Wednesday, January 25, 2017

How Land Investment in Florida Helped Develop Pan Am Airways

Bebe's Girl, Clare Gunn Rebozo Babcock Gentry

As we explored in Part 1 of Bebe the Bagman, Bebe Rebozo and Clare Margaret Gunn were classmates at Miami High School before Bebe graduated in 1930. They  sneaked off to Fort Lauderdale during Clare’s senior year and were secretly married July 31, 1931. Writing in a style characteristic of Kitty Kelley, Clay Drewry Blair, Jr., disclosed this intriguing tidbit of information in his feature article called “Bebe Rebozo’s Life Story,” which was serialized in newspapers in 1970 (posted previously at QJ).

Clay Blair, who dealt routinely with subjects like atomic submarine warfare or the life of Admiral Rickover, even wrote a biography of James Earl Ray published only a year before  astounding readers with Rebozo's secret romance. Blair claimed that Clare wanted the marriage kept secret because her parents lived in "comfortable circumstances, many notches up the social ladder from Bebe." That conclusion on Blair's part was erroneous in several respects.

Gunn Family Circumstances Far from 'Comfortable'

The fact is that John and Nellie (Ellen) Gunn actually divorced around 1929, making Clare's living situation quite unstable. The real estate and construction boom had all but disappeared in the wake of Miami's 1926 hurricane, making it difficult for her father to find enough work to support his family. The depression further deepened with the 1929 stock market crash. These events took a heavy toll on the Gunns. Clare's older brother Donald, who was a friend of Bebe's, disappears from public records after 1932. 

It did not take Nellie long to marry for a second time. Cornelius William Scully, an Irish Catholic from New Jersey, was a fireman who lived at 104 NE 56th Street, about a mile from the home in which Clare had lived with her parents (145 NW 61st), since moving to Miami from St. Louis in 1924. With Donald and Clare almost out of high school when their parents divorced, it is possible Clare married Bebe in 1931 in order to stay in the house next-door to their uncle Hugh Gunn without adult supervision. From available data we can surmise that the divorce, remarriage and consequent living arrangement was by no means a "comfortable" situation for Clare or her siblings at the time she agreed to undergo a secret marriage with Bebe. If nothing else, the marriage would, however, have given her (still legally a minor) the legal capacity to enter into a lease agreement.

After the divorce their father lived in a room at 161 NW 52nd Street, a house rented by the Henry Semple family. Semple drove a truck for Gunn & Goll, a construction firm owned by Clare's uncle William in partnership with a war veteran named Otto H. Goll from Toledo. In 1933 her father  also went to work as Gunn & Goll's "caretaker." There was no other obvious relationship between John Gunn and Semple; however, John remained at this address for many years. Far from "comfortable," this situation was must have been downright embarrassing for young Clare.

What is most intriguing about this company (Gunn & Goll) is that in the midst of economic recession, Otto Goll could afford to travel constantly, flying frequently to Cuba by seaplane. His flights which began in the 1930's continued into the next decade via Pan American Airways. Pan Am was, of course, the airline for which Bebe and Clare's husband, James Norman Gentry, were at one time employed. Bebe Rebozo's real link America's first international airline, which was so much in the news throughout the 1930's depression years, will take some time to explain.

Clare worked as a steno in 1934.
While Clare was secretly married to Bebe, her name showed up in Miami's 1933 city directory, indicating that she was employed at Progressive Investment Corporation, an entity with no listing in the directory. The following year's listing, however, indicates she lived with her mother and stepfather at Scully's house on 56th Street, while working as a stenographer. Her youngest brother, William P. Gunn, who may not have gotten along with his new stepfather, lived with their father in his rented room in the Semple home. By 1937, however, Clare had moved out on her own to 244 NW 52nd, where William P. joined her. This new living arrangement could not have lasted long, as Clare also married again in 1937, as we will explore subsequently.

Clare's Employment

Excerpt from The Scroll, 1942
Though we find nothing to indicate who the principals were in Progressive Investment Corporation, it is easy to discern that her next job in 1934 for a statistical research firm called Ballinger & Taylor involved John Kenneth Ballinger, associate editor at the Miami Herald, and Frank O. Taylor, Jr., an accountant. 

After Ballinger wrote, but was unable to get his book published, he teamed up with Taylor to write Florida bonds: a summary of the funded public debt of December 31, 1934. In 1936 he self-published his first book with the title  Miami Millions, only a year or two after Harvey O'Conner's Mellon's Millions hit bookstores. He may have thought the catchy title alone would have made his chronicle of unconnected tidbits of factual data, without the analysis which had made O'Conner's book worthwhile, a bestseller. The news item announcing his service in WWII in his alumni magazine (upper left) unfortunately mentioned the wrong book. Boom in Paradise had been published by T. H. Weigall in 1932, and can be read at the Everglades website.

