CWRU Links
Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

PAYNE, OLIVER HAZARD

PAYNE, OLIVER HAZARD

PAYNE, OLIVER HAZARD (21 July 1839-27 June 1917), businessman and philanthropist, was born in Cleveland to Mary Perry and HENRY B. PAYNE. He was educated at Phillips Academy and Yale, leaving the latter in 1861 to serve in the CIVIL WAR, earning the brevet of brigadier-general. In Nov. 1864 he resigned his commission and returned to Cleveland, organizing Clark, Payne & Co., the largest Cleveland competitor of Rockefeller, Andrews & Flagler and largest single oil refiner in the city. In 1872, it merged into STANDARD OIL CO., of which Payne became treasurer until 1884, when he moved to New York. Payne's holdings in Standard Oil were exceeded only by those of Rockefeller, the Chas. Pratt estate, and the Harkness Family. In New York, Payne invested in American Tobacco Co. Active in politics, Payne contributed to the Democratic party. A philanthropist, Payne established Cornell Medical College, anonymously donating more than $8 million to that institution in his lifetime. Other gifts and bequests were made to Lakeside Hospital, Yale, the Jewish Orphan Asylum, Hamilton College, Western Reserve University, ST. VINCENT CHARITY HOSPITAL, and the University of Virginia. A bachelor, Payne was a noted yachtsman; his ship, Aphrodite, a 300 ft steam yacht, was the largest such ship in the country when completed in 1898. When Payne died in New York, his estate, estimated at $190 million, was distributed, after bequests, among nieces and nephews, including Wm. Bingham II, Elizabeth Bingham Blossom, FRANCES PAYNE BOLTON, and Harry Payne Bingham of Cleveland. He is buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.