Mary (Mai) Huttleston Rogers Coe

Last updated
Mary (Mai) Huttleston Rogers Coe
Born
Mary Huttleston Rogers

(1875-09-26)September 26, 1875
DiedDecember 28, 1924(1924-12-28) (aged 49)
Spouse(s)Joseph C. Mott (annulled)
(m. 1900;her death 1924)
Children William Rogers Coe
Robert Douglas Coe
Henry Huttleston Rogers Coe
Natalie Mai Coe, Countess Vitetti
Parent(s) Henry Huttleston Rogers
Abigail Palmer Gifford

Mary Huttleston "Mai" Coe (née Rogers; September 26, 1875 – December 28, 1924) was an American heiress and horticulturist who became the wife of William Robertson Coe, a businessman and philanthropist.

Contents

Early life

Mary Huttleston Rogers, known as "Mai", was born in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, on September 26, 1875. She was the youngest of four daughters of Henry Huttleston Rogers (1840–1909) and his first wife, Abbie Gifford (1841–1894). Her father was an associate of John D. Rockefeller and one of the wealthiest men in the United States through Standard Oil. By 1874, the Rogers family was living in New York City and maintaining a summer home in Fairhaven. Henry and Abbie Rogers already had three daughters when Mai was born, and she was their last daughter. Mai (as she was always called) was the "baby" of the family until the arrival of Henry Huttleston Rogers Jr., who was born in 1879.

Mai was educated at private seminary schools, spoke fluent French, played the piano, and was interested in art and decoration. She had three older sisters and one brother who survived infancy. Mai's sisters were Anne Engle Rogers, who married publisher William Evarts Benjamin, and Cara Leland Rogers, who married Urban Hanlon Broughton (she later became the first Lady Fairhaven in England after her husband was posthumously elevated to the peerage). In 1890, Mai's older sister Millicent (born 1873) died at age 17, and the family donated the Millicent Library which was dedicated to her memory. [1] In 1894, a new Town Hall in Fairhaven was dedicated to Mai's maternal grandmother only a few months before Mai's mother herself died suddenly on May 21, 1894, following an operation in New York City.

As children, Mai and her brother and sisters spent much time at coastal Fairhaven, where some of their grandparents were still alive. They heard tales of the days of the whaling ships. Her maternal grandfather, Peleg Gifford, was particularly well known in the community for his tales of days as a ship's captain. Over the years, the Rogers family donated many public facilities to the community, including schools and a Unitarian church.

Her brother, Henry Huttleston Rogers Jr., was better known as Harry. As adults, Harry and his wife were favorite traveling companions of Mai's father and family friends (including humorist Mark Twain and educator Dr. Booker T. Washington) aboard the family's luxury yacht, Kanawha. Harry later changed the spelling of his middle name to an earlier version, Huddleston.

Marriages and later life

Coe Hall, Planting Fields, 2006 Coe Hall - PFA; January 2006.jpg
Coe Hall, Planting Fields, 2006

Mai's first marriage to Joseph C. Mott was annulled. Her father and her close family friend Mark Twain both labeled her first husband a "scalawag". [2] However, her second marriage fared much better. On June 4, 1900, at her father's home in New York City, 24-year-old Mai Rogers married William Robertson Coe, a 30-year-old English-born insurance company manager from Philadelphia, whom she had met on a transatlantic crossing. It was the second marriage for each.

Mai Rogers was married in full virginal bridal regalia, "gowned in white satin, veiled with exquisitely embroidered tulle, and wore a veil of tulle embroidered to match the tulle draperies of the dress," The New York Times reported the day after the wedding. "This veil was caught to her coiffure with a diamond sunburst, and at one side of her corsage she wore a Maltese cross in diamonds, the gift of the bridegroom."

Together, Mai and William Robertson Coe had four children:

By 1910, William Robertson Coe had become president of Johnson and Higgins Insurance, and he was involved in insuring the hull of the RMS Titanic which sank on its maiden voyage in 1912. Like many other famous families of the Gilded Age, the Coe family had been booked for the ill-fated liner's return trip to Southampton, England. By 1916, Coe had been named Chairman of the Board of Johnson and Higgins.