According to his 1980 obituary, Ballinger went into the Army Air Corps as a captain in 1942, coming out as a colonel before getting a law degree. While Clare worked for Ballinger a decade earlier, he and his wife lived at 637 Minorca Avenue in Coral Gables, only a few doors down from

Where Was Bebe in 1934?

Bebe's parents and working siblings, during his high school years, lived in Miami at 183 NW 34th Terrace, a mile to the south from the Gunns. Although Bebe was said by the book, Bebe the Bagman, to have quit his Pan Am job in 1931, Miami directory indicates in 1934 that he was still employed as a steward at Pan American Airways, only a few months after the airline's owner, Juan Trippe, had made the cover of Time magazine. The Rebozos moved in 1934 to 836 NW 33rd Avenue, still less than two miles from any of the homes where Clare lived, but in a sightly more upscale neighborhood than hers.

According to Blair's unsourced Bebe the Bagman, Bebe had been among the first stewards hired by Pan Am but quit the job in 1931 to pump gas for a year, before he
Page from 1934 Miami directory
"took a job chauffeuring tourists around the Gold Coast. Living frugally and saving his money, restless and always looking for a better chance, in 1935 he invested his savings in 'Rebozo's Service Station and Auto Supplies,' specializing in the sale of retreaded tires."  
Blair apparently borrowed that unattributed detail from a cover article, "President Nixon's Best Friend," in the July 31, 1970 issue of Life Magazine under the byline of Colin Leinster, a Life writer/photographer who, in the late 1960s had been assigned both to Life's Hong Kong and Vietnam bureaus before his promotion to Assistant Editor in 1969. Leinster's  promotion came less than a year before his feature on Bebe hit the Luce-owned magazine (Henry R. Luce, Yale 1920, Skull and Bones).

Were Blair and Leinster  unwittingly working for the same boss who was intent on pumping disinformation about Bebe's past into the mainstream media? A similar chronology of Bebe's life was, intriguingly, inserted into Anthony Summers' Arrogance of Power. We leave you to make your own conclusions after reading the following research with a questioning mind.

QJ is disinclined to buy either the Blair or Leinster account simply because the 1934 directory listing (inset, upper right) indicates Bebe was still a steward in 1934. The goal of the disinformation attempt  was to minimize Bebe's role at Pan Am and maximize his connection to Smathers. Why? The Pan Am Airport looms large in QJ's view. Possibly a windmill; more likely a giant!

Clare Gunn a/k/a Mrs. E. Vose Babcock, 1937-39

Bebe graduated from Miami High in 1930 and Clare two years later, though she had been on schedule to finish in 1931. (Note: Both of them would have known George Smathers, 1931 MHS senior class president, who was named Outstanding Athlete of Dade County that year. Smathers was attending college and law school in Gainesville from 1932-38, some of those years with Phil Graham and Paul Helliwell, as QJ has previously noted.)

While she worked for Kenneth Ballinger, Clare met E. Vose Babcock, Jr., the son of a lumber tycoon from Pittsburgh, who owned a large ranch in Charlotte and Lee Counties in western Florida, just to the south of Tampa. Today it is a three-hour drive from Miami along Interstate 75--but in the 1930's would possibly have taken much of the day. How and where Clare and Vose met may forever remain a mystery, along with the reason for their divorce two years later. We can only speculate about whether Bebe Rebozo had a hand in introducing them, possibly through his work at the Pan American airport based on Dinner Key. (Note: Other historic photographs can be viewed at Miami History website.

Vose Babcock at left with his wealthy family
We do know that Vose Babcock, Jr. had dropped out of Princeton after his second year and allegedly shunned his father's lumber business in 1932 in favor of raising cattle in the Fort Myers Beach area. He married Clare Gunn in 1937, three years after her marriage to Bebe was annulled. Mr. and Mrs. Babcock (Clare's name was misspelled as Claire) were listed in Fort Myers city directories for several years, and, although directories may have been slow to update details, something else seems amiss.

A cowboy, marrying a stenographer may not have sat well within the family, if they were aware of his marriage, but it appears not to have been enough of a departure from family decorum to have threatened the scion's enormous trust fund, which appears to have remained intact, as we shall later see. The Babcocks were close associates of the same Mellon family who were the subject of the scathing rebuke of the Secretary of the Treasury during Prohibition and early depression years. 

The title of the book, Mellon's Millions, likely served as a model for Ballinger's own book title, Miami Millions.

As members of Pittsburgh's Duquesne Club, Union Club, Country Club, as well as the Oakmont Country Club, the Babcock sons were sent to prestigious Ivy League schoolswith Vose Jr. prepping at Choate before attending Princeton in the class of 1927, while the parents enjoyed the same social circle as the Mellon family in Pittsburgh. In fact,

You can also read Part 2 of Bebe the Bagman, originally posted with the above research.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Presidents Bush: Walker Genealogy Part V

Part I               Part II               Part III               Part IV     Read previous segments.

