Hutchins, Walter Taft (1857-1910)

Walter Taft Hutchins was a retired son of a wealthy New York family. He lived at 1891 Barclay Street from 1900 to 1907 and from 1910 to 1911. His wife, Katharine Laing Hutchins, lived at 1891 Barclay Street in 1912 and for several later years during 1915 to 1922.


Family Background

Walter Taft Hutchins was born on September 15, 1857, in New York City. He was one of two children in a wealthy New York family. His parents were Francis W. Hutchins and Adelaide F. Williams Taft.

Francis W. Hutchins was a successful dry goods merchant in New York. He was born in Connecticut on May 17, 1829. Adelaide F. Williams Taft, who was born in Savannah, Georgia, about 1837. Francis died July 2, 1885, and was buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. After Francis died, Adelaide married Henry Parkinson Sharp, a well-known English lawyer.

Walter’s sister was Florence Mathews Hutchins (1868-1935). In January 1890, Florence married Baron Simon Alfred von Oppenheim (1864-1932), a member of the Oppenheim banking family.


Early Life

Despite coming from a wealthy family, Walter suffered great personal and financial difficulties, largely because of his serious addiction to alcohol.

In 1877-78, Walter was in the freshman class of Yale College, but he did not graduate. He was well-known about town, and he was a member of several clubs; his friends called him “Hutch.” When Walter’s father died in 1885, Walter became the beneficiary of a trust fund worth about $125,000, which generated an income of about $5,400 a year. These were significant amounts of money in those days.

On April 5, 1892, in Washington, D.C., Walter married Katharine Laing, who was called “Ida Kate” or just “Kate.” She was born on April 16, 1862 (or April 6, 1863), in Schuylerville, New York, and she was the daughter of Giles Paisley Laing and Bella Pond.

On June 1, 1895, Walter’s and Kate’s only daughter, Eleanor, was born in Stillwater, Minnesota.


To Vancouver

By 1901, Walter, Kate and Eleanor were living in Vancouver. Walter’s drinking problem made it increasingly difficult for Kate to live with him. Time after time he promised to reform; each time he broke his promises, and his mother contributed between $3,500 and $4,000 a year from her own pocket to support Kate and Eleanor.

According to one of Walter’s acquaintances (Ernest John Deacon (1872-1939), a well-known Vancouver lawyer), Walter left Vancouver in 1902, saying that he was going on a trip to Europe. Actually, Walter enlisted in the U.S. Navy, hoping to get out of the rut of dissipation and drunkenness. He started as a seaman on the battleship Missouri; he was somewhat successful in the navy, and soon he became a non-commissioned officer. Shore leave proved to be a serious problem for him, however, and he continued to drink. By 1903, he had deserted the navy, and he begged his trustee for enough money to go back to Vancouver. The money went to alcohol; his friends recovered him in a Chicago hospital and got him back to Vancouver. Eventually he was allowed to return to the navy, where he stayed until he received an honourable discharge.


Appointment of Guardian and Death

After getting out of the navy, Walter started his drinking life again, and he entertained a series of friends in Washington, D.C. and New York City. Eventually it became too much for everyone, including his creditors and his family. For a time he was in Dr. Leon Carpenter’s Waldemere sanitarium in Mamaroneck, New York, which specialized in mental and nervous diseases and drug addiction. In July 1907, Walter was declared a confirmed drunkard; his mother agreed to have the court appoint a guardian for him. On November 16, 1910, Walter died at the age of 52. He was buried in the family plot in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.


Kate and Eleanor: Later Life

After Walter’s death, Kate and Eleanor continued to take part in Vancouver society. For example, Kate arranged a dance party for a large number of guests in May 1919.

On October 12, 1922, Eleanor married Donald Richard Charleson. Donald was born in Vancouver on January 8, 1891; he was the son of Donald Brims Charleson and Eliza MacWhinney. Donald served as a captain in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in the First World War. After the war, he was a chemical engineer in Iroquois Falls, Ontario, probably at the large paper mill that was the main industry there.

By 1930, Donald and Eleanor were living in Aberdeen, Washington State, and around 1936 they moved to La Jolla, near San Diego, California. Kate spent much of her time with Donald and Eleanor, although she continued to visit Vancouver quite regularly. Kate died in Vancouver on May 14, 1951.

Donald became a member of the U.S. Army during the Second World War. He was on active service at the Umatilla Ordnance Depot in Oregon, when he died suddenly of a heart attack on August 25, 1945. Eleanor continued to live in La Jolla until she died on February 22, 1977.

