Morgan Island Saint Lawrence River New York
Morgan Island, formally known as Island Helen, was owned by George D. Morgan, his executor Gifford Morgan sold the property to James Wemyss of Gouverneur, NY, owner of Vanity Fair paper company. His wife Dorothy Wemyss primarily used the property for her summer residence until it was donated to the state for recreational purposes in 1971.
My very first summers were on Morgan Island, my parents worked as caretakers for Mrs. Wemyss and moved with her seasonally. Unfortunately, we do not have many pictures. Back in 2019, I shared some information on Morgan Island and since have been looking for more details. A final piece just came to light which seems to complete it. Orren G Staples (1837 – 1918) was the owner of the TI House and numerous properties in the area, including some islands. He traveled to Washington, DC, frequently as he was involved in politics.
In 1911 he offered then President Taft a choice for a US Presidental summer home of either Schooner Island or Island Helen. Taft declined. After OG Staples passed and his estate was settled, Schooner was sold. I have not been able to determine when, but Island Helen was sold to George Morgan. George Morgan’s family traces back to one of the three Morgan brothers that originally immigrated to the US, JP Morgan is a descendant of one of the other brothers.
George’s father, Dayton Morgan, patented reaping machines creating wealth, although George was involved in profitable endeavors himself. After George passed the island was sold to James Weymss, whose family owned paper mills in New York and New Hampshire. Vanity Fair paper products were originally patented by the Weymss family.