Captain Daniel Mitchell
Captain Daniel Mitchell, one of the most prominent and venerable citizens of Ashtabula, and perhaps one of the oldest retired lake captains and mariners now living, is a son of Philip and Polly (Warner) Mitchell, and was born in Wooster, Schoharie Co, N. Y., October 5, 1814. The father was born in New York State, and mother in Connecticut.
The grandfather of our subject, on his mother's side, was a patriot of the Revolutionary war, and served with distinction in a cavalry organization for seven years, or until the close of the conflict, participating in many of the fierce struggles which wrought out the independence of the colonies. Both families, the Mitchells and the Warners, were early pioneers of northern Ohio, and became possessed of large tracts of land by industry and theft. Mr. Warner, a hero of the Revolutionary war, lies at rest in the cemetery in Ashtabula, and his grandson, the subject of this sketch, now eighty-four years of age, has had engraved an appropriate tablet to his memory on a monument over his remains, the legend of which reads: "Noah Warner, a soldier of the Revolution, who served his country honorably in the cavalry service seven years. His warfare is over."
Capt. Daniel Mitchell removed with his parents to Westfield, Ohio, where his father died April 8, 1826. The mother soon after her bereavement went to Wooster, Schoharie Co., N. Y.., where her relatives lived, but later returned to Ashtabula, where she resided until 1863, when she, too, passed away. The family consisted of Emanuel, Aurline, Daniel, Betsey, Harman, Mary and Fannie, all of whom are deceased except Daniel and Betsey. Harman was wheelsman on the steamer Washington at the time of the disaster to the vessel, and lost his life; Emanuel also followed the life of a sailor, and ran a packet boat on the Ohio canal at the time of his death, which occurred in Cleveland, Ohio.
Captain Daniel Mitchell to whom this sketch is devoted, attended the district schools for a short time and finished his education as a pupil of William Hubbard, of Ashtabula, at that time a noted teacher in private paid schools. In the spring of 1930 he shipped as cook on the schooner John Q. Adams, with Capt. Ben Stanard. It is said he did not make a brilliant success in that department, and he is soon found in another capacity, However, the Adams capsized soon after leaving port, and the crew were rescued by the schooner Bolivar; young Mitchell soon after shipped before the mast on the schooner Constitution with Capt. E. Perkins. The next season he came out in the steamer New York, and after two months' experience with steam he shipped before the mast on the schooner Bolivar. The next spring he came out as mate, with Capt. C. Thayer, on the schooner Atlas, but in July the following year he stopped ashore and assisted in raising the schooner G. S. Willis, which had been wrecked. He then went into the shipyard and superintended the fitting out of the schooner Adelaide, owned by E. Harman, and made two trips in the fall, bringing her out as master in the spring of 1832, and sailed her seven years, she changing owners in the meantime.
In the spring of 1839 Captain Mitchell was appointed master of the schooner Dahlia, and in 1840 he succeeded to the command of the schooner Argyle, sailing her two years; that winter he superintended the construction of the schooner Ontonagon, at Madison Docks, and sailed her three seasons. In the spring of 1845 he became captain of the schooner Pilot, which berth he held two years, and then took command of the brig Oleander, remaining on her four seasons. In 1851 he came out in the schooner Aldebaron. The next year he took a quarter-interest and superintended the construction of the schooner Bonnie Doon, Gillott and Frazer being the owners. He brought the new schooner out and sailed her five years, making good profits and cargoes. The Bonnie Doon was considered a smart vessel. She was 255 net tons burden, and made the passage between Chicago and Buffalo in three hours less than five days, the Captain winning a new hat on the performance. It is still said, when a schooner is credited with a quick trip that "it is not come up to the Bonnie Doon record."
With the close of the season of 1860 ended the active marine life of Captain Mitchell, the Bonnie Doon being his last vessel. During the thirty years he was sailing he never lost a man or vessel, and had but one casualty, which was occasioned by the stranding on Racine reef in thick weather. He jettisoned 800 bushels of wheat, and the vessel floated. Since his retirement Captain Mitchell has devoted the greater part of his time to the management of his large farm in Ashabula count; has been elected constable, deputy sheriff, marshal, and street commissioner at various times. He was a man of great strength and endurance in his younger days, and now, at the advanced age of eighty-four years, carries himself with an erect and soldierly bearing, and is in full possession of all his faculties. He is a man of courteous sociability and generous hospitalty. Fraternally he is a veteran Royal Arch Mason and a member of the order of Odd Fellows, serving as treasurer of the last named order seven years.
In October, 1851, Captain Mitchell was united in marriage to Miss Araminta, daughter of Charles Chadwick, Newark, Wayne county, N.Y. After thirty-seven years of married life Mrs. Mitchell passed away, leaving the Captain alone with an adopted child, Frances, daughter of Capt. Mitchell Jackson, who came into the family when she was three years of age.
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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.