Mitchell was born of the railroad’s westward expansion. In 1879, two railroads were headed into Davison County: one from Yankton, Dakota Territory, and one from Sanborn, Iowa. Railroad officials preferred directing the construction toward existing settlements; however, Firesteel (at the time, the county seat of Davison County) was deemed flood-prone. Several enterprizing businessmen quickly siezed the opportunity, platting a town some two miles west of Firesteel. Mitchell was established as the new railroad junction town, named in honor of then-president of the Milwaukee railroad, Alexander Mitchell.
The post office at Mitchell, Dakota Territory was established Nov 17, 1879 with John W. Walsh as the first postmaster. Although Mitchell quickly grew into the dominant commercial center of the area, it was only the fourth earliest post office established in Davison County, following Firesteel in 1871, Chanka in 1875, and Morriston in 1876. This exhibit encompasses the postal history of Mitchell, Dakota Territory (1879 to 1889). Mitchell, Dak. Dec 20 (1880) postmark in blue on first issue government postal card. Earliest known postmark from Mitchell, Dakota Territory. Only known example of this type postmark.
Mitchell, Dakota Territory – Postmark Devices
Mitchell, Dak. Dec 20 (1880) postmark in blue on first issue government postal card. Earliest known postmark from Mitchell, Dakota Territory. Only known example of this type postmark.
Mitchell, Dakota Ter. Aug 29 1881 sawtoothed oval postmark in purple with bullseye killer on 3c banknote issue stamp. Postmark known used from Feb 10, 1881 to Aug 29, 1881.
Mitchell, Dak. Oct 12 1881 postmark in purple with quartered cork killer on 3c banknote stamp. Postmark known used from Oct 6, 1881 to Dec 13, 1881.
Mitchell, Dak. Mar 24 (1882) postmark in black with cork killer on 3c green banknote stamp. Postmark known used from Feb 14, 1882 to Apr 3, 1882. Enclosed letter transcribed, in part, below (with spelling in kind).