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Jay County Indiana Biographies

Cyrus Odell MITCHELL, former mayor of the city of Portland, vice president and general manager of the Portland Silo Company and formerly and for years principal of the Portland high school, one of the best known educators hereabout, is a native Hoosier and has been a resident of the state all of his life. Mr. MITCHELL was born on a farm in Clinton county, Indiana, August 26, 1874, and is the son of Thomas J. and Amanda (EDGINGTON) MITCHELL. the latter of whom was born in Adams county, Ohio, November 18, 1840, who later became residents of Eaton, in Delaware county, this state, Thomas J. MITCHELL was born in Clark county, Ohio, April 22, 1837, and was but a lad when he moved with his parents to Delaware county, Indiana, where he received his schooling and grew to manhood. He was a Civil war veteran, having been a member of the 36th Indiana Volunteer Infantry. After the war he moved with his family to Clinton county, Indiana, later to Cass county, from there to Carroll county, thence to Eaton, Delaware county, where his last days were spent. Losing his first marriage mate by death, he married again and from this latter union were born ten children, of whom five are still living, the subject of this sketch, Samuel, Wilson R., George S., Ottie D., and Hannah E. Cyrus O. MITCHELL was four years of age when his parents moved from Clinton county to the village of Young America, in Cass county. For nine years he was a resident of this latter county and there got his early schooling, which was supplemented by further schooling in. the public schools of Carroll county and later at Eaton where he completed the work of the common schools, procured a license to teach, and at the age of nineteen taught his first school, a six months rural school, for which he received in compensation there for $1.75 a day. In 1895 he entered the National Normal University at Lebanon, Ohio, which he attended through vacations and two whole years, earning his board most of the time by waiting table, completing his Bachelor of Science degree in 1896-97 and his Master of Arts degree in 1899-1900. Later he entered the University of Indiana, where, after two summer terms and one whole year's work, he received the degree of Bachelor of Arts in the department of philosophy and psychology. This was granted in 1903. Later during summer vacations he attended the University of Chicago, doing work m English for his Master's degree, which he never completed. In the meanwhile Mr. MITCHELL had been teaching in the public schools of Delaware county, spending five years in the rural schools and one year in the schools of Eaton. From 1903 to 1905 he was superintendent of the schools at Colfax, Ind., going from there to the high school at Frankfort (1905-1907), where he was instructor of Latin and mathematics. In 1907 he was called to take charge of the high school at Portland, where in addition to his duties as principal he did his full share of teaching as instructor of English, German. Latin and mathematics. During this latter period of service Mr. MITCHELL began to take special interest in the general civic and industrial life of the community with which he had cast his lot, and In 1913 was made manager of the Portland Silo Company, with which concern he has ever since been identified. In politics Mr. MITCHELL is a Republican and having become well and favorably known in his community was elected mayor of the city in the fall of 1916, which office he exercised for four years, beginning on January 7, 1917, and concluding on January 2, 1922. His administration is referred to as having been noted for its cleanness, its honesty in handling the affairs of the city, its ability to save money for the city on a peacetime tax levy while meeting a wartime budget, its many public improvements, such as the building of improved streets, the construction of a modern light and power plant, and the sewering of the Miller branch, to say nothing of minor improvements such as the purchase of a modern fire truck for the fire department, metering the water service of the city, the installation of an efficient street lighting system, and the purchase of modern machinery and equipment for keeping the streets clean and in repair. The same considerate attention given the physical welfare of the city also marked the attention given the moral welfare of the city through holding police court and the activity of a vigilant police. Mr. MITCHELL is a Royal Arch Mason, a charter member of Portland council, U. D. R. & S. M., a Kiwanian, and is affiliated with the Universalist church of Muncie, Ind., and the Methodist Episcopal church Portland. On September 9, 1901, Cyrus Odell MITCHELL was united in marriage to Dottie D. FREEMAN, daughter of William and Catharine FREEMAN, of Eaton, Ind., to which union there have been three children born, one son dying in infancy, another son Freeman Odell, born on November 9, 1911, dying on June 5, 1921, and one daughter, Catharine Amanda, born on March 20, 1910. The Mitchell's have a pleasant home at Portland and take an interested part in the community's general social and cultural activities.

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