Alexander Mitchell (politician)

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Alexander Mitchell
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 4th district
In office
March 4, 1873 – March 3, 1875
Preceded by Charles A. Eldredge
Succeeded by William P. Lynde
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1871 – March 3, 1873
Preceded by Halbert Eleazer Paine
Succeeded by Charles Grandison Williams
Personal details
Born October 17, 1817
Ellon, Scotland
Died April 19, 1887(1887-04-19) (aged 69)
New York City
Nationality Scottish immigrant
Political party Democratic
Children John Lendrum Mitchell
Occupation Banker, Investor, Railroad Magnate, Politician
The Mitchell Building, downtown Milwaukee

Alexander Mitchell (October 17, 1817 – April 19, 1887) was a Scottish-born banker, railroad financier and Democratic politician in Milwaukee.

He was born in Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and immigrated to the United States in 1839. He pursued a career in banking in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, founded the Marine Bank of Wisconsin,[1] and served as president of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway from 1864-1887. With fellow director Jeremiah Milbank (1818–1884) he built the Milwaukee Road into one of the most profitable railroads in the United States. He was considered the wealthiest person in Wisconsin for his generation and owned a mansion across the street from the Milwaukee County Courthouse, which survives and is now the site of the Wisconsin Club.[2]

Mitchell served in the Forty-second United States Congress and Forty-third United States Congress. He first represented Wisconsin's 1st congressional district and then redistricted to Wisconsin's 4th congressional district for the Forty-third Congress. He was nominated for Governor of Wisconsin in 1877, but he declined.[3] Mitchell is buried at Forest Home Cemetery in Milwaukee.

He was an avid curler, having helped found the Milwaukee Curling Club in the 1840s, and was shortly before his death elected the "patron" of the Grand National Curling Club.

Both Mitchell Park and the Historic Mitchell Street neighborhood were named in his honor, as was the city of Mitchell, South Dakota, incorporated in 1881. In World War II, the United States liberty ship SS Alexander Mitchell was named in his honor. The Mackie Building, which was constructed by Mitchell as an investment property, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[4] Additionally, the Mitchell Building, which he also built, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as well.[5]

He married Martha Reed, sister of Harrison Reed (governor of Florida). His son, John L. Mitchell, was a Congressman as well, and his grandson, Billy Mitchell, is regarded as the father of the U.S. Air Force.

His papers, along with those of his Congressman son John, are in the archives of the Wisconsin Historical Society.[6]


External links[edit]

Mitchell family monument at Forest Home Cemetery
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Halbert Eleazer Paine
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 1st congressional district

March 4, 1871 – March 3, 1873
Succeeded by
Charles Grandison Williams
Preceded by
Charles A. Eldredge
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 4th congressional district

March 4, 1873 – March 3, 1875
Succeeded by
William P. Lynde