Polo and Power?

St. Louis began polo in 1892.
Referring back to Part IV, you will remember that G. H. (Bert) Walker returned from his studies in England and Scotland to enroll in law school at Washington University in St. Louis, around 1894. His eldest brother, Sidney, single until 1898, was working at the dry goods firm, while also playing polo at the newly organized St. Louis Polo Club.

Bert also took up polo and far surpassed his brother, Sidney, as shown in society clippings such as the one below. Marked in red are references to members of the Walker family: Bert (G. H.) Walker; his father, D.D., who attended the match in Chicago; brother Sidney, as well as Bert's later wife, Lulu Wear, her mother and married sister--in Chicago to applaud Bert, the star of the team.

It is interesting to note that E.C. Simmons also traveled from St. Louis to Chicago to attend the polo event. Simmons, owner of St. Louis' premier hardware stores, would send three sons to Yale, each of them tapped to Skull and Bones, and he would become the employer of Bert and Lulu Wear Walker's future son-in-law many years after this polo match. Simmons was already an ardent and admiring fan of Bert Walker in 1898 -- more than two decades before Prescott Bush moved to St. Louis to work for Simmons Hardware.

Another name of note is George C. Hitchcock, an attorney, whose family had lived across the street (Vandeventer Place) from D.D. Walker's family. His paternal uncle, Ethan Allen Hitchcock, graduated from William Huntington Russell's military school in New Haven in 1855, and then moved to St. Louis to work with his brother, George's father, Henry Hitchcock. Ethan left St. Louis in 1860 to join Olyphant & Co., a China trading company in which he became a partner in 1866, and from which he retired in 1872, soon returning to St. Louis. President McKinley appointed him the first U.S. Ambassador to Russia in 1897. He was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa fraternity. Both Hitchcock brothers married daughters of Missouri pioneer, George Collier of St. Louis.

Through polo, Bert became interested in horses, and after his starring performance on the polo field in 1898, Bert agreed to chair St. Louis' Horse Shows for several years, beginning in 1899, assisted by his brother Sidney and brother-in-law, Joseph Walker Wear.

David Davis Walker had by that time invested a great amount of his personal funds educating his sons in Catholic institutions. Will had married a Catholic girl from a French background, even though the marriage wasn't entirely successful and eventually ended in divorce after Will's parents died. Maysie had married a Protestant, though he agreed to be interred beside her in a Catholic burial. Sidney announced his engagement to a Protestant, whose father was an eminent doctor, six months before Bert's own small wedding which took place at the home of his bride's mother, her father, James H. Wear having died in late 1893.

Lulu Wear photo
Although "Lulu" had three attendants, Bert had only his brother David at his side. Brother Ted was then in his last semester at Yale, set to graduate in the summer. Also at Yale at the time were three of Lulu's brothers--James H. (Jim) Wear, who had been captain of Yale's freshman football squad in 1897 (class of 1900); Joseph W. (Joe) Wear (class of 1900); and Arthur Y. Wear (class of 1902), who would later die in WWI. 

As for how Bert moved from running his own investment bank in St. Louis to working with or for Averell and Bunny Harriman, the authors of George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, Anton Chaitkin and Webster Tarpley surmised as follows:
Prescott Bush weds Dotty Walker.
Bert Walker formally organized the W.A. Harriman & Co. private bank in November 1919. Walker became the bank’s president and chief executive; Averell Harriman was chairman and controlling co-owner with his brother Roland ( “Bunny” ), Prescott Bush’s close friend from Yale; and Percy Rockefeller was a director and a founding financial sponsor.

In the autumn of 1919, Prescott Bush made the acquaintance of Bert Walker’s daughter Dorothy. They were engaged the following year, and were married in August, 1921. [Columbia University Interview in the Oral History Research Project conducted by Columbia University in 1966, Eisenhower Administration, p. 7.] Among the ushers and grooms at the elaborate wedding were Ellery S. James, Knight Woolley and four other fellow Skull and Bonesmen from the Yale Class of 1917. [St. Louis Globe Democrat, Aug. 7, 1921. p. 16. This is the sequence of events, from Simmons to U.S. Rubber, which Prescott Bush gave in his Columbia University Interview; pp. 5-6. The interview was supposed to be kept confidential and was never published, but Columbia later sold microfilms of the transcript to certain libraries, including Arizona State University), pp. 7-8.] The Bush-Walker extended family has gathered each summer at the “Walker country home” in Kennebunkport, from this marriage of President Bush’s parents down to the present day.

When Prescott married Dorothy, he was only a minor executive of the Simmons Co., railroad equipment suppliers, while his wife’s father was building one of the most gigantic businesses in the world. The following year the couple tried to move back to Columbus, Ohio; there Prescott worked for a short time in a rubber products company owned by his father. But they soon moved again to Milton, Mass., after outsiders bought the little family business and moved it near there.

