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Death of Ogden Goelet 1897

  Cowes, Isle of Wight, Aug.27._Ogden Goelet of New York is dead. he expired on board his yacht, the mayflower, which was at anchor in Cowes roads.

Mr. Goelet had been ill for about two months. His illness became serious a few days ago, and his physician, Dr. Dawson, then deemed it necessary to hold a consultation, and summoned Sir William Henry Broadbent, Physician in Ordinary to the Prince of Wales, who came to Cowes on Sunday last, accompanied by his son, and both were in constant attendance upon Mr. Goelet until his death. Mr. Goelet suffered from affections of the chest, and succumbed literally through weakness.

His wife, son, and daughter, and the Hon. Michael Henry Herbert, brother of the Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery, and Mrs. Herbert, who is a sister of Mrs. Goelet, were present when the end came. The body will be embalmed and taken to New York.

The lowering of the mayflower's ensign to half mast was the first intimation to the people on shore that Mr. Goelet was dead.

It is said that for some time past Mr. Goelet had been very much worried over family affairs. The marriage of his daughter to the Duke of Manchester, which it was recently announced had been arranged, was strongly opposed by him. The Goelets relinquished Lord Wimborne's house, in London, which they had leased for the season, a fortnight ago.


Ogden Goelet's Career: One of the Richest in New York

Ogden Goelet belonged to one of the oldest of New York families, and was almost as well known in the society of London and at Continental resorts as he was in this city and at Newport. For the last five or six years he had spent most of his time abroad. In 1893, on the occasion of the cup races between the Vigilant and Valkyrie II., he was here with the yacht White Ladye, and entertained quite extensively. He was in Newport last Summer, and in the Fall his town house at 608 Fifth Avenue was open for a short time. He was on terms of personal friendship with the Prince of Wales, and his frequent visits to Nice and Cannes during the yachting seasons when social life is at high pitch kept him among the leaders in society on the Continent.

He was born in 1851, and was one of the two sons of the late Robert Goelet. Mr. Goelet and his brother Robert, who is now at Newport, were born in a house at the corner of Broadway and Nineteenth Street. From their father and uncle, Peter Goelet, who died in 1879, the two brothers came into possession of immense fortunes. Their wealth was in the form of real estate, and they have made a practice of rarely or never selling, so that the estate was constantly increasing in value, and is now one of the richest in the city. The "Goelet farm" originally extended from the Windsor Hotel to the East River, and they have many other parcels of real estate in New York City owned by them. The land on which Sherry's establishment, the Imperial Hotel, and the Knickerbocker Theatre are erected belongs to the Goelets, being leased at graduated rentals so that the income of the estate is constantly increasing.

Donor of the Goelet Cups

In the business world Mr. Goelet figured chiefly as the manager of his own estate. he was one of the stockholders of the metropolitan Opera House, holding Box No. 1, but rarely took any active interest in its business affairs. He had a beautiful villa at Newport, and one at Nice, where he entertained the Prince of Wales on more than one occasion.

Mr. Goelet was an enthusiastic yachtsman, but was never a racing man. He was a member of the New York Yacht Club for seventeen years, and sixteen times the Goelet Cups of $1,000 and $500 value have been the chief prizes contested for annually by the club. He built the schooner Norseman shortly after joining the yacht club, but she was for cruising and not for racing. When he went abroad several years ago he chartered the White Ladye from Mrs. Langtry, but in 1896 he had the twin screw steel yacht Mayflower built at Glasgow from designs by George L. Watson, and it is said that in luxurious appointments this yacht has never been surpassed. The Mayflower became his favorite habitation, and it was on board of her he breathed his last.

Mr. Goelet married Miss Wilson, daughter of Richard T. Wilson, the banker, about twenty years ago and had two children, the daughter, Miss May, a young woman of about nineteen, and a son, Robert Goelet II., two years younger. Rumors were published recently in London that Miss Goelet was engaged to the young Duke of Roxburghe, whose estates cover 60,000 acres and have an annual rental value of $250,000. A previous report of the engagement of Miss Goelet to the Duke of Manchester was promptly denied both by the Duke and by Mr. Goelet, although it was asserted even afterward that there was some truth in it.

On April 7 last, while at Nice, the Prince of Wales received Queen Victoria on board his yacht, Britannia, and his Royal Highness took the occasion to present Mr. and Mrs. Ogden Goelet to her Majesty.

Jubilee Dinner to the Prince

Mr. Goelet's London residence was Wimborne House, one of the handsomest establishments in London. During the jubilee festivities Mr. and Mrs. Ogden Goelet gave a dinner to the prince of Wales at Wimborne House, which was one of the social successes of the season. After that the Goelet family went to Cowes on the Mayflower and took an active interest in the yacht racing at that place. it is believed the strain which he underwent entertaining guests at this place contributed to cause his death, although his health had not been rugged for several years.

The family connection affected by Mr. Goelet's death is large. The recent marriage of Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jr., and Miss Grace Wilson made young Mr. Vanderbilt Mr. Goelet's brother-in-law. Commodore Elbridge T. Gerry, whose mother was a Goelet, was his cousin.

Mr. Goelet was a member of the Knickerbocker, Metropolitan, Union, Racquet, New York, and Seawanhaka Yacht Clubs, the Tuxedo, Players, and Riding Clubs, the American Museum of natural History and Fine Arts Society and belonged to the Patriarchs during their existence. He also had membership in numerous other associations and kept up an active interest in New York's public affairs. He was generous in his gifts to charitable projects.

Website: The History
Article Name: Death of Ogden Goelet 1897
Researcher/Transcriber: Miriam Medina


 New York Times August 28, 1897 p.7 (1 page)
Time & Date Stamp:  


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