Eugene Summerson
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Eugene Peyton Summerson (1877 - 1946)

Eugene Peyton Summerson
Born in Staunton, Augusta, Virginia, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 18 Jul 1905 in Alabama, USAmap
Husband of — married 22 Feb 1929 in Great Neck, Nassau, New York, United Statesmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Port Washington, New York, USAmap
Profile last modified | Created 4 Jul 2018 | Last significant change: 14 Feb 2021
03:24: Lauren Hopkins edited the Biography for Eugene Peyton Summerson (1877-1946). (added citations) [Thank Lauren for this]
This page has been accessed 418 times.

Biography

Eugene Peyton Summerson was born in Staunton, Virginia on December 2, 1877. His parents were Henry Edmund Summerson and Elizabeth "Bettie" Burwell Reese. [1] During Eugene's childhood, Staunton was a booming railroad hub in the mid-Atlantic region. Henry Summerson was a notable figure around Staunton, working as the head agent of the Chesapeake & Ohio railyard depot, concurrently as a dry goods merchant, and later as a clerk of the White Star Mill. Eugene had many well-known family members around town, including his grandfather Dr. Beverly P. Reese, who was a physician of note.

Eugene attended school at the Staunton Military Academy. In 1898, he served as a Corporal in the Virginia Infantry in the Spanish-American War. [2] This was a volunteer regiment that remained stateside and did not see active combat in the war; the regiment was disbanded in 1899. Following his military service, Eugene worked several years with the Chesapeake & Ohio railroad in Staunton before leaving for Charlotte, North Carolina in 1902. [3] He worked for the Consolidated Credit Company before getting into the utilities industry. Eugene also worked, seemingly briefly, for the National Biscuit Company in New York City, beginning in March 1903. [4]

Eugene's first wife, and the mother of his children, was Rebecca Wood White, known to friends and family as "Wooda." The couple married in Decatur, Morgan, Alabama in 1905. [5] Eugene worked for the power and light company in Alabama for several years. Eugene and Rebecca's oldest son, William Henry Summerson, was born in Decatur, Alabama in 1906.

Sad times hit the Summerson family in the early 1900s. Eugene's older brother William Reese Summerson died of typhoid fever in 1906. William had been traveling for business when he fell sick; attempts to recuperate in New Mexico were unsuccessful, and eventually Eugene brought his brother home to Staunton, where he died several days later, on November 6. [6] Less than a year later, Eugene's eleven-year-old brother, Henry Beverley Summerson, also died of typhoid fever. [7] This left only two surviving children of Henry and Bettie Summerson: Eugene, and his younger sister Ada. Eugene, too, had dealt with "a severe spell of typhoid" in 1905, but had been able to recover at his family's house and then return to Decatur, Alabama with his wife. [8]

The young family of Eugene, Rebecca, and their two sons moved to New York City in 1909 while Eugene moved up in his career, working for the Electric Bond and Share Company. The 1910 United States Federal Census reported that the family was living on Lefferts Avenue in Brooklyn. [9] They later lived in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, and then on Geranium Avenue in Flushing, Queens. [10] By the time they lived in Queens, there were four children in the Summerson family -- Eugene P. Summerson, Jr. was born in 1908, Beverly Dancy Summerson in 1916, and Mary Elizabeth Summerson in 1918.

Eugene registered for the World War I draft in 1917. At the time, he was 40 years old, working as the Assistant Secretary for the Electric Bond and Share Company, and noted as living on 65th Street in Brooklyn, New York. [11] He was not called into military service.

Eugene P. Summerson's passport photo - 1917
Around the same time, Eugene applied for his passport; he began traveling frequently to Central and South America in connection with the utilities business. [12] [13]

In 1926, Eugene's step-uncle, Dr. Robert G. Reese, died in Manhattan. Reese, who had no children, willed a significant sum of his estate to Eugene: $100,000.00 (or the equivalent of $1.48 million in 2021). [14]

Rebecca died of illness in February 1928. [15] She was buried in Flushing, Queens.

