That’s Uncle Harry

Traci pointed to an antique photo of a clean-shaven stout dark-haired man in a black coat with a wing-tip collar.

“And him?” she asked.

Chris chuckled.

“That’s Uncle Harry. Harry Patteson, great-great grandfather’s younger brother. Ran the family empire from 1900 to 1930. I can sum him up with one of his last public statements—”


“’Patteson. No R.’”

Traci shook her head.

“Harry wanted to be a tycoon. Join the nation- shakers like Rockefeller, Ford, and Morgan. He realized his failure in 1929 when he opened a second, larger Patteson building in New York and found reporters couldn’t even spell his name after thirty years in business and society in the big city. The depression hit –in both senses of the word– and he ended up killing himself the next year.”

“Was he that much a failure?”

Chris shrugged.

“He had very big dreams. Lots of people think he married Alice Rowley to try to corner as much of the Patteson and Rowley fortune as possible. There was never any love in the marriage and after the divorce he never married again. And no children but great-grandmother Elise, his adopted niece.”

“Did he lose much in the Depression?” Traci asked.

“He was worth several hundred million in today’s terms even when he died in 1930. Depression has its own logic, I guess.”


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