Dr. Mitchell more than likely already exceeded his own expectations for an entire lifetime with an incredibly beautiful and charming wife, a bright and talented daughter, a son with great curiosity of boats, enormous personal wealth, and an international reputation as an educator, newspaper editor, and philanthropist. He was humanitarian, philanthropic, and keenly interested in making the world a better place.
In 1919, the children contracted typhoid fever and Elizabeth nursed them back to health. A short time later, however, Elizabeth became ill and within three days she was dead from typhoid fever at age 42. Elizabeth Mitchell was a beautiful woman in every way; in mind, body and spirit. Her physical appearance was striking and unforgettable, amplified by a natural aura of greatness.
Almost immediately following Elizabeth’s death, David went to California and secluded himself for some months in the home of his friend and business partner. He sold the Mitchell House to his children for one dollar. Elizabeth’s parents, the Rev. and Mrs. Arthur Smith, came to Lebanon to care for the children. After four years, the Smiths departed Lebanon in the middle of the night, taking their grandchildren to Florida, reportedly due to the cold Tennessee winters. The house was vacant from 1923 – 1936.