History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century/4/Thomas Mitchell
THOMAS MITCHELL was born in Sullivan County, New Hampshire, March 3, 1816. He was reared on a farm and had but a common school education. In 1840 he came to Iowa and first made his home in Jefferson County but in 1844 came to Fort Des Moines and obtained permission of Captain Allen, its commander, to build a log cabin on Camp Creek for the entertainment of travelers. It was the first public house in the upper Des Moines valley. The country was then occupied by the Indians and the Fox chief, Poweshiek had a village on the Skunk River where Colfax stands, which was the home of more than a thousand members of that tribe. Mr. Mitchell was a warm friend of the chief. In 1857 he was elected to the House of the first General Assembly which convened at Des Moines. In 1867 he founded the town of Mitchellville and a few years later secured the location at that place of a Universalist Seminary. In 1873 Mr. Mitchell was elected to the State Senate, serving four years. He was a radical abolitionist, kept a station on the “Underground Railroad” and was always ready to entertain John Brown with his escaping slaves on their way to freedom in Canada and convey them to the next station. Mr. Mitchell was a man of broad and liberal views, large benevolence and great public spirit. He was of the best type of the pioneers who laid the foundation for the future greatness of the State. He died on the 14th of July, 1894.