Archive for May, 2008

23 May

Huntington Hartford

With the death last week of Huntington Hartford, readers may be interested in a bit of history about his mother:

Henrietta Guerard Pollitzer’s mother was born a Guerard, a family of early Charleston, South Carolina colonists, while her father was an Austrian Jew who came to South Carolina in the 1860’s. Their children were raised in the Episcopal Church but their patrimony prevented entry into Charleston society. Henrietta dropped her last name in favor of her mother’s maiden name.
She met Edward V. Hartford, heir to the A & P fortune as well as an automobile inventor, on a ship from Palm Beach to New York. A & P was the first national grocery store chain, becoming number one in America by the 1930’s when it operated 16,000 stores with annual sales of more than one billion dollars. Henrietta and Hartford married in 1902 and had two children, including their son, Huntington Hartford, before her husband’s death in 1922. The estate was left entirely to his wife but the fortune was in a generation-skipping trust to benefit her late father-in-law’s grandchildren (Edward Hartford’s two brothers were childless). Thus Henrietta controlled millions of dollars through her two children.
Henrietta leased Chastellux, the Lorillard Spencer mansion in Newport, then King Cottage owned by Frederic Rhinelander King. Although her stock dividends totalled one million dollars per year, she petitioned the court in 1926 to increase her son’s trust allowance from $100,000 to $150,000, as “I do not believe that he should come into his inheritance with desires ungratified and wishes thwarted.” In 1927, she purchased Seaverge, the Newport home of Commodore Elbridge Gerry, on five acres adjoining the ocean next door to Doris Duke’s home, Rough Point.
She met Prince Guido Pignatelli when he made an appointment to ask her to purchase corporate bonds from the New York firm for whom he then worked. She married at St. Vincent’s Church in Reno, NV, 25 April 1937, Prince Guido Pignatelli, (and eventual Duke of Montecalvo, Marquess of Paglieta, Marquess of San Marco Locatola), born at San Paolo Belsito 23 June 1900, died at Palermo 5 February 1967, son of General Pompeo dei Duchi di Montecalvo and Princess Helene Pignatelli. Guido was created a Prince ad personam by royal decree on 14 June 1941. After her marriage to Prince Guido, the European society magazine Le Carnet Mondain pictured her on the cover although the caption incorrectly stated that she was born a Hartford – there was no inconvenient mention of her former marriage.
The couple left for a honeymoon boar-hunting in Czechoslovakia where they learned of legal actions filed by Prince Guido’s American first wife, Constance Wilcox Pignatelli (whom he married in 28 August 1925; she copyrighted Egypt’s Eyes, a play she wrote as “Princess Pignatelli,” in 1924), daughter of George Augustus Wilcox and Mary Grenelle Wilcox, by whom he had a daughter, Marilena Pignatelli. At Guido’s marriage to Henrietta, his Reno divorce from Constance was less than 24 hours old. Reno divorces were only in effect when both parties were represented and Constance was not. A trial was held in New York in 1938 where, on the stand, Constance testified of Guido’s new wife, “All my friends called my attention to the fact that she was a grandmother. It annoyed me terribly.” The judge found that the divorce was not legal in New York and Guido replied that it did not matter as he was a resident of Nevada and had no intention of returning to New York. He then received from the Archbishop of Los Angeles a document stating that his marriage to Constance was annulled but a subsequent court in Florence, Italy, refused to accept the finding. Finally, in July of 1939, the Italian Court of Cassation ruled that his divorce from Constance was valid and an appeals court in Perugia upheld the decision.
In 1941 the couple brought a legal action against his cousin, Prince Ludovic Pignatelli (whose wife was American Ruth Morgan Waters), who was convicted of attempting to extort money from them by contesting Guido’s right to the title. Prince Ludovic later died destitute in a New York City rooming house in 1956 having been critically injured when he hit his head in a fall. Henrietta and Prince Guido lived at Wando Plantation, her 32-room plantation home and gardens designed by Olmsted, near Charleston, which was destroyed by fire in 1942, and in Washington, DC, where he was attached to the diplomatic corps. She was diagnosed with leukemia and retired to Melody Farm, her home in Wyckoff, New Jersey, where she died on 3 July 1948 and was buried in Charleston’s Magnolia Cemetery.
Only months before her death she purchased the Joseph Manigault House in Charleston when it was being sold for back taxes and gave it to the Charleston Museum in memory of her mother. Her son received from her, separately from his large trust fund, more than $4 million in stocks as well as valuable property, while her widower was left $50,000 plus a living trust with an income of $10,000 per year – with the principal reverting to her son upon Guido’s death. Her attorneys declared in court that “Her husband had virtually no property or income.” That amount was not sufficient for Prince Guido, and, four months after his wife’s death, Prince Guido married in Reno, NV, 14 October 1948, then in Palermo, socialite Barbara Eastman of New York City, a descendant of Massachusetts colonists.
Prince Guido’s son by Barbara Eastman, Prince Paolo, born in Washington, DC, in 1949, is the current 14th Duke of Montecalvo, 15th Marquess of Paglieta, and Marquess of San Marco Locatola. Married to Margery Baker since 1981, he has a daughter but no son or brother and there are no males cousins in his line.
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12 May

