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Fourth Generation

William Dayton Rosencrantz Jr. (1881–1958)

William Dayton RosencrantzDayton was introduced to the textile industry by his father. To enhance his education in the field, Will sent him to England in 1905, where Dayton took a position in the Platt Works at Oldham. He was not happy and often complained about the climate and about lack of money to buy the clothes he needed to attend social events. However, he was relieved to be away from The Hermitage. Dayton left Oldham to attend a textile engineering school in Germany. He did not like Germany any better and was particularly dismayed by the militant spirit among the Germans he met, especially those who wanted to go to war to defeat England.

Dayton returned to the United Sates by way of Rotterdam. He attended Lowell Textile Institute in Massachusetts and worked for mills in that state and in Rhode Island. In 1916, he took a position at the Riverside Mill in Augusta, Georgia, where he also played golf and shot quail.

In 1917, Dayton enlisted in the U.S. Army Signal Corps and was sent to France. He suffered from exhaustion and was awarded a Purple Heart. He married a Frenchwoman but did not bring her to the United States. [Tell me more about Dayton's war service and war bride.] After the war, Dayton worked as a textile engineer in Missouri and Ohio. He married an American woman named Jean, and in 1933 they had a daughter whom they named Mary Elizabeth (Betty). Dayton died in 1958, at age 66.

Mary Elizabeth Rosencrantz (1885–1970)

Mariy Elizabeth RosencrantzMary Elizabeth led an active social life as a young woman at The Hermitage. She belonged to a variety of local groups, including the St. Mary's Guild, an alumnae group, and the Mission, which became St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal church in Ho-Ho-Kus, as well as a local social committee, a women’s conference, and a reading club. She attended fund raisers for these and other causes, read, wrote letters, shopped and sewed, and listened to music. She also played golf and won many tournaments, and she expressed  interest in meeting “good-looking” young men, though she does not appear to have had serious suitors.

Mary Elizabeth traveled with her aunt Bess. She visited her uncle George and aunt Kate in Boston, where she attended a dance at the Harvard Union. She also visited her step-family in Virginia in 1905 and 1907. She and Bess also spent several months in Rhode Island in 1907 visiting Will and Bessie. When Dayton left home to study in Europe, Mary Elizabeth wrote: “I feel blue and shall miss him terribly. . . . I wish I was going with him.” Nevertheless, and despite her brother's encouragement, she did not travel abroad. In 1913, Mary Elizabeth stayed for a time with her father while he was working in Paterson and Bessie was in Virginia.

At home in Ho-Ho-Kus, Mary Elizabeth helped Bess with the household’s washing, ironing, cooking, and cleaning and tended the lawn. A new trolley that began operating in 1912 from Paterson to Suffern made travel in the local area more convenient. Bess, Bessie, and Mary Elizabeth spent much time reading, and some 1,000 books have survived from the Rosencrantz family library. Although she took professional instruction in singing and excelled at competitive golf, Mary Elizabeth, like her aunt Bess, does not appear to have received any encouragement to pursue a career or to otherwise earn an income through work. She, too, was raised as a Victorian lady capable of running a genteel, upper-middle-class household

Continue to Bess and Mary Elizabeth Struggle Alone

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