Biography of J.M. Mitchell

No compilation of the annals of Wallowa county would be complete without especial mention of the esteemed subject of this article and his faithful wife, who were among the earliest pioneers here and who have labored with energy and assiduity Since in the up building and advancement of the county.

J.M. Mitchell was born in Lafayette county, Missouri, on November 18,1 848, being the son of Frederick and Rebecca Mitchell. The father was born in the vicinity of Richmond, Virginia, in January 1808, while the mother was born in that city on December 31, 1808. They were of Irish and Dutch extraction and numbered among the agriculturists and stock raisers of the country. In 1834 they came to Indiana. In 1852 they came overland with teams to Oregon. Seven months were consumed in the journey and when they arrived at Milwaukee, near Portland, they went immediately into winter quarters where all but eight of their sixty-four cattle died. A move was made the next spring to Looking glass valley in Douglas county and much suffering on account of hostile Indians was incurred, the family being obliged to live in fortifications much of the time. In 1863 the family came to Cove, which was then a wild country, also infested with the savages. This was in Union county and there and in western Oregon young Mitchell received what education was to be had in those trying frontier times. Once Mr. Mitchell was called to help suppress an Indian uprising, but it proved to be only one Indian and all was soon settled.

On September 25, 1870, Mr. Mitchell and Miss Mary A., daughter of Luke J. and Mary Ann (Shaw) Boothe, were married, the nuptials occurring in Cove, Union county, Oregon. Mrs. Mitchell was born on December 14, 1850, in Unionville, Putnam county, Missouri. Her father was born in Virginia, on May 5, 1819, and her mother was born in Booneville, Missouri on March 8, 1821: Mrs. Mitchell’s ancestors were of Scotch and Irish extraction and her parents were farmers and stock raisers. Her father was an officer in the Missouri militia. He preached for forty-two years in the Baptist church and organized a number of churches and was a faithful expounder of the gospel. Mrs. Mitchell is now a member of the Baptist church, as her parents were before her. She has four brothers and two sisters. Mrs. Mitchell crossed the plains in 1865, aged fourteen years. In 1868 the family came to the Cove, Union county, and there she lived after her marriage until 1880. In 1880 Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell came to what is now Wallowa County and near Joseph they took up farming, raising stock and operating a sawmill. In 1895 a move was made to Joseph and Mrs. Mitchell opened a hotel, which she is now operating while her husband manages the stock ranch that they own near town. She has made a fine success of the hotel, owing to her keen business ability and good financiering, while as a hostess she is unexcelled in kindness to her guests and her house is justly popular with the traveling public. Mrs. Mitchell is a member of the circle of the W. Mr. Mitchell has always taken an intelligent part in politics and aided in the organization of Wallowa County. He is a Jeffersonian Democrat and his first vote was cast for president of the United States in 1872. Mr. Mitchell has five brothers and four sisters. His brother, Matthew W. Mitchell, was one of the educators of Douglas County and in 1876 was chosen for the state legislature on the democratic ticket. He now lives in Union county. Mary Mitchell, our subject’s sister, married Jephthah Green, who was representative to the state legislature from Douglas County in 1888. Mr. Mitchell is one of the incorporators of the Desert Land Ditch, which is valued at about two thousand dollars. To this worthy couple there have been born the following children: Fed W., Herman, Anna, Henry, Weldon and Guy. None of the citizens of the prosperous county of Wallowa are more highly esteemed or stand better or have done more faithful work for the advancement of the interests of the county than the worthy couple mentioned above.



An Illustrated history of Union and Wallowa Counties: with a brief outline of the early history of the state of Oregon. Western Historical Pub. Co., 1902.

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