Count and Countess Edward Zichy

By the beginning of the 20th century, any remaining standards had been ignored then trampled to death. Speaking of death, you may recall how did sordid affair ended:

Wayne and Patricia Lonergan

Elizabeth Helene Demarest, born in 1892, and Charlotte Gardner Demarest, born 9 June 1902, were daughters of Elizabeth Applegate Demarest and Warren Gardner Demarest of New York City and of Elberon, New Jersey. Their father was a wealthy automobile broker with the George W. Copley Company in New York and their highly-social mother spent much of her time at the family’s Chateau Bassaraba at Evian des Bain, France. Elizabeth Helene Demarest first married on 18 September 1911, John G. A. Leishman, Jr. (1887-1942), whose father, formerly president of the Carnegie Steel Company, was the U. S. Ambassador to Turkey (1906-1909), to Italy (1909-1911), then to Germany (1911-1913). Ambassador Leishman’s daughter, Marthe (1882-1944), married in 1904 Count Louis de Gontaut-Biron, while her sister, Nancy (1894-1983), married in 1913 Karl Rudolf, the 13th Duke of Croy, Duke of Arenberg, Duke of Meppen, Prince of Recklinghausen. Nancy later divorced the Duke (his second wife, Helene Lewis, was also American) then married Andreas d’Oldenberg, the Danish minister to France. Her son succeeded as 14th Duke of Croy.
Elizabeth Demarest and John G. A. Leishman, Jr., were divorced in 1917 and she married on 27 April 1918, Lord Alastair Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, born 24 January 1890, second son of the 4th Duke of Sutherland. He was a major in the Royal Horse Guards, was wounded twice in military service, and received the Military Cross. He and his bride met when he visited New York City with his father shortly before the War. He and Elizabeth had an only child, Elizabeth Millicent, born 30 March 1921. The month after the child’s birth Lord Alastair was on a big game expedition in Rhodesia when he contracted malaria and died on 28 April 1921 at the age of 31. His widow was said to be engaged to the Russian Count Ludos but that marriage did not materialize. Instead, she married on 14 June 1931, Baron George Osten Driesen, descendant of a Russian general who was a hero at the battle of Borodino. Only three months after her last marriage she died on 26 September 1931. Her only child, Elizabeth, became a ward of her uncle, the childless 5th Duke of Sutherland, and at his death succeeded in her own right as 24th Countess of Sutherland and Baroness of Strathnaver while a distant cousin, the Earl of Ellesmere, succeeded as Duke of Sutherland. She married on 5 January 1946 Charles Noel Jansen who served in the Welsh Guards and was taken prisoner in Germany for five years. She resumed her maiden name at her succession to her father’s earldom (which could be inherited by a female while the dukedom could not) in 1963. Her eldest son, Alastair, Lord Strathnaver, is heir to his mother.
The widowed Lady Alastair Sutherland-Leveson-Gower and her sister, Charlotte, were visiting Paris when the younger woman was introduced to the handsome Count Edward Zichy, born at Eastbourne-on-Sea, England, 19 August 1898, son of Count Bela Zichy and of his American-born wife, Mabel Wright (see her separate entry), formerly the wife of Fernando Yznaga (brother of Americans Consuelo, Duchess of Manchester, and Lady Lister-Kaye). Charlotte Demarest returned to New York City where on 27 April 1922 her engagement was announced to George Burton (formerly Bernheimer), born 23 February 1892. His father, Max E. Bernheimer, amassed a fortune as a beer brewer in the firm Bernheimer and Schmid. After the 1889 death of his partner, Auguste Schmid, with whom he owned New York City’s Lion Brewery, Schmid’s widow, Josephine Kleiner Schmid (1862-1937), took his place in management and bought out Bernheimer in 1903 in a deal said to be worth six million dollars. Josephine would eventually wed in 1909 Giovanni-Battista, Prince del Drago, Marquess of Riofreddo.
