A rebellious Cornelius Fellowes Jr. hid an unrestrained private life within a very boisterous public life. Descendant from colonial family lines, Cornelius entered into his father’s business, horse racing, possibly more from envy than following tradition. When Cornelius Sr. found out about the marriage to Nathalie Rogers, Senior disinherited Junior and cut off all support. As if in an American fairy tale, Nathalie, and by extension Cornelius Jr., inherited a quarter of million dollars from a deceased uncle in Paris. The unreported marriage, disavowal and windfall were just the start of Cornelius’ tumultuous adult life.
Cornelius Fellowes Jr. was born to a horse racing magnate in Brooklyn, 1879. Cornelius came into adulthood with a true love, news story that was more about the senior socialite than the son. Written as a socialite intrigue piece, Cornelius quietly eloped with Nathalie Rogers, the daughter of a Philadelphia merchant, “over a year ago” as of June 1900. Between a secretive marriage and possibly acquiring goods under false pretense, Senior disowned Cornelius in June 1900. Fortunately, the death of an uncle depraves Cornelius Senior from punishing his son. True love trumps over money and arranged marriage. But, this isn’t the end of this story.
The article hints at an indecent indiscretion of Young Fellowes. While only hinted at, Cornelius probably got married around 1895 or 1896 at the age of 16 or 17. Nathalie would have been approximately 14 or 15, and quite possibly with their first child, William Fellowes. Although 16 is too young for 1890s New York, it is the legal age for Pennsylvania. When the story was published, Cornelius fathered three children with Nathalie, William, Gertrude, and Celia. The lack of documentation and abbreviating his name for the 1905 census demonstrates Cornelius’ efforts to separate his private life from his public profile.
To reinforce the concept, Cornelius’ divorce and remarriage lacked documentation just like his marriage to Nathalie. When reporters inquired Mademoiselle (mlle) Dazie about her marriage, she remarked that friends knew, but was surprised that the news had not leaked out before. The article from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle posted in March 1914. Unlike with Nathalie, no records seem to exist that indicate children between Cornelius and Dazie. Until about 1920, reporters detailed Cornelius Fellowes’ bankruptcies, various dealings and even a suspicious death. Afterwards, the news seem to focus solely on his sporting enterprises. When he passes in August 1957, a small blurb in the New York Times reminds us of how he failed to secure the great horse “Man o’ War” by a hundred dollars.
Despite all the high profile drama, Cornelius Fellowes Jr. played a significant role in the National Amateur Hockey League. For starters, he sponsored the Fellowes Challenge Cup. That cup symbolized the U.S. national amateur hockey champions until 1926. He managed the St. Nicholas Rink from 1905 until 1920. Additionally, he ran the Wanderers of New York. As a rink and team owner, he was a hand behind the professional as amateurs in that role. Between Cornelius, George Brown, and Roy Schooley, they would forge a hockey powerhouse that would carry to two Olympic silver medals and rival even the Canadian teams.
– Cornelius Fellowes was written as Col. Fellowes on the 1905 New York Census and Fellows in some U.S. Government documents and newspaper accounts
– Nathalie Rogers was written as Natalie in some U.S. Government documents and newspaper accounts
– Celia was also written as Consuelo on Census documents
– Mlle Dazie falls prey to the multitude of spellings.
1. Ancestry.com. Colonial Families of the USA, 1607-1775 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016. This collection was indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project contributors.
2. The Evening World, New York, New York 09 Jun 1900, Sat • Page 5
3. New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 07 E.D. 37; City: Brooklyn; County: Kings; Page: 63. Courtesy of Ancestry.com
4. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle Brooklyn, New York 21 Mar 1914, Sat • Page 16
5. Brian McFarlane, Golden Oldies: Stories of Hockey’s Heros, 2015
6. Cornelius Fellowes, Sportsman, 78, Dies; Lost Bid for Man o’ War by $100 in 1918. (1957). New York Times (1923-Current File), p. 15.