Ohio Biographies

Rev. Henry Mitchell

Rev. Henry Mitchell, B. A., Rector of St. Philip's Church at Circleville, was born in Plymouth, Devonshire, England, February 4, 1849. His father, James, is likewise a native of that place and is a stone-cutter by trade. Grandfather Mitchell was killed in a stone quarry in England, and during the cholera plague at Plymouth, in 1849, his wife was the first to fall a victim to that dread disease. In 1853, James Mitchell emigrated from England to the United States, and during the following year his family joined him in Westchester County, N.Y., where he worked at his trade.

In May, 1861, James Mitchell enlisted in the Seventy-ninth New York Highlanders, and participated in the first and second battles of Bull Run, Vicksburg, Knoxville, Chancellorsville,and numerous engagements of less importance, although not less hazardous to life. In June, 1864, he was mustered out as Sergeant, and was offered a commission, but refused on account of his family. He was twice wounded at the first battle of Bull Run, but the injuries were not severe and he was never prevented from active duty on account of sickness. After the close of the war, he continued to work at his trade until old age compelled him to cease from active labors. He still resides in New York, at the age of seventy years (1892). He is universally esteemed, and in the community where he has so long resided is regarded as a man whose word is as good as his bond.

The maternal grandfather of our subject, Erastus Stephen, served in the English navy and participated in the Crimean War. His death occurred in England when he was quite old. His daughter, Jane E., was born in Plymouth, England, and now makes her home in New York. Her union with James Mitchell brought them thirteen children, four of whom are living. The eldest son, William S., served in the Civil War, enlisting as a member of the Twelfth New York Infantry.

The fourth, in this family was Henry, who was a child of about five years when he accompanied his mother from Plymouth across the broad Atlantic in the sailing-vessel "Martha Ann," to New York, the voyage being a stormy one and occupying eight weeks and four days. He received common-school advantages in New York until he was fourteen, when he became clerk in a store. In 1865, he was apprenticed to learn the trade of a printer and was employed in that way for more than seven years. Feeling the need of a broader and inore liberal education, he entered St. Stephen's College in January, 1873, and five years later graduated witli the Degree of Bachelor of Arts.

Having resolved to become a minister of the Gospel, our subject entered the General Theological Seminary in New York and completed the course in 1881, after which he was ordained as a minister in St. John's Cathedral, at Denver, Colo., Bishop Spalding officiating. His first charge was as missionary at Pitkin, Colo., and after remaining in that connection one year, he returned East, and during the three following years was assistant Pastor of the Trinity Church, at Pottsville, Pa. In 1884, while in that city, he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop M. DeWolfe Howe, Bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania.

After being Chaplain of St. Luke's Hospital in New York City one year, Missionary in Pennsylvania the same length of time, and Rector at Phillipsburgh, N. J., two and one-half years, in April, 1890, Rev. Mr. Mitchell came to Circleville and has since been Rector of St. Philip's Church. This church is one of the oldest in the State, having been organized in 1817, by Philander Chase, and the congregation now worships in a magnificent edifice, erected at a cost of $16,000. The work accomplished by Rev. Mr. Mitchell since he took charge of the church can hardly be over-estimated, and through his instrumentality the congregation has increased in numbers. He is a forcible and pleasing speaker, a genial companion and faithful pastor, and, as may well be imagined, occupies a high place in Ihe esteem of his parishioners. He is prominent in the Diocese of Southern Ohio and well known throughout the county. His ministerial duties occupy his attention to the almost entire exclusion of public affairs, but he believes it is a part of a man's religion to take an interest and keep well informed on political matters as well as all the great issues of the day; therefore he identified himself closely with the Republican party and never loses an opportunity to cast his ballot in its behalf. Socially, he is a Royal Arch Mason and prominent in the order. He is a welcome guest in the social circles of the city, where his genial disposition and sparkling wit enhance the enjoyment of the occasion.