When Max Berhnheimer died in 1913, he left substantial gifts to Jewish charities and established $250,000 trust funds for each of his sons, George and William, with the principal reverting to them on their twenty-first birthday. Additionally his four million dollar estate was to provide a life income for Bernheimer’s widow then be divided among their children at her death. Mrs. Bernheimer then married Frederick Housman, a wealthy broker and partner at A. A. Housman and Company. When young George Bernheimer reached his 21st birthday in 1915, he celebrated by giving himself an “Oriental coming-out party” at Delmonico’s. He and his brother, William, changed their name from Bernheimer to Burton after their father’s death and both enjoyed a high social profile.
Even before Charlotte Demarest’s engagement to George Burton was announced, the handsome young Count Edward Zichy arrived in New York City to try to win her hand. Burton moved into a suite at the Hotel Ambassador, only two blocks from Charlotte’s home, so that he could ensure that his fiancée remained faithful. Their wedding date was announced for 9 May 1922, earlier than originally planned, at the Demarest estate in Elberon, New Jersey.
On the morning of the wedding, Count Edward Zichy ran through his hotel lobby, calling to some friends that he was going to elope; they assumed he was joking. A few hours later he returned with a marriage license and quickly packed his belongings and departed. While George Burton and the assembled Demarest family waited patiently for the bride’s afternoon arrival for her wedding, Charlotte Demarest and Count Edward Zichy were married by the City Clerk in the Marriage Chapel at City Hall. They promptly departed for their honeymoon leaving to the Demarest family physician the difficult task of telephoning the news to Elberon. The bride’s mother was reported to have suffered “a nervous collapse.”
Newspaper reports immediately circulated word that both the intended groom and the Count were members of “the bright spirits of Broadway and the younger social set.” The “tall and handsome” Count was said to have “a remarkable personality” and “everybody was wild about his dancing.” In his marriage application he professed to be a writer but his friends said that he had recently been selling insurance. Prior to that job he sold used autos at a Manhattan dealership where he was reported to have sold “twelve expensive automobiles in less than three weeks.” Expensive gifts to Charlotte from George Burton were disclosed after her elopement but he was reported to have asked only for the return of a ring given to her by his mother and grandmother.
If the young couple thought their honeymoon would quell media interest, they were mistaken. One creditor who read newspaper accounts of their wedding secured the services of the Sheriff’s department to hand-deliver a demand for payment of more than $1,000. First told that the couple had asked not to be disturbed, the Deputy showed his official identification and was led to their suite. He was met by “the Countess in her kimono” who told him that her husband was asleep. When informed that the Deputy was there to collect the debt, Charlotte replied, “But Eddie has no money, and neither have I. His parents in Hungary have plenty but, of course, that isn’t here. I suppose I would have had a lot if I had married the other man I was engaged to.”
Within months the Zichys left their hotel for a “dancing engagement” at Atlantic City without paying their bill. Upon their return they moved in with her mother, Mrs. Demarest, where they were promptly served with a summons to pay the hotel more than $1,000. Countess Zichy responded, “We hoped that our dancing engagement in Atlantic City would enable us to pay our debts, but we realized only enough for our living expenses.” The pair had no children and Charlotte died on 1 May 1957, followed by her husband in London on 25 June 1958. Charlotte’s former fiancé, George Burton, was said to desire to remain friends with Charlotte. He died in Paris of a heart attack on 24 April 1924, only 32 years old.
