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Martha Reed Mitchell 1818 ~


Was born March, 1818, in Westford, Mass. Her parents were Seth and Rhoda Reed. She was educated at Miss Fiske's School, Keene, New Hampshire, and Mrs. Emma Willard's Seminary, in Troy, New York. In 1838 her family removed to what was then the wilds of Wisconsin. They traveled down the Eric Canal and by the chain of Great Lakes, the journey comprising three weeks before they reached their destination, the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Wisconsin was then a territory, and Milwaukee a village of only five hundred inhabitants.

In 1841 Martha Reed married Alexander Mitchell, one of the sturdy pioneers of this Western country, and later one of the most prominent men in the state of Wisconsin. Mr. Mitchell amassed great wealth, but neither prosperity nor popularity deprived Mrs. Mitchell of her simple manner and her love and interest in the cause of the less fortunate. Mrs. Mitchell was ever ready with her means and personal efforts in all charitable work of her home city.

She organized what is now known as the Protestant Orphan Asylum, and was its first treasurer, and for years she supported a mission kindergarten, where daily nearly one hundred children from the lowest grades of society were taught to be self-respecting and self-sustaining men and women. Art and artists are indebted to her for her liberal patronage. After the Civil War she established a winter home near Jacksonville, Florida, where she brought to great perfection tropical fruit-bearing trees, and many of the rare trees of foreign lands, among them the camphor and cinnamon from Ceylon, the tea plant from China, and some of the sacred trees of India. While here she became interested in the charities of this state, and St. Luke's Hospital stands among her monuments to her charitable work in Florida. Mrs. Mitchell will long be remembered as one of the moving spirits and able women of the early pioneer days in the West. She was one of the vice-regents of the Mt. Vernon Association.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.


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