Engelhart Cornelius Ostby

Mr Engelhart Cornelius Ostby

Mr Engelhart Cornelius Østby, 65, was born in Christiania (Oslo), Norway, on 18 December 1847, the son of Christian Østby and Josephine Dorothy Paulson. He had several siblings including Alvida (born 1850), Arthur Oscar (born 1858), Ragnhild, Constance (born 1861) and Binie.

Engelhart studied to be a jeweller at the Royal School of Art in his home city. After an education that included six years of apprenticeship he worked as a successful jeweller in Oslo.

In 1866 while he was still studying his parents and one of his brothers emigrated to America. He followed them in 1869 and travelled via New York to Providence, Rhode Island. He worked initially for the firm of Hunt & Owen (G. & S. Owen ?) but soon moved to the firm of Arnold & Webster (Later Arnold & Steere) where he acted as head of design and engraving for nine years.

In 1879 with, capital of about $3000, he formed a partnerhip with Nathan B. Barton to create the business of Østby & Barton. Working from premises at 25 Potter St. (later called Garnet St.) the firm became the world's biggest producer of gold rings. Lack of space forced the company to move from Potter St. to Clifford St. and the Austin factory buildng. Soon outgrowing their new premises they again relocated, to the former factory of the Ladd Watch Case Company on the corner of Richmond St. and Clifford St. the building had to be doubled in size to accomodate the burgeoning business.

In addition to his jewellery business Østby was a director of the High Street Bank and the Industrial Trust Company, and a trustee of the Citizens Savings Bank; all of which were in Providence. Østby became well known in the city both for his success in business and for his many charitable acts.

Engelhart Østby was married to Lizzy Macy Webster (born 1854) on 7 June 1876 and they had four sons [1] and, on 30 November 1889, a daughter Helene Ragnhild.

Lizzie died on 26 November 1899, aged 45 and Engelhardt raised his youngest children with the help of his mother until her death on 5 December 1902 at the age of 76.

Østby often travelled to Europe to survey the European markets, particularly Paris, and he was always on the look out for developments in both production and design. Beginning in 1906 Engelhart took Helene with him on all his subsequent European business trips. They visited Norway for the first time in 1907, returning with a Norwegian Goats cheese - a family tradition which would be repeated in 1912. In the middle of January 1912 Engelhart travelled again to Europe, he needed a vacation, and again Helene accompanied him. They travelled around Southern Europe and Egypt and while at Nice, France they first heard about the possibility of returning to America on the Titanic. They journeyed on to Paris where they met Frank and Anna Warren whom they had previously met in Egypt. The Warrens already had their ticket for the Titanic.

Engelhart paid £62 for their tickets, according to White Star their last address was c/o Brown Shipley, Pall Mall, London SW. so perhaps they had also visited England. However, it was at the french port of Cherbourg that they boarded the Titanic in first class, Engelhart occupying cabin B-30 and Helene B-36. Engelhart carried with him his old doctor's bag he always used when travelling. In it he had gems, precious stones and other valuables that he had bought in Paris.

On the night of the disaster Engelhart and Helene sat in the reception room, they talked with Mr and Mrs Warren and listened to the orchestra. At around 10 p.m. Mr and Mrs Warren decided to take a stroll on deck but it was too cold so they all went to bed.

After the collision Engelhart met his daughter in the corridor that separated their staterooms. Together with the Warrens, they climbed the grand staircase to the Boat Deck. Leaving Helene and the others close to lifeboat 5 Engelhart returned to their staterooms to get some warmer clothes but in the meantime Helene had boarded the lifeboat and they never saw each other again.

Engelhart's body was later recovered by the MacKay Bennett (#234).

NO. 234. - MALE. - ESTIMATED AGE, 52. - HAIR, FAIR.

EFFECTS - Gold filled teeth; gold watch and chain; knife: glasses; diary; two pocket books and papers.

FIRST CLASS. - NAME - ENGELHART C. OSTBY.

The embalmed body was identified in Halifax by an employee of Ostby & Barton, David Sutherland; he brought the coffin to Rhode Island and it was buried on 11 May 1912 (3 May?) at Swan Point, Providence. The paper Svea wrote on 15 May that: "The body was laid in a sealed metal coffin placed into a valuable mahogany coffin. The flower tribute was enormous, even when a note had been circulated not to send any flowers." When helen died in 1978 she was buried close to her father.


© Michael A.Findlay, USA

The family sought compensation from the White Star Line for their loss. Harold Ostby claimed 840,000 N.Kr. (Norwegian Kroner) for loss off life and Helene claimed 5,376 N.Kr. for loss of property, and 33,600 N.Kr. for loss of property and damage.

Engelhardt left a 14 page will bequeathing his estate to his children along with separate bequests to his brother Arthur, his sister Constance J. Coles of Brooklyn, NY and her daughter Elizabeth Coles. Some years later he added codicils to the will which revoked the bequests to Arthur Ostby and Elizabeth Coles but left intact his bequest of a homeplace in Brooklyn to his sister Constance. Present day descendants live in Providence, R.I., New Haven, Connecticut, and Garland, Texas.

Notes
1. Harold Webster, born 19 March 1877, later married Elizabeth.
Erling Cornelius, born 13 October 1880, married Annie H. Brown on 7 November 1906.
Ralph Granville, born 8 May 1882, married Dorothy Bucklin (18 May 1888-May 1978) on 10 January 1912.
Raymond Engelhart, born 12 January 1884, married Alice L. Howard on 30 April 1917.

References and Sources

State Of Rhode Island And Providence Plantations Certificate Of Death
Per Kristian Sebak (1998) Titanic: 31 Norske Skjebner, Genesis Publishers
The Providence Sunday Journal, January 1998
The Manufacturing Jeweler, 1912
The Rhode Island Sunday Magazine, 15 April 1962
Svea,15 May 1912
Claes-Göran Wetterholm (1988, 1996, 1999) Titanic. Prisma, Stockholm. ISBN 91 518 3644 0

Credits
Leif Snellman, Finland
Phillip Gowan, USA
Per Kristian Sebak, Norway
Lisa Waller, USA

Pictures

The Ostby mansion on Cooke Street, Providence

(2003) 

THE OSTBY MANSION ON COOKE STREET, PROVIDENCE

 

Articles and Stories

Several interview excerpts by Helen and family details

Providence Journal  (2005) 

SEVERAL INTERVIEW EXCERPTS BY HELEN AND FAMILY DETAILS

 
Gravestone

GRAVESTONE

 
OSTBYS DECLARED SAFE

The Evening News  (1912) 

OSTBYS DECLARED SAFE

 
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    (2014) Engelhart Cornelius Ostby Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #223, accessed 18th April 2014 11:35:54 AM)

    URL : http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-victim/engelhart-cornelius-ostby.html