Oliver Belmont

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Oliver Belmont
Oliver Belmont.jpg
Oliver Belmont
Born Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont
November 12, 1858
New York City, New York,
United States
Died June 10, 1908(1908-06-10) (aged 49)
Hempstead, New York,
United States
Resting place
Woodlawn Cemetery
Residence Belcourt Castle
Education St. Paul's School, United States Naval Academy
Occupation Businessman, Politician
Known for Belcourt Castle
Political party
Democrat
Board member of
Day and Night Bank
Spouse(s) Sara Swan Whiting (m. 1882–82)
Alva Erskine Smith Vanderbilt
Children Natica Rives Belmont Burden (1882-1908)
Parents August Belmont
Caroline Slidell Perry
Relatives Perry Belmont, brother
August Belmont, Jr., brother

Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont (November 12, 1858 – June 10, 1908) was an American socialite and United States Representative from New York.

Biography[edit]

Belmont was born in New York City, New York. Oliver's father was August Belmont, a Hessian Jew who came to the United States in 1837 as an agent for the Rothschilds, and accumulated enormous personal wealth. (The oldest race in the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, is named for August Belmont). His mother, Caroline Slidell (née Perry), was the daughter of Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry, who was renowned for commanding the naval expedition that opened Japan in 1853-54. His maternal great-uncle and namesake was Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, the victor of the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813.[1]

Belmont attended St. Paul's School, Concord, New Hampshire, and graduated from the United States Naval Academy on June 10, 1880. He was commissioned as a midshipman and served until June 1, 1881, when he resigned.

In 1882, Oliver married Sara Swan Whiting, who was pregnant with his child, in Newport, but they divorced the same year. His daughter, Natica, was adopted by her stepfather, George Lockhart Rives and took his last name. She became a prominent New York socialite who was close friends with Alva Belmont, Oliver's second wife. (In 1907, Sara married Williams Proudfoot Burden, brother of James Abercrombie Burden, Jr. She died accidentally from gas lamp asphyxiation in 1908.)[2] Belmont gave Belcourt Castle to his second wife Alva as a wedding gift.[3]

Belmont was a charter member of the Rhode Island Society of the Sons of the Revolution in 1896. He was eligible for membership in the Society by right of his descent from Captain Christopher Raymond Perry who has served as a privateer in the American Revolution.

Belcourt[edit]

Main article: Belcourt Castle
Belcourt, Belmont's summer estate in Newport, Rhode Island

Oliver received a huge inheritance when his father died in 1890. Oliver was a bachelor at the time of his father's death and decided to build a summer house in Newport. Richard Morris Hunt was the architect for Oliver's Newport mansion, Belcourt Castle. Belmont designed Belcourt as he pleased. Hunt was hesitant with the design of Belcourt, but he concentrated on his guiding principle that it was his client's money he was spending. The entire first floor was composed of a multitude of stables for Belmont's prized horses. The monumental Gothic rooms with their huge stained-glass windows were emblazoned with the Belmont coat of arms.

On January 11, 1896 Belmont married Alva Vanderbilt, the ex-wife of William Kissam Vanderbilt.

Belmont was at one time a member of the banking firm of August Belmont and Co., New York City. He became publisher of the Verdict, a weekly paper.

Belmont served as delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1900, and was elected as a Democrat from New York's 13th District to the Fifty-seventh Congress (March 4, 1901 – March 3, 1903). He was not a candidate for renomination in 1902.

Oliver Belmont died on June 10, 1908 at his Brookholt estate in East Meadow, New York.[4] He was interred in the Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx. His mausoleum, designed by Richard Morris Hunt, is an exact replica of the Chapel of St. Hubert at Château d'Amboise in France.

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Jefferson Monroe Levy
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 13th congressional district

March 4, 1901 – March 3, 1903
Succeeded by
Francis Burton Harrison