Person Record

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Name Van Wickle, Augustus Stout
Born 1856
Father Simon Van Wickle
Mother Anna Randolph Stout
Notes Augustus and his wife, Bessie Pardee, purchased the Blithewold estate in 1894 as a 'Country Home', and moved there with eldest daughter Marjorie, in 1896. Augustus Van Wickle died tragically in 1898 at the age of 42, just months before his second daughter, Augustine, was born.

Augustus Van Wickle was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, in 1856, the younger son of Simon and Anna Randolph Stout Van Wickle. He attended New Jersey Classical and Scientific Institute (now Peddie School) in Hightstown, NJ, and Brown University, RI, where he received a "liberal education." After graduation he went to work in his father's coal-mining company in Ebervale, Pennsylvania, just a few miles from Hazleton. His father wrote to him "You now have a chance to show what you can do in respect to the shipping."

It was at this time that he met and married Bessie Pardee (Van Wickle McKee), daughter of Hazleton's wealthiest mine-owner, Ariovistus Pardee. Augustus proposed to Bessie on her 20th birthday (January 30, 1880) and they married September 20, 1882. The first child of Augustus and Bessie, Marjorie Randolph, was born September 12, 1883.

Over the years, the family mining company grew enormously under Augustus' management, and he diversified its holdings to include iron, lumber, and banking. With the development of the railroads, these industries fed into each other and expanded quickly: iron and lumber were used to build the railroads, coal was used to fire the railway engines, and the railroads were used to take the coal to larger markets further afield to feed the burgeoning industrial revolution.

In 1894, Augustus traveled with ten-year old daughter Marjorie to Narragansett, Rhode Island. On a day trip to Bristol to visit old friends, Augustus impulsively purchase a 72-foot steam yacht from the Herreshoff boat-building company in Bristol. Soon after, he took Bessie to see the estate on Ferry Road which became Blithewold. They purchased the 70-acre property and hired Newport architect, Francis Hoppin, to design a fine Queen Anne style mansion. They secured the services of Bristol landscape architect, John DeWolf to work closely with Bessie on planning the extensive gardens she desired.

The Van Wickles enjoyed their first summer at Blithewold in 1896. Bessie's brothers and sisters rented other large homes on Ferry Road for the summer, and they all enjoyed the privileged lifestyle of the wealthy - endless house parties, dinners and luncheons, and sailing on Narragansett Bay. Augustus referred to Blithewold as his "Country Home," and he planned to spend six months of the year in Bristol, traveling by boat and train to New York where his company's headquarters were located, and to Hazleton to check on his mines.

In 1898, when Marjorie was already fourteen years old, Bessie found she was expecting the second child they had longed for. But in June, while Bessie was packing their trunks to leave for Bristol for the summer, Augustus went out skeet-shooting near his home in Hazleton with his brother-in-law, Sandidge Allison. As he leaned over to mark his score in the dust, his gun accidentally fired, discharging the full load into his chest. He threw up his hands and fell backwards, mortally wounded. Sandy Allison lifted him into the carriage and raced him towards his home, but within the hour he was dead. His long awaited second child was born five months later, a daughter whom Bessie named Augustine.

At the time of his death, Augustus was Commodore of the Bristol Yacht Club and President of the Bristol Golf Club. He was a Trustee of Peddie Institute, of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. He was a member of the Jekyll Island Club in Georgia, a club used principally for hunting by the elite of New York.

When Augustus Van Wickle died tragically in 1898 at the age of 42, his will revealed a generous bequest to Brown University, his alma mater. The funds were used to build a new administration building, and to purchase and install the gates named in his memory.

Letters in the Blithewold Archives include a lifelong exchange of correspondence between Augustus and his parents, beginning with his letters from school. There are also many letters sent to Bessie and Marjorie. His letters reveal a warm, loving, and caring husband, father, and son. He was known in business as a very generous employer: when the miners' strikes began in Pennsylvania in 1898, Augustus immediately met his workers' demands, giving them better wages and better conditions. He remembered all his employees at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and knew their children by name. They commented that he never spoke down to them, and always showed them respect. His obituary reads "What endeared him most of all to them [his employees] was his accessibility. His advice and opinion were constantly sought after … he had only to know of trouble and care to try to relieve them."

