Hugh Bancroft

Hugh Bancroft was an interesting man. Born in Boston with a silver spoon in his mouth, one would quickly view him as the epitome of success. He graduated from Harvard in 1897, at 17. His father, a major general of the Massachusetts National Guard and Chairman of the Boston Elevated Railway, captained the famous Harvard rowing crew of 1879. Hugh had also been on the Harvard rowing crew in his senior year, then went on to Harvard Law School.

The Bancrofts could rightly be called “true Massachusetts bluebloods.” They represented the high Boston Tory faction and were among the first settler families that, in 1632, founded Lynn, Massachusetts. Arriving on a ship that landed ten miles north of Boston, the Bancrofts were part of the pilgrim migration from England that imbued New England with its strong sense of morality and self-reliance. During the 50 years following, the family was the sole exporter of sugar and tobacco for the Massachusetts Bay Colony, a trade that made them immensely wealthy.

This was the life Hugh Bancroft was born into. Over the years, the family’s Puritanical background morphed into Anglican Episcopalian. They became a reliable contributing stalwart of the Republican Party. Positions they held were often ceremonial; after all, money was not a problem. Upon graduating Harvard Law School, Hugh Bancroft served as Assistant District Attorney of Middlesex County.

From the Bancroft estate, Hugh was a persistent competitor in dressage, steeple chase and fox hunt. His steeds won many awards, and he was recognized as an expert horseman. His life from 1902 to 1907 as an assistant D.A. and week-end equestrian competitor was golden. He was at the top of his game; indeed, the top of Boston society.

June 15, 1907, Hugh married Jane Waldron Wallis, stepdaughter of Clarence W. Barron. Soon, he would become involved with the Wall Street Journal. Soon, his life would change forever.

I write of Hugh Bancroft and how the Bancroft family came to be involved with and ultimately the owners of the “Wall Street Journal” in my book:  “Observer: The Ronnie Lee and Jackie Bancroft Spencer Morgan Story, a tale of people, greed, envy, manipulation  — even crime”.

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