Paul Stafford Mitchell, M. D. Incomplete indeed would be any history of Kansas which did not include distinctive mention of that large body of men who labor in the broad field of medical service. Some have chosen a particular path and some have chosen to work under a particular combination of methods, but all can be justly credited with scientific knowledge and a due regard for the preservation of the public health. To the profession of medicine, Dr. Paul Stafford Mitchell devoted the early years of his manhood, and today, after seventeen years of successful practice, stands as a representative of all that is best and highest in his line of human endeavor, and is justly accounted one of the leading physicians and surgeons of Iola.
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Doctor Mitchell was born at Cherry Grove, Rockingham County, Virginia, November 11, 1875, and is a son of Dr. Jacob A. and Emily (Furr) Mitchell. His father, born in 1807, at Londonderry, Ireland, ran away from home when still a lad and emigrated to the United States, and here completed a medical education and began the practice of his calling near Washington, Rappahannock County, Virginia. There he was married and subsequently went to Rockingham County, Virginia. He was successful as a practitioner and was in fairly good circumstances when the Civil war came on, but was an ardent Confederate sympathizer, put all his money into movements for the support of the South, and with the fall of the Lost Cause saw his fortune swept away. Later he practiced in West Virginia and Ohio, but finally returned to Rockingham County, Virginia, and died at Cherry Grove, in 1876. Doctor Mitchell was well and favorably known in his profession, and was an adherent of its highest ethics. While the misfortunes of war caused him to lose his material wealth he held to the last the respect and esteem of his fellow practitioners and of the community at large, and the fact that he did not allow his ill luck to totally discourage him is shown in the fact that he was able to accumulate a property after the war, and left his children 147 acres of land in Rockingham County. He was a democrat all his life and was a stanch adherent of the Baptist Church. Doctor Mitchell had six children by his first wife, Mary, as follows: Ephraim S.; Joseph A.; John A.; Jacob B., who practiced medicine for many years at Manhattan, Kansas, became very wealthy, was president of the Union National Bank of that city, and died at Manhattan in 1903; Benjamin F., who came as a young man to Kansas and subsequently removed to Oklahoma, where he was a minister of the Christian Church; and a son Philip who died in Ohio. All these children are now deceased. Doctor Mitchell took as his second wife Miss Emily Furr, who was born in 1843, in Rockingham County, Virginia, and died in 1910, at Lintner, Illinois, and they had two children: Jennie, who is the wife of H. H. Middleton, a farmer of Renfro, Oklahoma; and Paul Stafford. After the death of her first husband, Mrs. Mitchell married David Traxler, who died in 1909, at Mess, Arizona, a well-to-do retired farmer. They had two children: Charles A., who is engaged in farming at Lintner, Illinois; and Benjamin J., who was a mail carrier and died at Mess, Arizona, in 1908.
Paul Stafford Mitchell received his early education in the public school at Hammond, Illinois, following which he spent two years at the Central Normal University, at Danville, Indiana. Next he was engaged in teaching at the rural school at Burrowsville, Illinois, for two years, and in the meantime applied his spare hours to study, this preparing for his entrance at Hering Medical College, where he matriculated in 1895. In 1899 he was graduated from that institution with the degree of Doctor of Medicine, and in the following year he was granted the same degree by the medical department of the University of Illinois. During this time, Doctor Mitchell had spent his summer vacations doing special work at Northwestern University, where he perfected himself in pathology and bacteriology, and one summer was at the University of Chicago. He began the practice of his calling at Hammond, Illinois, but after one year and four months, seeking a broader field for the display of his abilities, came to Iola, Kansas, where he arrived in the winter of 1901. Here be had been engaged in a general practice of medicine and surgery ever since. Doctor Mitchell took a post-graduate course at the New York Post-Graduate School, in 1903, specializing in surgery. In the summer of 1914 he went to Europe, and during this trip visited hospitals at Paris, France; Bern, Switzerland; Zurich, Switzerland; Munich, Germany; Vienna, Austria; Berlin, Germany; Leipzig, Germany; Heidelberg, Germany; London, England; and Edinburgh, Scotland. He remained in Europe four months after the great war started, and had considerable difficulty in returning to the United States.
Doctor Mitchell’s offices are in the Garlinghouse Building. Throughout his career of professional life his duties have been performed with the greatest care and scientific accuracy. In addition to his professional practice in this direction, he is general superintendent and owner of the Physicians and Surgeons Hospital, at 202 East Street, which had accommodations for ten patients, and where Doctor Mitchell performs his own operations. He is never too busy to be courteous and cordial, yet he had never allowed anything to interfere with the careful and honorable conduct of his profession. In its various phases his life is well balanced and makes him highly esteemed in all those circles where true worth is received as the passport into good society. Doctor Mitchell is a republican. He was a member of the school board, and served as president thereof during one year of the eight years in which he was connected with that body. Fraternally, he is a thirty-second degree, Scottish Rite Mason, belonging to Iola Lodge, No. 38, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Valley Chapter, No. 8, Royal Arch Masons; Esdraelon Commandery, No. 49, Knights Templar; Fort Scott Consistory, Select Royal Masons; and Mirza Temple, Ancient and Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine of Pittsburg. He also belongs to Iola Lodge, No. 569, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and is an ex-member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias. Professionally, he is identified with the Allen County Medical Society, the Kansas State Medical Society, of which he had been vice president, the American Medical Association; and the Southeast Kansas Medical Society, of which he was president in 1915.
Doctor Mitchell was married December 25, 1902, at Hammoud, Illinois, to Miss Mary G. Jaques, daughter of O. B. and Elizabeth (Farrar) Jaques, residents of Mattoon, Illinois. Doctor and Mrs. Mitchell have no children.