IS NOT YET 21 YEARS OF AGE
Settlement of $10,000,000 Upon Col. Astor's First Wife Believed to Comprise His Daughter's Share
William Vincent Astor, who will become head of the American branch of the Astor family if his father. John Jacob Astor, is among those lost on the Titanic, is not yet 21 years old. He was born on Nov. 15, 1891, in the old William Astor mansion, at Fifth Avenue and Thirty-fourth Street, where the Waldorf-Astoria now stands, and from which his parents moved shortly after his birth to the then new Astor residence at Fifth Avenue and Sixty-sixth Street.
He was a delicate child, and until he entered Harvard last Autumn he spent about six months of each year at his father's country house, at Ferncliff, on the Hudson, three months at Newport, and three months at the town house. He was always somewhat tall, with dark, straight hair and dark-blue eyes, resembling his father, especially as to the lower part of the face.
He has always been fond of yachting and automobiling. Just before he went to Harvard last Autumn he got into the habit of speeding his automobile so rapidly through the streets of Newport that he, with Hermann Oelrichs and George Henry Warren, Jr., was called before a Police Magistrate and lectured.
He accompanied his father on the trip to the West Indies two years ago in which the Astor yacht, Nourmahal, was not heard from for several weeks. John Jacob Astor and his son Vincent were believed to have been drowned, and their vessel wrecked at that time.
Vincent Astor has been thrown particularly into his father's company since his mother, Mrs. Ava Willing Astor, obtained her divorce from John Jacob Astor, in November, 1909. Under the divorce decree, which was granted by Supreme Court Justice Mills in Rockland County, the papers being sealed, John Jacob Astor was to have custody of Vincent and Mrs. Astor of the only other child of the marriage, Muriel, now 10 years old. At the time of the divorce the amount of John Jacob Astor's settlement on his wife was not made public, but it was said to be $10,000,000 in cash, on the provision that this sum would later revert to Muriel.
Vincent Astor's rumored engagement to various young society girls, notably Miss Margaret Andrews, the daughter of Paul Andrews of Newport, has been made the subject of gossip for the last year or two. The young man, just before going to Harvard last Autumn, however, said he wasn't engaged to any one, and that his only interest was in his studies. Mr. Andrews last Autumn also denied his daughter's engagement.
The John Jacob Astor fortune, which Vincent Astor would share with his stepmother and perhaps with his sister, Muriel, has been estimated at $100,000,000. John Jacob Astor's real property holdings in this city alone were stated authoritatively last Autumn to be worth more than $41,000,000. The Thirty-fourth Street half of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, part of his estate, is assessed at more than $8,300,000.
At the time that Mrs. Ava Willing Astor obtained her divorce no information was given out concerning the financial settlement but it has since been rumored that Muriel Astor, having been placed by the court in her mother's custody, will not be among her father's heirs. The $100,000,000 estate will, it has been said, be divided between Vincent Astor and Mrs. John Jacob Astor. Just how it will be divided in the event of Col. Astor's death, Mr. Dobbyn, John Jacob Astor's secretary, refused yesterday to say.
A marriage settlement of cash and securities on the women they marry in lieu of the wife's dower right in the estate has been traditional with the heads of the Astor family. The purpose of this settlement is to keep the Astor estate intact. Before marrying the present Mrs. Astor Col. Astor made such a settlement last August a few days before the marriage. The amount which Mrs. Astor received, to secure from her a release of her dower right in the estate, was never made public, but has been reported several times as $2,000,000. A similar settlement was made on Mrs. Ava Willing Astor, Col. John Jacob Astor's first wife. Thus neither Mrs. John Jacob Astor nor Mrs.
Ava Willing Astor would receive a widow's third of the estate.
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(1912) VINCENT ASTOR AS HEAD OF HIS FAMILYNew York Times (ref: #3899, accessed 31st August 2014 11:32:09 AM)
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Added to Encyclopedia Titanica Wednesday 6th October 2004, last updated Sunday 31st August 2014.