Archive:The Biographical Cyclopedia of American Women

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Cameron, Mable Ward, The Biographical Cyclopedia of American Women, 2 vols., New York (Halvord Pub., Co., 1924-25.) Vol. 2 edited by Erma Conkling Lee.

[Vol 1, p.28]

The following are members of the Board of Directors: Herbert Adams, John P. Adams, Richard F. Bach, Mrs. Harriet E. Brewer, Edward F. Caldwell, Heyworth Campbell, Grace Cornell, Jerry Drew, Fanny P. Goddard, A. J. Graffin, Ray Greenleaf, Elizabeth B. Grimball, Mrs. John H. Hammond, William Laurel Harris, Albert W. Heckman, Mrs. Ripley Hitchcock, Francis C. Jones, George F. Kunz, H. Percy Macomber, Richard L. Marwede, George McGeachin, Mrs. Laurent Oppenheim, John Clyde Oswald, Walter Scott Perry, Mrs. Eleanor C. Slagle, Charles M. Van Kleeck, Harry Wearne, Irene Weir, The Honorable Henry White, Mrs. Harry P. Whitney.

[Vol 1, p.94-95]

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney

WHITNEY, GERTRUDE VANDERBILT (Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney), sculptor, the daughter of Cornelius and Alice Claypoole (Gwynne) Vanderbilt, was born in New York, New York. The Vanderbilt family traces its descent from Jan Aertsen Van der Bilt who came from Friesland, the Netherlands, and settled at Flatbush, Long Island, in 1650. His son moved in 1715 to New Dorp, Staten Island, and his great-great-grandson, Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877) known as the Commodore, who married his cousin, Sophia Johnson, made his home in the City of New York. While still under twenty he laid the foundation of the great shipping interests centering at New York which made him a power in mercantile and transportation affairs. Shortly before the Civil War he began to transfer his capital from shipping to railroad enterprises, obtaining a controlling interest in the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad; and it was his consolidation and expansion of the New York Central and subsidiary lines that made that system the principal carrier between New York and Chicago.

Their eldest son, Cornelius Vanderbilt, the father of Gertrude Whitney, was born November 27, 1843, and died September 12, 1901. He continued the family tradition in railroad management as well as in charitable, religious and educational affairs. He was also a patron of art, having not only his own collection of paintings but also presenting to the Metropolitan Museum of Art a noteworthy collection of drawings by the old masters. He married in 1870, Alice Claypoole, daughter of Abraham Evan Gwynne, Esquire, of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Cettie, daughter of Henry Collins Flagg, Mayor of New Haven, Connecticut, 1836-1841. Mr. [p.95] Gwynne was the son of Major David Gwynne, U.S.A. (died at his estate, "Fairhope," Jefferson County, Kentucky, August 21, 1849), and Alice Anne Claypoole, daughter of Captain Abraham George Claypoole of Philadelphia and Chillicothe, Ohio, an officer in the Pennsylvania Line, Continental Army, and one of the original members of the Pennsylvania Society of the Cincinnati. The family of Claypoole is of English descent and traceable in direct lines to Edward I, King of England, Ferdinand III, King of Castile and Leon, and to Henry de Bohun, Earl of Hereford and Essex, 1199, one of the twenty-five Magna Charta Barons who were Sureties for that document granted by King John in 1213.

Gertrude Vanderbilt, the eldest daughter of Alice Claypoole Gwynne and Cornelius Vanderbilt, was educated by private tutors and attended Brearley School, New York. On August 25, 1896, she was married at Newport, Rhode Island, to Henry Payne Whitney, Esquire, son of William C. Whitney and nephew of Colonel Oliver Payne. She began the study of sculpture under Henry Anderson, of New York, and continued with James E. Fraser. Later she entered the Art Student's League and from there went to Paris to study with Andrew O 'Connor and Rodin.

