The family bearing the name of Mitchell is one of the oldest in the New World, its progenitor being Experience Mitchell, who came over in 1623 in the “Ann,” and from that time to the present the records of various towns of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, chiefly Plymouth, Duxbury and the Bridgewaters, bear mute testimony of the prominence in peace and war of the members of the family in the different generations, and the present head of the family in Brockton, Isam Mitchell, president of Isam Mitchell & Co., lumber dealers and contractors, and his son, the late Herbert Isam Mitchell, active in business with his father and prominent in fraternal circles, have proved themselves firm in purpose and able in business.
Experience Mitchell, planter, came to Plymouth in 1623 in the ship “Ann,” and was one of the “forefathers,” a name usually applied to those who arrived in the first three ships. He sold his place in Plymouth in 1631, and removed to Duxbury, where in 1650 he purchased William Paybody’s house and farm. He was a freeman in 1633. He was juryman, town officer, proprietor with George Morton. He was an original proprietor of Bridgewater, but sold his share to Thomas Hayward; he went to Bridgewater late in life with his son Edward, and lived at a place called Joppa, where for generations his descendants continued to live.
Savage says that Mr. Mitchell was a youth on coming to New England, had been one of the goodly company at Leyden, where he left a brother Thomas, who died there; and further that perhaps he was under the care of Francis Cooke, was of his company in partaking share of cattle in 1627, and soon after married his daughter Jane. The Christian name of the wife of his old age was Mary. He died in 1689, at the age of eighty years. The names of his children, as appears from his will, deeds and other written documents, were:
Jacob Mitchell, son of Experience, married in 1666 Susanna, daughter of Thomas Pope. He was a carpenter by trade; settled in that part of Dartmouth now Fairhaven, Mass. He was ensign in the military, and at the commencement of King Philip’s war, in 1675, with his wife, was killed by the Indians early in the morning as they were going to the garrison, whither they had sent their children the afternoon before. They both lived to reach the garrison, but died of their wounds. Their children were:
All of whom went to Bridgewater, where they were cared for and reared by their uncle Edward.
Thomas Mitchell, son of Jacob, married in 1696 Elizabeth, daughter of John Kingman. He died in 1727, and she in 1733. They lived in South Bridgewater. Their children were:
- Henry, born in 1698
- Timothy, born in 1700
- Susanna, born in 1703
- Edward, born in 1705
- Elizabeth, born in 1710
- Mary, born in 1713
- Seth, born in 1715
Seth Mitchell, son of Thomas, born in 1715, married (first) in 1738 Ann, daughter of Thomas Latham. He may have been the Seth Mitchell, of East Bridgewater at the time or afterward, who was out in the French war. The Bridgewater company joined the British army in 1755, and first encamped east of the Hudson river, in the neighborhood of Albany. After the death of his wife Ann Seth Mitchell married (second), in 1760, Mary:, daughter of Nicholas Wade. He died in 1802, aged eighty-seven. His wife Mary died in 1809, aged eighty-three. His children were:
- Jacob, born in 1740
- Reuben, in 1741
- Seth, in 1744
- Zenas, in 1746
- Phineas, in 1747
- Eliphaz, in 1749
- Timothy, in 1751
- Ertheus, in 1753
- Ann, in 1755
- Reuben, in 1757
- Betty (all born to the first marriage)
- Molly, in 1761
- Nabby, in 1762
- Susanna, in 1766
Seth Mitchell (2), son of Seth, born in 1744, married in 1795 Susanna, daughter of Capt. Simeon Wood. The name of Seth Mitchell, Jr., is among those from East Bridgewater who served in the Revolution, the list being prepared by William Allen, and in “Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Revolution” is found the name of Seth Mitchell (residence not given) as a private in Capt. Nathan Snow’s company, Col. Howe’s regiment; enlisted Sept. 24, 1777; service one month and nine days at Rhode Island on a secret expedition. Whether Seth (2) and the soldier are one is uncertain. Seth Mitchell (2) died in 1807, aged sixty-four. His children were:
- Simeon Wood, born in 1795
- Sarah Weston, born in 1796
- Arnat, born in 1798
- Timothy, born in 1800
- Susanna, born in 1802
- George Washington, born in 1804
- Seth Arnold, born in 1806
Simeon Wood Mitchell lived to the age of eighty-four, dying in March, 1879. He served in the war of 1812. He was a farmer and blacksmith in Bridgewater, where he died, and was reputed to be one of the wealthiest men of the town in his day. In 1819 he married (first) Keziah Leonard (daughter of Jonathan Leonard, of Middleboro), who died at the age of forty-two years, the mother of children as follows:
- Julia, who married Gass Holmes, of Bridgewater, where she died
- Keziah, who married Hubbard Benson, of Bridgewater, where she resides, a widow
- Sarah, who married Granville Carver, of Bridgewater, where she died
- Simeon, who died in Brockton
- Leonard, who is engaged in farming in Bridgewater
- William, a carpenter by trade, who died in West Bridgewater
- Elizabeth, who died young
- Isam, mentioned below
- Cordelia, who died unmarried in North Bridgewater
Simeon Wood Mitchell married (second) Lydia Caswell, by whom he had one son, Lysander W., who died in the service of his country during the Civil war, aged about twenty years.
