Biography of Judson Wheeler Mitchell

Judson Wheeler Mitchell, manager of The Emporia Ice & Cold Storage Company, had been a Kansas business man for a quarter of a century.

He was born at West Damascus, Pennsylvania, July 2, 1863, and was the son of Harvey Wheeler and Mary E. (Avery) Mitchell.

The Mitchells were originally a Scotch family, one branch of which settled in England in the seventeenth century. Matthew Mitchell came to America in 1635, making the voyage in “The Good Ship James,” which was accompanied by an armed vessel, “The Angel Gabriel.” He landed at Boston, and later settled at Stamford, Connecticut, where he died in 1647. The fourth generation of his descendants settled in the Delaware Valley, purchasing 750 acres of land where Cochecton, New York, and Damascus, Pennsylvania are now situated.

The subject of this sketch was the grandson of John Tyler and Almira Wheeler Mitchell, the latter being a daughter of Major Ebenezer Wheeler, who served his country through the War of 1812. Mr. Mitchell had in his possession the letters written from army headquarters to Major Wheeler’s family during the second war.

Through his mother, Mary E. (Avery) Mitchell, Mr. Mitchell is descended from the Groton branch of the Averys in America. The founder, Christopher Avery, came to America from Salisbury, Wilts County, England, in company with John Winthrop, landing at Salem, Massachusetts, June 12, 1680.

Harvey Wheeler Mitchell, father of Judson Wheeler, was born at West Damascus, Pennsylvania, July 28, 1828. He was a graduate of the University of Lewisburg-now Bucknell University-graduating with the class of 1857. In that year he married Mary Elizabeth Avery, daughter of John Franklin and Hannah (Lukens) Avery. Their children were J. Vestore, who is a wholesale produce merchant at Ottawa, Kansas; Sadie, secretary of The Emporia Ice & Cold Storage Company, and Judson Wheeler.

Mr. Mitchell spent his childhood and early manhood on the farm at West Damascus, Pennsylvania, which had been the home of his great-grandfather, Joseph Mitchell, his grandfather, John Tyler Mitchell, and his father, Harvey Wheeler Mitchell. Here he attended public school, also the Damascus Union Academy. After leaving school, he conducted the home farm and taught during winters.

In 1891 he came to Kansas, and soon afterward he and his brother, J. V. Mitchell, bought a general merchandise store at Americus, where he remained until 1896. Mr. Mitchell was then for two years with Swift & Company, at Fairplay, Missouri; Clinton, Missouri; and Hutchinson, Kansas.

In 1898 he embarked in the grocery business at Hutchinson, remaining there until the fall of 1908, when he became manager and treasurer of the Emporia Ice & Cold Storage Company, a position he had since occupied. He is also one of the stockholders.

In 1893, at Glen Spey, New York, he married Miss Henrietta MacKenzie, daughter of Alexander and Annie MacPherson MacKenzie, who came to America from Kingussie, Scotland, in 1865.

Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell are the parents of two daughters, Margaret Anita. MacKenzie, who is a freshman in the Emporia High School, and Christine Avery, a student in the grade schools.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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