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 Cornelia Mitchell <I>Clinch</I> Stewart

Cornelia Mitchell Clinch Stewart

Death 25 Oct 1886 (aged 84)
New York, USA
Burial Garden City, Nassau County, New York, USA
Memorial ID 127960623 · View Source
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Cornelia was one of nine children of Jacob (also shown as James) and Susannah Clinch, a moderately wealthy New York family. Jacob was a partner in a successful ship chandler business, meaning they sold supplies and/or equipment for ships.
In 1823, Cornelia married Alexander T. "A. T." Stewart, a very successful retail business owner, was soon to build his retail business into the biggest on the east coast and make him one of the richest men in the world.
Cornelia and A. T. had two children, John, born in 1834 and died as an infant, and May, who died at birth in 1838.
Taking four or five years to build (completed in 1869) and at a cost of more than 2 million dollars, the Stewarts had a 3 1/2 story, white marble residence built at the corner of Thirty-fourth Street and Fifth Avenue in New York City soon known as the "Marble Mansion." Designed by architect John Kellum, setting across the street from the home of the wealthy grandson of the famed John Jacob Astor, the Marble Mansion certainly stood out against the brownstone buildings and residences of the area. With ceilings more than 18 foot high, and a vast, world-class art collection, the Stewart home was one of the most extravagant residences in the world.
When A. T. Stewart died in 1876 his business and much of the control of the estate was left in the hands of Judge Henry Hilton. The Judge was bold, but lacked good business sense. Very soon the Stewart retail empire was falling, never to recover.
Roughly two years following A. T. Stewart's death, sometime in the night, his body was dug up from a cemetery in the city and stolen, apparently for the purpose of demanding a ransom. This caused a media sensation and many, many ransom letters demanding everything from several thousand dollars all the way to $1 million. But how do you determine which one was the real ransom letter? Much later, and after much confusion and conflicting stories of the police as well as Judge Hilton conducting their own negotiations with kidnappers, Mrs. Stewart said her hired men paid a ransom and retrieved her husband's body. Exact identification of skeletal remains was extremely difficult, if not almost impossible in those days. Cornelia had these remains buried in the crypt in the magnificent cathedral in Garden City, New York which had been designed and financed by the Stewarts. Cornelia was buried there, but the question remains, are A. T. Stewart's remains buried there? (J. North Conway, "Bag of Bones", Lyons Press, 2012.)

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  • Created by: Larry E. Barnes
  • Added: 14 Apr 2014
  • Find A Grave Memorial 127960623
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Cornelia Mitchell Clinch Stewart (May 1802–25 Oct 1886), Find A Grave Memorial no. 127960623, citing Cathedral of the Incarnation, Garden City, Nassau County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Larry E. Barnes (contributor 5663157) .