Thus Prescott Bush was going nowhere fast, when his son George Herbert Walker Bush–the future U.S. President–was born in Milton, Mass., on June 12, 1924.

Perhaps it was as a birthday gift for George, that “Bunny” Harriman stepped in to rescue his father Prescott from oblivion, bringing him into the Harriman-controlled U.S. Rubber Co. in New York City. In 1925 the young family moved to the town where George was to grow up: Greenwich, Connecticut, a suburb both of New York and of New Haven/Yale.
Unfortunately, Chaitkin and Tarpley failed to answer the following questions:
  • What was the name of the rubber company Prescott worked for that took him to Milton, Massachusetts?
  • Where is the documentation that Bert Walker organized W. A. Harriman & Co. in November 1919?
  • And where is the evidence that Prescott was "rescued" by Bunny Harriman?
Our research makes it seem much more likely that the man who threw Prescott a lifeline was his wife's father, Bert Walker, who was closely associated with Lulu Wear's brother, Joseph Wear, in a linoleum and rubber business based in Philadelphia. Joseph Wear's wife's father, William Potter, in 1920 oversaw the sale of his family-owned company to a Certain-teed, incorporated in St. Louis, which manufactured roofing materials.

The Walker Family Vacations

Even before his retirement, D.D. Walker and his wife enjoyed their travels and were often mentioned in local news accounts, frequently accompanied by daughter Mazie (spelled variously as Maizie, Maisie or Maysie) and granddaughter Martha, while husband, Asa Pittman, remained in St. Louis to work.  

As early as 1886 D.D. Davis' family had a summer cottage in Kennebunkport, and that same year they spent the spring in St. Augustine, Florida, accompanied by Mazie and Martha's mother, Jane Beaky, all according to society news items. 

The three youngest sons--David, Bert and Teddy--were sometimes mentioned in the local gossip accounts as well. For example, when Teddy was a 12-year-old boy, attending St. Vincent's Seminary, a Catholic school run by nuns for girls and primary school boys located at Grace and Locust Avenues in St. Louis, he was mentioned in an 1889 feature item and described as "one of the youngest reporters on earth," as he helped interview youngsters who saw the Olympic Theatre's matinee of Little Lord Fauntleroy, then on tour. Ten years after being cited for his reporting skill, Teddy was named to Phi Beta Kappa for his studies in economics at Yale (the same fraternity his great-nephew, George H. W. Bush, would attain in 1948).

We know from vacation accounts that all three of the younger boys attended Stonyhurst in England, David having been enrolled during the fall of 1887 had been taken on a tour of Europe with his parents and sister the following summer. Bert and Teddy skipped Europe that year, going instead to Kennebunkport, their usual vacation place, possibly with family servants supervising, while presumably the two eldest sons, by then in their early twenties, were working at the dry goods business with other members of the firm. 

Bert's summer break from Stonyhurst
Bert's tenure at Stonyhurst, mentioned in a previous segment, thus was not a circumstance special to him, but something the Walker family had chosen for each son by that time. Bert would follow David to Stonyhurst in 1890, as indicated in the local paper's account (inset, left) of their summer plans. Later, Teddy would follow Bert to the Jesuit institute.

After Bert returned to St. Louis and while he was at law school, during the winter of 1895, the St. Louis newspaper published reports that D.D. and Martha Walker had toured California for three months  with their only daughter, Mazie, and her daughter, Martha Walker Pittman, in tow. After two months back in St. Louis, the four had then gone to Kennebunkport to spend the summer months at the D.D. Walkers' cottage. Two years earlier the paper had mentioned that Bert was staying at the Ocean Bluff  House in Kennebunk, Maine, then a popular summer hotel. Perhaps there was not room for him in the family cottage. Perhaps Bert and his father were already experiencing a conflict of personalities which was to plague them in future years.

Mazie died in 1896, however, leaving her daughter in the care of her father, Asa Pitmann, who tragically died from influenza three years later. Martha Walker Pittman thereafter lived with her maternal grandparents when not off in boarding schools in Paris and Briarcliff, New York. She still spent most holidays with her Walker grandparents for many years to come, and was a bridesmaid in Dorothy Walker's Kennebunkport wedding in 1921--when Bert's daughter married Prescott Bush. Four years later, Martha married a Diplomatic Courier Officer from Baltimore society, John Mortimer Duval, Jr.

Bert's In-Laws--the Wear Family

In January 1899 Bert Walker married Lulu Wear, a daughter of one of his father's former competitors. While Wear and Walker had both made their fortunes in the wholesale dry goods trade, the two fathers were unlike in many other ways. The Walkers were Catholic, while the Wears were Presbyterian. Although the Walkers preferred to summer in Maine, the Wear (sometimes misspelled as Ware) family traditionally vacationed at Jamestown island in Rhode Island.

