Oliver Hazard Payne

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For the British contemporary artist, see Oliver Payne and Nick Relph.
Oliver Hazard Payne
Oliver Hazard Payne.JPG
Born July 21, 1839
Died June 27, 1917
Resting place Lake View Cemetery, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Residence Col. Oliver Hazard Payne Estate
Education Phillips Academy
Alma mater Yale University
Occupation Businessman
Parent(s) Henry B. Payne
Mary Perry
Relatives William Payne Whitney (nephew)
Harry Payne Whitney (nephew)
Frances Payne Bolton (niece)

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]

Early life[edit]

Oliver Hazard Payne was born on July 21, 1839. His father, Henry B. Payne, was a businessman and politician. His mother was Mary Perry. He was named for Oliver Hazard Perry, a relative of his mother. He was the uncle of (William) Payne Whitney and Harry Payne Whitney. He was also the uncle of Congresswoman Frances Payne Bolton (1885–1977).

Payne was educated at the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, where he graduated in 1859. He attended Yale University, where he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon.

In 1861, at the outbreak of the American Civil War of 1861-1865, Payne enlisted in the Union Army. By 1863, he was colonel of the 124th Ohio Infantry. He was Brevetted Brigadier General March 13, 1865.


Payne began his career shortly after the war, 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. 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.


Payne was a yachtsman and built the steam yacht Aphrodite in 1898.[2] 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.[3]

Death and legacy[edit]

Payne died on June 27, 1917. He was buried at Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio.

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.[4]


  1. ^ The Wealthy 100 at www.scottwinslow.com
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ New York Times (1917). "Col. Oliver H. Payne, Capitalist, is Dead" (PDF). New York Times (28 June 1817). Retrieved 14 October 2014. 
  4. ^ National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 

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