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Death of Robert Goelet 1899

Heart Disease Causes the End Unexpectedly at Naples
  News reached this city yesterday of the death in Naples of Robert Goelet, real estate owner, financier, and society leader. Mr. Goelet's legal representative here, Mr. George De Witt, received information that death was caused by heart failure. This intelligence was a startling surprise to Mr.Goelet's New York friends, who, when they saw him in this city not long ago, formed the opinion that he was in excellent health.

Robert Goelet was born at his father's house, 5 State Street, in this city, on September 29, 1841. He was named for his father, who was a brother and partner of Peter Goelet. His mother was a daughter of Jonathan Ogden, of the old family of that name. Peter and the elder Robert Goelet throughout their lives continued the policy of their father in investing in New York real estate, and at the time the subject of this sketch attained his majority his family owned one of the largest and most valuable estates in New York. His father and uncle were largely instrumental in founding the Chemical Bank.

Inheriting an inclination and rare capacity for business, Robert Goelet devoted a large part of his time and his energies to the care and development of the extensive property interests left to himself and his younger brother Ogden by his father and uncle. Ogden Goelet died abroad about two years ago. Robert studied under private tutors in his youth and was graduated from Columbia College in 1860. He subsequently studied law and was admitted to the bar, but his legal knowledge was only made use of in the care of his large estate. Mr. Goelet was regarded as an uncommonly sagacious business man. He was clear-headed and keen-witted, and his judgment in financial and real estate matters invariably commanded the respect of other business men.

A loyal New Yorker, Robert Goelet took particular pride in promoting the growth and development of the city with which his family had been so long identified. He was a man of progressive ideas, and throughout his business career pursued a policy of improving his properties in a manner which would beautify the city.

He is credited by business associates with having displayed uncommon discernment and foresight in the management of his real estate. Even when his brother Ogden was living, Robert was the guiding influence in the management of the large estates which they had inherited. Friends of the family say that the policy pursued by Robert Goelet will doubtless be continued for some time to come in the administration of his affairs. No immediate division of his extensive estate, the value of which is variously estimated at from $25,000,000 to $40,000,000, is anticipated.

In 1879 Mr. Goelet married Henrietta Louise, daughter of George Henry Warren, Sr., a lawyer of this city. Two children blessed this union__Robert Walton Goelet and Beatrix Goelet, both of whom are living. Miss Beatrix unconsciously attained an interesting fame as a child through the medium of Sargent's portrait of her with her parrot. Robert Goelet's city residence is at 591 Fifth Avenue. He also owned and maintained handsome establishments in Newport and at Tuxedo.

He was exceedingly public-spirited and wherever he had any interests he was foremost in all movements for the promotion of the common welfare. Although unostentatious in his methods. it was his aim to aid in every worthy effort to improve the condition of the community in which he lived. He was liberal in contributing in a quiet way to projects of a semi-public character both here and in Newport.

Mr. Goelet was very fond of music, and he did much to promote its study and to increase the public facilities for hearing it. He was one of the original stockholders of the metropolitan Opera House, and one of the most earnest advocates of the rebuilding of that structure after it had been destroyed by fire. Mr. Goelet was also one of the founders of the metropolitan Club in this city, and was one of the financial pillars of that institution. When in New York he was in the habit of spending much of his time there. He was likewise a liberal patron of the club at Newport, and of the Casino at Tuxedo. Any project or suggestion for the beautifying or betterment of those institutions elicited prompt co-operation on his part.

In a conservative way Robert Goelet was fond of sports. he knew and appreciated a good trotting horse, and derived much pleasure from holding the ribbons over some speedy animals. He was an enthusiastic yachtsman, and took a healthful interest in the various out-of-door sports which from time to time engage the attention of fashionable society. His steam yacht Nahma, which was with him abroad, is one of the finest vessels of the kind ever built. It is a twin-screw steamer, 306 feet long, with a tonnage of 1,739. This sumptuous yacht was built at Glasgow from designs by G.L. Watson, and, with its equipment and furnishings is said to have cost about $1,000,000. The Nahma is similar in character to the Mayflower, which was owned by Ogden Goelet, and which was taken by the United States Government as a cruiser at the out-break of the war with Spain. Robert Goelet was elected a member of the new York Yacht Club in May, 1881.

Website: The History
Article Name: Death of Robert Goelet 1899
Researcher/Transcriber: Miriam Medina


 New York Times April 28, 1899 p.7 (1 page)
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