William Petrie Mitchell arrived in the United States from Scotland in either 1850 or 1860. He was the son of David Mitchell and Ellen Susan Mill, born in Broughty Ferry (Angus), Scotland. In a libel proceeding from 1835, David Mitchell was listed as a witness, and described as a “wright” and residing at Panmure Street of Almeriecloss, suburbs of Arbroath.
He first married Isabelle Clark, but upon her passing, married my second great grandmother Eudora Leah Mayer, also known as Dora. They would have three children, including my great grandmother Elizabeth Sutherland Mitchell.
William was a broker in New York City, a resident of that city for 60 years, with his last address being 567 West End Avenue in the Upper West Side. He was part of the firm Redick, Mitchell & Co. His marriage certificate to Dora listed his occupation as a secretary, and Washington, D.C. as his residence. An interesting note about the marriage of William and Dora is that is took place in a Presbyterian church, though Dora was of Jewish ancestry.
In 1904, William and Dora were living in the Majestic Apartments (356 West 145th Street, Harlem). As reported in The Sun, Mrs. Mitchell told a Magistrate that the owner of the apartments, George Daiker, had used very violent language toward her and refused to allow her children to ride the elevator. Oftentimes, Mrs. Mitchell said, she herself was prevents from using the elevator and was compelled to walk up the stairs to the third floor.
“Can we use that elevator as long as we have a leader and pay our rent?” Mrs. Mitchell asked the Magistrate.
“You certainly can,” replied the Court, “and since he has refused you that right I will entertain a charge of disorderly conduct against him.”
The couple and their family would move from the apartments, having been released from their lease, though they did successfully pursue charges against Daiker, with many of their fellow tenants appearing in their defense. “This man is unbearable,” said Mr. Mitchell. “and if any one remonstrates he goes behind his desk, gets out a policeman’s club and declares himself monarch. I have had enough of it.”
William died at the age of 83 at St. Luke’s Hospital, his wife having already predeceased him, on 9 August 1927. Funeral services were held at the Funeral Church, Broadway and Sixty-sixth street, and his obituary ran in the New York Times.