Saturday, January 27, 2007

William Ambrose McIntosh

William Ambrose McIntosh
December 7, 1837 - ? (sometime after 1892)

William Ambrose McIntosh was born in Ohio in 1837, his parents were both listed as Ohio natives in the 1880 census records. Wife Minerva was also born in Ohio, as were both of her parents. The McIntosh children were born in Ohio, but by 1880 the McIntosh family had moved to Pittsburgh, and lived in Allegheny PA (the North Side).
Their children were:

- John S. McIntosh – born in 1861 (age 28 at the time of the Flood)
- Burr W. McIntosh – born in 1862 (age 27 at the time of the Flood)
- Nancy B. McIntosh – born in 1866 (age 23 at the time of the Flood)

William Ambrose McIntosh was president of the New York and Cleveland Gas Coal Company.

Here is a biography about William Ambrose and Minerva McIntosh's daughter Nancy:

Nancy McIntosh
Born Cleveland, Ohio 1874 (sic 1866 per 1880 census), died London 20 Feb 1954
Buried: Saint John the Evangelist Churchyard Stanmore, England
Her grave may be seen at:

The daughter of Pittsburgh gas company president W. A McIntosh and his wife Minerva, Nancy was fifteen (sic see 1880 census at which time she was 14) at the time of the disastrous Johnstown Flood, if not caused by, certainly exacerbated by the failed earthen dam at the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club of which her father William Ambrose McIntosh was a member. To distance himself physically as well as emotionally from the Flood, as well as to assist Nancy in her musical aspirations, W. A. McIntosh brought her to England in 1892, where after three years, her voice and stage presence prompted W. S. Gilbert to engage her for the role of Zara. She became the Gilberts’ adopted daughter and was their heir.

A good biography of Nancy McIntosh may be found on this page with a photo:

W. S. Gilbert of Gilbert and Sullivan fame hired the American soprano, Nancy McIntosh, for the starring role of Zara. She had been in London for three years, accompanied by her father. He was there, in part, to escape the memories of a disaster at home. He was a member of the hunting and fishing club whose dam had burst and allowed a river to roar down and obliterate Johnstown, Pennsylvania, beneath it.
(A photo of Nancy may be seen at this site)

Nancy became the adopted daughter of William S. Gilbert and his wife and was heiress to their estate, royalties, etc.

* * * * *

W. A. and Minerva McIntosh's son John S. McIntosh remained in business related to that in which his father had been engaged, in the Pittsburgh area.

By 1903 John S. McIntosh was a director of the Turtle Creek Savings and Trust Co. of Pittsburgh and an officer of the Pittsburgh Steel Holloware Co. in Cheswick, PA (up the Allegheny River about 15 miles from Pittsburgh). More about the "...factory at Cheswick, Pa. This company was incorporated in 1893, with a paid-up capital of $50,000, Mr. John S. McIntosh being the president and Mr. Jos. McNaugher, Jr., secretary and treasurer. Mr. McIntosh lives in Wilmerding and is also treasurer of the Spring Hill Gas and Coal Company."

Pittsburgh Steel Hollowware Co.

Pittsburgh Steel Hollowware Co. - Manufacturers of rolled steel gongs and rolled coulter blades; corner, North and Irwin Avenues, Allegheny. An important branch of industry in the city of Allegheny is that of the manufacture of rolled steel gongs, bells, skillets and rolled coulter blades, the demand for which is rapidly increasing in all sections of the country. A representative and successful concern in this line is that known as the Pittsburgh Steel Hollowware Co., whose office is located corner North and Irwin Avenue, Allegheny with factory at Cheswick, Pa. The company was incorporated in 1893, with capital of $50,000, Mr. John S. McIntosh being the president and Mr. Jos. McNaugher, Jr. secretary and treasurer. Mr. McIntosh resides at Wilmerding and is also the treasurer of the Spring Hill Gas Coal Company; while Mr. McNaugher lives in Allegheny and is likewise a member of the firm McNaugher & Lyons, wholesale grain and feed dealers.

* * * * *

JohnS. McIntosh's wife was Lily Stewart Boyd the daughter of Eli Wilson Boyd and Sara Shaw of Turtle Creek, Pa.

* * * * *

W. A. and Minerva McIntosh's son Burr McIntosh:

Burr McIntosh
Born: Aug 21, 1862 in Wellsville, Ohio
Died: Apr 28, 1942 in Los Angeles, California
Occupation: Photographer, Aviator, Actor

One of the most indelible images of the entire silent era is of Burr McIntosh as Squire Bartlett, heartlessly banishing Lillian Gish from his home and into the freezing Maine winter in D.W. Griffith's evocative melodrama Way Down East (1920). A graduate of Princeton, the hefty, 6' McIntosh had starred in the legitimate theater as Svengali in Trilby and on lengthy tours of The Gentleman From Mississippi prior to entering films with All Star in 1914. The following year, he produced and starred in the Civil War drama Colonel Carter of Cartersville but his screen career did not really come alive until Griffith cast him as Squire Bartlett. The role reunited him with Lillian Gish, opposite whom he had appeared in several touring companies almost 20 years earlier. According to Miss Gish, McIntosh was a gentle giant, who "was always apologizing for having to treat me so cruelly in Way Down East." There were many good character roles to come -- including that of General Blythe in the popular WWI romance Lilac Time (1928) -- but his talkie appearances were minor and he retired in 1934. Burr McIntosh died of a heart attack. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, All Movie Guide

Biographical Note:

Burr McIntosh had an eclectic career. He was known, at different points in his life, to be a lecturer, photographer, movie studio owner, actor, author, publisher, reporter and a pioneer in the early movie and radio business. While many of these endeavors were short-lived, they gained him prestige and popularity among the stylish set.

