Summer White House of President William Howard Taft, Beverly, Massachusetts (owned by Robert Dawson Evans, son of Captain John Evans of Brahalish, Durrus, West Cork).
Courtesy Peter Murphy
Durrus Townlands, Brahalish to left:
Frank Croston 1852-1921, Probably born Reenaccapall. Parish of Kilcrohane, West Cork, Major Real Estate Developer of High Quality Commercial and Residential Property, Rochester, New York, Republican Party Activist. Varian Brush Making Family Possible Origin, Rooska, Bantry.
Robert D. Evans, owner and former occupant of the estate at Beverly on which president Taft and family are passing the summer, died at 10:30 last evening at the Massachusetts Homeopathic Hospital, as a result of complications involving an internal trouble, supplemented by two broken ribs, due to a fall from his horse last Thursday. Mrs. Evans and her sister Miss A. W. Hunt were present when he breathed his last.
Mr. Evans did not realize the seriousness of his condition till three days after his fall from his horse. On Sunday, the doctors decided that an operation for colotomy was necessary, and he was taken to the hospital, where the operation was performed immediately upon his arrival. The operation took 45 minutes. The patient recovered satisfactorily from the anesthetic, but the doctors thought both Monday and Tuesday that the chances were against his recovery.
President Taft was unaware that Mr. Evans, his landlord, was ill until he arrived at Beverly, Sunday, and he was greatly surprised, and upon hearing that the patient was in the hospital, he at once sent his aide, Capt. Butt, to convey his sympathy to Mrs. Evans, and to tell her he hoped for a speedy recovery for her husband.
Robert D. Evans, millionaire, captain of industry, art connoisseur and owner of Stetson Cottage at Beverly, which President Taft is now occupying, was born about 60 years ago in St. John N. B. When very young, however he came with his family to Boston, where he has lived ever since.
Entering business at the bottom rung of the ladder, a clerk of the Eagle Rubber Company, he learned the business when it was in its infancy, and in a few years started out for himself in the firm of Clapp, Evans & Co.
His first ventures meeting with great success he took a leading part in the organization of the American Rubber Company and became its largest stockholder. When that Corporation in turn was absorbed by the United States Rubber Company he was made the latter company’s president, and to him is due much of its great and constant success.
Meanwhile, as if the confines of one great industry were too limited for his powers, he became interested in mining, and in 1899, having amassed a large fortune, he reorganized the United States Smelting, Refining and Mining Company, and became its president. And only a few months ago he made a spectacular retirement from his position in the company, after a long fight with its controlling management, selling 100,000 shares of its stock for the lump sum of.
Shortly after entering into these mining ventures he turned his attention also to gold dredging, the great possibilities of which he saw and became one of the principles in the [Y]uba Dredging Company, the largest concern of its kind in the world.
Two years ago he was unanimously elected trustee of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, a fitting tribute to his own great interest in art of every kind. In his beautiful home at the corner of Commonwealth Ave. and Gloucester St. is one of the finest private art collections in Boston.
The house is filled with works of masters of various schools with particular prominence given to Sir Joshua Reynolds, Romney, Nattier, Sir Thomas Lawrence and other painters of beautiful women. A gem of his collection is the splendid painting made about 1637 by Van Dyke of Beatrice de Cusance, Princess de Cante-Croix, Duchess of Lorraine, a portrait made familiar by many reproductions.
The drawing room of the house contains many masterpieces of the more modern schools, notably the famous “Carthage” of Turner, in which it is said the artist wish to be buried considering it his masterpiece. Another Turner, two Corots, three Mauves, and others of the Barbizon school by Daubigny and Millet, hanging alongside works of Alma Tadema, Constable, Diaz, Cazin, Innes and many other illustrious artists.
The halls, hung with rare tapestries, contains still other pictures, among them a fine Perugino, secured recently from Italy, and a painting by Puvis de Chavannes made before he began mural decoration.
In addition to his Boston home Mr. Evans owns large estates in Beverly, and it was as his tenant that President Taft came to occupy the Stetson Cottage for the summer.
THE BOSTON DAILY GLOBE, July 7, 1909