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WILLIAM H. MITCHELL


For more than 30 years Rev. William Henry Mitchell, now (1922) pastor of the Scott Street Baptist church of the flourishing little city of Bluefield, has been identified with West Virginia, having come into the State in 1890. Like so many other successful men of both races, however, he is a native of Virginia, having been born at Martinsville in Henry County, on March 20, 1874. Both his parents are still living. His father, George Booker Mitchell, is a preacher in the Primitive Baptist church and is the son of Lucinda Mitchell. The mother of our subject was, before her marriage, Frances Griggs, daughter of Harry and Susy Griggs.

Young Mitchell grew up in and around Martinsburg, dividing his time between the farm and tobacco factories and the public school, the school end of the game getting the worst of the bargain.

In 1890 he came into the West Virginia coal fields to work, and, at the age of 20, he experienced the new birth and joined the Mt. Chapel Baptist Church at Keystone. Almost immediately he felt called to preach the Gospel, but it must be admitted that, like Johan of old, he tried to evade such a responsibility by going back to the farm and later to Baltimore. He could not escape, however, and finally applied for license. With the determination to take up the work, he realized the need of better preparation and went to Storer College, where he pursued the Normal Course. He was ordained to the full work of the ministry in 1906 by the Lovely Zion Baptist Church, Vivian, W. Va. On April 4, 1894, he married Miss Hattie Allen, who is also a native of Virginia and was educated at Storer. Mr. Mitchell's first pastorate was the Wingfield Baptist church at Eckman, which he served for ten and a half years. For eight years of that time he was preaching at Mt. Chapel, Keystone, also. In 1915 he accepted the call of the Scott Street Baptist Church, of Bluefield to which he gives full time. The Scott Street Church has experienced its greatest period of prosperity under his ministry. A splendid new modern brick house of worship has been completed and the membership built up in numbers and power. Rev. Mr. Mitchell is a member of the Executive Board of the Baptist State Convention and a Trustees of Hill Top Baptist School.

In politics he is a Republican and has been rather active in the councils of his party. He belongs to the Masons and Odd Fellows.

He has observed and studied conditions carefully and is of the opinion that the progress of the race would be greatly accelerated by increased educational facilities, the accumulation of property, and a movement of the population back to the farm. His own investments and property interests are in Bluefield and in Raleigh County, W. Va.


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