He was to be greatly overshadowed in publicity by his brother, William O. Burton, an aspiring portrait painter who studied at the Yale School of Fine Arts, the Art Students League, and the School of Applied Arts. He married at Elberon on 25 September 1920 Lucile Wolfe and they had a daughter, Patricia Hartley Burton. William preferred life in Paris and his wife eventually divorced him for desertion in 1925. Supposedly an underage boy was named as one of the correspondents.
William Burton had a succession of male “protégées” and finally became besotted with a handsome young Canadian. Wayne Lonergan came to New York City in 1939 as a “chair boy” hired by wealthy patrons to push rickshaws through the New York World’s Fair. Lonergan met William Burton and soon there was no need for him to continue working. But the very next year, Burton died leaving a fortune of seven million dollars to his young daughter, Patricia, then a teenager. Lonergan transferred his affection to the daughter and in the winter of 1941 the two eloped against the wishes of the bride’s mother, who knew the nature of his relationship with her late husband.
The marriage was not happy but the pair produced a son before Lonergan returned to Canada to volunteer in the Royal Canadian Air Force. In October of 1943 he was home in New York City on a weekend pass when he spent much of the night in a succession of gay nightclubs. His 22 year-old wife was said to have spent the night also lost in a similar quest for alcohol and attractive men.
Both arriving at their home at 313 East 51st Street at approximately 7:00 a.m., they collapsed onto their marital bed and, amazingly, began passionate sex. Perhaps Patricia decided it was time to vent her frustration, or her husband may actually have taunted her with tales of his recent sexual encounters. For whatever reason, during fellatio she violently bit his penis (some reports insist that she bit off the end). Enraged and in pain, Lonergan picked up a candelabra from the nightstand, beat her about the head, and strangled her to death.
Lonergan then calmly dressed, taking care to use makeup to hide her scratch marks on his face. He cut up his bloody military uniform and threw it into the river (where it was never found) before taking a taxi to a weekend house party to which he had been invited. After his eventual arrest, his unorthodox alibi was that he could not have killed his wife as, at the time of the murder, he was having anonymous sex with a soldier he had picked up during the night. Lonergan also said the soldier had stolen his uniform.
The resulting media frenzy was inhibited only by what the newspapers could not say about the murder, other than an attempt by one to write that Lonergan was “in great pain” when he killed his wife. He eventually confessed but later tried to recant saying the confession was beaten out of him by Canadian police. The first attempt at justice was declared a mistrial before the jury was chosen, and in the second trial Lonergan was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 35 years to life in prison. Released in 1967, he was deported to Canada. While still in prison he attempted to gain his wife’s fortune but the courts ruled that he was “civilly dead” and thus could not inherit.
His son, who was only one at the time of his mother’s murder, changed his name to William Anthony Burton (he had been told he was an orphan) and in 1954 legally inherited his mother’s fortune. Lonergan sought a second trial in 1965 based upon his forced confession but was unsuccessful. He was paroled in 1967 on the condition that he remain in Canada. Wayne Lonergan died on 2 January 1986 in Toronto at the age of 67. He was reported to have spent his last years as a companion to an elderly actress.
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