St. George's Historical Society
Life in early Bermuda can be seen at the Mitchell House, located on the corner of Featherbed Alley and Duke of Kent Street, which dates from around 1731. It is today home to the St. George’s Historical Society, founded in 1922 to save the property. At times used as a school house, hotel and tavern, in the 1840’s Mitchell House was owned by Isabella and William Archer, one of the town’s most successful Black couples who owned their own slaves. William Archer arrived as a slave from Dominica and married Isabella Budd, a free woman in 1826. Four years later he was freed by the merchant who owned him. The couple ran The Gun Tavern, a successful business frequented by sailors and soldiers who were stationed in town. The odd sight of a jail house window can be seen on the Featherbed Alley side of the museum and is a reminder of one of the restrictions placed on free Blacks and slaves. The plaque next to the window quotes the inscription written in jail by Methodist missionary, John Stephenson who was imprisoned in 1800 for preaching to slaves. Undaunted, he continued teaching the gospels through his prison window.