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Collector’s Shelf: George Bigelow Chase 1835-1902

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Photos By Nathan Beck

This decoy bears the stamps/brands “G B CHASE” and “H. WHITWELL.” We will discuss Mr. Whitwell after our discussion of Mr. Chase.

The Lighthouse Club Score Book reveals George Bigelow Chase was one of the club’s members. Mr. Chase graduated from Harvard in 1856, where he was another of the Lighthouse Club members who were also members of the Porcellian Club. Like a number of other club members, he was also related by marriage to Arthur Amory: Chase’s daughter Gertrude Lowndes (Chase) Amory married Arthur’s brother, Harcourt Amory. We also learned previously that Chase was related through marriage to Lighthouse Club member Gen Phillip George Schuyler: Chase’s wife Anne (Lowndes) Chase was the sister of Schuyler’s wife Harriet (Lowndes) Schuyler. After his 1856 graduation from college, Chase went to work for his father, Theodore Chase, in his large shipping company owning many ships. In 1863, he and his wife, Anne Bard (Lowndes) Chase, built their home at 234 Beacon St in Boston (yet again, we see another Lighthouse Club member residing on Beacon St). The home they built was prominently featured in both The Book of American Interiors by C. Elliott and American Architect and Building News. During this time, he sought to further his fortune in his father’s business as a ship owner and shipping merchant. In 1868 after his father’s death, however, he decided to pursue his fortune in the burgeoning railroad business. He became a director and transfer agent for the Rutland Railroad Company. He also joined the board of directors of Columbian Bank. By 1892, he was fully retired, and he and his wife spent four years travelling in Europe before returning to Dedham, in the Boston area. (Prior to leaving for Europe, he executed a power-of-attorney, leaving his son-in-law Harcourt Amory in charge of his affairs. During the Chase’s absence, Amory leased their Beacon St. residence to Arthur Rotch. Recall the Rotch’s inter-marrying with the Rodman’s (Also recall that our Samuel William Rodman resided at 174 Beacon St.). Once back from his European travels, he served on a number of committees at Harvard and was a member of the Massachusetts Historical Society. He also wrote extensively about the Chase, Lawrence, and Bigelow


Larry Davenport and Mark Cromwell

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