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.

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