James Coleman Drayton (1852-1934)

J. Coleman Drayton of New York City, Philadelphia & Newport, Rhode Island

Associated Houses





He was born in Philadelphia and educated at Princeton University (A.M., 1876) before taking eighteen months to travel through Europe. On his return he went to New York to study law and was admitted to the New York Bar Association. After his marriage he all but retired and liked to indulge his passion for travelling. Coleman was a member of the Union Club, New York; Princeton Club, Philadelphia; Nassau Club at Princeton; and, the St. James Club in London. In 1879, he married Charlotte Augusta Astor, daughter of the Mrs Astor. They kept a townhouse on Fifth Avenue and built the mansion now known as Stronghold in the Somerset Hills. They were the parents of four children though their youngest (Alida) died in infancy. Their marriage fell very publicly apart in 1882 when Mrs Drayton was seen spending more time than was appropriate in London with another wealthy New Yorker, Hallett Alsop Barrowe. Drayton challenged Borrowe to a duel in Paris but nothing came of it and they were eventually granted a divorce. The affair was the, "most conspicuous society scandal of the generation". He died at Boxcroft in Newport where he had lived for the previous 9-years.
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 23/01/2020 and last updated on 28/02/2020.