James Hutchinson Wear, Lulu's father, had been born in central Missouri and moved to St. Louis around 1863. Like David Davis Walker, Wear learned the wholesale dry goods trade for fifteen years before he formed a partnership called Wear, Boogher & Co. with Murray Carleton, whose mother had been a Boogher. Shortly before he died, Wear sold his interest to Carleton in 1893. 

John Holliday Wear

John Holliday Wear, the eldest of James H. and Nannie Wear's sons, was born in 1868 and started his career working as a salesman for Murray Carleton, his father's successor, and was still so employed when he married Susan Leigh Slattery in 1903. A year after his sister Lulu married Bert Walker, John Wear obtained a passport with the intent of traveling out of the country, listing his address as Carleton's Dry Goods, 9th Street and Washington Avenue, an address which placed him only a few steps away from Ely & Walker's building, then at the southwest corner of N. 8th and Washington. John H. Wear would thereafter remain in the dry goods business, while his three youngest brothers attended Yale in the late 1890s, as did Bert Walker's youngest brother, Ted. The above addresses today sit across the street from St. Louis' convention center complex.  

Click to enlarge

John Wear resided with his mother, while G.H. and Lulu Walker lived only a mile or so away at 3800 Delmar. A few years after his own marriage in 1903, John's work address became 708 N. 4th Street, while he and Susan lived at 4643 Berlin, changed to Pershing during World War I. The map above also locates the banking office of D.H. Byrd's uncles, mentioned in a previous post at this blog. As we can see, the investment banking offices of Wear, Walker, and the Byrds were within close walking distance from where the Federal Reserve complex was eventually built, and directly across the street from the Wear and Walker dry goods warehouses the city happened to build its convention center, with upscale hotels built at the site of the warehouses.

Mildred Wear (Mrs. Max) Kotany

Lulu's sister, Mildred, four years older than Lulu, was 25 in 1895 when she married 42-year-old Max Kotany, a Hungarian-born stockbroker who immigrated to the U.S. in 1867 at age 14. By 1870 Max was listed in the St. Louis census as a messenger boy in a bank, living in the home of Amelia Abeles, widow of Adolph Abeles, and he still lived in her home on Delmar in 1880. By then he had become a naturalized citizen and a stockbroker.

Mrs. Abeles had been born in Prague around 1831, and arrived in St. Louis in 1849 with the Taussigs, part of her extended family. She married Adolph Abeles almost immediately upon her arrival, and he went into the lumber commission business with Charles S. Taussig. Adolph was unfortunately among those killed in 1855 when the Gasconade Bridge collapsed, and thereafter, Amelia seems to have continued the partnership on her own until her son was old enough to take her place. According to the Find-a-Grave website:
Adolph and Charles developed a vertically integrated business around the Pacific Railroad supplying land, timber and capitol for its development. Adolph was elected state representative to the Missouri General Assembly in 1850 and served two years. Among other things, he promoted the Pacific Railroad's incorporation, which ultimately led to his death.
Amelia's father is shown by some genealogists to have been John Low Taussig, a wholesale dry goods merchant in 1860, as was his brother J. Seligman Taussig. Nevertheless, Amelia was quite close to a family named Singer, who lived in Hungary, and to Minna Singer, married to Alexander Sandor Kotanyi, who remained there. Amelia Abeles obtained a passport in 1867 and made a trip to eastern Europe; that same year Max Kotany arrived in the United States from Hungary to take up residence with Amelia Abeles' family for more than a decade. He told passport officials in 1905 that he was naturalized in 1876. He married Lulu Wear's sister in 1895.

Max also had a younger brother named Ludwig, who moved later to St. Louis and, after studying economics and working with G.H. Walker & Co., was employed as early as 1918 as treasurer of Robert Brookings School of Economics and Government, which had before 1924 been part of Washington University in St. Louis.  

In 1904 Bert Walker was president of the St. Louis Stock Exchange, as well as a member of the New York Stock Exchange. Max Kotany was one of about 50 members of the St. Louis Exchange, and had his own brokerage office on Olive Street, while his brother Ludwig went to work for Max's brother-in-law at G.H. Walker & Co. the year it opened. Bert and Max each served on several committees, with each other and with J. D. Perry Francis, son of former mayor of St. Louis, governor of Missouri, who was then serving as chairman of St. Louis' World's Fair planning committee, after having served in Grover Cleveland's administration. The governor was also a director of the Chicago & Alton Railway, E. H. Harriman's railroad which ran through St. Louis. The connection to the Francis family was powerful indeed for young Bert.

Other wealthy connections came through Bert's wife, Lulu and her sister Mildred Kotany, who had been close to each other and to other girls their age within their father's network of business associates. One such friend, Bertha Dibblee of Chicago, was a daughter of Laura Nash Field Dibblee, Marshall Field's niece and later heir to part of his estate. Bertha had visited Lulu during Christmas holidays in 1897, before her wedding to Bert Walker. Marshall Field was Chicago's biggest retail department store, which bought merchandise from wholesaler Wear, Boogher, while firms like Sears Roebuck and J.C. Penney purchased their dry goods stock from Ely-Walker.

