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Cleveland Historical Society (Oswego County, New York)
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Rosamond Gifford

Female 1873 - 1953

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  • Name  Rosamond Gifford  [1
    Born  15 Sep 1873  [1
    Gender  Female 
    Residence  1904 - 1913  Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    • In approximately 1904, at her father?s urging, Rosamond moved to Boston to study the harp, returning briefly in 1912 when her mother became ill and passed away. [1]
    Legal  2 May 1917  [1
    William Gifford Estate 
    • On May 2, 1917 William Gifford died leaving an estate in the extraordinary sum of $1.25 million. Unbeknownst to Rosamond, William had signed a will in 1915 giving his estate in trust for ten years to the Trust and Deposit Company of Onondaga. Rosamond contested the Will based on the agreement that her father entered into with her ... After several years of litigation, the Onondaga County Surrogate?s Court decided in Rosamond?s favor. The entire estate would pass to Rosamond Gifford outright. [1]
    Residence  1929 - 1953  Jewell, Oneida, New York Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2
    • For reasons that are not fully known or understood (although possibly because Fred, the former husband, periodically appeared), Rosamond chose to live out the balance of her years in relative seclusion. She moved from the Thompson Road farm to her property in Jewell on Oneida Lake in 1929, surrounded by her horses and other animals. Over those years she was only in close contact with her lawyer George Alston Smith and her banker Howard F. Zinsmeister. [1]
    Died  15 Apr 1953  University Hospital, 750 East Adams Street, Syracuse, Onondaga, New York Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Occupation  23 Jul 1954  Rosamond Gifford Charitable Corporation, Syracuse, Onondaga, New York Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    • Rosamond passed away at University Hospital on April 15, 1953 ? the irony of dying on tax day would not have been lost on a woman who regularly made her tax checks payable to the ?Infernal? Revenue Service. Rosamond?s Will was dated July 31, 1952. The great bulk of her wealth was to be directed to an organization formed exclusively for ?religious, educational, scientific, charitable or benevolent uses known as the Rosamond Gifford Charitable Corporation.? [1]
    Person ID  I2687  CHS Genealogy
    Last Modified  1 May 2017 

    Family  Fred LaFayette 
    Married  1895  [1
    • Rosamond was sent off to a boarding school in Wellesley, Massachusetts. There she met an older man who called himself Fred LaFayette, but whose real name was LaJeunesse. LaJeunesse was a professional railroad gambler. They lived together for a time and, in 1895, when Rosamond was twenty-two, she married Fred. To add further intrigue, she married under the assumed name ?Violette LaVigne.? [1]
    Divorced  1900  [1
    • The marriage didn?t work out and she divorced Mr. LaFayette in 1900, taking back the name of Gifford. [1]
    Last Modified  1 May 2017 
    Family ID  F785  Group Sheet

  • Sources 
    1. [S162] Who Was Rosamond Gifford, Larry Bousquet and Heidi Holtz, (The Gifford Foundation), (Reliability: 2), 1 May 2017.

    2. [S84] Personal Correspondence, 1 (Reliability: 1), 18 Mar 2017.
      Fr: Keith Schmidt
      Re: Rosamond