Winthrop Rutherfurd

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Winthrop Chanler Rutherfurd
Born(1862-02-04)February 4, 1862
DiedMarch 19, 1944(1944-03-19) (aged 82)
ResidenceRutherfurd House
Alma materColumbia College (1884)
Alice Morton
(m. 1902; her death 1917)

Lucy Mercer
(m. 1920; his death 1944)
Parent(s)Lewis Morris Rutherfurd
Margaret Chanler Stuyvesant
RelativesJohn Winthrop Chanler (uncle)
Henry White (brother-in-law)
Anne Harriman Vanderbilt (sister-in-law)

Winthrop Chanler Rutherfurd (February 4, 1862 – March 19, 1944) was an American socialite from New York, best known for his romance with Consuelo Vanderbilt and his marriage to Lucy Mercer, mistress to American President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Early life[edit]

Rutherfurd was born on February 4, 1862. He was the youngest son of seven children born to Lewis Morris Rutherfurd (1816–1892) and Margaret Chanler Stuyvesant (1820–1890).[1] His elder siblings included Stuyvesant Rutherfurd (1843–1909),[2][3] Louisa Morris Rutherfurd (1855–1892), Margaret Stuyvesant Rutherfurd (1853-1916), who was married to Henry White, and Lewis Morris Rutherfurd, Jr. (1859–1901), who was married to Anne Harriman Vanderbilt (1861–1940).[4]

His paternal grandparents were Robert Walter Rutherfurd (1788–1852) and Sabina Morris (1789–1857) of Morrisania. He was the great-grandson of U.S. Senator John Rutherfurd and 2x great-grandson of Lewis Morris, the Signer of the Declaration of Independence.[1] Rutherfurd was a direct descendant of Peter Stuyvesant, the last Dutch Director-General of New Netherland before it became New York,[5][6] as well as John Winthrop, the first Governor of Massachusetts.[7] His mother was the niece and adopted daughter of Peter Gerard Stuyvesant (1778–1847),[8] the 2x great-grandson of Peter Stuyvesant and Helena Rutherfurd Stuyvesant.[9][2] His mother's siblings included Elizabeth Winthrop Chanler (1824–1904) and John Winthrop Chanler (1826–1877).

He was a graduate of Columbia College[10] in 1884.[2]

Society life[edit]

Rutherfurd was one of the social elite nicknamed "The Four Hundred" by Ward McAllister, a number supposedly taken from the capacity of Caroline Webster Schermerhorn Astor's ballroom.[5] Novelist Edith Wharton described Rutherfurd as "the prototype of my first novels".[11]

In 1902, shortly after his first marriage, the Rutherfurds contracted prominent New York City architect Whitney Warren to design for them a Tudor revival style mansion known as Rutherfurd House. The approximately 38 room home was located alongside his brother's, Rutherfurd Stuyvesant, property in Allamuchy, New Jersey. Construction included a mansion, gardens, boathouse, swimming beach, hydroelectric powerhouse, 9-hole golf course, and kennels.[12] The farm's 1,000 acres became well known for its Holstein cows and Dorset sheep.[12]

After his second wedding,in 1920. Rutherfurd built an estate called Ridgeley Hall in Aiken, South Carolina where he pursued his favorite hobby of breeding Fox Terriers.[13] In 1907, Rutherfurd won the first Best in Show prize of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show with his fox terrier Warren Remedy, who would also win in 1908 and 1909.[14][15]

Personal life[edit]

In 1895, Consuelo Vanderbilt fell in love with Rutherfurd, and Rutherfurd proposed marriage to her.[16][17] However, Consuelo's mother Alva Vanderbilt forced Consuelo to travel to Europe, and pressured her to marry Charles Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough, for reasons of title. After Consuelo was persuaded that Alva might suffer a fatal heart attack if Consuelo disobeyed her, Consuelo agreed to forsake Rutherfurd and marry the Duke.[18] Rutherfurd then remained a bachelor until age 40, reportedly having numerous affairs with married socialites, including Ava Astor.[11] In 1926, when Consuelo's annulment was announced, the reason from Rome was that "Consuleo, when 17, and in love with 'an American named Rutherfurd,' had been forced by her mother, Mrs. O. H. P. Belmont, to give him up to marry the Duke."[7]

In 1902,[19] Rutherfurd married Alice Morton (1879–1917), the fourth daughter of former US Vice President Levi Parsons Morton and Anna Livingston Reade Street.[11][20] Her sister Helen, was married to Paul Louis Marie Archambaud, Boson de Talleyrand-Périgord (1867-1952), a son of the Charles Guillaume Frédéric, Boson de Talleyrand-Périgord, Prince de Sagan, and her oldest sister, Edith, was married to William Corcoran Eustis (1862–1921).[21] Alice died fifteen years later in 1917,[21] leaving behind five sons and a daughter:[11]

