Wednesday, July 13, 2022

American Stars #7: Gramercy Park for the Fields


American Stars #7 Gramercy Park by Jeanne Arnieri

Gramercy Park remembers the Field family who built houses in the New York neighborhood in the 19th century. The first Field in America was Zachariah who came to the new New England in the 1630s. One recipe for a distinguished family is to come early, claim the territory, be white and English and reproduce prodigiously.

Four generations later Timothy Field (1744-1818) of Madison served in Connecticut's Continental Militia during the Revolution. With Anna Dudley Field he had six children who lived into the 19th century.

Anna's family's land farmed by the Dudleys for 300 years
 is now the Dudley Farm Museum with an 1844 house 
on the ten acres in Guilford, Connecticut.

Bright and privileged Connecticut boys went to Yale to be trained for the Congregational ministry as Timothy and Anna's two sons did. Timothy II graduated in 1797 and went west to a church in Canandaigua, New York, establishing a Fields family branch there before he moved on to Vermont. 

Reverend Timothy Field's home in Canandaigua
We spent a year with the Fields/Beals/Richards branch
of the family in our BOM Yankee Diary. See the link below.

Younger brother David Dudley Field graduated in 1802 and remained in Connecticut. 

Submit Dickinson Field (1782-1861)
From her FindaGrave site

He married Submit Dickinson soon after graduation (Gotta love those Puritan names.) He and Submit raised nine children. Their seven sons became distinguished and a few achieved fame.

Daughter Emilia Field Brewer married a minister
and went to Turkey as a missionary for a time.

Cyrus West Field (1819-1892)
Brady Studios

You may be familiar with the name Cyrus Field, the youngest boy, skilled in sales and business. Unlike his brothers he had no interest in college or the ministry and went off to New York to work for department store innovator A.T. Stewart. Cyrus then bought a paper mill and made a fortune, retiring in his 30s with millions in today's dollars. 

Smithsonian American Art Museum
Cotopaxi by Frederic Edwin Church, 1855

Cyrus became patron and traveling companion to artist Frederic Edwin Church. They spent half of 1853 in Latin America with Church painting landscapes based on the trip.

Another retirement project: Cyrus decided to engineer and sponsor a cable across the Atlantic to connect telegraphy between Europe and America. It took 12 years and cost enormous sums. The cable broke; was re-laid twice. By 1866 Morse code carried instantaneous news across the ocean. 

Sheet Music

1866 Public Relations 

His skills in publicity and sales were put to good use in gathering support for the cable project, one reason his name resonates today.

The Field Brothers 
(Missing brother Timothy, a midshipman, was lost at sea when
he was in his 20s.)

David Dudley Field (1805-1894)

Cyrus's older brothers also achieved success in various areas. David Dudley Field II was a successful attorney who left New York an improved penal code. He became influential enough in New York society to merit his own brand of cigars.

David and Cyrus commissioned twin houses (now destroyed)
in New York's exclusive Gramercy Park neighborhood.

Brother Matthew Dickinson Field was an engineer specializing in bridges. Jonathan Edwards Field was also a lawyer, working with David. 

Stephen Johnson Field (1816-1899)

Stephen Johnson Field, the most combative of the brothers, left the family law firm during the Gold Rush where he became a California judge and politician. During the Civil War Abraham Lincoln appointed the Californian to the U.S. Supreme Court where he had a long if checkered career.

Henry Martyn Field (1822-1907)

Reverend Henry Martyn Field, a minister with a Yale degree, may appear to be the most conventional brother. He preached in St. Louis in the 1840s and then went to France, where the Field story takes an unconventional turn. There the Presbyterian minister must have heard of (or actually encountered) an older, mysterious woman involved in an enormous Parisian scandal.

Henriette Deluzy-Deportes (1813–1875)

Henriette, born out of wedlock with few prospects, was governess for the Duc and Duchesse de Choiseul-Praslin. Duchesse Francoise, a quarrelsome, jealous woman, was suspicious of the governess's relationship with her husband Charles and fired Henriette. One night in 1847 Charles killed his wife in a fit of rage. The former governess was accused of complicity. When Charles committed suicide after a week in jail Henriette was freed but a cloud of suspicion hung over her head.

Gramercy Park remains a private, locked park for the residents.

Friends facilitated a new life in New York where she obtained a position as a French teacher at the exclusive Miss Haine's' School for Girls in Gramercy Park. Two years later she married Reverend Henry Field. The minister's wife with a French accent and a shady past died in 1875 leaving no children.

The Block

American Stars #7 Gramercy Park by Becky Brown

My notes on the pattern tell us the Nancy Cabot column called this version of a Kaleidoscope design "Riviera," but I cannot find a clipping. I wonder if I copied a name wrong or copied an unreliable reference. Riviera isn't a good name for a quilt about American Stars anyway so we're calling it Gramercy Park for the twin houses in New York City.

Print the pattern on an 8-1/2 x11" sheet of paper. Note the inch square block for scale.

American Stars #7 Gramercy Park by Denniele Bohannon

Denniele & Jeanne's blocks are so compatible one could make
a lively quilt by alternating the color schemes.

Later Generations

We'd probably know nothing about Mrs. Henry Field's scandalous past if a later Field did not turn Henriette Deluzy-Deportes Field's tale into a best-selling novel. 

Rachel Lyman Field (1894-1942) and Spriggen in 1929

Rachel Field, granddaughter of the bridge-building Matthew and wife Clarissa, wrote several popular books including All This and Heaven Too, Henriette Field's story. Rachel's novel was made into a 1940 movie starring Bette Davis as Henriette and Charles Boyer as the murderous Duc.

Rachel, Spriggen and Bette Davis

Barbara O'Neill won an Academy Award for her role as the
unfortunate Duchesse.

Rachel Field used quilt imagery in her books. Read an AQSG paper "Quilting Imagery in the Writings of Rachel Field" by Tracy W. Barron in Uncoverings 1996. Read the paper without the pictures here:

Pearl Mary Teresa Richards Craigie (1867-1906)

Writing was a family gift. Like diarist Carrie Richards "John Oliver Hobbes" was descended from the first Timothy Field through the Canandaigua branch. Hobbes was a penname used by best-selling novelist Pearl Richards Craigie.

Further Reading and Watching

See all the Yankee Diary posts inspired by Carrie Richards Canandaigua journal.

Charles Boyer as the Duc....
Bette Davis as the governess.
Ooooh, la, la!

Becky Brown's model blocks are finished with hand-dyed
setting fabrics from Vicki Welsh who also machine quilted it.
Those Country Schoolhouse Quilters are an industrious lot
who make quilts for veterans.

1 comment:

Susie H said...

So very interesting. What a cool story of the Fields.