Spencer Proudfoot Shotter (1855-1920)

Spencer P. Shotter, of Savannah, Lenox & New York

Associated Houses

Greenwich Place


Shadow Brook


He was born in Wellington County, Ontario, Canada. His great-uncle, William Proudfoot, was President of the Bank of Upper Canada. Coming to the States, he made his fortune processing pine forests in Georgia to make turpentine that was vital to shipbuilding. It was Shotter's entrepreneurial spirit as Chairman of the American Naval Stores Co. that created hundreds of jobs and helped Savannah pull itself out of the depression that followed the Civil War to become a major port. In 1898, he commissioned Carrère & Hastings to build him Greenwich Place, a magnificent Beaux-Arts mansion on the Wilmington River which he filled with expensive art and ancient marble statues purchased in Rome. In 1905, he bought the 100-room Shadow Brook estate at Lenox in Massachusetts where he also entertained in grand style.

But, his fortunes took a rapid turn in 1909 when he was charged with violating the Sherman anti-trust law and he was sentenced to 3-months in jail and fined $5,000. He appealed the decision and won but had to liquidate his assets to pay his legal bills. He sold Shadow Brook in 1916 and Greenwich Place in 1917. He died in his sleep in 1920 while visiting his daughter's apartment in New York City. In about 1881, he married his first wife, Isabelle, daughter of George and Mary (Polk) Davis, by whom he had one daughter. His father-in-law was Attorney-General of the Confederate States under Jefferson Davis. He married secondly Elizabeth Wallace Owens of Savannah (whose grandfather lived at the Owens-Thomas House, the verandah of which is famous as the site from which the Marquis de Lafayette gave a speech in 1825) by whom he had four more children.  
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 20/08/2021 and last updated on 25/08/2021.