|Born||Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont
November 12, 1858
New York City, New York,
|Died||June 10, 1908
Hempstead, New York,
|Education||St. Paul's School, United States Naval Academy|
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)|
Caroline Slidell Perry
|Relatives||Perry Belmont, brother
August Belmont, Jr., brother
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.
Belmont attended St. Paul's School, Concord, New Hampshire, Oliver entered the United States Naval Academy on June 10, 1880. He was commissioned as a midshipman and served until June 1, 1881, when he was discharged without graduating.<rAugust Belmont The King of 5th Avenue, by David Black Dahl press>
In 1882, without his parents consent, Oliver proposed marriage to debutante Sara Swan Whiting, a popular and beautiful socialite. His parents, August and Caroline Belmont, objected to the engagement, thinking Oliver was not mature enough for marriage due to his gambling and playboy lifestyle. As a result he was sent to Bremen, Germany to learn the banking trade in the House of Rothschilds, where his father had been trained. Oliver becomes dissipated and developed a penchant for Absinthe, a liquor with hallucinogenic properties. When Mrs. Belmont realizes his decline she agrees to the marriage. Oliver Belmont married Sara Swan Whiting in Newport, Rhode Island on December 27, 1882, at her family home "Swanhurst'. The newlyweds traveled to Paris for their honeymoon, where they were joined several weeks later by Sara's mother and two older sisters. Oliver having agreed to the visit, now objects. He takes to frequenting gambling houses and brothels, drinking absinthe to escape the situation. His personality is affected by the absinthe and he has a violent and abusive argument with his new wife, leaving her terrified. Oliver abandons her in Paris and is later seen in Bordeaux, Spain, traveling with a French dancer. (prostitute) Shamed and heartbroken, Sara and the Whiting family return to America. In April Sara realizes she is pregnant with Oliver's child, but the two divorce and he is prevented from seeing the child. Natica Caroline Belmont was born September 5, 1883. Oliver disowns her, claiming she is not his daughter, and not a Belmont heir. </rColumbia University RBML- Belmont Family Letters> Sara remarries and Natica was adopted by her stepfather, former Assistant Secretary of State, George Lockhart Rives and took his last name. <rAugust Belmont The King of 5th Avenue, by David Black Dahl press> Natica grew to be a great beauty, who ironically looked just like her father, Oliver. She became a prominent New York socialite. In 1907, Natica married Williams Proudfoot Burden, brother of James Abercrombie Burden, Jr. Oliver Belmont remarried Alva Vanderbilt -the ex-wife of his good friend William K. Vanderbilt. The two are not well liked among society circles. Oliver died of appendicitis in 1908 and gave Belcourt to his second wife Alva as a wedding gift. He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY.
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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
- Vanderbilt, 248
- Vanderbilt, 250.
- "O.H.P. Belmont Dead After Brave Fight. He Succumbs to Septic Poisoning, Following an Operation for Appendicitis. To be Held at the Cathedral of the Incarnation, Garden City. Burial at Woodlawn". The New York Times. June 11, 1908. Retrieved 2011-05-27.
The death of Oliver H.P. Belmont occurred soon after 6:30 o'clock this morning at Brookholt, his Long Island country seat. ...
This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- Oliver Belmont at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Fortune's Children: The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt Arthur T Vanderbilt. Morrow, 1989.
- Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont entry at The Political Graveyard
- Oliver Belmont at Find a Grave
- Belcourt Castle website
|United States House of Representatives|
Jefferson Monroe Levy
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 13th congressional district
March 4, 1901 – March 3, 1903
Francis Burton Harrison