Franklin H. Work (1819-1911)

"Frank" H. Work, Stockbroker & Racehorse Owner, of New York City

Associated Houses

Elm Court


He was the son of an Englishman who emigrated to Ohio. When still a teenager, Frank left Ohio for New York City where he "contrived an accidental 'meeting'" with no less a personage than "The Commodore," Cornelius Vanderbilt. He was taken on as his protégé before becoming his personal stockbroker. Frank was a hard-working, no-nonsense man of habit of whom it was said in 1896 had, "not missed his daily ride to Central Park for more than a quarter of a century". On retiring, he became a racehorse owner and was renowned for having an expert eye for a winning horse. He had long made his home at 13 East 26th Street off Madison Square in New York, and it was said he lived long enough to see the neighborhood transformed from a fashionable enclave of townhouses to one of towering apartment blocks. Having summered in Newport for most of his adult life, he eventually bought Elm Court in 1896. He died with a fortune of $14 million. His elder daughter had married an Irishman who succeeded his brother and became a Lord. Frank was not impressed by his reprobate son-in-law and after they divorced he insisted that if his grandsons were to inherit any of his fortune, they must be reared in America and have nothing to do with their Irish family. Consequently, "they became far more American than British". One of those grandsons, Maurice, who became the 4th Lord Fermoy, was the maternal grandfather of Diana, Princess of Wales.


Contributed by Mark Meredith on 15/11/2019 and last updated on 10/04/2020.
Father Doesn't know when Mrs Roche Married (The New York Times) July 15, 1906; The Lost Benjamin H. Field House - 21 East 26th Street, Daytonian in Manhattan; Their Gilded Cage: The Jekyll Island Club Members (2006), by Richard Jay Hutto