Oliver Hazard Payne

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For the British contemporary artist, see Oliver Payne and Nick Relph.
Oliver Hazard Payne.JPG

Oliver Hazard Payne (July 21, 1839 – June 27, 1917) was an American businessman, organizer of the American Tobacco trust, and assisted with the formation of U.S. Steel, and was affiliated with Standard Oil. He is considered one of the 100 wealthiest Americans, having left an enormous fortune.[1] His estate at Esopus, New York, known as the Col. Oliver Hazard Payne Estate, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002 and is now the home of Marist College's Raymond A. Rich Institute for Leadership Development.[2]

Payne was a yachtsman and built the steam yacht Aphrodite in 1898.[3] Aphrodite was one of the finest yachts of the time with Payne making a round the world cruise aboard and took the yacht to Europe every summer from 1908 until outbreak of war in 1914 limited his cruises to American waters.[4]

Life and career[edit]

The son of businessman-politician Henry B. Payne and Mary Perry, he graduated from Phillips Academy Andover in 1859, then studied at Yale University where he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon. At the outbreak of the U.S. Civil War in 1861 he enlisted in the Union Army, though he could have afforded to pay someone to go in his place. In 1863, he became colonel of the 124th Ohio Infantry. He was Brevetted Brigadier General March 13, 1865. Upon the end of the war, he began his career, investing in iron and then oil refining. His oil interests were the first acquired by Standard Oil, and he became a trustee of that firm and acted as a lobbyist. He was charged with bribing members of the Ohio Legislature to attain a Senate seat for his father (before the U.S. Senate was directly elected), and with bribing the Democratic Party to name his brother-in-law United States Secretary of the Navy, though the charges were dropped.

He was the uncle of (William) Payne Whitney and Harry Payne Whitney. He was also the uncle of Congresswoman Frances Payne Bolton (1885–1977). He was named for Oliver Hazard Perry, a relative of his mother.

He is buried at Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio.


  1. ^ The Wealthy 100 at www.scottwinslow.com
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  3. ^ Fairburn, William A. (1899). "Full Powered Sea-Going Steam Yacht Aphrodite For Col. Oliver H. Payne, Of New York". Marine Engineering (Aldrich & Donaldson) 3 (June 1899): 10—13. Retrieved 14 October 2014. 
  4. ^ New York Times (1917). "Col. Oliver H. Payne, Capitalist, is Dead" (PDF). New York Times (28 June 1817). Retrieved 14 October 2014. 

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