Eugene remarried to Bertha Jones in 1929. [16] The family moved to a large, Mediterranean-style house in the village of Kensington, Nassau County (Long Island), New York. [17]

Throughout the 1920s and early 1930s, the Electric Bond and Share Company acquired utilities companies from across the United States and around the world. The New York World-Telegram made light of this in an article about Eugene Summerson being "the man with 239 jobs." [18] However, the copious acquisitions of the Electric Bond and Share Company (e.g., holdings of power companies in twenty-eight U.S. states and thirteen countries) eventually led to its problems -- namely, being the first company to be prosecuted and regulated by the newly-formed Securities and Exchange Commission.[19] Eugene appeared to face no serious consequences in the federal government's probe of the power company, even after Eugene and his colleagues refused to testify in court in October 1928. [20] Following the regulation of Electric Bond and Share, Eugene continued in the utilities industry, forming the "2 Rector St. Corporation" (named for the building in which he worked, and eventually owned and operated. It was later to become a notorious address in New York). He remained there until his retirement, due to illness, in 1940.

Eugene continued to live in New York with his family. [21] When the 1940 Census was taken, Eugene lived with his wife Bertha, as well as his children Eugene, Jr., Mary Elizabeth ("Betty"), and Beverly, and a servant from Estonia, Mary Goody. Oldest son William had gotten married in 1928 and was working in academia.

In 1942, Beverly died of an unspecified illness. He had graduated from Washington and Lee University and begun working in the banking industry in New York City. He was 28 years old. [22]

In 1944, Eugene spent the winter in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; his daughter Mary Elizabeth lived in the area with her husband and two young sons. Eugene's sister Ada Summerson Crawford visited Eugene during his time there. [23]

Death and Legacy

Eugene died at his home after an unspecified long illness on July 1, 1946.[24] He was 68 years old. He was buried in the Summerson family plot in Flushing Cemetery, Queens, New York. [25] Eugene's obituary in New York Daily News highlighted his position as the president of the 2 Rector Street Corporation, whereas obituaries in the New York Times, Staunton Spectator, and other papers highlighted his career in the utilities industry. [26]

In 1948, the Summerson home in Great Neck was sold, presumably by Eugene's widow Bertha Jones Summerson. [27]

It is unknown when the 2 Rector Street Corporation dissolved and the property sold; the building is currently owned by the Kushner Company. [28]