Donald and Eleanor had two children. One child was Donald Norman Charleson (1923-1986), who was married to Joan Catherine Hall. The other child was Katharine Charleson Morgan (1929-2009).



Francis W. Hutchins

“United States Census, 1870,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 25 Mar 2013), Frank Hutchings, New York, United States; citing p. 1, family , NARA microfilm publication M593, FHL microfilm 552549.

Find A Grave: Francis W. Hutchins:


Adelaide Taft

The Cosmopolitan, September 1890, Vol. 9, No. 5, page 517, at pages 529-531,


Florence Mathews Hutchins

Oppenheim family, Wikipedia article,


Walter Taft Hutchins

“District of Columbia Marriages, 1811-1950,” index and images, FamilySearch accessed 25 Mar 2013), Walter Taft Hutchins and Katharine Laing, 1892.

1901 Canada Census:

“Canada Census, 1901,” index, FamilySearch ( accessed 11 Feb 2013), Walter Hutchins, 1901.

“Rich, Served Before Mast,” Pittsburgh Press, July 20, 1907, p. 9,,3801265

“W.T. Hutchins an Inebriate,” New York Times, July 17, 1907, Hutchins, Walter T., burial date: November 22, 1910, Lot 11707, Section 55.


Katherine Laing Hutchins

1911 Canada Census: British Columbia, Vancouver, Vancouver City, page 7, family 72,

Vancouver Province, May 30, 1919, page 10: “Social and Personal,” “One of the most delightful dances of the season was given on Thursday evening by Mrs. W.T. Hutchins, at her residence on Barclay street.” [Includes a long list of people attending.]

“British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 25 Mar 2013), Katharine Laing Hutchins, 1951.

British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986, Katharine Laing Hutchins,
Reg. No. 1951-09-005159,

Katharine Laing Hutchins, death notice, Vancouver Sun, May 17, 1951, p. 29; Vancouver Province, May 17, 1951, p. 32.

“California Rites for Ex-City Woman,” Vancouver Sun, May 17, 1951, p. 41.

“Pioneer City Woman Dies on Visit Here,” Vancouver Province, May 18, 1951, p. 23.


Donald Richard Charleson

“Charleson, Donald Brims (1842-1928),” Vancouver Voters, 1886: A Biographical Dictionary, edited & compiled by Peter S.N. Claydon and Valerie A. Melanson, and members of the British Columbia Genealogical Society, Richmond, B.C., British Columbia Genealogical Society, 1994, pages 173-174.

Donald Richard Charleson,

“British Columbia Birth Registrations, 1854-1903,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 25 Mar 2013), Donald Richard Charleson, 1891.

British Columbia Birth Registrations, Donald Richard Charleson, Reg. No.

“British Columbia Marriage Registrations, 1859-1932,” index and images, FamilySearch accessed 25 Mar 2013), Donald Richard Charleson and Eleanor Hutchins, 1922.

British Columbia Marriage Registrations, Donald Richard Charleson and Eleanor Hutchins, Reg. No. 1922-09-245823,

“United States Census, 1930,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 25 Mar 2013), Donald R Charleson, 1930.

Vancouver Sun, November 1, 1935, p. 8: “Mr. and Mrs. Donald R. Charleson of Aberdeen, Wash., were among the passengers sailing today from San Francisco aboard the Grace Liner “Santa Paula” for a ’round America tour, calling en route to New York at Los Angeles, Mazatlan, San Jose, La Libertad, Balboa, Cristobal, and other Panama route ports.”

“United States Census, 1940,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 25 Mar 2013), Donald Charleson, Councilmanic District 1, San Diego, San Diego Judicial Township, San Diego, California, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 62-1, sheet 14B, family 601, NARA digital publication T627, roll 447.

“United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 25 Mar 2013), Donald Richard Charleson, 1942.

“United States Social Security Death Index,” index, ( : accessed 25 Mar 2013), Donald Charleson, August 1945.

“Oregon, Death Index, 1903-1998,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 25 Mar 2013), Donald R Charleson, 1945.

Obituaries from Hermiston Herald, Umatilla, OR–C, vol 39 no 3 – 30 Aug 1945, Charleson, Donald L. (Lt Col), “Age 54 of Vancouver, B.C. WWI Canadian Forces. Resident of Umatilla Ordnance Depot. Died at Wallowa Lake. Survived by widow; son, Donald; daughter, Catherine; three sisters.”

“Lt.-Col. Charleson Dies in Oregon,” Vancouver Province, August 27, 1945, page 2.

