Albert Crosby was born to Nathan Crosby and Catherine Nickerson in Chatham on January 14, 1823. First trying his hand in the Mercantile Marine Service, he later moved to Chicago, where by 1851 he made fortune indry goods and had the largest distillery of medicinal alcohol in the country.When the
Civil War broke out, he became even richer from supplying the government with alcohol. As a patron of the arts, Albert took over the Chicago Opera house, which was next to his art gallery. Unfortunately the Chicago fire destroyed both, and Albert Crosby lost 1.5 million dollars in art. After the fire Albert divorced his first wife and soon remarried Matilda Sourbeck. Building Tawasentha, the Crosby’s spent many years entertaining guests and would often engage the train for a private charter to ferry guests to their house.Built by John Hinckley and Sons, the mansion boasted 13 fireplaces, many guest rooms,
a library, billiard room and an art gallery. Sadly, through the years the mansion fell into dis-repair and was heavily damaged by vandals. Today it is part of the Nickerson State Park and is managed and maintained by the Friends of the Crosby Mansion Inc.
Albert took over the Chicago Opera house (below). He totally refurbished the building and just before the reopening, the Fire of 1871 totally destroyed that building (below) and an adjacent art gallery. Because of the fire, Albert lost over 1.5 million dollars. That was also the year that Albert and Margaret agreed to divorce. Soon after, he married Matilda Sourbeck, who was much younger. After their marriage, Albert brought Matilda to the family home in Brewster where he had so many fond memories. This undoubtedly was not the home that Matilda envisioned for their entertaining. This was when it was decided that an “addition” was needed to the family homestead and when the idea of “Tawasentha” was formed.
Matilda Georgia Sourbeck was born in Pennsylvania, on February 21, 1843, the daughter of John Sourbeck (1786-1847), and his second wife, Sarah Ann Collier (1804-1886). On June 5, 1872, at Manhattan, New York, she married Albert Crosby, son of Nathan Crosby (1783-1882) and Catherine (Katy) Nickerson (1801-1885). He was 20years older than her. Matilda died on March 1, 1928, East Brewster, Barnstable County, Massachusetts. Albert died on July 24, 1906.