- Edward J. Larson
Mitchell, John (1690?–1768), physician and naturalist., His birthplace and parentage are now unknown. The details of Mitchell’s early life remain obscure. In all likelihood, he was born in Britain around 1690. He studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, where he apparently learned the experimental method and became interested in plant taxonomy. A few sources suggest that Mitchell was born in Virginia and went from there to Edinburgh and perhaps Leiden for his formal education. Sources agree that Mitchell had established a medical practice in Virginia at least by 1738, for in that year he sent his former Edinburgh botany professor, Charles Alston, a collection of American plant specimens and seeds. Also in 1739 he submitted a manuscript to the chief American correspondent for the Royal Society of London, Peter Collinson, describing several new genera of Virginia plants....