[Vol 1, p.229]

Helen Augusta Mason Boynton

BOYNTON, HELEN AUGUSTA MASON (Mrs. Henry V. Boynton), one of the three Founders of the National Society of Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is a daughter of Timothy Battelle Mason and of his second wife, Abigail Hall. The latter, who was born in 1800 and died in 1875, was a kinswoman of her husband, being sixth in descent from Robert Mason, the first settler of that name in America, and her husband's ancestor. This Robert Mason was born in England in 1590, and first settled in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He removed to Dedham before November, 1639, and was a member of the Town Council there from 1640 to 1642-1643. His wife died at Roxbury in April, 1637, and he himself died in 1667. Their son, Thomas Mason, about 1650, came with his father to Dedham, as one of its first settlers. He was one of the signers of the Medford Memorial to the General Assembly in 1664 and subscribed towards the building of Harvard College, Cambridge. On April 23, 1653, he married Margery Partridge of Dedham, who was descended from Richard de Pertriche of Wishangen Manor, Gloucestershire, England. Thomas Mason, with two of his sons, was killed during an Indian attack on Medfield in 1676 during King Philip's War. His youngest son, Ebenezer, who was born in 1669, escaped and was the only male to carry on the name. He married on April 25, 1691, Hannah, the daughter of Benjamin Clark of Medfield, and granddaughter of Joseph Clark, a settler of Dedham, and one of the thirteen founders of Medfield. She was born in 1666 and died in 1757. Ebenezer Mason was a quartermaster in 1716, and a representative to the General Assembly in 1730. He died in 1754. His son Thomas, who was born in 1699 and died in 1789, married Mary Arnold (1703-1798), a granddaughter of Doctor Return Johnson, the first physician of Medfield. Their son, Barachias, who was born in 1723 and died in 1795, graduated from Harvard at the age of nineteen. He was a surveyor, and in 1775 made plans (which are still preserved in the town records) for the town of Natick. As he was fifty-three years of age when the Revolution started, his active services were declined, but he gave his grounds for the training of the first company organized in Medfield, and recruited a company of Minute Men. His wife, Love Whitney (1727-1801), the widow of Jonathan Battelle, was the daughter of Mark Whitney of Hopkinton. Her ancestry is illustrious, insomuch as it can be traced to the royal houses of France and England. Their son, Johnson Mason (1767-1856), held many civil offices, and was captain of militia in 1800 and colonel in 1803. His wife, Caty Hartshorn (1768-1852), was a descendant of Henry Adams and Samuel Smith. Johnson and Caty Mason's son, Timothy Battelle Mason, was born in 1801, and died in 1861. His wife, Abigail Hall, was descended from Francis Hall of Henborough, England, whose son [p.230] Edward, with his wife, Hester, settled in Braintree, Massachusetts, before 1640. He served in 1645 in the Narragansett expedition, and died in 1670. His son Andrew (1665-1756) married Susanna Capen (1664-1736). Their son, Deacon John Hall (1695-1791), married Hopestill Ockington, who died in 1788. Their son Josiah (1723-1786), who held many responsible positions in his community, and who subscribed to the soldier's pay fund, married Abigail Brown (1728-1775). Their son, Captain Samuel Hall of Newton, Massachusetts (1757-1828), served in Captain Jeremiah Wiswell's company in the Revolution. His wife, Sarah Cheney (1758-1842), was a descendant of the Crusader, Alexander de Hoo, buried at Rhodes, and of Alfred the Great, Charlemagne, and Alexander II of Scotland. Their daughter was Abigail Hall Mason.

[Vol 1, p.268-269]

Georgie Banyer Nichols Wentz

WENTZ, GEORGIE BANYER NICHOLS (Mrs. James Griswold Wentz), daughter of William Banyer and Georgiana (Bulkley) Nichols, was born in Brooklyn, New York. Her father was a descendant of Sergeant Francis Nicol, who came to this country in 1660 with his uncle, Richard Nicol, afterwards Colonial Governor of New York, and founded the town of Stratford, Connecticut. Among his descendants was David Nichols, great-grandfather of Mrs. Wentz, who served in the American Revolution. Her grandfather was the Reverend Samuel Nichols, a graduate of Yale College and for many years rector of the Episcopal Church at Bedford, New York. He married Susan Nexon Warner, of New York, granddaughter of George Warner whose tablet hangs in St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Broadway and Fulton Streets.