Sources

  1. "United States Census, 1880," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MCPN-PS8 : 16 July 2017), Eugene Summerson in entry for H E Summerson, 1880; citing enumeration district ED 10, sheet 46D, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d), roll 1354; FHL microfilm 1,255,354.
  2. "United States Index to Service Records, War with Spain, 1898", database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QK7J-B5M2 : 13 March 2018), Eugene P Summerson, 1898.
  3. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/30679581/eugene_summerson_new_job_in_charlotte/ Richmond Dispatch, Richmond, Virginia. 18 June 1902. Accessed via Newspapers.com
  4. "Personals." Staunton Spectator and Vindicator, Staunton, Virginia. Print edition, page 3, 13 March 1903. Accessed via https://www.newspapers.com/clip/70491997/ep-summersons-first-job-in-nyc/
  5. "Alabama County Marriages, 1809-1950," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939K-TBQF-D?cc=1743384&wc=3LJ8-L2S%3A1586898502 : 16 July 2015), 004704576 > image 691 of 804; County Probate Courts, Alabama.
  6. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/30599196/william_summerson_illness/ "Mr. Summerson Has Returned to Staunton." Staunton Daily Leader, Staunton, Virginia. 03 November 1906.
  7. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/30731535/beverly_summerson_death/ "Beverley Summerson Died Sunday Night." The Old Dominion Sun, Staunton, Virginia. 26 July 1907.
  8. "Personals." Staunton Spectator and Vindicator, Staunton, Virginia. Page 3, print edition, 10 November 1905. Accessed via https://www.newspapers.com/clip/70490651/eugene-summerson-recovering-from-typhoid/
  9. "United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M5CR-276 : accessed 30 April 2019), Eugene P Summerson, Brooklyn Ward 24, Kings, New York, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 682, sheet 7A, family 160, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 975; FHL microfilm 1,374,988.
  10. "New York State Census, 1925," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KSC1-7SR : 8 November 2014), Eugine Summerson, New York, A.D. 04, E.D. 87, Queens, New York, United States; records extracted by Ancestry and images digitized by FamilySearch; citing p. 15, line 41, New York State Archives, Albany.
  11. "United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KXYJ-GND : 13 March 2018), Eugene Peyton Summerson, 1917-1918; citing New York City no 60, New York, United States, NARA microfilm publication M1509 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,754,500. (Note: His wife Rebecca is listed here as "Wooda Summerson.")
  12. "United States Passport Applications, 1795-1925," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVJP-32SB : 16 March 2018), Eugene P Summerson, 1916; citing Passport Application, New York, United States, source certificate #31931, Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925, Roll 319, NARA microfilm publications M1490 and M1372 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  13. "United States Passport Applications, 1795-1925," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVJP-S1C4 : 16 March 2018), Eugene P Summerson, 1917; citing Passport Application, New York, United States, source certificate #51819, Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925, Roll 359, NARA microfilm publications M1490 and M1372 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  14. "$600,000 Bequests in Dr. Reese's Will." The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, New York. Page 13, print edition, 14 November 1926. Accessed via https://www.newspapers.com/clip/70495273/rg-reeses-will-and-estate/
  15. "New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2W15-DJW : 10 February 2018), Eugene Summerson in entry for Rebecca Summerson, 19 Feb 1928; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 2,056,274.
  16. The News Leader, Staunton, Virginia. March 2, 1929. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/30744266/eugene_p_summerson_and_bertha_jones/
  17. "United States Census, 1930," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X78Y-DWQ : accessed 23 May 2019), Eugene P Summerson, Kensington, Nassau, New York, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 142, sheet 5B, line 77, family 82, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 1461; FHL microfilm 2,341,196.
  18. "Summerson Holds 239 Jobs But Only One Pays." The New York World-Telegram, reprinted in the Staunton News Leader, 09 March 1934.
  19. "SEC Will Soon Become Broker on Huge Scale." The Hartford Courant, 6 September 1938.
  20. "Power Officials Again Refuse to Testify at Probe," The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, New York. 23 October 1928.
  21. "United States Census, 1940," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9MY-15MN?cc=2000219&wc=QZXR-ZB5%3A790105101%2C796860801%2C805446801%2C805446802 : accessed 7 January 2019), New York > Nassau > North Hempstead Town, Kensington > 30-222 North Hempstead Town, Kensington Village > image 22 of 26; citing Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 - 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012
  22. "New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WR5-PD6 : 11 February 2018), Eugene P. Summerson in entry for Beverly Summerson, 01 May 1942; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 2,130,787.
  23. "Personals." The News Leader, Staunton, Virginia. Page 3, print edition, 9 March 1944. Accessed via https://www.newspapers.com/clip/70496682/ep-summerson-spending-winter-in/
  24. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/30599155/eugene_summerson_obituary/
  25. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/180106703/eugene-peyton
  26. "Eugene P. Summerson," obituary. 02 July 1946. Accessed via https://www.newspapers.com/clip/35892337/ep_summerson_ny_daily_news_obituary/
  27. "Borough Man Buys Great Neck House." The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, New York. 8 February 1948. Accessed via https://www.newspapers.com/clip/33910615/summerson_great_neck_house_sold_1948/
  28. https://therealdeal.com/new-research/topics/property/2-rector-street/
  • "New York, County Marriages, 1847-1848; 1908-1936," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QKNB-5T4T : 28 March 2019), Eugene Summerson in entry for William Henry Summerson, 24 Sep 1928, Onondaga, New York, United States; citing ref. ID 227, county clerk offices from various counties, New York; FHL microfilm 1,014,365.


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