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The well known and popular postmaster of Kendrick, John Irving Mitcham, was born in Indiana, April 7, 1849, and is of Scotch-Irish lineage, his ancestors being early settlers of South Carolina. His paternal grandfather emigrated to Ohio at an early day, and there John Mitcham, father of our subject, was born and reared. When a young man he removed to Indiana and was married in the Hoosier state to Miss Jane McCann, a native of Indiana. They have been life-long and faithful members of the United Brethren church, and now, in their declining years, are surrounded by the veneration and respect which should always accompany an honorable old age. They reside in Fairbury, Nebraska, to which state they removed in 1867. The father is now eighty-five years of age, and the mother eighty-one. Their home was blessed with five children, three of whom are living, and they have passed the fiftieth anniversary of their wedding day, thus traveling life’s journey together for more than half a century, their mutual love and confidence increasing as the years have gone by.
The subject of this sketch is the eldest of their children. He was educated in Greenhill Seminary, in Indiana, and at Taber College, Iowa, and has devoted his life to agricultural pursuits and religious work in the United Brethren and Methodist churches. In 1885 he was ordained a minister of the gospel, and became a very zealous and efficient worker in the Master’s vineyard. He joined the Columbia River conference and for some years also carried on his ministerial labors in Idaho. He came to Kendrick very early in the history of the town, in 1883, and purchased seventy-five acres of land adjoining the corporation limits. He has a very pleasant home, overlooking the picturesque valley in which the town is located, the view being a most attractive and delightful one, hardly surpassed in the entire state, which so richly deserves the name of “Gem of the Mountains.”
Mr. Mitcham was happily married August 22. 1878, to Miss Arizona Miller, a native of Nebraska. Three children, two daughters and a son, have come to bless their union, Floyd, Mary E. and John Milton.
In his political affiliations Mr. Mitcham is a stalwart Republican, unswerving in his advocacy of the principles of the party. On that ticket he was elected a member of the last territorial legislature of Idaho and has been a member of the state senate. His close study of the conditions, needs and demands of the state made him a valuable member of the assembly and his aid was zealously given to every measure which he believed would prove of public benefit. For three years he served as a member of the city council of Kendrick, was mayor of the city two terms, was police judge four years and justice of the peace six years. His public duties have ever been discharged in a most prompt and faithful manner, showing him to be a trustworthy and patriotic official. He is a man of broad general information, of sound judgment and the highest integrity of character and has the unqualified confidence of his fellow townsmen and all who know him. The cause of education has also found in him a warm friend, and he has taken a deep interest in everything pertaining to the intellectual advancement of this town, county and state. For three years he was a member of the school board of Kendrick, was largely instrumental in securing the establishment of the State University at Moscow, and has the credit of having cast the deciding vote which located the State Normal School at Lewiston. He received the appointment of postmaster of Kendrick on the 3d of July 1897, and has made a very capable officer, winning the commendation of all concerned. In manner he is free from all ostentation and display, but his intrinsic worth is recognized and his friendship is most prized by those who know him best, showing that his character will bear the scrutiny of close acquaintance. He is a generous, broadminded man, a true type of the American spirit and an embodiment of that progress which in the last few years has drawn to this country the admiring gaze of the nations of the world.