C R Y D E R P O I N T 10SEPTEMBER Who were the Cryders? Map of Cryder Point – using the old Dutch spelling Cruyder – circa 1850. The original owner of Cryder Point, John Cryder, was a hugely successful merchant of the Gilded Age who made his fortune in trading goods between the U.S., China, South America and Europe. Like many rich families during the time made famous by Edith Wharton and John Singer Sergeant, the Cryders lived part-time in Manhattan and the rest of the time on an estate -- with a working farm -- along the East River in Queens. John’s wife, Mary, was a Wetmore, one of the original families of Newport, R.I and even richer than her husband. Thanks to their enormous wealth, John’s two sons -- Duncan and William -- were well-known figures in the years before the turn of the Cryder Point at60 last century. Duncan, a tea importer, married a wealthy descendent of the Pilgrims and moved to Paris in his late 20s. His real claim to fame was as the father of a storied set of identical triplet daughters. The girls were the toast of French society in the 1890s, and among the most eligible women of the age, Kardashians of the bustle-and-bonnet era. Brother William, a banker, was famous, too, but for less genteel reasons. He was indicted in the 1890s for his role in a well-publicized bank scandal that included some questionable loans and his failure disclose to his partners that he’d borrowed $39,000 in collateral from the vaults. It was around then that the family cut its ties to the land under Cryder, selling out to JP Morgan. Morgan then donated the land to the New York Yacht Club for a clubhouse. The club maintained more than a dozen “stations” between New York and Newport, places where members could dock, rest, make a phone call or send a telegram. The family name lived on, in high-society circles, for another generation or two. Duncan moved back to the states just before World War I and became one of the founding families to build a summer mansion in the H a m p t o n s (Cryder Lane off Dune Road in Southampton is named after him), He helped establish the famed Shinnecock golf course there. Another world war later, one of the triplets, Elsie, played a behind-the-scenes role in one the most notorious society killings of the 1950s. In 1955, her 35-year old son, William Woodward Jr., was shot to death by his wife, Ann, in a dark, upstairs hallway of their estate in Oyster Bay. Ann Woodward told cops she thought she was shooting at a burglar. But the gossip about extra-marital affairs, heavy drinking and a bad marriage threw a shadow of suspicion over the widow’s alibi. Fearful of the scandalsniffing press, Elsie pulled strings to make sure Ann was never charged with the shooting, then engineered her permanent expulsion from the family. The famed Woodward shooting later became the basis for Dominck Dunne’s best-seller, “The Two Mrs. Grenvilles” and Truman Capote’s final novel, “Answered Prayers.” 10 CRYDER POINT COURIER | SEPTEMBER 2014 | WWW.QUEENSCOURIER.COM The Cryder triplets in a photo taken in 1904, on the eve of Edith’s (center) high-society wedding. Elsie is at right Photo credit: Timothy J. Gorta The Cryder family gravestone in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. John Cryder died in Rome, while visiting one of his overseas offi ces.
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