Albert Ankeny Stewart was born on 17 March 1848 in Somerset, Pennsylvania, son of Robert Leeper Stewart and Isabella Beam. His middle name was from the surname of an ancestor who had been a Revolutionary War soldier. He had siblings Ross, Jean, Mary, Anna, Flavia, Lillian, and Mabel. On 20 July 1850, Albert lived with his parents and siblings Ross and Jean [listed as Jane] at Somerset, Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Albert has not been located on the 1860 or 1870 censuses (he was not living with his parents in 1870).
Albert was married first circa 1870 to Louise Eveline “Ella” Woodruff. She was born circa 1854/1855 in Ohio, daughter of Leonard Woodruff and Josephine Louisa Jackson. On 8 June 1860, five-year-old Ella lived with her parents, her mother’s parents John W. and Eveline Jackson, and other relatives in Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio.
Albert and Ella had two daughters, Josephine Stewart, born on 12 November 1872 in Cincinnati, Ohio; and Everline Stewart born circa 1874/1875 in Ohio (she died before 1912).
While in Cincinnati, Stewart worked for the Aetna Life Insurance Company. He became involved with the Middleton & Strobridge Lithographing Company “with what he considered a good idea for printing pictures. This idea was taken up and has gradually evolved” This firm manufactured multi-colored posters for theaters, circuses, and other entertainment venues. The company discovered a new process of creating the posters, using large blocks of a special slate from Germany which could be shaved down after each use, allowing the expensive blocks to be used for hundreds of different posters. The firm was perhaps the leading poster manufacturer in the Midwest. Stewart was sent to New York City when the company opened an office there. Barnum & Bailey Circus used Strobridge posters and Stewart later invested money in the circus.
On 28 June 1878, Albert applied for a United States passport while living in Hamilton County, Ohio. He was described as being 5 ft 8 ½ inches tall, medium forehead, bluish grey eyes, proportional nose, small mouth, broad chin, dark brown hair, dark complexion, and an oval face.
Ella died sometime prior to June 1880.
Albert may have been abroad on 9 June 1880 when his daughters Josephine and Everline lived in Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio in a household headed by their great-grandmother, Everline Jackson that also contained their grandmother Josephine (Jackson) Woodruff.
Alfred was living in New York City by 1886, his workplace at 44 W. 22nd Street while living at 232 W. 23rd. His lithography business moved to 1155 Broadway Avenue by 1888 (through around 1903). He lived at a number of different addresses including The Knickerbocker and 37 5th Avenue.
Albert made frequent trips to Europe after 1888, sometimes taking his daughter Josephine with him (she reported that she had made eight trips between 1888 and 1914).
Albert was married again on 27 June 1889 in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan to Florence Amanda Coe. Florence was born on 11 July 1857 in New York City, New York, the daughter of Luke Case Coe and Sarah J. Andrews. On 8 August 1860, Florence lived with her parents, sister Lilie, uncle Charles Coe, and a female servant in Manhattan, New York. Her father was a merchant. On 7 June 1880, Florence lived with her parents and a servant in Queens, Queens County, New York. Her father was working as an insurance agent.
Mr. Stewart worked as an agent for the lithography company and made numerous trips abroad, traveling first class and typically bringing with him four pieces of luggage when he was alone. He sailed on the Umbria from Liverpool, arriving in New York on 8 February 1892. He arrived in New York on 6 February 1893 after sailing from Havre aboard the S.S. la Bretagne along with his wife and 10 pieces of luggage. He sailed from Havre on the S.S. La Champagne, arriving in New York City on 26 August 1895. Albert and Florence sailed from Le Havre on the S. S. La Bretagne, arriving in New York City on 24 August 1896 along with ten pieces of luggage.
Albert was one of 30 passengers aboard the S.S. Philadelphia, which sailed from San Juan, Puerto Rico to New York, arriving on 13 March 1905. He was listed as being a merchant.
Beginning in 1906, Albert may have switched careers since he was listed in New York City directories as the manager of the 910 Times Building. They maintained a home at 37 (or 35) 5th Avenue, although at times Albert may have lived at a separate address.
Albert and Florence sailed from Liverpool on 7 November 1906 aboard the S.S. Baltic, arriving in New York City on 16 November 1906. Another trip was aboard the S.S. Kronprinzessin Cecilie leaving from Southampton and arriving in New York City on 10 March 1908. Albert was working as a manager.
