The Lane Family

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The Lane Family

March 1966

New York Times March 10, 1996:

In Nissequogue, for example, a 10,000-square-foot Greek Revival-style mansion is being restored by Nina Matthews and her husband, Timothy, an investment banker.

"The detailing and the craftsmanship are incredible," Mrs. Matthews said. "This is not just a house, it's also an adventure. To restore it takes someone who can see past the cracks in the walls and the cosmetic problems to the beauty of the workmanship."

James W. Lane, an art historian and lecturer who with his brothers Arthur and Mortimer at one time owned Robbins Island, had moved an 1860 farmhouse to the Nissequogue site in 1914, later expanding it into the 12-bedroom mansion that stands there today.

The Matthewses bought the house and its 6.25 acres in 1994 for $545,000. They expect to spend $200,000 more restoring it.

November 2006

In November 2006 this property was on sale on eBay, asking price $2,750,000 - 11,000 sq feet, 9 bedrooms, 5+ baths, three floors 21 rooms, 5 carved marble fireplaces, 10 foot ceilings with detailed plaster moldings and french panels, wide planked teak floors. built in 1914, on four acres "The house lies up a long private bluestone driveway and is surrounded by the Long Island sound and the Nissequogue river".

Main Floor

Large Entry Hall with Brick and Marble floor, marble display table and mosaic rooster. Receiving room with Elsie DeWolfe hand painted Chinoserie wallpaper. Large Parlor with french doors to all formal rooms and Mahogany iron staircase to 2nd floor. Powder room. Library with ornate plaster moldings/french panels, 7 sets of french doors and a marble fireplace. French paneled study with marble fireplace and french doors to brick patio. Huge formal dining room with leather door to kitchen and marble fireplace. Enormous updated cherry and granite kitchen with massive center island, Mosler safe, butler's pantry, Viking appliances, and backstairs to 2nd floor. Summer dining room with terracotta floors, working marble fountain and exquisite trellis work with a wall of windows that drop into the floor. Playroom with fireplace and french doors to backyard. Large mud room and rear "service" entrance.

Second Floor

Huge Master Bedroom Suite (34'x20') with gleaming teak floors, carved marble fireplace, master bath and french doors leading to a covered Veranda that overlooks the grounds. 5 additional oversized bedrooms with sleeping porch. 3 additional bathrooms. Laundry area. Large linen room.

Third Floor

Guest room with full bath, clawfoot tub and waterviews. Nanny apartment with full bath, clawfoot tub and 3 additional bedrooms/offices. 8 deep cedar closets line the hallway.


Pantry with walk in Mosler Safe. 2 room vaulted wine cellar (holds thousands of bottles). 3 work rooms with cages. New heating system (twin boiler - 6 zones hydronic) new electric and plumbing. Generator. Newly installed 2" water main. Ground floor entrance.


Beautiful slate roof, stucco exterior, 600 foot blue stone circular driveway, public water, new cesspool system. all underground utlities - new electric, phone, cable, satellite. ADT alarm system, seperate service entrance.


Estate was originally called "Suffolk House" and is now known to locals as the "Lane Estate", it was built by the famous Wall Street Financier William Matheson. It was subsequently owned by Alexander Stewart, a Director of the Barnum & Bailey Circus and James W. Lane, owner of J.H. Lane and Co. of NYC - a major cotton merchandising firm. Mr. Lane commissioned Elsie DeWolfe, considered the mother of interior design, to handle the interior design of the home. Her Art Nouveau style is clearly seen in the many trellises, marble fountains, museum quality Chinese mural (Chinoserie), and carved marble mantels.

The asking price on this magnificent piece of real estate is only $2,750,000. Priced to Sell.

James Warren Lane, Sr

The J. W. Lane who lived in the house in the 1920 and 30s was James Warren Lane Jr, son of James Warren Lane and Eva Bliss.

Birth of James Warren Lane Sr. : July 31, 1864 South Orange, New Jersey to James H Lane, born circa 1836 in Massachusetts and Isabelle _______ born circa 1836 in New Hampshire (1921 sailing from Boulogne-sur-mer to NYC, censuses).

Note: Isabella H Lane died New York City, age 68, May 28, 1905, #22851, Manhattan.

Marriage: Eva Bliss, born October 1866, Fly Creek, New York (1921 sailing from Boulogne-sur-mer to NYC)


  1. Mortimer Bliss Lane, May 3, 1891, Brooklyn per 1927 sailing - died California 10 July 1969,

    WWI Draft Registration: St James Suffolk NY, born May 3, 1891, Bay Ridge Brooklyn, married employed (can't read) Yonkers, tall medium build, brown eyes, red hair

    1930 Census: 1930 Pittsburgh, Mortimer B Lane 38, manager publishing co, Mary K Lane 33, Caroline M Lane 12, Eva B Lane 9, Laura M Lane 8, Warren B Lane 6, Mary E Lane 4 4/12, James Lane 5/12, Ruth S Lane 5/12, and 6 servants

  2. Arthur, March 1894 per 1900 census

    Other Records: Listed as "archer in 1900 census. Not listed WWI DR.

