William Joseph Donovan - LINKS ,,,,, Rumsey Family -LINKS

Dexter Phelps Rumsey's Daughter, Ruth, Marries Bill Donovan

An excerpt from
"Lest we Forget: William J. Donovan," by Salvatore R. Martoche.
Pub. in
Western New York Heritage, Winter 2003, pp. 11-12

Dexter Rumsey [Jr.] introduced Bill Donovan to his sister, Ruth, a patrician-looking, willowy blonde, who was immediately charmed by the confident and audacious Donovan.

Ruth was the daughter of Dexter Phelps Rumsey, one of Buffalo's most prominent and wealthy citizens. Dexter and his even more distinguished brother, Bronson, had sold their father's tannery and invested the $10 million each received in railroads (where they partnered with the Vanderbilts), banking and real estate, much of it in Buffalo. At one time they owned 22 of the 43 square miles that comprised Buffalo.

Ruth and Bill began seeing one another and soon there was talk of marriage, although Ruth's family was not happy with that prospect. Not only was Bill a poor Irish Catholic, he was insistent the couple be married in a Catholic church and that their children be raised Catholic.

Bill and Ruth married on July 15, 1914, at St. Joseph's Cathedral on Franklin Street in a ceremony conducted by Bishop Quigley. A reception was held at the Rumsey mansion, 742 Delaware Avenue, where the newlyweds then lived briefly.

Almost from the beginning of their marriage, Ruth leaned on Wild Bill's brother, Dr. Tim, to help her cope with Bill's frequent and lengthy absences. Tim, always willing to provide a friendly ear and comforting word, was one of Buffalo's most respected physicians and surgeons and one of its most eligible bachelors. Many of their close friends felt that these two were better suited for marriage than the older brother, but Ruth was devoted to Bill.

In the years ahead, Ruth and their children would always take a back seat to Donovan's career and ambitions For all his gifts, Donovan never fully comprehended the void he left in his family's lives by being away so much. Nothing was more important to him than fulfilling his duty to serve his country.

Page by Chuck LaChiusa
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