Saturday, November 19, 2022

Oliver and Alva Belmont—of the Belmont Stakes horseracing fame

by Susan G Mathis

Oliver and Alva Belmont—of the Belmont Stakes horseracing fame—were multi-millionaire socialites during the Gilded Age. Alva was married first to William K. Vanderbilt, a good friend of Oliver’s. The Vanderbilts had three children, and Alva’s many building projects included the Marble House in Newport, Rhode Island, and the Belmont House in New York.
In 1890, Oliver Belmont, a successful, single New York banker, inherited millions from his father who financed the first Belmont Stakes that was subsequently named after him. Oliver Belmont used some of his inheritance to build an extravagant mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, called Belcourt. Because he loved his race horses so much, the entire first floor was nothing but

rows and rows of stables for his prized horses! The rest of his massive bachelor pad sported Gothic rooms with elaborate stained-glass windows including the Belmont coat of arms.

In 1896, Alva married Oliver Belmont, whom she had known for over a decade. Oliver had been a guest on the Vanderbilt’s yacht, the Alva, twice, and rumors touted his and Alva’s attraction to one another upon returning from the last voyage in 1889.

In 1900, Oliver Belmont served as a delegate to the 1900 Democratic National Convention. He served one term as the New York Congressman from 1901-1903.

In August, 1904, Oliver and Alva Belmont spent the month at the New Frontenac Hotel resort on Round Island in the Thousand Islands along with many of the rich and famous of the Gilded Age era. In my story, Rachel’s Reunion, Rachel serves the Belmonts and interacts with Alva about the topic of suffrage.

Alva was considered rather radical for her time thanks to her willingness to challenge convention with her strong opinions, energy, and keen intelligence. She worked as a women’s suffrage activist, even founding the Political Equality League to get suffrage-supporting votes in the 1909 elections. She also led the 1912 Women’s Votes Parade in New York City and was one of the founders of the National Women’s Party in 1916.

The Belmonts, along with many of the Gilded Age socialites, made quite a mark on American history. I love telling their tales.

Do like to ride horses? Leave your answer or comments on the post below and join me on December 19th for my next post.

About Rachel’s Reunion:

Summer 1904

Rachel Kelly serves the most elite patrons at the famed New Frontenac Hotel on Round Island. She has wondered about her old beau, Mitch, for nearly two years, ever since he toyed with her affections while on Calumet Island, then left for the high seas and taken her heart with him. Now he’s back, opening the wound she thought was healed.

Mitch O’Keefe returns to claim his bride but finds it more difficult than he thought. Returning to work at the very place he hated, he becomes captain of a New Frontenac Hotel touring yacht, just to be near Rachel. But his attempts to win her back are thwarted, especially when a wealthy patron seeks her attention. Who will Rachel choose?

About Susan:

Susan G Mathis is an international award-winning, multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands in upstate NY. Susan has been published more than twenty-five times in full-length novels, novellas, and non-fiction books. She has nine in her fiction line including Peyton’s Promise. Find out more at

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting today. I would love to ride a horse, maybe on a "baby" trail through the woods or something like that. I owned a pony once but he was a stubborn, untrained thing that would take two steps in one direction and not move again until you turned him in the opposite direction. I never knew how to do anything with him and my father sold him eventually.