Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The Big Bend Country, embracing Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin counties, State of Washington",  published by Western Historical Publishing Co., 1904.

     JOSEPH R. MITCHELL lives about one mile east from St. Andrews on land he secured from the government, and is occupied in general farming.  He has gained good success in two distinct lines, that in which he is now engaged and also the work of a machinist, having spent many years in that interesting business.
     He was born in the vicinity of Baltimore, Maryland, on June 18, 1843, the son of Abel and Elizabeth (Howard) Mitchell, both natives of England and emigrants to this country in 1841.  The common schools of Maryland contributed the early education of our subject and at the tender age of nine, he went to work in the cotton mills.  His only opportunity then to continue his education was in the night schools where he studied with great diligence until seventeen, then he apprenticed himself to learn the machinist's trade, being in a marine shop in Baltimore.  In 1864, he left Maryland for Ohio, whence six months later, he journeyed to Quincy, Illinois and worked at his trade for five years.  He then returned to Ohio, remaining until 1874, working at his trade.  After this, he journeyed to California and wrought two years in Hayward and two years in San Francisco.  At the close of this period, he went to Oakland and opened a machine shop with a partner and operated successfully until 1889, in which year he came on to Douglas county and took a pre-emption and timber culture where he now lives.  Mr. Mitchell invented a straw burning boiler which is now in use with engines, as well as various other contrivances which have been patented and are in use.  He is a man of modest and unassuming mien and has been asked on various occasions to run for the legislature but has always declined.
     On May 1, 1872, at Salem, Ohio, Mr. Mitchell married Miss Sara E., daughter of John and Sarah A. (Harlan) Trago, natives of Pennsylvania and Ohio, respectively.  Mrs. Mitchell was born in Mahoning county, Ohio, on July 27, 1846 and has one sister, Mrs. Hanna A. Platt.  To Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell one child, Mabel E., was born, the date being April 20, 1878, and her native place San Francisco.  She died on April 27, 1898, in this county.
     Mrs. Mitchell is a well educated lady, being a graduate of the high school in Salem, Ohio.  She belongs to the Society of Friends, sometimes known as Quakers.  Mr. Mitchell does not belong to any denomination, although he strongly adheres to the Presbyterian faith.  They are both excellent people and stand exceptionally well in the community.