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David Petrie Esquire

Born in Maryton, Forfarshire, he became a commission merchant active in Dundee's linen, jute and yarn trade for over fifty years. He also served as a councillor and a bailie on Dundee Town Council.

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Personal details and history

Full name

David Petrie

Date of birth


Place of birth

Maryton, Angus[1]



Marital status


Name of spouse

Bathia Wood Reach[2]


James Hay b.1846 and d.1846, David Robert b.1847,[3] James Hay b.1849,[4] Mary Taylor b.1851,[5] Bathia Hay b.1853,[6] Alexander M. b.1855,[7] William M. b.1856,[8] Henry Lawrence b.1858,[9] Charles Frederick b.1860,[10] Elizabeth Susan b.1862,[11] Reginald Ogilvie b.1863,[12] Horatio Douglas b.1865[13]

Home address

Mrs. Low's, William Street, Forebank, Dundee.[14]

1 Peter's Court, Cowgate[15]/Peter's Court, 18 St. Andrew's Place[16]/St. Andrew's Place, 20 Cowgate[17][18], Dundee.

Wellington House, 5/7 Wellington Street, Dundee.[19]

Age at death:


Place of death:

Wellington Street, Dundee[20]

Date of death:



Western Cemetery, Dundee[21]

Affiliations, clubs, offices and related subscribers

Religious affiliation

Free Church of Scotland.[22]

Political affiliation


Clubs / societies

Agent, Scottish Union/Scottish Union & National (Fire & Life), c.1861-1898.[23] Committee member, Dundee Trade Report Association, c.1861-1872.[24] Committee member/Vice-President, Dundee Bible Society, auxiliary to the National Bible Society of Scotland, c.1869-1898.[25] Harbour Trustee (Guildry), c.1864-1868[26] and (Town Council), c.1874.[27] Committee member, Dundee temperance Society, c.1853-1854, 1869-1870, 1876-1881.[28] Director (for subscribers), Dundee High School, c.1869-1877.[29] Member Free Library/Free Library, Museum and Picture Gallery Committee of the Albert Institute, c.1871-1875.[30]

Public offices

Common Councillor[31] and Police Commissioner, 1869-1872.[32] Bailie, Dundee Town Council, 1872-1874.[31]

Related subscribers

Career and worklife




Self employed.

Place of work


Work address

31 St. Andrew's Street, Dundee.[34]

23 St. Andrew's Street, Dundee.[35]

4 Royal Exchange Place, Dundee.[36]

Career to date:

David Petrie was a commission agent, mainly in the jute and yarn trade, but also an agent for a Liverpool based shipping company. David Petrie was the son of Robert Petrie, farmer, and his wife, Mary Taylor, of Ground of Nether Dysart, near Lunan, Angus.[1] The Petries appear to have been prosperous farmers, whose substantial farmhouse and steadings are still standing in 2018. David was apprenticed in the flax trade to Messrs. Paton of Montrose and came to Dundee as a youth to acquire more detailed knowledge of the textile trade. He moved away to a position with Prinlaws, Fife but by 1844 he had returned to Dundee to begin as a flax merchant on his own account.[22] He married Dundonian Bathia Wood Reach in 1845.[2] As well as being a linen yarn and cloth merchant David acted as an agent for a shipping company.[37] By the mid-1850s David and his family had moved to Wellington Street to the house that would remain his home for over forty years. Wellington House was later described as "a substantial house with grounds on the East side of Wellington Street the property of & occupied by D. Petrie Esqr. a member of the Police Commission."[32]

More information

David Petrie allowed his name to be put forward for the vacancy for Third Ward councillor after the death of Mr. Kirkland. The requisition was signed by a number of his fellow merchants and “intelligent working-men.”[38] The suggestion was accepted and he was appointed councillor. His ability was soon recognised and he served two terms as a bailie.[31] He withdrew from political life in 1874 having found the experience “not entirely congenial to his taste.”[22] While serving on the town council Petrie was also a member of the Free Library, Museum and Picture Gallery Committee of the Albert Institute.[30]

In religion he was a “faithful and devoted servant” of the Free Church. He had been a witness and participant in the events leading up to the Disruption and was a supporter of those who “came out” of the Established Church from the outset. He served as an elder in St. Andrew’s Free Church, Dundee from 1847 until his death in 1898 and also served for thirty-four years as treasurer of its congregational fund.[22]

Like many of his contemporaries in Dundee David moved his business towards the profitable jute trade, being described as a jute and yarn merchant in the 1871,[39] 1881[40] and 1891[41] censuses. He was the Dundee agent of a large Calcutta jute export house.[22] David’s wife, Bathia, was thirteen years his junior, but pre-deceased him in 1885, aged 59.[42] He continued to be a merchant well into his eighties and after his death in 1898 his firm carried on under the name David Petrie & Co.[43] The value of his estate was £3,664 17s. 8d and confirmation was granted to Mary Taylor Petrie and Bathia Hay Petrie, his daughters and executrices, Magdalen Green, Dundee.[44] A son was in medical practice in Bridlington[22] at the time of his death. This was probably Reginald, who was a medical student in the 1891 census.[41]