He was born William McIntosh August 21, 1862, in Wellsville, Ohio, and attended Lafayette College, 1880 - 82, and Princeton, 1882 - 83. After Princeton, McIntosh was in the coal business in Pittsburgh for a brief time and then followed this up with a short stint as a reporter for the Philadelphia News. He came to New York and made his theatrical debut in Bartley Campbell's "Paquita" in August 31, 1885, beginning his most successful and memorable career, as an actor on the theatrical stage. He adopted a stage name at this time, changing his first name to Burr.

His biggest success came playing the character Talbot "Taffy" Wynne in the original 1895 Broadway production of "Trilby" at the Garden Theatre. He repeated this performance in major Broadway revivals in 1905 and 1915, as well as in a production in London at His Majesty's Theatre. McIntosh also appeared in a number of Augustus Thomas' plays, beginning with "Arizona" and "In Mizzoura."

In 1898, Burr McIntosh went to Cuba to cover the Spanish-American War for Leslie's Weekly as a reporter and photographer. Defying orders forbidding any newspapermen to land in Cuba until every soldier in the Army had landed, he jumped over the side of a boat and swam to shore in time to get the only photographs of the troops coming ashore at Daiquiri. In Cuba, he became ill with "yellow jack" (a form of yellow fever) and was out of action. He eventually recovered and wrote of his exploits in a 1901 book, What Little I Saw of Cuba.

The year 1901 also saw the establishment of his first photographic studio on West 33rd Street, conveniently located across from the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, a meeting place of many of the society and theatrical people whose portraits would be taken by the studio. This work led McIntosh to found the Burr McIntosh Monthly, which ran from 1903 to 1910, and offered portraits of theater idols, scenes at fashionable athletic events, picturesque genre and nature studies, and discussions of photography as art.

His photographs record some of the most famous people of society, politics and the arts of the early years of the 20th century. Copies of his magazine are highly sought collectibles.

In 1908, McIntosh declared bankruptcy and ceased publishing in May 1910.

In addition to acting and publishing, Burr McIntosh accompanied Secretary of War William H. Taft's 1905 peace trip to the Philippines as the official photographer.

In 1910, Burr McIntosh announced an elaborate plan to found an artists' colony with the fortune he hoped to make from the early movie industry. To accomplish this goal, he moved to California to organize his own film company. He also announced his retirement from the stage after his 1909 national tour in "The Gentleman from Mississippi." This retirement was not permanent as McIntosh appeared on Broadway six more times between 1914 and his last play, "Robert E. Lee," in 1923, including his successful revival of Taffy in "Trilby" in 1915. Neither the fortune from the movie industry nor the artists' colony ever materialized. His movie career began in 1914 recreating his stage performance in "In Mizzoura." The following year he starred in the title role of the movie " Colonel Carter of Cartersville," which was the only film that he ever produced. His work as an actor in movies stretched from the silent movies of 1914 until the era of sound movies, ending with "The Richest Girl in the World" in 1934.

McIntosh took time away from movies during the First World War when he lectured on patriotism and the role of the United States in the war at venues around the country, including the Metropolitan Opera House and Carnegie Hall in New York. He also entertained as a YMCA worker in army camps in France and Germany. After the war, he supported Leonard Wood for the Republican presidential nomination with further speaking appearances.

In the disastrous year of 1929, Burr McIntosh declared bankruptcy. His wife, the former Jean Snowden of Saratoga, whom he had married in New York in 1914, attempted suicide. According to an interview that McIntosh gave to the New York Times at this time, she had succumbed to her serious disappointment that McIntosh's work in Hollywood had not produced the financial returns they had anticipated.

From 1930 until his death in Los Angeles on April 28, 1942, Burr McIntosh was known as the "Cheerful Philosopher" as the host of a radio programs and in a series of lectures offering optimistic views on life. He had one daughter, named for her aunt: Nancy McIntosh.

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William Ambrose McIntosh was 51 at the time of the Johnstown Flood.

1 comment:

Vicomte Flesym said...

Per John H. Boyd’s “Boyd Trees” family tree:

John Skilman McIntosh was born January 29, 1861 (some sources say Muscataine IA); he died 10 Dec 1935 in Edgewood PA (Allegheny County).

He married Lily Stewart Boyd (Born Aug 19, 1860 in Turtle Creek PA) on April 6, 1887 in Braddock PA.

They had three children:

– Sarah, born 12 JUN 1889 in Turtle Creek, Allghn, Pa; died 8 FEB 1967 in Mifflintown, Jnt., Pa

- James, born 13 JUL 1890 in Wilmerding, Allghn, Pa; dod unknown

- Lorna, born 27 MAY 1892 in Wilmerding, Allghn, Pa; died 4 FEB 1976