Friday, March 22, 2019

Day 3-4 Newport, Rhode Island

Malbone Castle.  Sadly, this house nor its gardens are open to the public,

Finally able to catch up on my brief visit to Newport.  Suffered a minor concussion a few days so now finally feeling better -- although the bump on my head is still a bump -- and able to get back to doing things.

On day 3, my friend Cassie and I drove to see Malbone Castle, once the home of Anita Rhinelander Stewart (1896-1977)  and her second husband, Lewis Morris (1882-1967).

Malbone was built in the late 1840s after a fire destroyed the original mansion, originally the home of Colonel Godfrey Malbone of Virginia and Connecticut.  George Washington visit stayed with Malbone in February 1756.  The two men were childhood friends.   The house was destroyed by fire in 1766 and remained a ruin until 1848 when it was rebuilt by Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Prescott Hall.

The house remained in the Morris-Bedlow family for more than 130 years and was used as the summer cottage.  Malbone Cottage is the oldest mansion in Newport.  Although the Morris family bequeathed the house to the Newport Preservation Society, the house remains in private hands.   It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Anita Stewart's first marriage to  Prince Miguel, Duke of Viseu (1878–1923), a member of the exiled Portuguese royal family, took place on September 15, 1909, in Dingwell, Scotland.  Prince Miguel was the eldest son of Dom Miguel, Duke of Braganza, and a grandson of King Miguel I of Portugal.

Prince Miguel died in 1923.  Anita and her children returned to the United States to live.  She renounced her royal titles in order to regain her American citizenship.  She married Lewis Morris in 1946.

Anita died at Malbone.   She and her husband are buried in the cemetery at St. Columba Episcopalian Church in Middletown, Rhode Island, which is the town next to Newport on Aquidneck Island.

While we looked for their graves, I discovered other interesting tombstones:
Prince Serge Mdivani and Cynthia Burke Roche Cary.  Serge Mdvani, was one of the marrying Mdvanis, five siblings who had at least eleven marriages between them.

The family is a Georgian noble family that fled the Soviet Union.   Louise Astor Van Alen was Serge's third wife. She had previously been married to his brother, Alexis.

Louise grew up at Wakehurst in Newport.  She was the daughter of James Laurens Van Alen and Margaret Post.  James was the son of James John Van Alan and Emily Astor, who was the daughter of William Backhouse Astor, the owner of Beechwood.   Much her family's dismay she married Alexis Mdvani in 1931.  A year later, he divorced her to marry Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton. In 1936, she married his brother, Serge, who had been previously wed to actress Pola Negri and opera singer Mary McCormic.    Serge died only a few months after his marriage to Louise. He suffered a fatal injury during a polo match.

The Van Alen family sold Wakehurst to Salve Regina University in Newport in 1972.

Cynthia Burke Roche (1884-1966) was the daughter of James Roche, 3rd Baron Fermoy, and the American heiress, Frances Work. Her brother, Maurice, 4th Baron Fermoy, was the maternal grandfather of the late Diana, Princess of Wales.   Cynthia, who became a naturalized American citizen in 1908. Her second husband, Guy Fairfax Cary Sr. (1879–1950).  She was a noted art collector and Newport society hostess.

The Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex have numerous American cousins, the descendants of Cynthia's two marriages.

After seeing Malbone Castle and St. Columba's Church & Cemetery, we returned to Sachuset National Wildlife Refuge for a long walk (and another glimpse at the Snowy Owl.  I got "attacked" by a sneaker wave ... my sneakers got a bit wet.  We also did the Cliff Walk from the 40 Steps to sort of near Rough Point.

Only three of the homes, The Breakers, The Elms and Marble House, were open.  More will open as the summer season approaches.  The weather was lovely and no crowds.  So much history!

Ochre Court, once the summer home of Ogden & May Goelet & their family, 2nd largest mansion after the Breakers.  Their daughter, May, married the 8th Duke of Roxeburghe,  Their son Robert gave the mansion to Regina Salve University.

The Breakers   the Vanderbilt summer cottage

Don't know the name of this house

Beechwood .. get a nicer fence  Mr. Ellison

Marlbe House

Just walking along

Seriously, this was not the easy part


Rough Point

Kingscote . A Gothic revival house.  Not open when I was in Newport

Trinity Church  George Washington worshipped here

Pronounced Thaymes

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Janet Phillips said...

Thank you so much for posting pics of your trips to Newport! I great enjoyed seeing and reading everything. I am planning a trip there myself at the end of May and now have a better sense of what to see and do. So hope you're feeling better--concussions are no joke.

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

Thanks. More houses will be open. I wanted to see Belcourt but not open

barbara wissinger said...

I'm jealous! Hopefully I'll be able to visit New England one day.

Unknown said...

Hello, my family owns Malbone and is there most weekends. Considering your interest and knowledge of its history, we would love to show you around the house and gardens.

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

thank you .. I wish I lived closer ... i would be at your door in a heart beat. I was very grateful that the gates were open for my drive by camera shooting.