The name of Michael Petrie has a good sound in the business circles of Chicago. Mr. Petrie was born October 14, 1848 in Chicago. His parents were Philip and Catherine (LAUX) Petrie. The father comes from Neunkirchen, the mother comes from greater Losheim, of a province on the Rhine. The older Petrie served as an Ordnance Officer under Napoleon in 1835 and was married on February 7, 1838 and came to America with his wife. On August 24 of said year Philip and Catherine came to Chicago. On the 7th of February 1888 they were permitted to have a celebration of their Golden Wedding anniversary. Philip Petrie preceded her in death. She gave him eleven children. The widow died on 22nd of May 1898 at the age of nearly 80 years. When the Golden wedding celebration was held the bridegroom was 74 years old, and the bride was in her 68th year. Bishop Fehan attended the ceremony and at the end he gave a short message. On this occasion the bridal pair could claim six sons, fifteen grandchildren, and a six-week-old great grandson.
Michael Petrie, whose picture accompanies this article attended St. Joseph School and the Ogden School. Later he attended the Saltman’s Business College. After he had served up to the year 1870 in the law offices of John mattock he became a junior partner of the law firm Mattocks, Mason and Company. Their office was located on the corner of Dearborn and Lake Streets. Before the year 1872 he founded the Alton Exchange (presently occupied by the Chicago Opera House) on his own property on 163 Washington Street where it remained for some 22 years. In the last seven years Mr. Petrie had his office in Teutonic Buildings on the corner of Fifth and Washington Streets. He had rooms 407,408,and 409 which offered him elegant and excellent facilities in order to carry out his work. There were many and varied duties, especially since he has so many responsibilities. In this connection he was made responsible for Seipp’s and Successors, and for Mrs. Pauline Bush and Heirs, widow of Valentine Bush, the holder of Bush Brewery and Company, for the lands of Mrs. Anna Bush and for the houses of Bush Brewing Company and Successors, and for heirs of Peter Schuttler etc. Mr. Petrie was as agent of the grounds and as long time resident of Chicago a precise knowledge of the value of pieces of property and an unfailing understanding of money matters. In the course of the years he has demonstrated this ability so that he has acquired the confidence of business people.
The fact is that Mr. Petrie has never attempted to live in the posh part of life. Although in the years from 1876,1877, and 1878 he did serve as assessor of North Town to which office he was elected. In the year 1896 when his brother Nicholas held the office of County Commissioner died and he served for the remainder of his term, That is for one and one-half years, (part of the line is not legible) till the beginning of the term of his successor. (Several lines to faint to read). He is a member of the Germanic Men’s chorus, a member of the Marquette Club, a member of the Bar hunting club, of the Rice fishing Club, a member of the Hesperio Lodge of St. Bernard Commando. One of his brothers Charles G. Petrie, was for 35 years a member of the local Fire Company, and Secretary Marshall of the same.
Mr. Petrie is not married. He is a good musician and at earlier time he sang in German Men’s chorus and assisted in the church choirs.
Contributed Jun 2000 by Joan Higgins
Source: Chicago and the German Influence, published 1897, translated by Noah G. Good in 1997.