Maps, Ships and Architecture

Fontaine Carrington Weems I

fontaine carrington weems 1Fontaine Carrington Weems was born May 7, 1883 in Houston, Harris County, Texas, USA and died August 2, 1966 in Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA.  He was my uncle, Godfather and namesake.  He was the first surviving son of Major Benjamin Francis Weems and Maria Nash Carrington Weems.  Carrington finished high school at the age of 15 and went to work for several years before he went to Princeton from which he received his Bachelors of Literature and Masters of Arts in 1907 & 1908 respectively. While there he became fast friends with Professor Edgar Odell Lovett and later served as the professor’s administrative assistant on that gentleman’s European tour of universities. Lovett was preparing to become the first President of Rice University in Houston, Texas, a position recommended for him by then President of Princeton Univ., Woodrow Wilson. After completing the tour, Carrington became a newspaper correspondent, and wrote the story about the Titanic sinking for his paper, and later worked for J.P. Morgan as a financial specialist. During WWI he served as a Lt. Col on the General Staff and was assigned by J. P. Morgan to assist in the establishment of war reparations since he was known by then President Wilson as a brilliant mathematical genius. For this service he received the Distinguished Service Medal 7/9/1918 and was made an Officer of the Order of the Crown by the Italian Government. After the war he returned to a banking career, but his true passion was big game hunting in Alaska with a principal interest in mountain goats and sheep. While on a 1937 expedition in the lower Baja California in Cajon de Tecomaja, Sierra de la Gigante, he discovered a new species of the Dessert Big Horn Sheep named for him as the “Ovis Canadensis Weemsi” (numbering less than 1,000 and found only in Baja California Sur).

In 1947 at the age of 60 he married his longtime sweetheart, Katherine Lane, a world famous sculptress from Boston. They lived in several homes to include a dwelling at 825 on 5th Ave in New York City, and Katharine Lane’s ancestral home in Manchester by the Sea on the north shore of Boston, Massachusetts.  This home and grounds was called “The Chimneys” because it had 14 chimneys.  The gardens had been landscaped by the famed landscape designer, Frederick Law Olmsted.  There were many times when the President of the United States would park his yacht just offshore, and have lunch with the Gardiner M. Lane Family.

The Chimneys Shown Here
Click on Individual Frame for Enlargement

When Uncle Canny went to work for J. P. Morgan, his condition was that he would take all three months of the summer to pursue his interest in big game hunting and the study of various species of mountain goat and sheep.  When Uncle Canny finally did retire from the firm of J. P. Morgan, Mr. Morgan gave him a coal mine in West Virginia.  There were many problems with this coal mine which my Uncle Carrington was able to take care of.  He worked with it for almost ten years and ultimately sold it for a most considerable price.  Then, he began a wonderful retirement with his talented wife, Kay Lane Weems.  She was still doing major sculpture for Harvard particularly the science lab, two full sized rhinos in front, a freeze of elephants carved in the brick at the top of the building and brass doors reflecting the square slides of insects under a microscope (see Gallery below).  Later, she did a school of dolphins at the entrance to the New England Aquarium in Boston, with much fanfare.  My Uncle Carrington helped her with all of these projects, except the dolphins.  At the Boston Science Museum there is an entire room devoted to Kay Lane Weems’ sculptures.

My Uncle Carrington was very caring, and a real gentleman, and on my birth he insisted that my name be changed from Wharton E. Weems, Jr. to his name.

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Me and Uncle Canny