    Lane, Arthur Bliss (1894-1956) - of New York. Born in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, Kings County, N.Y., June 16, 1894. U.S. Minister to Nicaragua, 1933-36; Estonia, 1936-37; Latvia, 1936-37; Lithuania, 1936-37; Yugoslavia, 1937-41; Costa Rica, 1941-42; U.S. Ambassador to Colombia, 1942-44; Poland, 1944-47. Died in 1956. Burial location unknown. Political Graveyard

    Arthur Bliss Lane author of I Saw Poland Betrayed.

    Papers at Yale Sterling Memorial Library

  3. James Warren Lane, Jr.

    James Warren Lane, Jr. May 5, 1898 (1919 sailing Liverpool/NYC)

    Yale Class of 1920

    WWI DR: Not listed

    Marriage: Agnes Warren

    1930 Census: Cordwood Park Nissequogue Road, Smithtown Long Island James W Lane, head own $300,000, age 31, married at age 30, journalism, Agnes Warren Lane, wife, age 21, married at 20


    1. James W Jr., circa 1935
    2. Francis B circa 1937
    3. John circa 1941
    4. Ann circa 1942
    5. Agnes circa 1945
    6. Christopher circa 1941947
    7. Stephen circa 1950

    Information on children from 1951 sailing Cannes/NYC


    • 1928 sailing Southampton/NY, James age "20" (should be 30), born May 5, 1898, St James Long Island
    • 1929 sailing Southampton/NY, James age "36" born Brooklyn and Agnes age 20 to St James Long Island.
    • Sailing 1933, James Warren Lane, age 35, married, born Bklyn May 5, 1898, Agnes Warren Lane, age 25, married, born NY June 21 1908, St James Long Island, New York.
    • Sailing Cannes/ New York 1951, to St James Long Island

    Image of James Warren Lane Jr. - see Yale University Manuscripts and Archives

  4. George Bliss Lane December 29, 1902 (1921 sailing from Boulogne-sur-mer to NYC, US Censuses)

    Other Record: Lane, George Bliss - U.S. Vice Consul in Hong Kong, 1932. Presumed deceased. Burial location unknown. Political Graveyard

1870 Census New York City; 18th District, 18th Ward, NYC, James H Lane age 34, commission merchant born Mass, Isabelle, age 34 born New Hampshire, Henry age 8 born NY, James W age 6 born NJ, Mable age 4 born NY, Florence age 1 born NY and three servants.

1880 Census: East 21st NYC, J H Lane age 43, com. merchant, born Mass, Isabelle age 43, Hooper, Lucretia, sister in law age 50, Henry A Lane age 17, James W age 15, Mabel age 14, Florence age 11, Elizabeth age 9, Richard age 5 and four servants. plus Lane, Charlotte, sister born Mass, Brown, George A, uncle age 65, born Conn.

1900 Census: East 21st Street, NYC, J Henry Lane, head born Jan 1837, age 64 married 40 years, born Mass., commission merchant, Isabelle, A wife, born July 1836, 6 children 6 still living, born New Hampshire "Marelle" F March 1866, age 34, single, Florence B May 1869, age 31, single, Elizabeth ? April 1871, single age 29, six servants.

1900 Census: East 61st Street, E W Bliss, head, born Jan 1840, age 60, married 35 years, can't read occupation, P Bliss wife, October 1841, age 58, married 35 years, 1 child 1 still living, "George"* W Lane, son in law, November 1859, age 40, married 12 years, merchant, Eva, daughter April 1869, age 31, married 12 years, 3 children 3 still living, Mortimer Lane, grandson, Jan 1891, age 9, "Archer" Lane, grandson, March 1894, age 6, "George W" Lane, grandson February 1898, age 2,* 3 servants plus the wife and children of one of the servants.

Note: *The two listings for "George" are in error and should have been "James" in born cases. The birth dates are also wrong. This kind of misinformation is common in the censuses.

1910 Census: 79th Street East NYC, James W Lane senior, head age 45, married 19 years, merchant, born New Jersey Mrs Lane 4 and 4, James W Lane 45 Eva M B Lane 43 Mortimer Lane 18 Arthur B Lane 15 James W Lane JR. 11 George B Lane 7 Servants, all listed as "servant private family" Frederick J Barnes 22 Demslaw J Kennedy 31 Andrew Berg 51 Harriet P Wright 60 Arthur R Taylor 30 Hania Enderson 45 Gerda A Johnson 21 Helena Birkdahl 22 Kaine C Lundin 30 Agatha M Berthier 28 Sophie M Nicholson 21 Catherine Nolan 31

1920 Census; E 52 nd Street, James W Lane head, age 50, manufacturer torpedos, Eva wife, age 45, James Jr son, age 21, college, George son, age 16, nine servants

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