Coe was on the Board of Directors of The Virginian Railway Company from 1910 until his death in 1955 and headed the company for a brief period during World War II. He was also a director of Loup Creek Colliery and the Wyoming Land Company. Their oldest son, William Rogers Coe, was also a longtime official of his grandfather's railroad.

Coe Hall

One of the old entrances to Coe Hall CoeHallGate.jpg
One of the old entrances to Coe Hall

Mai and her husband shared a love of horticulture. They purchased a large estate, Planting Fields, that had been established in 1904 by Helen MacGregor Byrne wife of New York City lawyer James Byrne, and built on the Gold Coast of Long Island, New York in Oyster Bay.

After acquiring the property in 1913, Mai and William named the manor house "Coe Hall". They began planting and landscaping under the guidance of the Boston landscaping firm of Guy Lowell and A. R. Sargent. In 1915, Lowell and Sargent oversaw transport of the two beech trees from Fairhaven (Mai's childhood home). The gigantic beeches, with root balls thirty feet (nine metres) in diameter, were ferried across Long Island Sound in mid-winter. Roads were widened and utility wires temporarily removed to make way. Only one of the two trees survived the journey. The second beech tree lived until the 21st century, but was taken down in February 2006. However, the “Fairhaven Beech” will live on. Seedlings were collected from the tree from 2000-2005.

The property's first mansion burned to the ground on March 19, 1918; its replacement, the present Coe Hall, was constructed between 1918 and 1921 in the Tudor Revival style and faced in Indiana limestone. It was designed by the firm of Walker & Gillette and was completed in 1921. Images from a book of English country houses, especially those of Moyns Park, Athelhampton, and St. Catherine's Court, inspired its architecture. William and Mai Coe's interest in rare species of trees and plant collections made the estate a botanical marvel.

Mai was chronically ill for the last decade of her life. Following an extended illness, Mai died in 1924, aged 49, and was interred nearby.

Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park

The 353 acre (1.4 km²) estate was deeded to the State of New York in 1949 (during Mr. Coe's lifetime) to become Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park. [4] The 355-acre (1.44 km2) estate includes Coe Hall and a large arboretum. William Robertson Coe died in 1955. [5]

Related Research Articles

Fairhaven, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Fairhaven is a town in Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States. It is located on the South Coast of Massachusetts where the Acushnet River flows into Buzzards Bay, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean. The town shares a harbor with the city of New Bedford, a place well known for its whaling and fishing heritage; consequently, Fairhaven's history, economy, and culture are closely aligned with those of its larger neighbor. The population of Fairhaven was 15,873 at the time of the 2010 census and estimated at 16,078 in mid-2016.

Henry Huttleston Rogers American businessman

Henry Huttleston Rogers was an American industrialist and financier. He made his fortune in the oil refining business, becoming a leader at Standard Oil. He also played a major role in numerous corporations and business enterprises in the gas industry, copper, and railroads.

Anglesey Abbey

Anglesey Abbey is a National Trust property in the village of Lode, 5 12 miles (8.9 km) northeast of Cambridge, England. The property includes a country house, built on the remains of a priory, 98 acres of gardens and landscaped grounds, and a working mill.

Wamsutta Oil Refinery was established around 1861 in McClintocksville in Venango County near Oil City, Pennsylvania, in the United States. It was the first business enterprise of Henry Huttleston Rogers (1840–1909), who became a famous businessman, industrialist and financier.

Abbie G. Rogers

Abigail Gifford Rogers was the first wife of Henry Huttleston Rogers (1840–1909), an American business magnate.

McClintockville, Pennsylvania was a small community in Cornplanter Township in Venango County located in the state of Pennsylvania in the United States.

Millicent Library United States historic place

Millicent Library in Fairhaven, Massachusetts was donated to the town by the family of Millicent Gifford Rogers, the youngest daughter of Abbie Gifford and wealthy industrialist Henry Huttleston Rogers. Young MIllicent had died of heart failure in 1890 when she was barely seventeen years old. The library was dedicated on January 30, 1893. It was designed by Charles Brigham in the Richardsonian Romanesque style.

