John Martin Mitchell

John Martin Mitchell

John Martin Mitchell was a man who dedicated his efforts to the furtherance of education in the Rosewood Community. He served the citizens of Wayne County as a representative in the state legislature from 1911-1919. He attended the one-room Pine Forest School in Rosewood where he developed his desire to learn. At that time public schools did not exist. Families hired women to teach their children in their homes the basic skills of reading and writing. As an adult, he became active in state politics and supported the struggle for statewide education.

His interest in public education was an inspiration for him to rally support for a high School in the Rosewood Community. In spite of a stroke, he left his sick bed, went to Rose Station and took the train to Raleigh. He knew that a bill supporting the sale of bonds to support a high school in Rosewood would be voted on. He made it to Raleigh and voted. The bond issue passed. John Mitchell was credited with helping get the Rosewood High School building erected. John can be rightly called the father of the Rosewood High School. He died shortly after his trip to Raleigh on March 8, 1922.

The original school building still stands today as Rosewood Middle School. In the media center at Rosewood Middle School is a plaque dedicated to John’s memory. Inscribed on it are these words: “John Martin Mitchell, 1869-1922, Lover of Children, Inspirer of Youth, Wise Counselor of Teachers, Rejoicing in Friends, and Devoted to this Community."

He was a man that was passionate about education and serving his community, and his legacy will not be forgotten. He currently has a fourth generation descendant, Tyler Gurley, attending the very school building he helped to erect back in 1922.

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