time. His Arkansas lumber business proved very successful financially, but on account of failing health he was compelled to dispose of his interests there. He invested the proceeds in Kansas land in Mitchell and Jewell counties, which also proved to be a very profitable move from a financial standpoint. Mr. Mitchell has had a remarkably successful business career and at the same time has always taken an active interest in public affairs. He is ever ready to lend his aid and influence to any worthy enterprise for the betterment of his town and community. In 1901 he was elected mayor of Beloit and the fact that he has been continuously reëlected to that office ever since is sufficient evidence that he has made good. He served seven years on the school board, five years of which he was its president. He has been a lifelong Republican, casting his first vote for John C. Fremont for President in 1856, and since that time has taken a keen interest in the welfare of his party and active in its councils, casting his last ballot for William H. Taft for President in 1912. He has served two terms as chairman of congressional committee of the Sixth district, and has the distinction of having been a delegate to two Republican national conventions, the Philadelphia convention in 1900 and the convention of 1904. He has served as a delegate to numerous State and county conventions. He is a member of Beloit Post, No. 147, of which he is past commander, having served as commander four years in succession.Pages 321-322 from a supplemental volume 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 October 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM196. It is a single volume 3.
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