Joseph Daniel Mitchell wore many hats during his lifetime: rancher, school district trustee, state representative, naturalist, photographer, pioneer entomologist, and conchologist. Mitchell was born on October 22, 1848, at Mitchell's Point in Calhoun County, Texas, to Texas plantation owner Isaac Newton Mitchell and his wife Mary Kerr Mitchell. His father was killed in a freak hunting accident when Mitchell was only five, leaving his mother to tend to Mitchell's education. He eventually attended schools in Galveston, San Antonio, and Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. This education instilled in him a lifelong commitment to learning.
Yours truly - at lunch - Sweet Bay Mott - Calhoun Co. Texas 5-22-16 
Mitchell's first jobs dealt with agriculture. As a young man, he worked as a cowboy. He established his own ranch in 1867. In 1871, Mitchell married Agnes Martha Ward of Jackson County. Joseph and Agnes combined their land interests to form the Wolf Point Ranch in Calhoun County. Mitchell used the ranch as a showcase for the newest agricultural innovations including some of the first blooded stock in the area, the first windmill west of the Colorado River for watering stock, and one of the first barbed wire fences.
In 1891, the Mitchells permanently moved to Victoria so their eleven children (seven of whom lived to adulthood) would have access to a better education. Mitchell played a prominent role in the founding of the Victoria Independent School District. Further confirming his commitment to education, he served the district as a trustee for many years. Mitchell School, the first school to be built in the new district, was named after him. Completed in 1901, the school building continues to be used today. In addition to his school district functions, Mitchell served the Victoria community as a representative in the Texas State House. During his term, the legislature established the office of state fish and oyster commissioner (precursor to the Texas Fish and Game Commission).
Although Mitchell made contributions to many fields, he is most remembered as a naturalist. He worked tirelessly to document the native insects and reptiles of Texas. He also searched for solutions to problems posed by insect pests. In this role, he combined his knowledge of ranching and insects in a program to eradicate the cattle tick, a carrier of Texas fever. He was instrumental in implementing the state's program for eradication of the boll weevil. He contributed to malaria research and was a leading expert on TX reptiles. During his explorations he discovered two previously unknown shells, which have been named in his honor ---Mitchell's Wentletrap (Amaea Mitchelli) and Mitchell's Macoma (Macoma mitchelli).
J.D. Mitchell died on February 27, 1922, in San Antonio, TX, at his daughter's home. He is buried in Victoria
Contents: Mitchell's notes, papers, and correspondence. Photos by Mitchell from his naturalist field work, of area landmarks, and of family and friends. Note: These photos have been digitized and can be seen at The Portals to Texas History sponsored by the University of North Texas.
— Entomological notes correspondence, 1907-1922
Family History Project Staff, Victoria County Genealogical Society. "J.D. Mitchell." The History and Heritage of Victoria County. Vol. 2. Austin: Nortex, 2000. 631-632.
Roell, Craig. "Mitchell, Joseph Daniel." The Handbook of Victoria County. Ed. Penny Anderson et al. Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1990. 76-78.
Whitcomb, Roger F. "The Conchologist". Text of speech given at 89th Annual Texas State Historical Association. Fort Worth, Texas. 1 March 1985.
*Note: These sources differ regarding some vital data (number of children, dates moved, etc). In such cases, the most consistent and reasonable information was used.