Ogden Goelet

Ogden Goelet
Ogden Goelet.png
Born (1851-06-11)June 11, 1851
Died August 27, 1897(1897-08-27) (aged 46)
Occupation Real estate developer
(m. 1878)
Children Mary Goelet
Robert Wilson Goelet
Parent(s) Robert Goelet Sr.
Sarah Ogden
Relatives See Goelet family

Ogden Goelet (June 11, 1851 New York City – August 27, 1897 Cowes, Isle of Wight) was an American heir, businessman and yachtsman from New York City during the Gilded Age. With his wife, he built Ochre Court in Newport, Rhode Island, his son built Glenmere mansion, and his daughter, Mary Goelet, married Henry Innes-Ker, 8th Duke of Roxburghe.

Early life

Ogden Goelet was born on September 29, 1851 in Manhattan, New York City to Sarah Ogden (1809–1888) and Robert Goelet (1809–1879).[1] His father was a prominent landlord in New York City, as was his uncle, Peter Goelet, who was named after Peter Goelet, Ogden's great-grandfather. His parents resided at 5 State Street, overlooking the Battery in Manhattan.[2]

Goelet's older brother was real estate developer Robert Goelet, and his nephew was Robert Walton Goelet.[3] His paternal aunt, Hannah Green Goelet, was married to Thomas Russell Gerry, a son of U.S. Vice President Elbridge Gerry. His grandfather was the merchant and landowner Peter P. Goelet. Through this marriage, Goelet was a first cousin of Elbridge Thomas Gerry.[4]


Ogden Goelet's mansion at 608 Fifth Avenue, designed by E.H. Kendall
Goelet's Newport residence, Ochre Court in 1904.

Along with his brother, he managed the real estate of his father, Robert Goelet, and his uncle Peter Goelet, who both died in 1879.[2] After his father and uncles deaths, he inherited almost half their fortune, along with his brother.[4] In New York, he was one of the stockholders of the Metropolitan Opera House, holding Box No. 1.[5]

Society life

In 1892, Goelet and his wife Mary were included in Ward McAllister's "Four Hundred", purported to be an index of New York's best families, published in The New York Times.[6][7] Conveniently, 400 was the number of people that could fit into Mrs. Astor's ballroom.[8] Mary was known as one of the viceregal leaders of the Ultra-fashionable 150, among Mrs. Astor, Mrs. Ogden Mills, Mrs. John Jacob Astor, and Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Jr.[9]


Goelet's 1881 Norseman schooner

He had several yachts including his schooner, Norseman that was designed by William Townsend and built in 1881 at the Richard & Cornelius Poillon shipyard in Brooklyn.[10][11] From 1893 he also chartered Lillie Langtry's yacht the White Ladye.[12] His final yacht was named Mayflower and was designed by George Lennox Watson in 1896 and built on the Clyde (Scotland) by J & G Thompson. After Goelet's death the yacht was sold to the US Navy and became the famous USS Mayflower (PY-1).[5] Goelet's brother, Robert, had an almost identical yacht built at the same time and in the same yard and this later became USS Nahma (SP-771).[13]


Goelet and his wife owned a townhouse at 608 Fifth Avenue in New York City and a villa in Nice, France. When in London, they resided at Wimbourne House.[5]

In 1892, he and his wife commissioned Ochre Court, a châteauesque mansion in Newport, Rhode Island. The home was built at a cost of $4.5 million and was the second largest mansion in Newport after nearby The Breakers, both designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt.[14]

Personal life

In 1878, he married Mary Rita Wilson (1855–1929), daughter of Richard Thornton Wilson Sr. and Melissa Clementine Johnston. Her siblings included the banker Richard Thornton Wilson Jr. and socialite Grace Graham Wilson, who was married to Cornelius Vanderbilt III.[15] Together, they were the parents of two children:[15]

He was a member of the New York Yacht Club for 17 years, as well as the Knickerbocker Club, Metropolitan Club, and Union Club.[5]

On August 27, 1897, after over five years spent abroad, Goelet died aboard his yacht in the town of Cowes in the Isle of Wight after having been ill for two months. He had been attended to by William Broadbent, doctor to the Prince of Wales, with whom he was close friends.[5] His family and body sailed back to the United States[19] and his funeral was held aboard his yacht in Newport and he was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery (Bronx, New York).[20][21] In his will, he left his entire estate to his wife and two children.[22] His widow died in 1929.[15]