  • Lewis Morton Rutherfurd (1903–1920), who died age 16.[22]
  • Winthrop Rutherfurd, Jr. (1904–1988), who married Alice Polk (1917–2009),[23] daughter of Frank Lyon Polk, in 1940.[24]
  • John Phillip Rutherfurd (1910–1987),[25] who was married to Elizabeth Shevlin (1911–1957) and Jacqueline Orr (1923–2004).[26]
  • Hugo Rutherfurd (1911–2006),[27] who was married to Francesca Villa (1922–1995) in 1941.[28][29]
  • Alice Rutherfurd (1913–1953),[30] who married Arturo Peralta Ramos, the former husband of Millicent Rogers,[31][32][33] in 1943.[34]
  • Guy Gerard Rutherfurd (1915–2012),[35] who married Georgette Whelan (d. 2004)[36] in 1938.[37]

In 1913, upon the advice of Anna Roosevelt Cowles, Lucy Mercer was hired as a social secretary to Eleanor Roosevelt. In September 1918, Eleanor discovered the affair Lucy had with Eleanor's husband Franklin. The relationship ended and soon, Mercer then became the governess for Rutherfurd's six children.[38] Rutherfurd soon proposed to Mercer, who was almost three decades younger, and Mercer accepted. She was the daughter of Col. and Mrs. Carroll Mercer of Washington.[39] Only weeks before their wedding, which took place on February 11, 1920, Lewis, Rutherfurd's oldest son, died of pneumonia.[10] Various observers described Winthrop and Lucy as devoted to one another, and their marriage as a happy one.[40] Together, they had a daughter:[41]

  • Barbara Mercer Rutherfurd (1922–2005),[42] who married Robert Winthrop "Bobby" Knowles, Jr. (d. 2003)[43] in 1946.[44][45]

Rutherfurd died in Aiken on March 19, 1944 after a long period of failing health.[46][7] Lucy, who was by FDR's side when he died in 1945, died aged 57, on July 31, 1948.[39] In 1966, both Barbara and Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr. denied the relationship between her mother and his father.[47]


Rutherfurd was the grandfather of financier Lewis Polk Rutherfurd (b. 1944) who was married to Janet Jennings Auchincloss (1945–1985), the half-sister of former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, from 1966 until her death in 1985.[24] He later married Katharine du Pont Sanger in 1988.[48]


