Stephen V Harkness Grandfather

Stephen V. Harkness



Stephen Vanderburgh Harkness
Born November 18, 1818
United States
Died March 6, 1888(1888-03-06) (aged 69)
New Hyde Park, New York
Resting place Woodlawn Cemetery
Residence New York City
Occupation Businessman
Spouse 1) Laura Osborne
2) Anna M. Richardson
Children Lamon V. (1850-1915)
William L. (1858-1919)
Charles W. (1860-1919)
Florence (1864-1895)
Edward S. (1874-1940)

Stephen Vanderburgh Harkness (November 18, 1818 – March 6, 1888) was an American businessman from Cleveland, Ohio, who invested as a silent partner with oil titan John D. Rockefeller, Sr. in the founding of Standard Oil.

[edit] Biography

Born in Fayette, New York, he was the son of Dr. David Harkness and his first wife who died in 1820. His father relocated to the Western Reserve region of Northeast Ohio, settling in Milan where he remarried to Elizabeth Caldwell Morrison. David Harkness died in 1825 and his widow later returned to Seneca County, New York where she remarried to the Reverend Isaac Flagler, a Presbyterian minister in Milton, New York with whom she had a son, Henry Flagler. David Harkness had a younger brother, Lamon G. Harkness, who was also a doctor but who became a successful businessman in Bellevue, Ohio.

Steven V. Harkness home in Bellevue, Ohio

At age twenty-one, after finishing his apprenticeship as a harnessmaker, Stephen Harkness moved to Bellevue, Ohio. Harkness worked for a time in harnessmaking but in 1855 set up a distillery in Monroeville, Ohio that was a success. Within a few years he organized a bank and in 1864 formed a partnership with Wm. Halsey Doan to provide crude oil to refineries – that made him a rich man. In 1866 he sold his Monroeville businesses and moved to Cleveland. There, he joined Henry Flagler in investing in Rockefeller, Andrews & Flagler, the firm that became eventually Standard Oil. Harkness became its second largest shareholder; the company’s success made him enormously wealthy. Although Stephen Harkness was a silent partner, he was a member of Standard Oil’s Board of Directors until his death in 1888.

Stephen Harkness married Laura Osborne in 1842 with whom he had sons, Lamon and William; in 1853, after the death of his first wife, he married Anna M. Richardson.

After his death, Anna M. Harkness, Harkness’s second wife, established the Commonwealth Fund, a foundation dedicated to the improvement of healthcare. Their second son, Edward Harkness, was an important philanthropist.

Three sons (Anna was the mother of the third son, Charles, and the fourth, Edward) helped found and sustain The Third Society, later known as Wolf’s Head Society, at Yale University, in 1883. William, the second son by Laura Osborne, was also a member; their Yale Classes were William, 1881, Charles, 1883, and Edward, 1897.

Including Anna’s philanthropy, the family made possible the residential college system at Yale as well as the house system at Harvard. At Yale, their donated buildings include the Memorial Quadrangle, Harkness Tower, William L. Harkness Hall, and the new or second hall for Wolf’s Head Society on York Street, New Haven, CT.

Stephen V. Harkness is buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York.

Posted in Harry's Family Tree | Leave a comment

Antique Steinway Piano – Private Concert Event for Antique Steinway Piano

October 10, 2011

Concert to Honor Historic Steinway & Sons’ Grand Piano – a 1918 Gem Which Belonged to Harry S. Harkness and Has Just Surfaced After Many Years.
When Henry Steinway laid eyes on the grand piano by Steinway & Sons built in 1918 that once belonged to the very notable Harry S. Harkness, he said, ” This belongs in a museum. She’s a beauty!”

In honor of this stunning museum-worthy Steinway & Sons Model B Grand Piano, a concert will be held on October 27th at the Ralston Mansion in Belmont, California. The featured guest will, of course, be the grand piano. This is the first time that this beautiful instrument with its fascinating history has been available for purchase.