Baron Fairhaven

Baron Fairhaven, of Anglesey Abbey in the County of Cambridge, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1961 for Urban Huttleston Broughton, 1st Baron Fairhaven, with remainder to his younger brother, Henry Rogers Broughton (1900–1973). He had already been created Baron Fairhaven, of Lode in the County of Cambridge, in 1929, with remainder to the heirs male of his body.

William Evarts Benjamin was a prominent publisher and collector in Boston, Massachusetts.

William Robertson Coe was an insurance, railroad and business executive, a major owner and breeder of Thoroughbred racehorses, as well as a collector of Americana and an important philanthropist for the academic discipline of American Studies.

Urban Hanlon Broughton was an English civil engineer who went to work in the United States, married an American heiress, returned to England and was for three-and-a-half years a Conservative Member of Parliament. In 1928 he donated Ashridge House to the Conservative Party and in 1929 he was in line for elevation to the peerage, but he died before the honour was bestowed. His wife Cara Leland Broughton was granted the style of a baron's wife and their eldest son was created the first Baron Fairhaven.

Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park United States historic place

Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park, which includes the Coe Hall Historic House Museum, is an arboretum and state park covering over 400 acres (160 ha) located in the village of Upper Brookville in the town of Oyster Bay, New York.

William "Bill" Rogers Coe was an American banker and railroad executive.

Robert Douglas Coe was a career diplomat and the U.S. ambassador to Denmark from 1953 to 1957.

Natalie Mai Coe, Countess Vitetti (1910-1987) was the only daughter of insurance and railroad executive William Robertson Coe and Mai Huttleston Coe.

Leonardo Vitetti

Count Leonardo Vitetti was an Italian diplomat who served as a delegate to the United Nations from 1956 to 1958.

Coe is a surname of English origin. At the time of the British Census of 1881, its frequency was highest in Northamptonshire, followed by Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Essex, Leicestershire, Huntingdonshire, Surrey, London and Kent. Notable people with the surname include:

Urban Huttleston Broughton, 1st Baron Fairhaven

Urban Huttleston Rogers Broughton, 1st Baron Fairhaven, usually known as Huttleston Broughton was a British peer, racehorse breeder and art collector.

Fairhaven Town Hall United States historic place

Fairhaven Town Hall is the town hall of Fairhaven, Massachusetts. It is located at 40 Center Street, between Walnut and William Streets, across Center Street from the Millicent Library. The brick and stone High Victorian Gothic hall was designed by Charles Brigham and built in 1892. It was given to the town by Henry Huttleston Rogers, who also made other significant contributions to the town, including the library. The building's granite trim elements were quarried in St. George, New Brunswick and Red Beach, Maine.

Millicent Rogers

Mary Millicent Abigail Rogers, better known as Millicent Rogers, was a socialite, fashion icon, and art collector. She was the granddaughter of Standard Oil tycoon Henry Huttleston Rogers, and an heiress to his wealth. Rogers is notable for having been an early supporter and enthusiast of Southwestern-style art and jewelry, and is often credited for its reaching a national and international audience. Later in life, she became an activist, and was among the first celebrities to champion the cause of Native American civil rights. She is still credited today as an influence on major fashion designers.

References

  1. Millicent Library | Henry Huttleston Rogers. Henry Rogers. 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-06-07. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  2. Twain, Mark (1969). Mark Twain's Correspondence with Henry Huttleston Rogers, 1893-1909 . University of California Press. p.  744. ISBN   9780520905061 . Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  3. "HENRY H. ROGERS COE WEDS WYOMING GIRL; Grandson of a Standard Oil I Founder Takes Irene M. Wdlard i as His Bride in West". The New York Times . 20 December 1936. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  4. Mai Huttleston Rogers Coe. Planting Fields. 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-01-08. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  5. Kahn, Eve M. (21 November 2013). "Refurnishing a 65-Room House, Piece by Piece". The New York Times . Retrieved 19 June 2019.