Isam Mitchell was born in Bridgewater Dec. 26, 1836, and was educated in the district schools of his native town. Leaving school at the age of seventeen years, he became an apprentice to the carpenter’s trade with Charles Worth in North Bridgewater, remaining with him one year, after which he spent another year under Horatio Wilbur, of Middleboro. When about nineteen years of age he engaged in contracting and building on his own account, doing considerable work in his native town as well as the surrounding towns, finally going into partnership with George Hayward, under the firm name of Hayward & Mitchell, as contractors, of Bridgewater, this partnership continuing for about two years. Mr. Mitchell then engaged in business on his own account as a contractor, continuing until 1870, in which year he established his present business as a dealer in lumber and builders’ supplies of all kinds, and in which he has been remarkably successful. In 1887 the business was incorporated under the laws of Massachusetts as Isam Mitchell & Co., when he became president of the same, in which capacity he has since remained; since the death of his son he has been the sole proprietor. Mr. Mitchell has had a remarkably fortunate business career. He started in life as a journeyman carpenter, and gradually worked into the lumber business, eventually developing an extensive and well-established trade, which amounts to several hundred thousands of dollars yearly. At the large yards of Isam Mitchell & Co. in Brockton, several hundred carloads of lumber are received each year, and about one million feet are kept in the yards all the time, as well as a large and complete stock of sash, doors, blinds, builders’ hardware, glass, etc. Mr. Mitchell also owns large orange plantations in Redlands, Cal., where for a number of years he has spent his winters, and to which he devotes much of his time and attention, and from which he ships about fifty carloads of oranges per year. He also owns the Redlands apartment building in Brockton. Although seventy-five years of age, Mr. Mitchell is still very active, giving his attention entirely to his various business interests. In political views he is an ardent advocate of the principles of the Republican party, hut he has never cared for public office. He is a member of Massasoit Lodge, No. 69, T. O. O. F., and of the Commercial Club of Brockton.
Mr. Mitchell married Clarinda E. Beals, daughter of Solomon and Susan Beals, of Middleboro, who was descended from Revolutionary stock, and she was a member of Deborah Sampson Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, of Brockton. Mrs. Mitchell died Nov. 14, 1908, in Brockton. The children born of this union were:
- Nellie, who married George M. Hart, and died in Brockton without issue
- Herbert Isam, mentioned below
- Grace E., who married Madison M. Baker, of Chelsea, Mass., and has one daughter, Mildred Baker
Herbert Isam Mitchell, son of Isam and Clarinda E. (Beals) Mitchell, was born in Middleboro Jan. 20, 1861. When he was still quite small his parents moved to what is now Brockton and he on growing up became a thorough Brocktonian. He attended the public schools and was graduated from the high school in 1879. He then went into his father’s business, that of dealing in lumber, and soon mastered the business in its every detail. He early showed fine business ability, and in a few years was taken into partnership by his father. Gradually he assumed the management of the business, which under his care grew rapidly and vigorously. For some years before his death he had the entire management, and under his progressive nature the character of the business changed somewhat, so that the firm carried on of the largest stocks of sashes, doors 5 blinds and kindred building materials in Massachusetts. In the steady, permanent growth of the business in its every detail, was reflected the business judgment and the quick certain decision of the man.
Mr. Mitchell was early attracted by Masonry. He had barely reached his majority when he was initiated as a member of Paul Revere Lodge, A. P. & A. M. His love of Masonry was as firm and progressive as his business life, and later manifested itself in many ways to the uplifting and advancement of the order in Brockton. He was raised rapidly through the chairs of the lodge and in 1891 was made its worshipful master. He served in this capacity for two years. He also became a member of Satucket Royal Arch Chapter and Brockton Council, Royal and Select Masters, and of Bay State Commandery, Knights Templar, at an early age. In each his rise was rapid and he held practically all of the offices in the gift of the respective branches. He was high priest of the chapter for two years and principal conductor of the work of the, council for the customary periods of two years each, and for two years was the district deputy grand master of the 24th Masonic District of Massachusetts. At the time of his death he was generalissimo of Bay State Commandery, and had he lived would have been the next eminent commander. He was also a member of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, and was one of the highest and best known Masons of the district. He was also a member of Damocles Lodge, No. 16, K. of P., and of the Commercial Club, and had been a director in the Massachusetts Retail Lumber Dealers’ Association. Through all of his Masonic life Mr. Mitchell was one of the most efficient officials. He ever put into his work all of his ardent love and devotion to the order. Whenever asked to do anything he was always willing and always successful. One of his great services for the order was as chairman of the building committee which had charge of the erection of the new block on Centre street, Brockton, the present home of Masonry in the city. From the time the work commenced until the building was completed he spent several hours there each day over-looking the work. His careful attention and business ability were strongly manifest, and at the dedication exercises he received the highest words of praise for his work from the speaker.
In political matters. Mr. Mitchell took no active part, although he was a stanch Republican, and always interested in the affairs of the city. He attended the First Congregational Church of Brockton, to which he gave his liberal support.
On April 2, 1889, Mr. Mitchell was married to Ardella S. Churchill, daughter of Charles and Delia (Drinkwater) Churchill, of Middleboro, Mass., and to this union were born:
- Harold Isam, July 28, 1890
- Earl Thompson, Nov. 24, 1893
- Ruth, Jan. 28, 1895.
Mr. Mitchell died at his home in Brockton May 28, 1900, aged thirty-nine years.