Having been restored to it’s original beauty, including the 24 karat gold leaf patina highlighting the detailed carvings, this piano is one of the most expensive pianos built during that era. With the magnificence of it’s tone and beautiful art case this piece of American history brings with it the allure of an intriguing past and more than a hint of drama and romantic mystery.

Harry S. Harkness, who has been referred to as the Howard Hughes of his era, was one of the pioneers in early aviation as well as an acclaimed automobile racer who raced against Henry Ford and awarded his Harkness Trophy to Louis Chevrolet. Harry was also a yachtsman who actually leased his yacht to the U.S. Navy in World War I and which was credited with sinking three German U-boats. Harry’s father, Lamon Harkness, was one of the largest stockholders in Standard Oil when the Rockefellers were just starting the company.

In 1918 Harry purchased the Steinway & Sons Model B grand piano for his lovely second bride, Florence Harkness, as he reportedly enjoyed lavishing her with expensive gifts. Harry had the piano art case contracted to be built by the master furniture craftsmen of the time, Schmieg/Hungate/Kotzian. Sadly, Harry died of influenza in 1919 in the global disaster of the flu pandemic that swept across the world killing up to 40 million people. Harry was never able to present this spectacular gift to his wife as the art case had not been completed when Harry died. Shortly after his death, the piano was delivered to his wife’s door.



The concert celebrating this exquisite piano will feature Theodora Martin, an 18 year-old piano phenom. Born in Bucharest, Romania, Theodora has won numerous national and international competitions, taking first place in many of them. Also performing will be the talented Marcia Cope-Hart, soprano, who is currently performing with “Phantom of the Opera” in the Las Vegas spectacular. Marcia has performed with such greats as Luciano Pavarotti, Beverly Sills and Renata Scotto. Adding a lively kick to the event the ever fabulous Kaye Boyler will also be performing. Her rich sultry sound never fails to captivate.

Posted in The Piano | Leave a comment

Harry Harkness On His Record Trip From Boston To New York Slashed by Two Complete Hours on Monday


Record Between Boston and New York Slashed by Two Complete Hours on Monday – Motor Age Chicago

New York, June 1904 21—Harry S. Harkness, of this city, who has won fame as a track racer and as designer of an original racing machine, made a big cut of the Boston to New York record yesterday. Driving his new 60-horsepower Mercedes car, he made the run of 244 miles from the Boston Athletic Club to the Central Bridge in 6 hours 41 minutes elapsed time, or 6 hours 4 minutes running time. The previous elapsed time record of 10 hours 40 minutes was held by Harry Fosdick and the Winton, and the running time record of 8 hours 42 minutes by C. A. F. Phizenmayer and the Locomobile. Fosdick’s running time was 8 hours 54 minutes. Mr. Harkness drove his car to Boston on Friday to study the course. He left the B. A. A. at 3:15 a. m., having with him his chauffeur, Joseph Jagersberger, who sat on the floor, strapped in. Two stops of consequence were made to repair tires, one of 18 and the other of 19 minutes.

Telling of his ride, Mr. Harkness said: “We left the club in Boston at 3:15. At the very start we made speed. It was dark, of course. I didn’t carry a headlight. I could see well enough ahead.

“Through the Boston suburbs we flew along at 60 miles an hour. The police were bobbing up all along. To get by them, I ran close to the curb, just a few inches away. The trees and telegraph poles served to shield us. We began to have trouble before we got to Marlborough, where we lost the road. Only one foot brake was working. The other was clogged and the hand brake was gone. Then, the hood over the motors kept lifting, flying back in our laps. Jagersberger, half the time, was lying on top of it, holding it down. (Next time, we’ll strap it.) The vibration would loosen the fastenings, and the wind would throw it up.