McGill University Archives: Donald Richard Charleson,


Eleanor Charleson (née Hutchins)

Vancouver Sunday Sun, September 16, 1923, page 9: “Mrs. Don Charleston [sic], formerly Miss Eleanor Hutchins, only daughter of Mrs. W.T. Hutchins, Barclay street, is visiting her mother. Mrs. Charleston is possessed of a gracious manner and magnetic personality, which have won for her a high place in the esteem of a wide circle of friends. She has a healthy lover of outdoor sports and before her marriage was one of the most popular members of Vancouver’s young set.” [Includes a photgraph of Eleanor. The caption says: “Mrs. Don Charleston.”]

“United States Social Security Death Index,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 25 Mar 2013), Eleanor Charleson, February 1977.

“California, Death Index, 1940-1997,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 25 Mar 2013), Eleanor H Charleson, 1977.


Donald Norman Charleson

“United States, World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 25 Mar 2013), Donald N Charleson, 21 Sep 1943.

“United States Social Security Death Index,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 25 Mar 2013), Donald Charleson, January 1986.

“California, Death Index, 1940-1997,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 25 Mar 2013), Donald Norman Charleson, 1986.


Katharine Charleson Morgan

Katharine’s middle name appears to be “Blanche”: Vancouver Sunday Province, July 12, 1931, page 1: “What could be more summery than this beach photo of Katharine Blanche and  Norman, children of Mr. and Mrs. Donald R. Charleson of Aberdeen, Wash, with the waters of English Bay in the background? They are spending a portion of July with their grandmother, Mrs. Walter Taft Hutchins.” [Includes photo of “Katherine Blanche and Norman Charleson.]

Vancouver Sunday Sun, December 7, 1935, page 24: “Modern ‘Babes in Toyland’ are six-year old Katherine Charleson and her eight-year-old playmate, Mary Green, as they explore the Christmas wonders of the Vincent Galleries. . . . Such exciting days for the small fry are the few weeks before Christmas, particularly for Katherine, whose parents, Mr. and Mrs. Donald Charleson of Aberdeen, Wash., are now in Chicago, homeward bound after a ’round-America trip through the Panama. Katherine attends Crofton House School and is the attractive granddaughter of Mrs. Walter Taft Hutchins of Vancouver. Mary is the pretty little daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Green of this city.” [Includes photo of Mary Green and Katherine Charleson.]

“United States Social Security Death Index,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 25 Mar 2013), Katharine Charleson Morgan, 14 July 2009.

U-T San Diego, July 26, 2009: “MORGAN, KATHARINE CHARLESON. Katharine Charleson Morgan was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada to Colonel and Mrs. Donald Charleson, a pioneer family in the area. Her family lived in different parts of Washington State before moving to La Jolla in 1936. She died on July 14th after a long struggle with heart and lung disease. She graduated from La Jolla Elementary, The Bishop’s School, and earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work at San Diego State, where she was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority. She also attended graduate courses in Social Work at the University of British Columbia and the Andrus School at USC. She was married to John Phillips Starkey, whom she met while at San Diego State. Mrs. Morgan was a model for Edith Head of Hollywood and was an ambassador/hostess for the San Diego Union while traveling throughout the United States with a topographical map of San Diego that is now housed outside the San Diego Railroad Museum. She was most proud of her social work career, working for Child Protective Services and the Ombudsman Program for the Area Agency on Aging, where she served on the Executive Committee and as a volunteer after retirement. While raising her daughter, Kristina Starkey, she volunteered extensively as a member of the Junior League of San Diego and Las Patronas in La Jolla. She was very artistic and designed and crafted decorations and jewelry with her mother, Eleanor Charleson. The family’s passion for animals was passed on to Kay who had a life-long interest in horses, dogs, and cats. Another thread running through her life was her love of gardening; she had a masterful sense of landscape design. She was predeceased by her parents, brother, and infant son. She is survived by her daughter, Kristina Starkey and her grandchildren Caitlin, Alexandra, and John McCarty, of Coronado, her cousin Graeme Mackedie of British Columbia, and a circle of devoted friends. A Celebration of Life will be held on Friday, July 31, 2009, at 3 p.m. near the Fisherman statue on Shelter Island Drive park in Point Loma. Donations may be made in her memory to Francis Parker School, 6501 Linda Vista Road, San Diego, CA 92111 or to San Diego Junior Theatre, Casa del Prado Theatre, 1600 Village Place, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA 92101.”

“California, Birth Index, 1905-1995,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 25 Mar 2013), John Phillips Starkey, 1928.

