The Titanic departed from Southampton, England for the first and only time on April 10, 1912. Over 2,000 customers were aboard this luxury liner, which boasted 840 rooms. Five days later, tragedy struck. The luxury steamship collided with an iceberg, and within two and a half hours, it sank. Despite urgent rescue efforts, approximately 1500 passengers did not make it back alive.
Still, over a century later, the story of the Titanic remains to be one of the most significant and devastating maritime tragedies in history. It has been the subject of many articles and films, such as the iconic 1997 Titanic movie starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio.
The Titanic's journey-gone-wrong continues to captivate the public. Despite decades of research, there are still so many myths and unanswered questions about what exactly happened that night — and who exactly was on board.
Did you know that a relative of America's first millionaire, per New World Encyclopedia, and his family were on the Titanic as it began to go down under? Keep scrolling to learn everything we know about the Astor family and their experience on the Titanic.
Who were the Astors?
The Astor family was a wealthy and well-known family in the United States and the United Kingdom during the 19th and 20th centuries. John Jacob Astor (or rather John Jacob Astor I), was one of the founding members of the family, as well as the first millionaire in America. He created the first Trust in America and made his family rich through the fur trading business and by investing in real estate.
According to The Pinnaclelist, John Jacob snagged some of Manhattan’s most valuable parcels of land starting when he was just 26 years old.
By age 40, he had purchased 70 acres of central Manhattan real estate running from 42nd and 46th Streets between Broadway and the Hudson River. He also played a major role in the creation of the central branch of the New York Public Library.
He passed down his teachings to the rest of the family, who would continue to take over New York City. Basically, everything from Astoria, Queens to Astor Place in the East Village and the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel links back to the Astors' name. Even Astor, Florida, and Astoria, Oregon received the Astor family treatment.
John Jacob Astor IV was on the Titanic the night that it sank.
John Jacob Astor IV, born 16 years after his legendary forefather John Jacob Astor I passed away, continued to push the family's legacy. He boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg on April 10, 1912 with his second wife Madeleine, according to National Archives. To be clear, John Jacob IV was a highly successful relative of John Jacob I and also a business magnate, but should not be confused with him.
John Jacob IV and his wife Madeleine traveled first class on the Titanic, alongside their servant, maid, and nurse (Madeleine was pregnant at the time). When the Titanic hit the iceberg, John Jacob IV did not make it, but Madeleine did. He was buried in Trinity Cemetery, New York.