BURIED TOGETHER

Partner Charles Woodcock-Savage, buried together

Queer Places:
Pratt Institute, 200 Willoughby Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11205
22 E 83rd St, New York, NY 10028
316 Morton Ave, Ridley Park, PA 19078
Trinity Church Cemetery and Mausoleum, 550 W 155th St, New York, NY 10032, Stati Uniti

Charles Woodcock-Savage (1850-1923), was a New Yorker who achieved notoriety as the lover of King Karl of Württemberg, by some decades his elder. Woodcock graduated from seminary in Maine and was ordained as pastor of the Congregational Church in St John, New Brunswick, Canada. Pastor Woodcock resided at the Victoria Hotel and soon became a prominent society man, spending his evenings in entertainments. It was whispered among some of the older boys of the town that Woodcock’s chambers in the hotel were often the scene of sordid stag parties. Woodcock was overextended financially, and troubles soon arose over reports of loose living and profligate behavior. Woodcock spent his mornings at St John's leading bookstore, and it was there that he met Donald Hendry (March 15, 1854 – November 26, 1935), a low-born Canadian who became his constant companion. He reportedly came from Eel River, York County, Canada

Hendry was known to be where the fun was best. Popular, good-looking, affable and agreeable, Hendry was converted by Woodcock from his Baptist background to the Congregational faith. Invited by the Reverend Hepworth to make a Continental tour, both Woodcock and Hendry set off for Europe, ending up in Stuttgart. They met the King of Württemberg and developed a profitable intimacy with him. Charles Woodcock, who added Savage to his name (his mother's maiden name), became the constant companion of Karl. They were inseparable, going so far as to appear together in public dressed identically. In 1888 Karl named Charles Woodcock Baron Woodcock-Savage creating an uproar that sent Woodcock back to New York in 1890. When Freiherr von Savage, Baron Woodcock, the favorite of the King of Württemberg, returned to New York City, he moved in with his parents, ostensibly to mourn his sweetheart, a certain Miss Belle Carter, who had conveniently died a few months earlier. Claiming a female lover was his way of deflecting further innuendos about his intimacy with King Karl.

Charles Woodcock-Savage later established a household with Donald Hendry in New York City, and they vacationed together in nearby Long Beach, NJ. On June 14, 1894, Charles B. Woodcock-Savage married a widow, Henrietta Knebel Staples, with four sons. Donald Hendry was his best man. On June 19, 1897, all of her sons (Joseph, Harry, Herbert, and Leslie Curtis) legally changed their last names to Savage. Leslie Curtis also changed his first name to Charles. They owned a house on Central Park West and 84th Street. In 1900 they bought and substantially reconstructed one of the Princeton’s finest XIX century houses.

In 1906 Charles Woodcock-Savage published A Lady in Waiting: Being extracts from the diary of Julie de Chesnil, sometime lady-in-waiting to her Majesty, Queen Marie Antoinette. He dedicated it To a Noble Soul I Knew and Loved and Mourn. The King had died in 1891. The introduction gives a circumstantial account of the yellowed pages found locked in the secret drawer of a Louis Seize cabinet sold at the auction house of Hôtel Drouot and bought by the translator's dear friend from Paris days, an aesthete, who gives permission to publish. The memoirs offered in this frame story are in fact a novelistic pseudo-autobiography.

After returning to America, Donald Hendry attended medical school from 1890 to 1892, where his supervisor was Charles Woodcock's doctor brother, Galen M. Dropping out of medical school in 1892, Hendry joined the staff of the public library in Asbury Park, New Jersey, and at some point deleted three years from his age. In 1907, at the actual age of fifty-three, he enrolled at the Pratt Institute School of Library Science, from which he graduated in 1908. By 1910 he was employed on the staff of the Pratt Institute Free Library, in Brooklyn, NY, and for twenty-four years headed its Applied Science Reference Department. Hendry retired in 1934, as a bachelor at the age of eighty. When Hendry died a year later, his New York Times obituary said that he had spent eleven years in Europe as a private secretary, a way of publicly naming his years with Woodcock, who had died in 1923. At the time of his death, Hendry was living with Woodcock's adopted son, Charles R. Savage, at 316 Morton Ave, Ridley Park, PA 19078. Hendry's 1932 will directed that his ashes be interred "in the family burial plot at Benton," New Brunswick, Canada, "where my father and mother are buried." But, in 1934, after Henrietta Savage's death, Hendry changed his will, adding a codicil. He then asked that "my body be cremated and my ashes buried next to the body of my friend Charles B. Woodcock Savage."

Today, Hendry's gravestone, lies between those of Charles Woodcock-Savage and his wife.


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