The summer prior to Bertha's visit to St. Louis, Mildred Kotany had chaperoned her sister (inaccurately called Miss L.J. Ware in the newspaper) at the Wentworth Hall casino in Jackson, New Hampshire.[*] Max Kotany was primarily involved with the Taussig brothers in a silver mining syndicate, Good Hope Mining. James J. Taussig was an investment banker who was part of a Montana silver mining syndicate with other wealthy St. Louis businessmen as early as 1879, but his eldest brother William was a physician, who had studied chemistry in Prague before locating in St. Louis. Later Dr. William Taussig was named a director of the newly consolidated St. Louis Union Trust. James Taussig and his family often spent summers at Kennebunkport before acquiring in 1898 a summer home at Shoreby Hill on Jamestown, the island wedged between Newport and Narragansett, Rhode Island. 

James E. Taussig was president of the Wabash Railroad before his death in 1949. James Taussig, a legal associate of Charles Nagel (then married to Fanny Brandeis), in 1878 became a "mentor" to young future Justice Louis D. Brandeis. After Fanny's death, Nagel married Anne Shepley, sister of John Foster and Arthur Shepley and of Louis Shepley (Mrs. Isaac) Lionberger. The Shepleys were grandchildren of Ethan Shepley, U.S. Senator from Maine who resigned to become that state's chief justice. All were part of the power elite in St. Louis.

Both John F. Shepley and Isaac Lionberger, who had been law partners for several years, in 1896 abandoned the Democratic Party of William Jennings Bryan to become Republicans in favor of the gold standard. By this time, Shepley had been at the St. Louis Union Trust for six years, and was married to Sarah Hitchcock, daughter of Ethan Allen Hitchcock, soon to be named by William McKinley as minister to Russia, and also to serve in Teddy Roosevelt's cabinet as secretary of the interior.

James H. Wear, Jr.

James Hutchinson Wear, Jr., Yale class of 1901, married in 1909 Ellen D. Filley, daughter of John Dwight Filley of St. Louis. James played football at Yale and was scorer for the baseball team, according to Yale's yearbook.

Joseph Walker Wear

Lulu's brother, J. W. Wear, finished his studies at Yale in 1899 and married Adaline Coleman Potter, daughter of William Potter of Philadelphia in 1903. William (and Jane Kennedy Vanuxem) Potter lived in the Philadelphia neighborhood of Chestnut Hill, and Adaline's parents both descended from illustrious families in Philadelphia, her father acting as the attorney for his father's company--Thomas Potter & Sons oilcloth and linoleum flooring business. It was a dangerous business, judging from the blazes which occurred on their premises in 1898, 1905, 1915 and 1917. Nevertheless the sale of the Potters' stock to the roofing company owned by George M. Brown of St. Louis, put $3 million in their pockets only a few month after an announcement had been made in March 1920 that Bert Walker was creating a new company to be known as Morton and Company.

In 1920 the company was sold to Certain-teed Products of St. Louis, a move which earned both Bert and William Potter a seat on the new board, while his brother-in-law, Joseph Wear, became treasurer of the new company.

Joseph himself had a patent issued in his name in 1917 for a linoleum product. But before moving to Philadelphia in 1914 to work for his father-in-law, he returned to St. Louis to work in the dry goods company with his older brother John. Two years after John's death, he and his wife moved to her hometown of Philadelphia where J.W. was a very active tennis player at the Cricket Club, especially in doubles competition. He and Dwight F. Davis of St. Louis, who had played on Harvard's team, won the doubles title in 1914, and in 1920-1924 J.S. partnered with Jay Gould II, son of George J. Gould, to capture the championship each year.

In 1892 William Potter had been named Minister to Italy during the administration of President Benjamin Harrison. He later was named president of the Jefferson Medical College and sat on the Board of the Philadelphia City Trusts. At the end of WWI he also went to the Far East in 1919 when Japan was in the process of invading Manchuria.

Arthur Yancey Wear

He played on the Yale baseball team graduated from Yale in 1902 and was tapped to Scroll and Key. President of the St. Louis Club at Yale in 1902. He would be killed in France during WWI.
He was a cousin of Joseph G. Holliday (B.A. 1884), Samuel N. Holliday (B A. 1908), and Joseph Holliday (B.A. 1913).

To be continued.

