JAMES K. MITCHELL, one of the representative business citizens of Washington, and a typical self-made man, is a native of Missouri, born in Pike county August 15, 1853. His grandfather, Alexander Mitchell, in an early day made a settlement in the company with his brother Andrew, at Short Creek, W. Va., on a farm. Alexander married a Miss Jacobs, a native of near Wellsburg, that State, and children as follows were born to them: Isaac, who died in St. Louis, Mo. (one of his sons, John, is clerk of the county courts at Wheeling, W. Va.; two other sons -- Zachariah, an attorney, and Samuel, a merchant -- live in St. Louis, Mo.); Samuel, who died in Wheeling, W. Va.; Jane, who died December 9,1892, and Zachariah, father of James K.
Zachariah Mitchell was born in 1816, in West Virginia, where he was reared to agricultural pursuits, which he followed for some time; later he became a contractor in Texas, where he was living at the time of the breaking out of the Rebellion; he served in the Confederate army as a commissary. The war crippled him financially, and at the close of the struggle he went to Lexington, Mo., where he died in 1882. He was a Democrat in his political predilections, and at one time was assessor for Clay county. In Wheeling, W. Va., he was married to Miss Ann, daughter of George Baird, who was a son of Absalom Baird, of Revolutionary fame, and the children born to this union were George B.; Alexander, treasurer of the Mutual Savings Bank of Wheeling; Martha B.; Isaac W., and James K. The mother died in Missouri August 28, 1853, when the subject of these lines was two weeks old.
Until the age of five years James K. Mitchell was reared at the home of his uncle, Isaac Mitchell, in St. Louis, Mo., and then was brought by the family to Washington, this county. Here he attended the public schools, and at the age of fourteen commenced to work in the Baird grocery as clerk, remaining there till 1882, a period of fifteen years. In that year he bought an interest in the Budke Manufacturing Company, manufacturers of powder cans, at Canonsburg, where the sheet-iron mills, in which his brother George B. Mitchell had and interest, were located. The latter was also connected with the Riverside Iron Works of Wheeling; he died in March, 1890, leaving a widow and two children, now living in Washington. In 1884 our subject sold out his interest in the powder can industry to the Cannonsburg Iron Company, and on January 1, 1885, embarked in the grain and agricultural implement business in Washington borough, in partnership with J. A. Howden, their place of business being situated where the B. & O. R. R. station now stands. In this they continued till the following January, when Mr. Mitchell bought out his partner' interest, and his uncle, A. T. Baird, became associated with him, which arrangement remained in force until the death of Mr. Baird in March, 1887. In January, 1888, Mr. John W. Seaman became partner with Mr. Mitchell in the general hardware and house furnishing business, under the firm name of Mitchell & Seaman. This partnership continued until May, 1892, when Mr. Mitchell sold his interest to Mr. J. W. Seaman and rented the room on the corner of Main and Wheeling streets, from W. C. Bryson, and organized "The Dime Savings Institution of Washington," which was opened for business January 1, 1893, with Dr. Thomas McKennan as president and Mr. Mitchell as cashier.
On July 14, 1885, Mr. Mitchell was united in marriage with Miss Francis J., daughter of Joseph F. Osborne, of Clarksburg, W. Va., whose family were originally of Fayette county, Penn., whence they moved to West Virginia. To this union have been born three children: Osborne, Baird and Susan Baird. Politically Mr. Mitchell is a Republican, and has served his borough as treasurer. For the past six years he has been treasurer of the Western Pennsylvania Agriculture Association, and is at present treasurer of the Mutual Building and Loan Association. He has been a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Washington since 1876, and in 1884 was elected an elder in same.
Text taken from page 111 of:
Beers, J. H. and Co., Commemorative Biographical Record of Washington County, Pennsylvania (Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co., 1893).
Transcribed April 1997 by Wilbur Frye of Pacifica, CA as part of the Beers Project.
Published April 1997 on the Washington County, PA USGenWeb pages at http://www.chartiers.com/.
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