Tobacco manufacturer and philanthropist. Born in Linlithgow (West Lothian), where he was educated at the grammar school, Mitchell entered the tobacco and snuff manufacturing company which had been started in the town by his great-grandfather in 1723. In 1825, due to a tobacco import ban imposed at the port of Blackness, Mitchell moved the company to Glasgow, where it remained. Even after becoming part of the Imperial Tobacco group in 1901, Mitchell's continued to trade under its own name, but it was eventually absorbed by W.D. & H.O. Wills in 1957.
In 1817, Mitchell became the fifth in his line to be appointed a Burgess of Linlithgow.
Mitchell had never married. He retired to Moffat in 1859, where he died 15 years later. He left the residue of his estate, almost £70,000, to found the Mitchell Library in Glasgow.