JOHN JACOB ASTOR TO WED DEBUTANTE

JOHN JACOB ASTOR TO WED DEBUTANTE

New York Times

His Engagement to Miss Eileen S. S. Gillespie Announced by Her Parents
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CAME OF AGE IN AUGUST
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Fiancee, Noted in Newport as a Tennis Player, Is From an Old American Family
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Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Lewis Gillespie of this city and Newport, R. I., have announced the engagement of their eldest daughter, Miss Eileen S. S. Gillespie, to John Jacob Astor, younger son of the late Colonel John Jacob Astor, who was lost on the Titanic. The engagement is of wide interest not only in this country but in Europe as well. Miss Gillespie is a niece of Lady Camoys of London, England. The ancestors of both Miss Gillespie and Mr. Astor figured prominently in the early history of this country. She has the distinction of being the first débutante of this season to announce her engagement.

Miss Gillespie, through her mother, the former Miss Irene M. Sherman, is a granddaughter of Mrs. Watts Sherman and the late Mr. Sherman, whose family was one of the oldest and most prominent in New York and Albany. The late Mr. Sherman was an original trustee in the founding of both the Knickerbocker and the Metropolitan Clubs of this city. Miss Gillespie is a great-granddaughter of the late John Carter Brown, of Providence, R. I., whose family founded Brown University, and she is a direct descendant of Roger Williams, who in 1640 founded Providence.

Grandfather in McKinley Cabinet

On the paternal side Miss Gillespie is a granddaughter of the late Major Gen. George Lewis Gillespie, Chief of Engineers, U. S. A., who served on General Sheridan's staff in the Civil War and received the Congressional Medal of Honor. He was acting Secretary of War at the time of President McKinley's assassination. General Gillespie's forebears landed in Virginia and became large land owners along the Tennessee River. Miss Gillespie's paternal grandmother was Rhobie McMaster of Ballston Spa, N. Y., whose family was connected with the early settlement of Saratoga County, and was prominent before the French and Indian War. Miss Gillespie was graduated from Miss Hewitt's School in New York City and was introduced to society last Friday night at a dinner dance given by her parents at the Pierre. She is a member of the Junior League and is active in out-door sports. Both she and her younger sister, Miss Phyllis Gillespie, were two of the outstanding tennis players last Summer in Newport, with which resort her parents, her grandmother, Mrs. Watts Sherman, and the Astor family long have been identified, and all of whom have show places there. Mr. Astor spent last Summer there with his aunt, Mrs. Lorillard Spencer.

Miss Gillespie has won several tennis tournaments in the Newport Casino. She is a student of French, speaking the language fluently.

Astor of Age Last August

Mr. Astor was born Aug. 24, 1912, the day of the yacht races in Newport for the Astor Cup, in the old Astor mansion at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Sixty-fifth Street, where now stands the Temple Emanu-El. He attained his majority last August, when he came into the $3,000,000 trust fund left to him by his father, and now materially increased. On that occasion a small family dinner was given for him by his aunt, Mrs. Lorillard Spencer. The old Astor mansion was on the northeast corner of Fifth Avenue and Sixty-fifth Street, while the family home of Miss Gillespie's mother, then Miss Sherman, was directly across the street, on the southeast corner. The grandmother of Mr. Astor's fiancée, Mrs. Watts Sherman, still resides there.

Mr. Astor's mother, the former Miss Madeline Force, daughter of Mrs. William H. Force and the late Mr. Force, was married recently to Enzo Fiermonte, Italian middleweight pugilist, and now is in Florida. Several years after the death of Colonel Astor, she was married to William K. Dick. That marriage terminated in divorce.

Member of an Old Family

On the paternal side Mr. Astor belongs to the Livingston, Beekman, Van Cortlandt and Schermerhorn families. The Schermerhorns long were active in the affairs of the Manor of Rensselaerwyck, that feudal estate of Kiliaen Van Rensselaer which includes the present Counties of Albany, Columbia and Rensselaer, New York State. He is a direct descendant of the original John Jacob Astor, a land owner of New York; of William Beekman, founder of that family in New York, and of General John Armstrong of the Continental Army. He is a grandson of the late Mr. and Mrs. William Astor, the latter long the recognized leader of New York society. Through the late Mrs. Astor, who was Caroline Webster Schermerhorn, Mr. Astor is a great-grandson of Abraham Schermerhorn. He also is a great-grandson of William Backhouse Astor. He is a half-brother of Vincent Astor.

Mr. Astor was graduated from St. George's School, Newport, R. I. Like his fiancée he is fond of outdoor sports, and is interested in mechanics. His clubs include the Union and Racquet and Tennis of New York.

Related Biographies:
John Jacob Astor
Madeleine Talmage Astor

Contributor
Mark Baber
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    Added to Encyclopedia Titanica Monday 9th August 2004, last updated .