A gentleman of education, refinement and culture, an Easterner who came to Rock Island in the early days, and who spent a busy and useful lifetime in this community, was George Mixter, deceased, the subject of this sketch.
He was born in Hardwick, Massachusetts, April 28, 1835, and died in Rock Island April 20, 1897. He was of English extraction. The first Mixter who came to America was an English sea captain of that name, who came to this country and settled in Plymouth in 1630, and from him the Mixter family, so well known throughout Rock Island County, trace their ancestry.
Mr. Mixter’s education was obtained in the schools of his native State, and later he attended Yale University, then Yale College, from which he graduated in 1836. In that same year he came West and settled in Rock Island, which was his home until his death, with the exception of a few years spent at Dixon, Illinois. He lived in a log cabin on the north side of what is now Second Avenue, between Eleventh and Twelfth Streets. Shortly after locating here he took up the study of law and was admitted to the Illinois Bar, but was never engaged in the active practice of his profession, choosing instead a commercial career. In fact, he was engaged in the trial of but one case. Abandoning his intention of engaging in the practice of law, Mr. Mixter embarked in the lumber business and this engaged his attention until 1863. From an early day until his death Mr. Mixter was interested in many factories both here and elsewhere, but took no active part in their management.
On January 1, 1845, Mr. Mixter was married at Moline, Illinois, to Miss Susan Elizabeth Gilbert. After his marriage he removed with his wife to Dixon, Illinois, where he remained for a few years engaged in a land office. While at Dixon their oldest son, William Gilbert Mixter, was born. He is now professor at Yale. Three children, George, Elizabeth and Mary died when very young. A daughter, Susan, died at the age of twenty-three. Another daughter, Carrie, is now the wife of C. W. Cook. They reside at Shawnee, Oklahoma. Two sons, Charles Knox Mixter and Frank Mixter, live in Rock Island, sketches of their lives appearing else-where in this book.
Mr. Mixter was never ambitious to hold political office himself, and although a staunch Republican, the only office he ever held was an honorary one as member of the Rock Island School Board, which position he filled for many years. His broad education and comprehensive knowledge made him a most valuable member of such a Board, and his hand was potent in molding the development of the Rock Island Public Schools. Although, as has been stated, he was not self-seeking in the field of politics, he nevertheless took a keen interest in affairs political. He was a forceful public speaker and made many political speeches during the Fifties and Sixties.
He was a man of deep, religious conviction, and was an attendant of the Broadway Presbyterian Church of Rock Island.
He was a man of most unusual education and attainments in that early day, when a college education was a rarity and its possessor was a person looked up to and revered because of it. There was about Mr. Mixter, however, not the faintest trace of egotism or conceit, and he walked through the world with that unostentatiousness which always marks the truly well educated man. He was fond of literature, a great reader and a delightful companion, a man greatly beloved by those who knew him, kindly, considerate and of a kindly disposition. In short it may be said that he was a gentleman, possessing all the attributes which that term implies.