Mitchell Mausoleum

Mitchell Family Mausoleum

John J. and Mary Louise (Jewett) Mitchell

John (1853 – 1927) was born in Alton, IL, and came to Chicago with his family as a young adult. He started his career as a bank messenger at Illinois Trust and Savings when he was 20 years old, but just six years later in a scene out of a movie it’s shocking no one has made, he broke into a meeting of the bank’s board of directors while they were deciding how to deal with several setbacks and declared the bank could be saved and he was the one to do it. According to the 1880 census, he’d worked his way up to bank clerk at that time.

For whatever reason, the board took him up on the offer, making him president at just 26 years old. He enacted several reforms and not only saved the bank but increased its deposits 70-fold over the next 20 years.

He and Mary Louise (1868 – 1927), who was fourteen years his junior and appears to have been related somehow to his stepmother, married in 1890 and had five children together. The couple were prominent in Illinois society and along with his bank work, John sat on many boards, including for the Field Museum.

John and Mary Louise Mitchell's plaqueThe couple had a summer estate on Lake Geneva, in Wisconsin, and were coming back to Chicago for the funeral of their daughter’s father-in-law when their chauffeur swerved to avoid a crowd in the road near Libertyville, IL. The driver of a sedan who’d caused a previous non-lethal accident on that foggy morning had attacked the other driver and a fight had ensued, drawing a crowd which the Mitchell’s car had come upon too suddenly to avoid. Due to the slick conditions, when the chauffeur swerved, the car overturned into the ditch, crushing the Mitchells. Mary died at the scene; John died a few hours later in the hospital.

Along with John and Mary, their son William, his second wife Anne, and his son Clarence are entombed here as are John’s father and step-mother and three of his half-siblings. The last entombment listed was of Anne in 1990, three years after William’s death in 1987.

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