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A Trip To Newport, Rhode Island

To Discover LeRoy History and Jell-O

by Lynne Belluscio

It wasn’t by coincidence that the Historical Society’s spring trip headed off to Newport, Rhode Island this past weekend. Although Newport is known for the Gilded Age mansions and great food, it is also the place where Jacob LeRoy’s brother, Daniel, lived

Daniel lived in LeRoy for a few years, and then he moved back to New York City where he married Susan Fish in 1826. Daniel’s house in New York City, at 20 St. Mark’s Place was built in 1832, and is still standing. It is listed in a historic district. Daniel and Susan moved to Newport and raised five children. Their home was located at 206 Bellview Avenue. It was torn down many years ago. Now, it would be adjacent to the International Tennis Hall of Fame which we drove past several times on our way to visit the Newport Mansions.

Susan and Daniel had a daughter also named Susan, who married George Warren Dresser. He had graduated from West Point and served during the Civil War. He served at Manassas and Bull Run and was an assistant instructor of military tactics at West Point.  After retiring from the Army he became a civil engineer.  Tragically, Susan Dresser and her husband died in 1883, leaving the five children orphans who were raised by their grandparents, Susan and Daniel LeRoy.

One of the granddaughters, Edith Dresser, married George Washington Vanderbilt in 1898.  If George Washington Vanderbilt sounds familiar, he is the man who built “Biltmore House” in Ashville, North Carolina. His brother, Cornelius Vanderbilt II built the “Breakers” in Newport. Another brother, William, built Marble House in Newport. All three mansions were designed by famous architect Richard Morris Hunt, who also lived in Newport. (And just for an additional connection, Richard Morris Hunt, also designed the base to the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.)



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