The other Winns

Another photo of Ann Daingerfield Zwicky (for her grand-daughter, Opal), this one taken in Lexington KY some time in the 1970s: Ann and me with Anne Brent Winn at her house on Fayette Park:

(We are all drinking bourbon. This was Kentucky.)

Now: a major name confusion. In my last Ann posting, I wrote about Ann’s aunt Ann, Ann Walcutt Winn, and her husband Jack, Judge John J. Winn. Now we have an Anne Winn, who happens to have been married to a John Winn, John Blandford Winn Jr. (To add some spice to things, when they were young, my Ann’s father, Keene, was a beau of Anne Mason Brent’s — as Anne Brent Winn was then.)

Anne Mason Brent (1908-2001) was the first of the three children, all daughters, of  Charles Scott Brent II (1881-1936) and Anne Penn Chew Mason (1879-1960); the names are important, as we’ll see. (To start with, Anne got her first name and her middle name from her mother. Using mother’s family name as a child’s middle name is a common pattern in American naming, at least in certain regions and social classes. Note that my daughter’s middle name is Daingerfield, her mother’s family name, and that her mother’s middle name, before she married me, was Walcutt, her mother’s family name: Ann Walcutt Daingerfield, then Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky — but Elizabeth kept her name when she married, while Ann took mine.)

In turn, Anne Brent Winn and John B. Winn (Jr.) (ca. 1907 – 1981), who married in 1930, had three children, twins born in 1932 — John Blanton Winn III, known as Jock, and Charles Scott Brent Winn (Charles Scott from his grandfather, plus his mother’s family name, Brent), known as Brent — and Anne Mason Winn (Anne Mason from her mother, which means that her name incorporates her grandmother‘s family name, Mason), known as Masey, who is now Anne Winn Benjamin. Masey , who’s about my age, and her husband run a stud farm in New Zealand; the horse connection runs throughout this family, as it does the Daingerfields. (Back on the name front, they named one of their children Anne Mason Benjamin. Even I, who have known the family for decades, have trouble keeping a grip on the names.)

To get back to Anne Winn, she was a stylish, socially prominent, charming but with a sharp edge, and a horsewoman all her life; she was still riding to the hounds when she was in her 70s.

From a recent flower blog posting on all-white gardens:

Even Anne Winn, a grande dame of Lexington, Kentucky, society, was mildly apologetic for her all-white garden. She told me she’d designed and planted it to prepare for her daughter’s wedding [that would be Masey’s wedding] and/but liked it so much she kept it after the rice was thrown.

Anne once told me that she was walking on the street in Lexington, came to Christ Church Cathedral (Episcopal), realized there was a funeral going on, and went in, on the assumption that the deceased would be an acquaintance of hers. She was right.

As for the sharp edge: Anne disliked Keene’s second wife, Velma (yes, I have a stepmother-in-law), for a variety of reasons, mostly having to do with her judgment that Velma was unsuitable for him (tacky, racist, and not very smart). One manifestation of Anne’s antipathy to Velma was that she almost never called her by her right name: Zelda, Zelma, Wilma, Vilda, whatever. (Just like Endora in the tv show Bewitched, who almost never got her son-in-law Darrin’s name right: Durwood, Darwin, Dum-Dum, etc.)

Anne and Ann Walcutt Winn traveled in many of the same social circles, so there was plenty of room for confusion. Then came the day when Ann Walcutt Winn went to a women’s lunch, stood up to fetch her coat, had a massive heart attack, and died on the spot. Before the day was out, people were calling the Winn house in Lexington (rather than the Winn house in Mount Sterling or the Miller house in Lexington) to offer condolences to John B. Winn (rather than to Jack Winn or to Ann Walcutt Winn’s son Harry B. Miller Jr.). At first, Anne answered the phone, which led to shock on the part of the callers, but then she passed this duty on to other members of the household. Later came the condolence letters to the family; Anne saved one that spoke glowingly of her and promised to pray for her beautiful soul.

When my Ann died, in January 1985, we had a memorial service for her at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, by the OSU campus in Columbus, and then a gathering, a kind of wake, at my house. Keene was too devastated by her death to face up to the trip to Columbus, especially on a bitter-cold day, and cope with these events, but Anne Winn volunteered to represent Lexington family and friends on this sad occasion, and drove up to grieve with us. It was a great gift.

6 Responses to “The other Winns”

  1. Masey Winn Benjamin Says:

    Hello Arnold

    Fascinated by your blog on the other Winns! My goodness, you are a fund of information! And most of it so incredibly accurate! I am indeed Anne Mason Winn Benjamin living in New Zealand to the now retired horse breeder, David Benjamin.

    There were some points in your blog that I should perhaps correct though. Mother never drank Bourbon and that is not her house on Fayette (not Lafayette) Park.. (silly little points of reference that are totally unimportant!)

    But how funny about the funeral and about the white garden! All true. Mother was not a gardener but worked so hard for our wedding. She was married to John Blanton (not Blandford) Winn, jr. and my brother, Jock, is the third. We named our son Blanton David Murray Benjamin after the two grandfathers and Blanton’s father, my husband, David. And we do have an Anne Mason Benjamin, now Anne Mason Benjamin Peters!

    Mother actually did not really dislike Velma. She appreciated that Velma did make Keene happy after the trials and tribulations with Lizzie, Ann’s mother. She did struggle with the name!

    The other Winns were actually playing bridge at Ed and Edith Dabney’s when Ann had her heart attack. I was dining with a beau at Shakertown. Mother rang, I was escorted from the dining room to the nearest phone, only to hear Mother’s voice, “I am not dead”. I did not think she was anyway! but she was concerned that someone dining there might have already heard of Ann Winn’s untimely death at the Dabney’s. Biz Clay from Paris did the Rosarie for Mother, and wrote my father a glowing note about as you said Mother’s beautiful soul.

    Best to you and your family. Your wonderful wife, Ann, was very dear to Mother, and to us all.


    • arnold zwicky Says:

      Great to hear from you, Masey.

      It’s very hard to reconstruct these things at such a distance. (I think it’s been 40 years since you and I saw each other!)

      “that is not her house on Fayette (not Lafayette) Park”. I’ve corrected the street name; that was a mental failure on my part, probably from the Lafayette Galleries shop downtown. I do wonder whose house it was; maybe Harry and Pat Millers’ on S. Ashland.

      Also corrected “Blandford”. Ancestry searches are perilous.

      On your mother’s attitude towards Velma, your recollections differ from Elizabeth’s and mine, though we understood that Anne (and many others in Lexington) appreciated Velma’s role in Keene’s life after his trials with Libby.

      Pleased to hear you’re still flourishing in New Zealand. My grand-daughter has family in New Zealand and occasionally gets to visit there.

  2. John Winn Miller Says:

    Arnold, This is John Winn Miller, grandson of Anne and Jack Winn of Mt. Sterling and son of Pat and Harry Miller. Just stumbled across the blog. The picture is indeed from my parents’ house on South Ashland.

  3. David S. Rose Says:

    Hello Winns! I’m a non-Winn trying to track down yet *another* Anne Winn, who is (or was) a thoroughbred breeder in Pennsylvania. She would be about 75 now, and used to work in advertising. Might any of you have come across her in your genealogical wanderings? (For what it’s worth, I think that Winn may be her married name, and her name may originally have been Schaeffer. Thanks for any leads you might be able to provide!

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