Saturday, January 17, 2015

Albert Ward Cobb, Esq, Goes Home to Sing-Sing

Back in 2011, I wrote about how my father, Harold Burk, held onto stuff from his time working as a travel agent and then a checkroom concession owner at two fancy Manhattan hotels, the Savoy Plaza Hotel (earlier, the Hotel Savoy; later, the Savoy Hilton and, later still, torn down to make way for the GM building) and the Hampshire House Hotel.

Among his boxes, I found two pocket notebooks and a number of letters and documents pertaining to Mr. A. Ward Cobb. According to my research, Albert Ward Cobb (born 27 March 1870) and his sister Emmie (Emily) were among the children of Marcius L. Cobb, a lawyer and banker. M.L. Cobb was Vice-President of the First National Bank in Sing Sing, New York (see document at left).

Next week, the books and documents of Mr. Cobb, Esquire, will be going home to Sing Sing (the village, NOT the prison), better known as Ossining, New York.

The Ossining Historical Society tells me that the Cobb family was prominent in the area and they would be delighted to have this small cache to be catalogued and archived as part of the history of the town's families.

Albert Ward Cobb was 10 years old in 1880, according to the Census, living in Sing Sing with his father, M. L. Cobb, a lawyer of 58 yrs old, and mother, Annie G. Cobb, 50 years old.
Albert grew up and married Fannie McCan and by the time of the 1930 Census, the couple was living at the Hotel Plaza, 1 West 58th Street, Manhattan. Albert was 60 and Fannie was 47. NO children are listed. This was a very prestigious address, actually on the corner of Fifth Avenue, directly across the street from the Savoy Plaza.

It's not much of a leap to see that the Cobb family's few documents were left in care of the hotel and then passed into the hands of my father some 30 years later. Thanks to genealogical research, I can explain the provenance of these records when I pass them into the care of the Ossining Historical Society.**

**Update: The historical society informs me that names shown in the ledger books are familiar to them, and therefore they will have a little deeper insight into the financial dealings among people in the town. How wonderful!


  1. Your headline got me ( I used to work for Prisoners Legal Services of NY & immediately thought the prison) -- good thing you put you disclaimer in caps! ;-)

    1. Jo, thanks for reading and commenting! Of course in the 1800s, the town was known as Sing Sing so it wasn't a stretch to say so in the headline :) The historical society recognized the names in Cobb's ledger books and are happy to have these documents for further study and for future reference.