Monday, September 19, 2016


Continued from Part I , Part II, Part III, and Part IV

The Atlee Genealogy

The genealogy of the Atlees is set out in Genealogical record of the Atlee family, The descendants of Judge William Augustus Atlee and Colonel Samuel John Atlee of Lancaster County, Pa by Edwin Atlee Barber. The Atlees were proud of their ancestry and their closeness to national leaders in both England before the revolution and in American after that date. In Part IV we described the nine children of the first American Atlee. Of the three sons, only one is followed in this Part V, being William Pitt Atlee, born in 1772. Edwin Augustus Atlee, born in 1776, having been chronicled in Part IV. About the third son, little is known.

William Pitt Atlee (1772-1815), the eldest son, had been a young lad while his father and uncle took their places in the war of the revolution and within the new government they had fought to create. With both parents dead by 1793, however, as the eldest son, he became head of the family at only 21 years of age.

The man who was elected from 1799 to 1808 as governor had formerly been Chief Justice of Pennsylvania, Thomas McKean. Until his death in 1793, William Augustus Atlee had been the Senior Justice at the same court where McKean was Chief Justice of the circuit. It is McKean, Atlee's mentor, who is given credit for establishing the "spoils system" of political appointments in Pennsylvania, telling Thomas Jefferson in 1801 that "it is not right to put a dagger in the hands of an assassin." Even then, it seems, politics was a very personal affair. Not only did Governor McKean give his colleague's son-in-law the plum position of prothonotary in Cambria County, but he ensured that his own son, Joseph M. McKean, was appointed district attorney.

McKean had never been idle, having commanded a battalion which served in the Jersey campaigns of 1776-77, been a promoter of and signer of the Declaration of Independence, a member of the 1778 convention which framed the Articles of Confederation, President of Congress (1781), and in a delegate to the Pennsylvania convention to ratify the federal constitution in 1787. He was a member of the Pennsylvania constitutional convention of 1789-90, and under it became its second executive, filling the gubernatorial office three terms, from December 17, 1799, to December 20, 1808. He also was named a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania and died in 1817.

His associate, William A. Atlee, before 1779, had also been named as a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania, then known as the College, Academy and Charitable School of Philadelphia, which had been founded by Benjamin Franklin and William Shippen. The newly elected General Assembly formed and elected following independence, passed an Act which illegally attempted to place ownership into the hands of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, rather than the original proprietors who had established the College in 1740. That attempt was partially repealed in 1789, but other provisions remained as before. The U.S. Supreme Court held in a landmark decision in 1819, in Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 17 U.S. 518, that a privately funded college could not be changed into a state university. The appointing of trustees must proceed as set out in the original charter.

The significance of this case to our study is that the choice of who would handle appointment of trustees for the University of Pennsylvania would remain in the hands of persons close to the man who was a direct ancestor of David Atlee Phillips, i.e. William Augustus Atlee. The purpose of this study is to determine whether that fact had any influence on what choices Atlee's infamous descendant made during his life.

Atlee was not above using his connections. As soon as the revolution was complete and the peace treaty was in the works, he had requested Judge McKean to use his friendship with John Adams, then a peace negotiator for the new federal government, to investigate whether Atlee's father had an inheritance in England. Adams replied to McKean, asking for funds to be sent to him, which he would then deliver to Dr. John Brown Cutting. A pharmacist in the Continental Army during the revolutionary war, Cutting had subsequently studied law under Judge John Lowell in Boston until 1786, at which time he made his way to London to study at the Inner Temple. Although the funds Cutting requested appear to have been received in London by Adams, there is no indication that Cutting ever actually investigated the property records for Atlee, nor that that was any estate remaining in the Atlee family.

The year before his death, Justice Atlee and his colleague, Thomas McKean, were named with others as Electors chosen to cast their votes in the Presidential election for George Washington's second term. This honor occurred only a few months before Atlee's death. Many of those electors named were also trustees of what was then called the College of Philadelphia.

William Pitt Atlee Branch
William Pitt Atlee was 26 years of age in 1798 when he married sixteen-year-old Sarah Light, whose New York born father, John Light, a Major during the revolutionary war, had settled at Lancaster in 1783, operating a pub. Major Light joined the St. James Episcopal church attended by the Atlee family. He was elected chief burgess in 1803, becoming a stalwart in Democratic politics, named as an elector on the ballot in 1824 in support the candidacy of William Crawford of Georgia for president and Albert Gallatin as vice-president. Sarah's father died in 1834.

Sarah Light Atlee had lost her husband in 1815 when he was only 43, leaving his wife to rear six minor children without his assistance. Like his father-in-law, William Pitt Atlee had served as a soldier, though not in the revolutionary war but in the War of 1812, attaining the rank of Colonel. During his life apart from the military he worked as a coppersmith, deputy sheriff and a marshal for the Lancaster district before the war, which possibly influenced his being placed in charge of British prisoners during the war. His wife, Sarah Light Atlee, who survived him by 35 years, watched as the eldest of their four sons followed in the footsteps of William Pitt's younger brother, Edwin A. Atlee. who was already on his way toward an eminent medical career before 1812, as shown in our previous post

The names below are the children of William Pitt and Sarah Light Atlee.
John Light Atlee
John Light Atlee (1799-1885), studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, married a daughter of Judge Walter Franklin and practiced gynecological surgery in Lancaster until his death there in 1885. Unlike his uncle, Edwin Atlee, John remained a member of the Episcopal Church.