Mrs. Wentz's great-grandfather was Eleazer Bulkley, who married Mary Ogden, also of Fairfield. He fought in the American Revolution, serving three years in the navy and three years in the army. He afterwards established the firm of E. Bulkley and Sons, in Maiden Lane, New York, which engaged in foreign trade, building and maintaining their own clipper ships for forty years. The youngest of his six sons, all of whom were born, resided and died in Southport, Connecticut, was Charles Bulkley, grandfather of Mrs. Wentz. He married Elizabeth Beers, daughter of Abel Beers and Elizabeth Whitney, and granddaughter of Peter Whitney, all of Southport. Their third daughter was Georgiana Bulkley, mother of Mrs. Wentz. She was born in Southport, educated in the Misses Draper's School for Young Ladies in Hartford, Connecticut, where she completed the course as valedictorian of her class, in June, 1857; was married the following October, made her home in New York, and died there in May, 1908. She was an accomplished woman of strong character and high Christian principles which she implanted in her children, an enthusiastic patriot, of happy disposition, and a devoted mother.

[Vol 1, p.334]

Eleanor Whitney Allen

ALLEN, ELEANOR WHITNEY, daughter of Thomas and Eleanor Goddard (Whitney) Allen, was born in Ecouen, France, April 18, 1882. Her first American ancestor, Samuel Allen, came from England in 1630, and settled at Northampton, Massachusetts. His grandson, Joseph, who married Elizabeth Parsons, had six sons who fought in the War of the Revolution. One of them, the Reverend Thomas Allen, was known as the "Fighting Parson" of the Battle of Bennington. Her mother's father, Josiah Dwight, Professor of Geology at Harvard, was a direct descendant of John Whitney, of London, England, who settled at Watertown, Massachusetts in 1635.

Miss Allen received her early education in private schools in Boston, and she has since been active in club and welfare work. She was Recording-Secretary, then Vice-President of the Massachusetts League of Girls Clubs; President of the Saturday Morning Club, 1921-1922, and Treasurer of the Girls City Club of Boston, 1918-1922. Until the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment she was active in Anti-suffrage work, and during the World War she worked in the Volunteer Service Bureau and Education Department of the Boston Metropolitan Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Miss Allen was bronze medallist in the Woman's National Golf Championship, 1911; runner-up in the Massachusetts State Championship, [p.335] 1916; President of the Woman's Golf Association of Boston, 1916-1920; President of the Woman's Eastern Golf Association, 1921-1922; and a member of the Woman's Committee of the United States Golf Association in 1921. She is a member of Chilton, MacDowell, Saturday Morning, and Vincent Clubs, of Boston.

[Vol 1, p.378-379]

Katharine Chapin Higgins

HIGGINS, KATHARINE CHAPIN (Mrs. Milton P. Higgins), daughter of Aldus M. and Catherine Fisher (Sawin) Chapin, was born in Manchester, New Hampshire, December 11, 1847. Her father (born at Chicopee, Massachusetts, December 27, 1811; died at Worcester, Massachusetts, June 4, 1880), was a descendant of Deacon Samuel Chapin, a native of Paignton, Devonshire, England, whose name appears first in New England in the land records of Roxbury, Massachusetts, in 1631. [snip]

Katharine Chapin entered school in 1860, and proceeded to Abbot Female Seminary (now Abbot Academy), Andover, Massachusetts, where she completed the course in 1868. She embraced the profession of teaching, and throughout her life has been identified with progress in education. She was married June 15, 1870, at Manchester, New Hampshire, to Milton Prince Higgins, son of Lewis and Susan (Whitney) Higgins. His ancestry was notable, being traced to the Mayflower Pilgrims, and in the old country to William the Conqueror. He was born at Standish, Maine, December 7, 1842, and died in Worcester, Massachusetts, March 8, 1912. As a successful manufacturer, the President of the Norton Emery Wheel Company and of the Plunger Elevator Company, he saw the need of technical training in colleges, and was the first to promote commercial trade schools in the United States. For twenty-eight years he was Superintendent of the Washburn Machine Shops at Worcester Polytechnic Institute of which he was a Trustee, and he was Vice-President of the American Society [p.380] of Mechanical Engineers. Mr. and Mrs. Higgins were the parents of four children: Aldus Chapin Higgins (born in Worcester, Massachusetts, December 7, 1872), Treasurer of the Norton Company and Trustee of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute; John Woodman Higgins (born in Worcester, September 1, 1874), President of the Worcester Pressed Steel Company; Katharine Elizabeth Higgins (born in Worcester, August 6, 1878), married in 1903 to R. Sanford Riley, President of the Riley-Stokes Company; and Olive Chapin Higgins, now Mrs. Lewis I. Prouty.

Copyright © 1999, 2006, The Whitney Research Group

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