Lucy Madison Worthington (1851-1945)

Mrs Lucy Madison (Worthington) Clews, of New York City

Associated Houses

The Rocks


She was born at Lexington, Kentucky, into a prominent southern family and was a great-granddaughter of Gabriel Slaughter, 7th Governor of Kentucky. However, when it came to her ancestry she preferred to emphasize her connection to the Madison family and referred to herself as the "grand-niece" (or sometimes "descendant") of President James Madison, but in fact their relationship was somewhat more tenuous: Her great-grandmother, Mrs Elizabeth (Madison) Worthington, was a grand-daughter of John Madison who was a first cousin of the President's father. ie., Lucy was a great-great granddaughter of one of the President's second cousins.

Lucy's father had fought for the Union and she never forgave him for it. She was a southerner, but an embittered one. This also made her ashamed of the friendships her husband had enjoyed with Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant, and when he died, she made a point of burning all his correspondence between them. In New York, she founded the Colony Club and the Lisa Day Nursery. After her husband's death (who was 17-years her senior) she lived at 15 East 69th Street and continued to summer at The Rocks in Newport. She was the mother of two children who lived to adulthood: (1) Henry Clews Jr., an eccentric artist and sculptor who created Chateau de la Napoule (2) Elsie Clews Parsons, the first female President of the American Anthropological Association.


Contributed by Mark Meredith on 22/10/2018 and last updated on 20/10/2021.
Image Courtesy of the Frick Art Reference Library; Wealth and Rebellion: Elsie Clews Parsons, Anthropologist and Folklorist, by Rosemary Lévy Zumwalt.