--M. Whitehead, Blithewold Curator, 2016
Spouse Bessie Pardee (Van Wickle), married 09-20-1882,
Children Marjorie Randolph Van Wickle Lyon
Augustine Van Wickle Shaw Toland
Deceased Date 1898

Associated Records

Image of Dress - 1895 ca

Dress - 1895 ca

One-piece child's dress, pale green pleated silk and velvet, ca. 1895. The dress has a lined, high-waisted bodice with center back opening, and was made by B. Altman Co., New York. The pale green silk crepe bodice is trimmed with a matching silk satin ribbon sash at the waist and ribbon bows at the center back, center front, and left shoulder. A wide needle lace bertha collar is stitched to the rounded neckline, extending over the very full, short contrasting velveteen sleeves. The pale green knife-pleated silk crepe skirt is cut straight and tightly gathered to the bodice. Dress: chest is 27" around; shoulder to hem is 37-inches. This dress was Marjorie Van Wickle's, from childhood. She

Image of Painting -

Painting -

Oil painting of family dog - Sara Ito a Japanese Spaniel. In an ornate gilt frame. Frame re-gilded and repaired by Alice Tingley in 2015.

Image of Frame, Picture -

Frame, Picture -

Porcelain frame decorated with daisies, leaves, stems in white, yellow, green colors on an ivory background. Gold-painted accents on relief. Design is similar to chamber candlestick (1976.1.1042). Holds a copy of a black and white photo of Augustus Van Wickle.

Image of Tankard -

Tankard -

Ceramic tankard, painted blue with a golfer depicted. Silver lid inscribed: " Bristol Golf Cup/Best Actual Score/Season 1896/ A S Van Wickle".

Image of Pitcher - 1893

Pitcher - 1893

Pale yellow glazed pottery pitcher decorated with green and yellow leaves and flowers. On one side is a drawing of a bust identified as Christopher Columbus. One the other side is a drawing of a ship. At the top of the drawing is PALOS and at the bottom is BAHAMAS. The inside is glazed brown. The bottom is incised 1893 indicating that this was a memento of the Columbian Exposition of 1893. Bessie, Augustus and Marjorie went to the 1893 Columbian Exposition with Estelle Clements and other friends. Bessie's diary from the visit and a letter from Augustus to his mother are in the Blithewold archives.

Image of Cue, Billiard -

Cue, Billiard -

Wooden billiard cue with ivory inset and the name "A S VanWickle" on the handle.

Image of Cue, Billiard -

Cue, Billiard -

Wooden billiard cue with ivory inset and the initials "ASVW" (Augustus Stout Van Wickle) on the handle.

Image of Tapestry -

Tapestry -

Silk embroidered gold velvet tapestry. Originally hung in Marjorie Van Wickle's bedroom. The tapestry bears the Van Wickle family crest. The arms show a center star of six points, in gold. In the flanks and base are curry-combs (horse grooming brushes) in silver. The crest shows two arms in armor, bent, each grasping, in a gauntleted hand, a broad sword hilted and pummeled. The motto "Silentio et Spe" means " Silence and Hope", and the name "de Sille" refers to the family who married into the Van Wickle family when Symen Van Wickle married a de Sille in 1725 in Somerset, New Jersey.

Image of Glass, Stemmed - 1895-1904

Glass, Stemmed - 1895-1904

One of 8 taller stemware glasses, etched with crossed pennant flags and an emblem that reads "Marjorie." The pennants are representative of the 'Marjorie' Yacht and the New York Yacht Club flags. The full glassware set is comprised of approximately 50-pieces, of which 38 are variously sized stemware. The other pieces include a large and a small cup, stoppered decanters, cruets, small bowls, a candy dish, and votive candle holders. Some of the glassware has a very small mark etched on the foot of the glass, with a capital "S" inside of a wreath; other pieces read, "SINCLAIRE". This glassware is meant to be used with the Mintons china set (1976.1.4952). The pieces in the set have th

Image of Glass, Stemmed - 1895-1904

Glass, Stemmed - 1895-1904

One of 6 narrower stemware glasses, etched with crossed pennant flags and an emblem that reads "Marjorie." The pennants are representative of the 'Marjorie' Yacht and the New York Yacht Club flags. The full glassware set is comprised of approximately 50-pieces, of which 38 are variously sized stemware. The other pieces include a large and a small cup, stoppered decanters, cruets, small bowls, a candy dish, and votive candle holders. Some of the glassware has a very small mark etched on the foot of the glass, with a capital "S" inside of a wreath; other pieces read, "SINCLAIRE". This glassware is meant to be used with the china set (1976.1.4952) that the same crossed flags and Marj