Elizabeth Amelia
Elizabeth Amelia Atlee (1801-1848) married in 1824 Rev. Alexander Varian, an Episcopal minister and missionary to Vincennes, Indiana, who was transferred from the diocese in Ohio. Rev. Varian and his daughters, Sarah and Harriet, operated a boarding school for young ladies there in the 1850's.

William Lewis Atlee
William Lewis Atlee (1803-1880), the second son, may sometimes become confused with the youngest of the four Atlee sons of this generation because he used the initials W. L. for his name, which were the same as those of Washington Lemuel Atlee, five years younger, who, to avoid confusion, apparently tried to use his full name rather than only the initials. 

W. L. was married in 1828 in Gettysburg to Sarah Gilbert, a sister of his younger brother's wife, Delilah. William and Edwin Atlee went into business together in Gettysburg, making equipment for horse-drawn carriages as well as saddles and bridles. In 1840 much of the extended family of Atlees and Gilberts had also relocated to Athens, continuing in the same business begun in Gettysburg--manufacturing saddles, harnesses and other equipment used in horse-borne transportation. But they were no longer Episcopal or Quaker; all of this branch had become Methodists.

Their eldest daughter, Sarah Elizabeth Atlee, in 1847 married Rev. William Reynolds Long, and they reared twelve children in rural McMinn County, earning their living by farming. One of their children, Rev. Carroll Summerfield Long, however, served as a Methodist missionary to Japan after studying at East Tennessee Wesleyan. Arriving in Japan in 1880, Rev. Carroll Long served a total of eight years, mostly in Nagasaki, where he founded Cobleigh Seminary (1881), was presiding elder of the Nagasaki and Nagoya districts. He even founded a school for girls in Nagoya (October 1888) before his death in 1890.
    Edwin Augustus Atlee
    It is easy to confuse Edwin Augustus Atlee (1804-1868) with his uncle with the same name--the  youngest son of William Augustus Atlee. This second Edwin, however, was not a physician but a saddle and harness manufacturer. In 1826 he married Delilah Gilbert, a young lady who lived in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (born 1809), whose father, Barnhart (Bernhart/Bernhardt) Gilbert, had owned a pub across the street from the courthouse in Gettysburg since 1812. The pub and its contiguous land was sold in 1827 to the Bank of Gettysburg (later called Gettysburg National Bank), of which Gilbert had been a founder and shareholder in 1814, also a director for four years. Delilah's younger sister, Sarah Gilbert, would marry Edwin's older brother, William Lewis Atlee two years later.

    Catherine Esther Atlee
    Catherine Esther Atlee (1806-1879) married Henry Pinkerton in 1825.

    Washington Lemuel Atlee
    The youngest son was Washington Lemuel Atlee (1808-1878), would also become a medical doctor, an 1828 graduate of Jefferson College. He practiced medicine in Lancaster, Pa. until 1845 when he moved to Philadelphia as chemistry professor at Jefferson's successor, the Philadelphia Medical College, later known as Pennsylvania Medical College. He resigned in 1852 to specialize in surgery to remove ovarian tumors. Dr. Washington L. Atlee was the last surviving member of the Pennsylvania Medical College where the surgical chair was in 1845 occupied by Dr. David Gilbert. Others in that department were Dr. William R. Grant, William Darrach, H. L. Patterson, and J. Wiltbank, besides Dr. Atlee.

    His wife since 1830 was Ann Hoff, granddaughter of a German clockmaker who had settled in Lancaster in 1765. Her father, John Hoff, was born in Lancaster the year the revolution began. Their first child, named George McClellan Atlee for the doctor who founded Jefferson College, died as an infant, but subsequent children did survive.
        • Eliza Varian Atlee (1836-1899) married John Foreman Sheaff in 1858.
        • Ann Catherine Atlee (1832-1882) married David Burpee, M.D.
        • Mary Louise Atlee (1833-1901) married Thomas Murray Drysdale, M.D. of Philadelphia, who served as Dr. Atlee's literary executor upon his father-in-law's death in 1878.
        • Margaret Atlee (1839-1917) married George A. Hoff in 1879.
        • Dr. Washington Lemuel Atlee, Jr. (1841-1900) married Anna M. West in 1864. 
    In Part VI, we will move the family to Texas, where the most notorious descendant lived out his life, his notoriety being the fact that he spent a career in the Central Intelligence Agency and has been documented to have been involved in not only setting up fellow Fort Worth resident Lee Harvey Oswald as the patsy blamed for killing President John F. Kennedy, but very likely was himself involved in planning that murder.