Frederick Robert was on the shores of Lake Worth as early as 1891, when he bought 160 acres of land from George H.K. Charters for $800.
Born at New York City in 1839, Robert was the son of Christopher Rhinelander Robert, a merchant and philanthropist who founded Robert College at Istanbul, Turkey, in 1863.
Frederick Robert married Marsena Nelson, born 1844, and they had one son, Albert W., born 1864. The Roberts spent their winters at their Palm Beach estate, “Fleur d’Eau,” and summers at Saratoga Springs, New York. Marsena, asked her first impression of Palm Beach, said:
“I was strongly reminded of Venice when I first visited Palm Beach.. .by the absence of horses, carriages, wagons and the noise of wheels of any kind. All was quiet and peaceful.. .The music on the water in the evening is also a reminder of Venice. . . tuneful ballads float through the air to the accompaniment of guitar, mandolin and banjo. .
Frederick and Marsena became active members of Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, built in 1889. Marsena was a charter member of Woman’s Guild, served on several committees and was choir director from 1901 to 1911.
Frederick Robert died at Saratoga Springs on 13 March 1912 after a long illness. Marsena sold their Palm Beach property, which became Poinciana Park, and lived in Saratoga Springs until her death in 1922.
Albert W. Robert, a graduate of Yale University, was Henry M. Flagler’s advance agent in 1892. He was ordered to buy up properties Flagler selected on both sides of Lake Worth, no matter what the price. He spent most winters with his parents at “Fleur d’Eau.” In 1910-1911, Albert Robert served as American consul to Algiers, where he became ill and had to return home. He never recovered and died at age forty-nine at Troy, New York, 18 February 1913.