“We got to Worcester at 5:05. At Windsor Locks, we had a puncture. We fixed it in 8 minutes, nearly record time. Then we were off again. We got to Hartford at 6:54. I ate half of a sandwich, drank a little milk and took on some gasoline and water. We were away at 7:04. We had another puncture at North Haven and fixed that one in 19 minutes. Luck was with us.

“It was 8:10 when we hit New Haven. On the level and down grade we made great time. We got to Stamford at 9:19. When we neared New Rochelle we slowed up. We knew we had the record and didn’t want to be stopped. We came down through the Bronx at 10 miles an hour. It was just 10:10 when we reached Central bridge.”

His best run was the 53 miles from Worcester to Springfield, which he covered in an hour. The average time was about 43 miles an hour. Mr. Harkness declares that his speedometer registered as high as 83 miles an hour. The time at the start was taken by the Chronograph club.

Posted in Harry Harkness Auto Racing | Leave a comment

WHEN the big Mercedes car ran away

Harry S. Harkness

WHEN the big Mercedes car ran away from everything at the Brighton Beach track two weeks ago, the question on everybody’s lips was “Who’s Harkness?” That he was a chauffeur of undeniable nerve and skill, everyone who saw him swing his ponderous machine around the track’s sharp corners, allowed. But who he was, or where he came from, was a puzzle which lent additional interest to his brilliant performance.

Harry S. Harkness is the son of Mr. L. V. Harkness, a Standard Oil man, who resides at 933 Fifth avenue, New York. Young Harkness, who is in his 25th year, inherits his love for sport from his father, the latter being one of the best known, and, withal, most modest sportsmen on the American turf. Four years ago, the subject of this sketch purchased his first automobile, a Locomobile, on which he made many trips in and around New York, and subsequently through California. Having disposed of this machine, he bought an Orient motor tricycle, but after a few months sold this and returned to his first love, the Locomobile. In his second machine he made several trips from New York to Boston, to the Thousand Isles, and hack. In September, last year, he went to Paris, where he received his first lesson in steering a big automobile. Beginning with a Mors 10-hp., he subsequently bought a Mercedes 12-hp., then a Panhard 40-hp., and finally the big Mercedes, in which he first showed his ability as a driver on an American track at Brighton Beach. This machine he has dubbed “The Crimson Cyclone.”

Having demonstrated his fitness to class in the front rank of American drivers, with a Vanderbilt, Bostwick, Foxhall Keene, Bishop, etc., young Harkness has a laudable ambition to aim at the highest honors in the automobile world, namely, to lift the Gordon Bennett trophy. When the American team goes to England next June to compete for this prize, he will be on hand with a machine of his own, American built, of course, and, with a modicum of good fortune, he ought to be heard from among the first to reach the winning post.

Posted in Harry Harkness Auto Racing | Leave a comment

Another Unique Schmieg Hungate Kotzian-bodied Steinway Piano which George Gershwin played

The house was a unique collaboration between a great architect, a great industrial and interior designer, a great lighting designer, a great landscape architect, and enlightened and wealthy owners. Today, it retains most of its original Donald Deskey-designed furnishings. Among them: a unique Schmieg Hungate Kotzian-bodied Steinway piano which George Gershwin, a modern design enthusiast, played during his visits to admire the house in the 1930′s; an illuminated chrome and white bakelite dining table; and an illuminated large curved buffet whose twin was in the Abbey Aldrich Rockefeller apartment in Manhattan – to name just a few.


Posted in SCHMIEG HUNGATE KOTZIAN | Leave a comment

Steinway & Mercedes: What is the Connection?

One of the more intriguing chapters in Steinway history involves the company’s brief foray into the auto industry.  In 1888, when William Steinway was traveling in Europe, he chanced to hear that Gottlieb Daimler of Cannstatt, Germany was experimenting with self propelled vehicles.  Steinway was sufficiently intrigued with the reports, so he paid a visit of Daimler and later wrote in his diary that he had ridden “across the country” in one of Daimler’s motorized quadricycles.  The ride was enough to convince him to secure American patent rights to Daimler engines and vehicles, and upon his return to the U.S. he incorporated the Daimler Motor Company.