Image of Plate, Oyster - 1895 - 1905

Plate, Oyster - 1895 - 1905

One of 8 scalloped oyster plates, made in England by Mintons and designed for the Van Wickle family for use on board the "Marjorie" yacht[s]. The plates have a cream color background with a thin gilded band near the outer rim. In colors of blue, red, and gold, each plate has a painted emblem that includes Marjorie's name and two crossed pennant flags. The pennants are representative of the 'Marjorie' and the New York Yacht Club flags. The full dinner set includes about 240 pieces of china. While the china was made by Minton in England, it was distributed by R. Briggs & Co., Boston. The makers mark reflects both companies. A set of Baccarat Crystal engraved with similar symbols was us

Image of Plate, Dinner - 1895 - 1905

Plate, Dinner - 1895 - 1905

One of 21 dinner plates, made in England by Mintons and designed for the Van Wickle family for use on board the "Marjorie" yacht[s]. The plates have a cream color background with a thin gilded band near the outer rim. In colors of blue, red, and gold, each plate has a painted emblem that includes Marjorie's name and two crossed pennant flags. The pennants are representative of the 'Marjorie' and the New York Yacht Club flags. The full dinner set includes about 240 pieces of china. While the china was made by Minton in England, it was distributed by R. Briggs & Co., Boston. The makers mark reflects both companies. A set of Baccarat Crystal engraved with similar symbols was used along

Image of Cup, Demitasse - 1895 - 1905

Cup, Demitasse - 1895 - 1905

One of 10 demitasse cups, made in England by Mintons and designed for the Van Wickle family for use on board the "Marjorie" yacht[s]. The cups have a cream color background with a thin gilded band near the outer rim and the base. In colors of blue, red, and gold, each cup has a painted emblem that includes Marjorie's name and two crossed pennant flags. The pennants are representative of the 'Marjorie' and the New York Yacht Club flags. The full dinner set includes about 240 pieces of china. While the china was made by Minton in England, it was distributed by R. Briggs & Co., Boston. The makers mark reflects both companies. A set of Baccarat Crystal engraved with similar symbols was

Image of Glass, Stemmed - 1895-1904

Glass, Stemmed - 1895-1904

One of 7 shorter and narrow stemware glasses, perhaps for liquer. Each is etched with crossed pennant flags and an emblem that reads "Marjorie." The pennants are representative of the 'Marjorie' Yacht and the New York Yacht Club flags. The full glassware set is comprised of approximately 50-pieces, of which 38 are variously sized stemware. The other pieces include a large and a small cup, stoppered decanters, cruets, small bowls, a candy dish, and votive candle holders. Some of the glassware has a very small mark, etched on the foot of the glass, made up of a wreath, with an "S" inside; other pieces read, "SINCLAIRE". This glassware is meant to be used with the china set (1976.1.4952

Image of Glass, Stemmed - 1895-1904

Glass, Stemmed - 1895-1904

One of 6 green tinted stemware glasses, etched with crossed pennant flags and an emblem that reads "Marjorie." The pennants are representative of the 'Marjorie' Yacht and the New York Yacht Club flags. The full glassware set is comprised of approximately 50-pieces, of which 38 are variously sized stemware. The other pieces include a large and a small cup, stoppered decanters, cruets, small bowls, a candy dish, and votive candle holders. Some of the glassware has a very small mark, etched on the foot of the glass, made up of a wreath, with an "S" inside; other pieces read, "SINCLAIRE". This glassware is meant to be used with the china set (1976.1.4952) that the same crossed flags and

Image of Decanter, Stopper - 1895-1904

Decanter, Stopper - 1895-1904

Stopper for tall glass decanter (1976.1.4953.8.eb). Clear, thick glass with fluting. This piece is part of a full glassware set that is comprised of approximately 50-pieces including stemware, stoppered decanters, cruets, small bowls, a candy dish, one small and one large cup, and votive candle holders. Some of the glassware has a very small mark, etched on the foot of the glass, made up of a wreath, with an "S" inside; other pieces read, "SINCLAIRE". This glassware is meant to be used with the china set (1976.1.4952) that the same crossed flags and Marjorie symbols, but are painted in red, blue, and gold. Background: In 1894, while visiting friends in Rhode Island, Augustus Van Wic