Friday, June 4, 2010
'Talbot House', the Talbot Jones Taylor estate designed by Lamb & Rich beginning in 1895 in Cedarhurst. Taylor was a member of the NY Stock Exchange and head of Talbot J. Taylor Co., brokerage firm. He was married to Jessica Harwar Keene in 1892 and began plans for the house shortly thereafter. Jessica Keene was the only daughter of James R. Keene, father of Foxhall P. Keene, brother in law to Talbot who resided in Old Westbury at 'Rosemary Hall'. 'Talbot House' received various additions over the years and grew to be quite large (30 bedrooms). In 1908 Talbot and his wife divorced setting off a public battle over their assets. In 1909 it was decided that Mrs. Taylor would get the house in order to settle "all claims between husband and wife and for the support of Mrs. Taylor and her children in the future". Mrs. Taylor's lawyer told the court that it was her father, James R. Keene, that had paid for most of the couple's life and called it a "lucky day" when Taylor "struck the whimsical fancy of Jessica Keene". Apparently at some point during their marriage the elder Keene bought a house for the couple in Baltimore which Taylor sold and used to profits of which to buy a seat on the stock exchange. He also apparently lost Keene a good deal of money and instead of filing for bankruptcy was released of that debt by Keene ($4 million). Taylor's entire collection of art and antiques in the house was soon auctioned off and the house was destroyed by fire in 1914. Later in 1909 Taylor married Mrs. Marie Zane Cowles, who decorated 'Talbot House'. Their NYTimes wedding announcement mentions that "Mr. Taylor always maintained that his relations with Mrs. Cowles were purely of a business nature" during the years she worked at 'Talbot House'. A court hearing of that year detailed the relationship between Taylor and Cowles, stating that it began as early as 1897 (click HERE to read). Taylor died in 1938 at his home in Nice, France. Click HERE to see where 'Talbot House' stood on google earth.