Syracuse's Millionaire Playboy

OHA Discusses The Unsolved Mystery of the Crouse Fortune

Onondaga Historical Association shares with us the story of a scandalous secret and a mystery that still hasn’t been solved about a millionaire playboy with deep roots right here in Syracuse. His name can be seen on everything a hospital and one of the most iconic buildings on the SU campus: Daniel Edgar Crouse was the heir to the huge fortune from his family’s immensely successful grocery business.


Crouse not only had an enormous family mansion, he also had a stable custom built for his prized horses that was taller than the house itself. It featured everything from billiard tables, lounges, a gym, and a formal dining room. He was not known as a social man, shunning the company of others, especially women, and preferring to spend his time with his horses.


Upon Edgar’s death, a mysterious woman came forward claiming to be Edgar’s secret wife with a daughter, named Edgarita. An intense legal battle ensued between the apparent wife and 27 first cousins, with the mysterious widow managing to successfully talk her way into the massive Crouse fortune. To this day, nobody knows for sure whether her claim was legitimate.


For more information, the Onondaga Historical Association has a museum highlighting CNY history. It’s located at 321 Montgomery Street in downtown Syracuse. OHA also runs a Haudenosaunee Heritage Center located on Onondaga Lake Parkway in Liverpool. You can also learn more by visiting the OHA website at

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