“United States Census, 1930,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 25 Mar 2013), John P Starkey in entry for Harold B Starkey, 1930.

“United States Census, 1940,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 25 Mar 2013), John P Starkey in household of Harold B Starkey, Chula Vista, National Judicial Township, San Diego, California, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 37-40, sheet 11B, family 281, NARA digital publication T627, roll 296.

United States Social Security Death Index,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 25 Mar 2013), John Phillips Starkey, 23 September 2008.

John Phillips Starkey, obituary, Desert Sun, October 18, 2008: “John Phillips Starkey (Jack), 80, long time resident of Point Loma, passed away September 23, 2008 in Palm Desert after complications from a stroke. He was born on February 13, 1928 at Mercy Hospital in San Diego, the son of Harold B. Starkey, Sr. (Founder, First Federal Savings and Loan) and Augusta B. Starkey. He attended Chula Vista Elementary, San Diego High School, University of Utah, and received a BA from San Diego State University in 1950. He also had graduate studies at Columbia University in New York and University of California. He was a member of Epsilon Eta and Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternities. At the end of WWII, he served in the U.S. Army as a combat motion picture photographer in Italy. Jack and wife, Doris, recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They shared a life of family, friends, community and travel. Jack, President and CEO of Starboard Development, a real estate development company in San Diego, made his mark on the San Diego skyline with One America Plaza, James R. Mills Trolley Tower and the San Diego Police Department Headquarters. Previous to Starboard Development, he developed and built Glendale Financial Square, in Glendale, CA. Jack also was a longtime mortgage broker. His firm, Southern Mortgage Company, in partnership with HomeStar Development, financed and built over 200 homes in the greater San Diego and Ramona Communities. Jack enjoyed all that San Diego had to offer, was a member of the San Diego Yacht Club, and could be found surf fishing in Del Mar, waterskiing on a plank, boating, or playing beach volleyball with fraternity brothers and friends in Mission Beach. Jack’s other great passion was flying. He was a private pilot and a member of the Quiet Birds and Chaired San Diego’s 200th Anniversary Air Show. He often said the only vehicle he had never piloted was the space shuttle. He was invited to fly the Goodyear Blimp, rode along with the Blue Angels, and “piloted” a nuclear submarine, an aircraft carrier, and a cruise ship. He loved all machines and wanted to know what made them tick: planes, trains, and fire engines. As a community volunteer, he was honored by the National Society of Fund Raising Executives as Volunteer of the Year in 1973. His civic service includes: California Water Authority, Colorado River Board of California, Chairman of the California State Parks Foundation, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, serving as Finance Chairman from 1987-1990, and was appointed to the California State Park and Recreation Commission by Ronald Reagan, also serving as Chairman. He loved the state of California. In San Diego, Jack served on the boards of: Museum of Man, San Diego Aerospace Museum, National History Museum, San Diego Railroad Museum, Heart Association, San Diego Blood Bank, San Diego Opera, Mission Bay Associates, the Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce, and was a member of the San Diego Downtown Rotary and Rest & Aspiration Club. He greatly treasured his business and social friendships. As a board member on the Children’s Hospital and Health Center Board, Jack was instrumental in the construction of the tunnel connecting Sharp Hospital to Children’s Hospital for emergency post-natal care. He was one of the founding members of Combined Health Agencies Drive (CHAD), and was Regional Advisor for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Proud of his political affiliation, Jack served for 22 years on the GOP Central Committee, was Regional Vice President for the Young Republicans of San Diego and California, and was Campaign Coordinator for Southern California for the Eisenhower-Nixon Presidential campaign in 1956. He was also appointed as a National Fundraising Speaker for National Health Agencies and the Republican Party. Jack is survived by his wife Doris; and brothers, Harold B. Jr. (Skip), Hubert, and Craig; cousins, Richard Witherow and Barbara Witherow Summers. Surviving children are: Kristina Starkey, daughter of Katharine Charleson (Morgan), Janet Starkey Marsten, and John P. Starkey Jr. (Jay) and his wife Stacy. He is survived by grandchildren: Caitlin, Alexandra and John McCarty, and Jennifer, Jillian, and Jacqueline Starkey, and step-grandchildren Monique and Jackson Marsten, and their father A.P. Marsten. A Celebration of Life for his family and friends was held at the San Diego Yacht Club.”

One thought on “Hutchins, Walter Taft (1857-1910)

  1. Pingback: Walter Taft Hutchins (1857-1910) | westendvancouver

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