  1. ^ a b "Lewis Morris Rutherfurd" (PDF). New York Times. June 1, 1892. Retrieved 2014-01-09. Lewis Morris Kutherfurd died on Decoration Day at his home, Tranquillity, N.J., in the seventy-sixth [sic] year of his age.
  2. ^ a b c Rutherfurd, Livingston (1894). Family Records and Events: Compiled Principally from the Original Manuscripts in the Rutherfurd Collection. De Vinne Press. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  3. ^ Stuyvesant Rutherfurd later changed his name to Rutherfurd Stuyvesant in conformity with the will of his mother's great-uncle, Peter Gerard Stuyvesant in order to inherit the Stuyvesant fortune.
  4. ^ "W.K. VANDERBILT DIES IN FRANCE IN HIS 71ST YEAR; Was Eldest Male Survivor of Family That Built Fortune in New York Central. CHILDREN AT HIS BEDSIDE Duchess of Marlborough and Her Brothers Present with Financier's Widow. ESTATE NEAR $100,000,000 $300,000,000 Left by His Father in Eight Shares Believed to be Over Billion Total Now". The New York Times. 23 July 1920. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  5. ^ a b Vanderbilt 1991, p. 152.
  6. ^ Greene, Richard Henry; Stiles, Henry Reed; Dwight, Melatiah Everett; Morrison, George Austin; Mott, Hopper Striker; Totten, John Reynolds; Pitman, Harold Minot; Ditmas, Charles Andrew; Forest, Louis Effingham De; Maynard, Arthur S.; Mann, Conklin (1880). The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. p. 160. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  7. ^ a b c Times, Special To Te New Yor (21 March 1944). "W. RUTHERFURD, 82, LEADER IN SOCIETY; Sportsman, Member of Noted Family, Dies Was Owner of Famous Terrier Kennels". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  8. ^ Hughes, Stefan (2012). Catchers of the Light: The Forgotten Lives of the Men and Women Who First Photographed the Heavens. ArtDeCiel Publishing. ISBN 9781620509616. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  9. ^ "Peter Gerard Stuyvesant (1778-1847)". New-York Historical Society. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  10. ^ a b Persico 2008, p. 139.
  11. ^ a b c d Persico 2008, p. 138.
  12. ^ a b Mark Alan Hewitt Architects (May 2011). "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form - Ruthfurd Hall" (PDF). National Park Service.
  13. ^ Persico 2008, p. 180.
  14. ^ "Fox Terrier Wins Blue Ribbon Event" (PDF). The New York Times. 15 February 1907. Retrieved 10 April 2010.
  15. ^ "Delightful Days For Dog Lovers". Retrieved 23 February 2011.
  16. ^ Vanderbilt 1991, p. 153.
  17. ^ "ADMITS HE ADMIRED HER.; But Winthrop Rutherfurd Will Not Talk About Consuelo Vanderbilt". The New York Times. 26 November 1926. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  18. ^ Vanderbilt 1991, pp. 154–60.
  19. ^ "ENGAGEMENT OF MISS ALICE MORTON.; To Marry Winthrop Rutherfurd, One of the Best-Known Men in Society, an Adept at Out-Door Sports, and Wealthy". The New York Times. 13 January 1902. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  20. ^ "Artifacts of the Month -- June, 2017". Rutherfurd Hall. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  21. ^ a b "Mrs. Winthrop Rutherfurd". The New York Times. 21 June 1917. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  22. ^ "Lewis Morton Rutherfurd". The New York Times. 5 February 1920. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  23. ^ "RUTHERFURD, ALICE POLK". The New York Times. 27 March 2009. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  24. ^ a b Staff (May 9, 1966). "Janet Jennings Auchincloss Betrothed". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  25. ^ "DOROTHY HARDER BECOMES ENGAGED; Will Be the Bride of John P. Rutherfurd, a Grandson of Late Levi P. Morton". The New York Times. 9 May 1935. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  26. ^ "RUTHERFURD, JACQUELINE ORR". The New York Times. 11 July 2004. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  27. ^ "RUTHERFURD, HUGO". The New York Times. 2 February 2006. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  28. ^ Times, Special To The New York (8 July 1941). "FRANCESCA VILLA'S PLANS; She Sets Aug. 16 as Date for Marriage to Hugo Rutherfurd". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  29. ^ Times, Special To The New York (17 August 1941). "Francesca Villa Becomes Bride; Wed to Hugo Rutherfurd in a Ceremony Performed in Church at Newport Miss Francesca Villa Has Ten Attendants At Newport Wedding to Hugo Rutheifurd". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  30. ^ Times, Special To The New York (22 May 1953). "MRS. DE PERALTA-RAMOS". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  31. ^ "MILLICENT ROGERS WEDS ARGENTINEAN; Marriage to Arturo P. Ramos Is Hastened, Due to Illness of Her Grandfather. UNITED BY CATHOLIC PRIEST Col. Rogers's Gift Reported to Be $500,000 -- Couple Sail for Buenos Aires Thursday. FORMER COUNTESS SALM AND NEW HUSBAND. MILLICENT ROGERS WEDS ARGENTINEAN". The New York Times. 8 November 1927. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  32. ^ Owens, Mitchell (August 19, 2001). "Desert Flower". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-06-27.
  33. ^ Persico, Joseph E. (2009). Franklin and Lucy: Mrs. Rutherfurd and the Other Remarkable Women in Roosevelt's Life. Random House Trade Paperbacks. p. 299. ISBN 9780812974966. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  34. ^ Trmes, Special To The New York (28 December 1943). "ALICE RUTHERFURD IS MARRIED IN SOUTH; Levi P. Morton's Granddaughter Bride of Arturo Ramos". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  35. ^ "GUY G. RUTHERFURD". The New York Times. May 31, 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  36. ^ "RUTHERFURD, GEORGETTE WHELAN (MRS. GUY G.)". The New York Times. 19 February 2004. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  37. ^ "Georgette Whelan Wed to G.G. Rutherfurd; Twelve Attendants in Bridal Procession". The New York Times. 9 September 1938. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  38. ^ Goodwin 1994, p. 376.
  39. ^ a b "MRS. W. RUTHERFURD". The New York Times. 1 August 1948. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  40. ^ Persico 2008, p. 181.
  41. ^ Ward, Geoffrey C. (2012). Closest Companion: The Unknown Story of the Intimate Friendship Between Franklin Roosevelt and Margaret Suckley. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9781439117668. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  42. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths KNOWLES, BARBARA RUTHERFURD". The New York Times. 12 November 2005. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  43. ^ "KNOWLES, ROBERT WINTHROP, JR. (BOBBY)". The New York Times. 26 April 2003. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  44. ^ Korman, Murray (4 January 1946). "MISS RUTHERFURD BECOMES FIANCEE; BETROTHED | Member of Noted Family WIll Be Wed to Robert Winthrop Knowles, Jr. of Boston". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  45. ^ Times, Special To The New York (10 April 1946). "MISS RUTHERFURD MARRIED IN AIKEN; Fermata School Graduate the Bride of Robert W. Knowles Jr., Former Service Man". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  46. ^ Goodwin 1994, p. 499.
  47. ^ "KIN DENY ACCOUNT OF F.D.R. ROMANCE; Describe Mrs. Rutherfurd and President as Friends". The New York Times. 13 August 1966. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  48. ^ "Katharine du Pont Sanger Is Affianced". The New York Times. 23 October 1988. Retrieved 18 July 2017.