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
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.