Roseland Cottage

Who Lived and Worked at Roseland Cottage

 

 

In 1844, successful New York City silk merchant Henry Chandler Bowen married Lucy Maria Tappan, daughter of Lewis Tappan. The young couple took up residence in Brooklyn Heights. Lucy gave birth to their first child the following year. Roseland Cottage, their “simple country cottage” in Woodstock, Connecticut, was completed in 1846 and was the Bowens’ summer home for the next fifty years.

Lucy and Henry had ten children before she died of childbirth complications in 1863. Henry married Ellen Holt in 1865 and they had one son. After Ellen’s death, Roseland Cottage became a year round residence for the second generation. Henry and Lucy’s granddaughter, Constance Holt, was the last of their descendants to live in the home.

Many people were hired for essential positions to keep the Bowens’ multi-generational household running smoothly over the years. These included Jane Stuart, who held many domestic service roles, and Governess Edna Dean Proctor.

Henry Chandler Bowen

Henry Chandler Bowen was born in rural Woodstock, Connecticut, in 1813. He moved to New York City when he was twenty to work for successful merchants Lewis and Arthur Tappan. At the end of his clerkship for the Tappan brothers, Bowen and another employee started a dry goods business (Bowen & McNamee) specializing in silks, fine ribbons, laces, and trims. By 1844, their new venture was a success. Once established financially, thirty-year-old Henry married nineteen-year-old Lucy Maria, the daughter of his former employer Lewis Tappan. Their first child was born in 1845, the same year they began construction of Roseland Cottage as a summer home in Woodstock. Lucy had ten children with Henry before she died of childbirth complications in 1863. Two and a half years later,  Henry married Ellen Holt and their only son was born in 1868. Bowen, a founder and publisher of the New York weekly newspaper “The Independent,” an abolitionist and reformer, and an entrepreneur, died in 1896.

Lucy Tappan Bowen

Lucy Maria Tappan married Henry Chandler Bowen in 1844 when she was nineteen years old. She was the daughter of Bowen’s former employer, Lewis Tappan of Brooklyn, New York. Henry and Lucy established their household in Brooklyn Heights, where their first child, a son, was born in 1845. Lucy gave birth to nine more children, six boys and three girls, over the next eighteen years. She died of childbirth complications in 1863, just four weeks after she gave birth to the couple’s tenth child.

Ellen Holt Bowen

Ellen Holt married Henry Bowen on Christmas Day, 1865. From Pomfret, Connecticut, she was thirty-one and Henry’s second cousin. Ellen became the mother of the nine surviving Bowen children who ranged in age from five to twenty. She had one child with Henry, Paul who was born in 1868. Ellen remained the matriarch of the family after Henry’s death. She divided her time between Roseland Cottage and their home in Brooklyn Heights until her death in 1903.

Eleven Children

Lucy and had ten children with her husband Henry over the nineteen years of their marriage. A family album includes photographs of all ten. The colorized photographs of nine of the children were taken before Lucy’s death in 1863. Winthrop’s photograph, taken after his mother’s death, was added to the album. Nearly three years after Henry married his second wife Ellen, she gave birth to their only child, a son. His photograph, taken in the 1880s, is included here with his brothers and sisters.

Constance Holt

Constance Holt, Lucy and Henry Bowen’s granddaughter, was the last family member to live in Roseland Cottage. She and her sister, Sylvia, returned to live year round in Woodstock in the 1930s. After Sylvia’s death in 1945, Constance stayed on with a small staff until her death in 1968. Town residents held Miss Holt in high regard and she was an ardent supporter of Woodstock.

Edna Dean Proctor

Edna Dean Proctor was governess to Lucy and Henry Bowen’s younger children. She was a teacher, author, and editor of Henry Bowen’s weekly New York newspaper “The Independent.” Miss Proctor is best known for her poetry, especially her patriotic poems published during the Civil War.

Jane Stuart

Jane Stuart, from Ireland, was employed by the Bowen family. Her name first appears in the 1850 U.S. Census for the Bowen household in Brooklyn, New York. Jane’s age is listed as twenty-two and her recorded occupation is servant. She remained in the employ of the family for fifty years. Jane is pictured here, in the doorway at Roseland Cottage.

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