Captain John Mitchell
Captain John Mitchell, one of the most prominent, as well as one of the most highly respected business men of Cleveland, has, throughout most of his life, been more or less intimately connected with transportation on the Great Lakes. A brief review of his life shows that there are many opportunities for young men of character and industry to succeed if they will but take advantage of them.
Captain Mitchell was born October 8, 1850, in Franklin, Lower Canada (now Province of Quebec), of American parents. His Father, Daniel Mitchell, while of German ancestry, was a native of Pennsylvania, and his mother, who bore the maiden name of Calista Roseberry, was of French descent and a native of New York. In their family were nine children, but two of whom are living - our subject and Capt. Alfred Mitchell. The father, who was a carpenter by trade, was residing but temporarily in Canada when the subject of this memoir was born, and he later removed to New York State, thence to Milwaukee, Wis., and in 1865 to Fair Haven Mich., where his death occurred in August, 1866. His widow is still living, at the age of sixty-seven years, and makes her home in Marine City, Mich. The two surviving brothers have for the most of their active lives been associated together in business on the lakes, and in other enterprises not so closely related to the water.
In 1865 Capt. John Mitchell left the stavemill, in which his father had placed him, to take the position of cook on the old steamboat J. B. Smith, and since that time has been actively and energetically engaged in the transportation business, in the building of lake crafts and in the insurance business. In 1893 he became a member of the board of directors, and is now general manager of the Hopkins Steamship Company, of which James Corrigan is president; F. W. Wheeler, vice-president; L. C. Recor, secretary; and Mark Hopkins, treasurer. On the 14th of October, 1893, the Captain's sister and her husband, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Meswald, were drowned by the foundering of the steamer Wocoken.
On the organization of the Gratwick Steamship Company, in 1894, Captain Mitchell was made vice-president. This company built the steamer John J. McWilliams, which at the time of its construction was the largest on the lakes. In 1895 Captain Mitchell was made secretary and general manager of the Etna Steamship Company, of which W. H. Gratwick was president, Frederick Smith, vice-president, and Alfred Mitchell, treasurer. He is also president of the Marine City Salt and Brick Works, the Lake View Land Company, and the Lancastershire Syndicate; and has an interest in the Shaker Heights Land Company; is a director and a member of the executive committee of the Cuyahoga Building and Loan Association.
The prominent position which Captain Mitchell occupies has been attained by an active, energetic life, by his genial and pleasant manners, and by a straightforward, honorable career. He is a thirty-second degree Mason, and a member of the Mystic Shrine; and belongs to the Tippecanoe and Union clubs of Cleveland. Politically, he has always been a Republican, and is well known as a liberal contributor to its cause, and is a strong supporter of its principles.
In 1873 Captain Mitchell was married to Miss Mary A. Rouvel, of Fair Haven, Mich., and to them have been born nine children, seven of whom are living: Herbert W., Ralph D., Mabel A., Ismay, John P., Calista Irene, and Harold. Since 1890 the Captain and his family have lived in their beautiful home, at No. 2170 Euclid avenue, Cleveland, Ohio.
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This version of Volume II is based, with permission, on the work of the great volunteers at the Marine Captains Biographies site. To them goes the credit for reorganizing the content into some coherent order. The biographies in the original volume are in essentially random order.
Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.