Steinway’s first projects involving Daimler-designed engines were boats and streetcars.  Ranging from 1 to 4 horsepower, the engines were manufactured in a plant in Hartford, Connecticut.  After William Steinway’s death in 1896, the company was reorganized as Daimler Manufacturing and began producing small delivery trucks at a factory on Long Island.  In 1905, the company offered to build an exact copy of the 50-horsepower Mercedes offered by its European counterpart.  The luxury car featured “all necessary improvements,” including a tire repair kit, a horn, two sidelights, two gas headlights, and “one tail-light of any American make selected by the purchaser.”  Also included were “an assortment of spare parts more frequently needed, like valve and igniter springs.”  The price was an exorbitant $7,500.  Consider that at the time, the retail price of a Steinway “D” concert grand was a mere $1,200. (Today, the retail price of a Steinway Model ‘D’ concert grand is $118,00)

Only a few “American Mercedes” were ever built.  Mercedes of North America is not sure of the exact number.  In 1907, fire gutted the factory and, lacking William Steinway’s intensity and vision, the company ceased operations.


Posted in Harry Harkness Auto Racing | Leave a comment

About Schmieg Hungate Kotzian

Also known as Schmieg Hungate Kotzian, this company was founded in London in 1908 when Karl Schmieg and Henri Kotzian met as apprentices to prominent London furniture manufacturers. They decided to become partners, and moved to New York to establish a premier cabinet-making firm. They became extremely well-known for exquisite modern design and superior-quality cabinetry. The corporation has changed ownerships several times since the late 1950s, ending with this company in 1995. Today, in the tradition of solid craftsmanship utilizing unique design, Schmieg&Kotzian provides customized reproduction of modern furnishings using the original blueprints by designers like Donald Deskey, Eugene Schoen, Walter Van Nessen, and many others. A catalog of its earlier vintage pieces is available for custom ordering and licensing of original designs. s&
Posted in SCHMIEG HUNGATE KOTZIAN | Leave a comment

USS Wakiva (SP-160), 1917-1918.

Return to Naval Historical Center home page. Return to Online Library listing
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060
Photo # NH 549:  USS Wakiva at the Boston Navy Yard, 22 August 1917

Online Library of Selected Images:

USS Wakiva (SP-160), 1917-1918.
Originally the civilian yacht Wakiva (II) (1907)

Wakiva (II), an 853 gross ton steam yacht, was built at Leith, Scotland, in 1907. She was active in American yachting circles until July 1917, when the U.S. Navy acquired her from Harry S. Harkness of New York City. Converted to a patrol vessel, she was placed in commission in August as USS Wakiva (SP-160). Also called Wakiva II while in Navy service, she steamed across the Atlantic to France during late August and September. Operating out of the port of Brest, she was employed on anti-submarine patrol and convoy excort duty. On 28 October 1917 Wakiva assisted in rescuing survivors from the damaged transport Finland. She attacked an enemy U-boat in late November 1917, apparently badly damaging or sinking the submarine, and fired on another on 12 February 1918, forcing it to submerge. On the night of 22 May 1918, while steaming with a convoy during a fog, Wakiva was rammed by the Navy cargo ship Wabash (ID # 1824). Flooding beyond the capacity of her pumps, she soon sank. Two of Wakiva‘s crew lost their lives in this accident.

This page features all the views we have concerning USS Wakiva (SP-160) and the civilian yacht Wakiva (II) of 1907.



If you want higher resolution reproductions than the digital images presented here, see: “How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions.”


Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.