On 5 April 1910, Albert and Florence lived in an apartment building at 2 E. 45th Street in New York City. Albert was working as a lithography agent. Albert and Florence were actually in France at the time the census was taken. They boarded the S.S. La Provence at Havre on 2 April 1910, arriving in New York City on 9 April 1910. He made another trip aboard the same ship, leaving Havre on 26 August 1911 and arriving in New York City on 2 September 1911. He returned to Paris, France in January 1912.
Albert and Florence were both to return to the United States aboard the Titanic. Florence purchased the tickets from an agent in Monte-Carlo and when Mr. Nauth delivered them, he reported that she said “We were on the Olympic when she lost her propeller. We hope that this time we are not going to sink.” Florence (or perhaps a friend) became ill and stayed behind with her stepdaughter and two step-grandchildren. Albert boarded the ship at Cherbourg on 10 April 1912 (ticket #17605, 27 pounds, 14s, 5d).
Stewart had a cabin on “B deck, right forward” with his bedroom steward being Alfred Crawford.
After the Titanic collided with the iceberg, Steward Crawford convinced Albert to put on his life jacket. Crawford then “stooped and tied the old gentleman’s shoes.”
Helen Bishop later wrote a letter to Albert’s sister Jean B. Stewart describing his activities after the Titanic struck the iceberg.
"[O]n the evening of the disaster we left Mr. Stewart in the lounge about eleven o'clock and did not see him again until he knocked at our door some time after the disaster. This was after we had dressed, gone up deck, and gone to our beds again. Mr. Stewart said Dickey-bird, you'd better come up on deck and amuse yourself, in a tone that warned us. We dressed carefully and warmly, and met him upstairs in about ten minutes. He was also dressed warmly. When the order came to put on life belts we all separated and met again almost in no time. We went at once up the boat deck. Mr. Stewart gathered together Mr. and Mrs. Harder, Mr. Bishop and me shouting to us not to worry. The steam made so much noise that we could hardly hear a word. A few minutes later Mr. Stewart said "You four kiddies stay together and get in the first lifeboat. I'll be right back here." Three minutes afterward we were pushed into the first lifeboat. Mr. Stewart had gone inside, but there were not more than fifty people on the whole deck when we left, we expected he would follow in the next. The rest of the horrible details you know. We never saw him again."
After his death it was reported that:
“Albert A. Stewart, for many years connected with the Strobridge Lithographing Company of Concinnati, and had an office in the Times building, New York. He was also a part owner of the form of Barnum & Bailey. Stewart was a man of considerable wealth.”
Florence, Josephine (Stewart) Taft, and Josephine’s daughters Florence and Frances returned to the United States on the S.S. Kronprinz Wilhelm, sailing from Cherbourg on 8 May 1912 and arriving in New York City on 15 May 1912.
Albert had $35,000 in life insurance. An inventory of his estate included bank deposits totaling $12,505.20; insurance $5,000; two automobiles $1000; commissions from the lithograph company $12,500, and various securities and stocks. The total value was $276,974. His wife received $92,307.76 and daughter Josephine Taft received $184,725.52.
A marker was erected in the Mound Hill Cemetery in Gallipolis, Gallia County, Ohio.
Florence lived at 35 5th Avenue in 1916. She occasionally appeared in the New York Times society columns between 1928 and 1933. She had a summer home at Watch Hill.
Florence died in March 1934:
“On Wednesday, March 28, 1934, Florence Coe, wife of the late Albert A. Stewart, beloved mother of Mrs. Oren Taft of Chicago. Services will be held on Saturday, march 31, at 10:30 A.M., at her residence at the Hotel St. Regis, 5th Av. And 55th St.”
Daughter Josephine was married on 25 April 1894 to Oren Edwin Taft. Oren was born on 28 October 1868 in Paxton, Ohio, son of Oren Byron Taft. They lived in Chicago in 1922. The couple had a daughter Frances Josephine Taft born 23 June 1901 in Chicago. Josephine died on 2 December 1939 in Chicago.
Articles and Stories
New York Times (1913)
Brooklyn Daily Times (1912)
New York Times (1948)
Chicago Evening Post (1912)
Billboard Magazine (1912)
L'Eclaireur de Nice et du Sud-Ouest (1912)
Hartford Courant (1912)
New York Sun (1912)
Homer Thiel, USA