“He played with honour his part in the development of the prosperity of the city, bearing throughout among his fellow-merchants a character for uprightness and honesty of purpose and dealing that won for him the deepest respect of all with whom he came in contact.”[22]


  1. Old Parish Record. Maryton. Birth. 22 March 1812. 308/10 263. ScotlandsPeople website.
  2. Old Parish Records. Dundee. Marriage. 15 September 1845. 282/230 168. ScotlandsPeople website.
  3. Old Parish Records. Dundee. Baptism. 12 November 1847. 282/190 310. ScotlandsPeople website.
  4. Old Parish Records. Dundee. Baptism. 12 May 1849. 282/190 369. ScotlandsPeople website.
  5. Old Parish Records. Dundee. Baptism. 21 June 1851. 282/200 53. ScotlandsPeople website.
  6. Old Parish Records. Dundee. Baptism. 29 May 1853. 282/200 114. ScotlandsPeople website.
  7. Statutory Registers. Dundee First District. Birth. 1855. 282/1 385. ScotlandsPeople website.
  8. Statutory Registers. Dundee First District. Birth. 1856. 282/1 1187. ScotlandsPeople website.
  9. Statutory Registers. Dundee First District. Birth. 1858. 282/1 1276. ScotlandsPeople website.
  10. Statutory Registers. Dundee First District. Birth. 1860. 282/1 721. ScotlandsPeople website.
  11. Statutory Registers. Dundee First District. Birth. 1862. 282/1 378. ScotlandsPeople website.
  12. Statutory Registers. Dundee First District. Birth. 1863. 282/1 819. ScotlandsPeople website.
  13. Statutory Registers. Dundee First District. Birth. 1865. 282/1 117. ScotlandsPeople website.
  14. Dundee Directory, 1844-45. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  15. 1851 Census Scotland. Dundee. 282 ED57 p.9. Ancestry website.
  16. Dundee Directory, 1846-47. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  17. Dundee Directory, 1853-54. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  18. Dundee Courier, Tuesday, 11 August 1846, p.2. British Newspaper Archive website.
  19. Dundee Directories, 1856-1898. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  20. Statutory Registers. St Andrew, Dundee. Death. 1898, 282/4 1081. ScotlandsPeople website.
  21. Cemetery Records. Petrie David, Merchant, Scouringburn,Dundee. Mr David Petrie and his heirs, 3 4 1315 3 23,a,b,c 28 June 1864, via the Friends of Dundee City Archive website.
  22. Leng, John & Co. (1899) Dundee Year Book, 1898. Dundee: John Leng & Co. Local Studies Central Library, Dundee.
  23. Dundee Directories, 1861-1898. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  24. Dundee Directories, 1861-1898. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  25. Dundee Directories, 1869-1898. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  26. Dundee Directories, 1864-1868. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  27. Dundee Directory, 1874-75. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  28. Dundee Directories, 1853-1881. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  29. Dundee Directories, 1869-1877. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  30. Dundee Directories, 1871-1875. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  31. Minute Books, Dundee Town Council. 1869-1877. Dundee City Archives.
  32. Ordnance Survey Name Books. Forfarshire (Angus). 1857-1861 Forfar (Angus), volume 29. OS1/14/29/25. ScotlandsPlaces website.
  33. Dundee Directories, 1844-1898. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  34. Dundee Directories, 1844-1847. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  35. Dundee Directories, 1850-1859. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  36. Dundee Directories, 1861-1898. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  37. Dundee, Perth, and Cupar Advertiser, Friday, 5 April 1850, p.3. British Newspaper Archive website.
  38. Dundee Advertiser, 5 May 1869. British Newspaper Archive website.
  39. 1871 Census Scotland. St. Andrew, Dundee. 282/4 ED21 p.44. Ancestry website.
  40. 1881 Census Scotland. St. Andrew, Dundee. 282/4 ED15 p.15. Ancestry website.
  41. 1891 Census Scotland. St. Andrew, Dundee. 282/4 ED18 p.48. Ancestry website.
  42. Statutory Registers. Dundee, St. Andrew's. Death. 1885. 282/4 614. ScotlandsPeople website.
  43. Dundee Directory, 1899-1900. Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee.
  44. Calendar of Confirmations & Inventories. 1898. Local & Family History, A.K. Bell Library, Perth.


Local Studies, Central Library, Dundee and Local & Family History, A.K. Bell Library, Perth.

The information above about David Petrie has been collated from a range of digital and hard copy sources. To the best of our knowledge it is correct but if you are relying on any information from our website for the purpose of your own research we would advise you to follow up the sources to your own satisfaction. If you are aware of an inaccuracy in our text please do not hesitate to notify us through our Contact page.