Photo #: NH 103478

Wakiva (II) (American Steam Yacht, 1907)

Photographed prior to World War I.
Built by Ramsey & Ferguson of Leith, Scotland, in 1907, this yacht was acquired by the Navy from her owner, H.S. Harkness of New York City, on 20 July 1917. She was placed in commission on 6 August 1917 as USS Wakiva (SP-160). Also called Wakiva II, she was lost in collision with USS Wabash (ID # 1824) on 22 May 1918.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 34KB; 740 x 285 pixels


Photo #: NH 549

USS Wakiva (SP-160)

At the Boston Navy Yard, Charlestown, Massachusetts, on 22 August 1917, showing searchlight platform fitted to her foremast.
The mizzenmast of USS Constitution is visible in the left background, with a camouflaged submarine chaser between it and the camera. See Photo #: NH 549-A for a cropped version of this photograph, emphasizing the sub chaser.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 93KB; 580 x 765 pixels


Photo #: NH 105580

USS Wakiva (SP-160)

In dry dock at Brest, France, circa 1918.

Courtesy of James A. Turner, Jr., from the collection of Samuel A. Turner, Jr., who served in USS Wakiva (SP-160) during World War I.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 57KB; 530 x 765 pixels


Photo #: NH 85730

USS Wakiva (SP-160) — Also called Wakiva II.

Halftone reproduction of a photograph taken in 1917-1918, while Wakiva was escorting a convoy.
While so engaged on 22 May 1918, she was sunk in collision with USS Wabash (ID # 1824).

Courtesy of Alfred Cellier, 1977.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 55KB; 740 x 495 pixels


Photo #: NH 41745

USS Alcedo (SP-166), left center, and
USS Wakiva II (SP-160), at right

Picking up survivors in 1917.
This photograph was probably taken on 28 October 1917, when these two converted yachts picked up men who had left the torpedoed transport Finland. The two-stacked ship in the center distance, beyond Alcedo‘s bow, appears to have four masts and is probably Finland, which survived the incident and later served as USS Finland (ID # 4543).
USS Alcedo was torpedoed and sunk on 5 November 1917.

Courtesy of Mr. W.D. Porter, November 1937.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 43KB; 740 x 460 pixels


Photo #: NH 105581

USS Wakiva (SP-160)

View on board, looking forward from the mainmast, circa 1918.
Wakiva‘s smokestack is in the foreground, with her bridge just beyond. Two “menhadden fisherman” type minesweepers are alongside, to port.

Courtesy of James A. Turner, Jr., from the collection of Samuel A. Turner, Jr., who served in USS Wakiva (SP-160) during World War I.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 79KB; 740 x 450 pixels

Note: Though the original print was labeled USSCarola IV (SP-812), this ship is actually the much larger Wakiva.


Photo #: NH 105582

USS Wakiva (SP-160)

Gun crew on watch, circa 1918.
This gun is presumably a 3″/50 type.

Courtesy of James A. Turner, Jr., from the collection of Samuel A. Turner, Jr., who served in USS Wakiva (SP-160) during World War I.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 84KB; 740 x 535 pixels


Photo #: NH 105583

USS Wakiva (SP-160)

One of the ship’s guns, presumably a 3″/50 type, circa 1918.

Courtesy of James A. Turner, Jr., from the collection of Samuel A. Turner, Jr., who served in USS Wakiva (SP-160) during World War I.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 64KB; 740 x 540 pixels




Related image: Photo # NH 105585 was presumably taken from USS Wakiva circa May 1918.



If you want higher resolution reproductions than the digital images presented here, see: “How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions.”

Posted in Harkness Yachting | Leave a comment

GUY AXWORTHY IS SOLD FOR $20,000; Harry S. Harkness Buys Noted Sire at Old Glory Auction — Big Price for Weanling.

The feature of the Old Glory horse sale in Madison Square Garden yesterday was the dispersal of the late Jacob Ruppert’s Hudson River stock farm at Poughkeepsie. This was a combination of stock farm and racing stable. Guy Axworthy, sire of the world’s fastest trotter, Lee Axworthy, (1:58 1/4) being at the head of the breeding establishment.

Posted in History | Leave a comment


Posted in Harry Harkness Auto Racing | Leave a comment