Oliver Hazard Payne

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Oliver H. Payne
BornJuly 21, 1839
DiedJune 27, 1917(1917-06-27) (aged 77)
Resting placeLake View Cemetery
EducationPhillips Academy
Alma materYale University
Parent(s)Henry B. Payne
Mary Perry
RelativesWilliam Payne Whitney (nephew)
Harry Payne Whitney (nephew)
Frances Payne Bolton (niece)

Oliver Hazard Payne (July 21, 1839 – June 27, 1917)[1] was an American businessman, organizer of the American Tobacco Company Trust, assisted with the formation of U.S. Steel, and was affiliated with Standard Oil.

Early life[edit]

Payne in Union Army uniform.

Oliver Hazard Payne was born on July 21, 1839, in Cleveland, Ohio.[1] He was the son of Henry B. Payne, a businessman, U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator, and Mary (née Perry) Payne, who was a member of the Perry family. He was named for Oliver Hazard Perry. He was the uncle of William Payne Whitney and Harry Payne Whitney. He was also the uncle of Congresswoman Frances Payne Bolton.[1]

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.[1]


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.[2] 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.

Personal life[edit]

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.[1]

Payne died at his home, 852 Fifth Avenue in New York City, on June 27, 1917.[1] He was buried at Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio.[4] His estate was valued at in excess of $32,000,000.[5]

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.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e f New York Times (1917). "Col. Oliver H. Payne, Capitalist, is Dead" (PDF). New York Times (28 June 1917). Retrieved 14 October 2014.
  2. ^ "Oliver Hazard Payne". academic2.marist.edu. Marist College. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  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. ^ Rose, W.R. (June 29, 1917). "All in the Day's Work". The Plain Dealer. p. 10; Albrecht, Brian (June 23, 2015). "Lake View Cemetery hosts Civil War walking tour". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved January 2, 2020.
  5. ^ "PAYNE ESTATE $32,000,000.; Ex-Standard Oil Officer Had No Stock in Company at His Death". The New York Times. 29 November 1917. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  6. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.

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