  1. ^ Genealogical Record of the Saint Nicholas Society: Advanced Sheets, First Series. New York City: Saint Nicholas Society of the City of New York. 1902. p. 28. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  2. ^ a b "FUNERAL OF ROBERT GOELET". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  3. ^ "Robert W. Goelet Dies In Home At 61. Corporation Director, Owner of Large Realty Holdings Here, Succumbs to Heart Attack. He Inherited $60,000,000. Sportsman, a Leader in Social Circles in Newport and New York, Kin of Early Settlers". New York Times. May 3, 1941. Retrieved 2010-07-26. Robert Walton Goelet of New York and Newport, R. I., a member of one of New York's oldest and wealthiest families, died of a heart attack yesterday at his ...
  4. ^ a b "PETER GOELET'S WILL.; DIVIDING AN ESTATE THAT MAY BE WORTH TWENTY MILLIONS". The New York Times. December 6, 1879. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e "DEATH OF OGDEN GOELET; American Millionaire Expires on His Yacht, Mayflower, at Anchor in Cowes Roads. | ILL FOR ABOUT TWO MONTHS | He Worried over Family Affairs, Particularly the Proposed Marriage of His Daughter to the Duke of Manchester". The New York Times. 28 August 1897. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  7. ^ Patterson, Jerry E. (2000). The First Four Hundred: Mrs. Astor's New York in the Gilded Age. Random House Incorporated. p. 223. ISBN 9780847822089. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  8. ^ Keister, Lisa A. (2005). Getting Rich: America's New Rich and How They Got That Way. Cambridge University Press. p. 36. ISBN 9780521536677. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  9. ^ Nicholls, Charles Wilbur de Lyon (1904). The Ultra-fashionable Peerage of America: An Official List of Those People who Can Properly be Called Ultra-fashionable in the United States. New York: George Harjes, Publisher. pp. 7–8. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  10. ^ "MR. OGDEN GOELET'S NEW YACHT". The New York Times. 21 April 1881. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  11. ^ Outing | An Illustrated Monthly Magazine of Recreation | Vol. 7. New York: Outing Publishing Company. 1885. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  12. ^ "Mr Goelet Charters White Ladye" (PDF). The New York Times. 14 July 1893. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
  13. ^ Hofman, Erik (1970). The Steam Yachts - An Era of Elegance. New York: John De Graff Inc. pp. 100–103.
  14. ^ "Ochre Court". Salve Regina University. Archived from the original on August 10, 2014. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
  15. ^ a b c "MRS. OGDEN GOELET DIES OF PNEUMONIA; Duchess of Roxburghe's Mother Long Noted for Her Lavish Entertaining. WAS HOSTESS TO ROYALTY Edward VII, as Prince of Wales, Among Guests--Sister of Mrs. Cornellus Vanderbilt and R.T. Wilson. Her Hospitality. Duchess of Roxburghe Daughter". The New York Times. 24 February 1929. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  16. ^ "Marriage Announcement". New York Times. September 3, 1903.
  17. ^ Times, Wireless To The New York (7 August 1929). "DUCHESS INHERITS FORTUNE; Former Miss Goelet Receives $3,000,000 From Mother's Estate". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  18. ^ Foreman, John (14 November 2012). "Big Old Houses: A Better Fate Than Many". New York Social Diary. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  19. ^ "GOELET'S BODY AT NEWPORT". The New York Times. 16 September 1897. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  20. ^ "Ogden Goelet". Find a grave. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  21. ^ "FUNERAL OF OGDEN GOELET.; Services Held on the Yacht Mayflower in Newport Harbor". The New York Times. September 17, 1897. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  22. ^ "WILL OF OGDEN GOELET; Except for Two Legacies, His Entire Estate Is Left to His Widow and Children. NO PUBLIC BEQUEST IS MADE No Charity to Benefit by It -- How the Estate Is Divided Between the Widow and the Two Minor Children". The New York Times. 29 September 1897. Retrieved 29 November 2016.

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