John E. Mitchell is a retired farmer living in Liberty township. He was born at Newport, Kentucky, February
24, 1838, his parents being Henry H. and Sarah (Harrison) Mitchell, the former a native of Kentucky and the latter
of Pennsylvania. They had a family of five children, of whom two are yet living. In the year 1839 they left the
Blue Grass state and came to Iowa. Nine years later, or in 1848, the father took up his abode at Hamilton, in Marion
county. In the meantime his first wife had died and he married again. He was both a farmer and tanner, following
the latter trade in this county for a short time but giving the greater part of his attention to general agricultural
pursuits. At the time of the discovery of gold in California he started for the Pacific coast, making the long
journey in 1851 with ox teams across the plains, over the hot stretches of sand and through the mountain passes
to the mines of the far west. In this county he became the owner of property and upon his land the town of Hamilton
was laid out in the fall of 1850. He was always much interested in the welfare and progress of this part of the
state and gave helpful support to many measures and movements for the public good. His political indorsement was
given the republican party and he served as road supervisor. His death occurred April 2o, 1892, while his wife
survived him for eight years and was then laid by his side in the cemetery at Hamilton.
John E. Mitchell is one of the two surviving members of a family of five children. He had but limited educational
opportunities, for he was reared upon the frontier, being only a little more than a year old when his parents came
to Iowa, which was then under territorial rule. He shared with the family in all of the hardships and privations
incident to life upon the frontier and he had but little chance to secure an education. In 1856, when a youth of
eighteen years, he went to California and after his return took up the occupation of farming, which he followed
for twenty years. In the winter seasons he also engaged in the manufacture of brooms and thus he lived a busy and
active life which in time brought him a substantial competence that now enables him to rest from further labor.
He was also at one time a guard at the penitentiary in Fort Madison for several years and for twelve years acted
as mail carrier.
On the 20th of September, 1860, Mr. Mitchell was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Carr, a daughter of John
and Elizabeth (McGruder) Carr, who in the fall of 185o came to Marion county, settling in the same neighborhood
as the Mitchell family. Her father passed away in 1852, having been permitted to enjoy his new home for only a
brief period. His widow long survived him, her death occurring in 1909. To Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell were born eight
children, Clara, Lottie, Eddie, Flora, Walter, and three who died in infancy.
Mr. Mitchell is entitled to wear the little bronze button of the Grand Army of the Republic, for on the 20th of
July, 1861, he responded to the call ford troops, enlisting as a member of Company E, Eighth Iowa Infantry, with
which he served for three years and twenty five days. He was wounded in the battle of Corinth and participated
in the engagement at Shiloh and in other important battles. He has always been interested in matters of progressive
citizenship and yet keeps well informed on the questions and issues of the day, notwithstanding the fact that he
has passed the seventy sixth milestone on life's journey. He has many good qualities and his friends entertain
for him a kindly regard.
History of Marion County, Iowa
And its People
John W. Wright, Supervising Editor
W. A. Young, Associate
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Marion County, IA
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