Alexander Mitchell (Wisconsin politician)

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

Alexander Mitchell
Alexander Mitchell (Wisconsin Congressman).jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 4th district
In office
March 4, 1873 – March 3, 1875
Preceded byCharles A. Eldredge
Succeeded byWilliam P. Lynde
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1871 – March 3, 1873
Preceded byHalbert Eleazer Paine
Succeeded byCharles Grandison Williams
Personal details
BornOctober 17, 1817
Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, U.K.
DiedApril 19, 1887(1887-04-19) (aged 69)
New York City, New York, U.S.
NationalityScottish immigrant
Political partyDemocratic
ChildrenJohn Lendrum Mitchell
OccupationBanker, Investor, Railroad Magnate, Politician
The Mitchell Building, downtown Milwaukee

Early lifeEdit

Mitchell was born in Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, the son of Margaret (Lendrum) and John Mitchell, in 1817[1] and immigrated to the United States in 1839. He pursued a career in banking in Milwaukee, and founded the Marine Bank of Wisconsin.[2]

Business careerEdit

Mitchell was president of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway from 1864-1887. With fellow director Jeremiah Milbank (1818–1884) he built this railroad into one of the most profitable in the United States, and Mitchell was considered the wealthiest person in Wisconsin.

Political careerEdit

Mitchell represented Wisconsin's 1st congressional district in the Forty-second United States Congress. After redistricting he represented Wisconsin's 4th congressional district in the Forty-third United States Congress. He was nominated for Governor of Wisconsin in 1877, but he declined.[2]

Curling enthusiastEdit

He was an avid curler, and helped popularize the sport in the United States. Mitchell helped found the Milwaukee Curling Club in the 1840s, and shortly before his death was elected Patron of the Grand National Curling Club.

Death and burialEdit

Mitchell family monument at Forest Home Cemetery

Mitchell died in New York City and was buried at Forest Home Cemetery in Milwaukee.[3]


Mitchell owned a mansion across the street from the Milwaukee County Courthouse, which is now the site of the Wisconsin Club.[4]

The Historic Mitchell Street neighborhood was 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.[5] Additionally, the Mitchell Building, which he also built, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as well.[6]

His papers, along with those of his son John, are in the archives of the Wisconsin Historical Society.[7]


Mitchell was married to Martha Reed, sister of Harrison Reed, who served as Governor of Florida during Reconstruction. Mitchell's son, John L. Mitchell, was a Congressman and United States Senator, and his grandson, Billy Mitchell, was a United States Army officer prominent during the early days of military aviation.


  1. ^ Wight, William Ward (1905). "John Johnston". Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. 52: 118. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Mitchell, Alexander 1817-1887". Historical Essay. Wisconsin Historical Society. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
  3. ^ Alexander Mitchell at Find a Grave
  4. ^ Club, Wisconsin. "History - Wisconsin Club".[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Mackie Building - Milwaukee, WI - U.S. National Register of Historic Places on".
  6. ^ "Mitchell Building, Milwaukee Wisconsin".
  7. ^ "Search UW-Madison Libraries". Archived from the original on July 1, 2012. Retrieved March 7, 2012.

External linksEdit

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 1st congressional district

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

March 4, 1873 – March 3, 1875
Succeeded by