Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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MITCHELL, Stephen Mix, jurist, born in Wethersfield, Connecticut, 9 December, 1743; died there, 30 September, 1835. He was graduated at Yale in 1763, and, after holding the office of tutor there during 1766-'9, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1772. Settling in Wethersfield, he there began the practice of his profession, and in 1783 was elected a delegate to the Continental congress, and re-elected in 1785 and 1787. He was appointed associate justice of the Hartford county court in 1779, and in 1790-'5 was presiding judge. He was then made judge of the superior court, and became its chief justice in 1807. On the death of Roger Sherman he was elected to fill his seat in the United States senate, and served from 2 December, 1793, till 3 March, 1795. It was largely owing to his efforts that Connecticut was able to establish her title to the tract of land in Ohio known as the Western Reserve, which was subsequently sold and the pro-reeds devoted to the school fund. In 1805 he was a presidential elector, and in 1807 Yale conferred on him the degree of LL. D.--His son, Alfred, clergyman, born in Wethersfield, Connecticut, 19 May, 1790; died in Norwich, Connecticut, 19 December, 1831, was graduated at Yale in 1809, studied theology under Reverend Ebenezer Porter and at Andover theological seminary, and preached for a short time in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. He was ordained on 27 October, 1814, in Norwich, Connecticut, where he had been called in charge of the Congregational church, and he continued there until his death. His publications include several sermons, mostly memorial, and were printed in the " Evangelical Magazine."--Alfred's son, Donald Grant, author, born in Norwich, Connecticut, 12 April, 1822, was fitted for college at Ellington, Connecticut, at the academy of Dr. John Hall, who furnished some traits to the portrait of the hero of his only novel, " Doctor Johns. "He was graduated at Yale in 1841, and after leaving college worked three years, for the benefit of his health, on a farm belonging to his maternal grandfather, in the neighborhood of Norwich. He acquired at this time that taste for agricultural pursuits to which he afterward gave pleasant expression m his "Edge-wood" books, lie gained the prize of a silver medal from the New York agricultural society for plans of o farm-buildings, and became a correspondent of the "Albany Cultivator," to which he subsequently contributed letters from abroad. His health continuing delicate, he went to Europe in 1844, and spent two years in England, the island of Jersey, and on the continent, returning to the United States in 1846 with the materials for his first book, "Fresh Gleanings, or a New Sheaf from the Old Field of Continental Europe" (New York, 1847). The study of law in New York city proving too confining, he went abroad again in 1848, travelled through England and Switzerland, and was residing in Paris at the time of that outbreak Of June, 1848, which is forecast in "The Battle Summer" (New York, 1849). Returning once more to New York, he issued, first in weekly numbers and afterward in a volume, "The Lorgnette, or Studies of the Town, by an Opera-Goer" (2 vols., 1850). This was a series of satirical sketches, something after the plan of Irving's "Salmagundi." The same year sow the publication of his most popular book, "Reveries of a Bachelor," the nucleus of which was a paper entitled "A Bachelor's Reverie," originally contributed to the "Southern Literary Messenger." " Dream Life" (1851), written in similar strain, succeeded the "Reveries" in 1851. In both of these the history of a life is told in a series of dissolving views, and, as the titles imply, with the haziness and remoteness of effect that is produced by a dream. They were something between the formal novel and such studies of life as Irving's "Sketch-Book," which they resembled not a little in their tender and genial sentiment and in their chastely delicate English. In May, 1853, Mr. Mitchell was appointed United States consul at Venice. On the 31st of the same month he married Mary F. Pringle, of Charleston, South Carolina, and sailed at once for Europe. At Venice he began collecting material for a history of the Venetian republic, which was never written, although traces of his Venetian studies appear in his later writings, such as" Titian and his Times," a lecture before the Yale art-school, which is included in his late volume of miscellanies, " Bound Together" (1884). In 1855 he bought a farm of about 200 acres near New Haven, Connecticut, which he has since made well known to the public through a series of books on the practical and aesthetic aspects of rural life. which come midway between gossipy chronicles like Willis's " Letters from under a Bridge" and more technical works, such as Downing's " Landscape Gardening." These are "My Farm of Edgewood" (186;3) ; " Wet Days at Edgewood" (1865) ; and "Rural Studies, with Hints for Country Places" (1867). Mr. Mitchell has been a member of the council of the Yale art-school since its establishment in 1865. He edited the "Atlantic Almanac" for 1868-'9, and "Hearth and Home," a weekly paper published at New York, in 1869. He was one of the judges of industrial art at the Centennial exhibition of 1876 and United States commissioner at the Paris exposition of 1878. In the latter year he received the degree of LL. D. from Yale. He has been a contributor to the "Atlantic Monthly," "Harpers' Magazine," and other periodicals, and has given lectures and addresses at New Haven and elsewhere on subjects connected with literature and agriculture. Besides the books mentioned above he has published "The Seven Stories with Basement and Attic," a series of tales of travel (1864); one novel, "Dr. Johns, being a Narrative of Certain Events in the Life of a Congregational Minister Of Connecticut" (New York, 1866); and a juvenile, "About Old Story Tellers" (1877). He has also compiled from material collected by his brother, Louis Mitchell (b. 1826; died 1881), an elaborate genealogy of his mother's family, "The Woodbridge Record" (New Haven, 1883); and " Daniel Tyler, a Memorial Volume" (1883). Many of his works have been written under the pen-name of "Ik Marvel." Mr. Mitchell's skill in landscape gardening has been called into play in the city park at East Rock, New Haven, and in the treatment of many private estates and public grounds, lit still resides at Edgewood. Descriptions and views of his farm are contained in "Pictures of Edgewood" (1869).
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