Constance Willard

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George Behe

Member
Hi, Peter!

>By the way, I don't think I have got your e-mail >address....???

You're luckier than other people. :)

My ET member profile contains my email address. (Just go to one of my messages and click on my name to reach the profile.)

Hope you're well, old chap.

All my best,

George
 
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Anne Mac Gregor

Guest
Re: Family Information

The "Irma McCall" that is mentioned as Constance Willard's sister is incorrect. In your "Family Information" section you list Constance's sister Irma with a DOB of 1881.

The Irma McCall, who died in Long Beach in 1976 is my cousin and is not a relative of Constance Willard. My cousin Irma Taylor McCall was born in New Berlin, IL in 1899.
Please correct this.
Thanks,
Anne Mac Gregor
 
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Martin Williams

Member
I have a particular fascination with the William E. Carters (rather worryingly, I even dreamt of Lucile Carter a couple of nights ago!) and I dimly recall having once read of some sort of connection between them and the enigmatic Miss Willard.

Interestingly, therefore, it was purely by chance that I today stumbled upon some information which sheds light on their relationship. Miss Willard's aunt, referred to in a post above, appears to have been one Mrs F.J. Mackey, whom 'The New York Times' of 16 August, 1900, called 'so prominent in English Society'. Mr Mackey was an expert polo player and was on the American team during a tournament at the ultra-smart Hurlingham Club. Mrs Mackey, too, was acclaimed as 'the best woman four-in-hand' in the country and I conclude that it was these horsey pursuits that brought them into contact with William E. Carter who, as we know, was a polo enthusiast himself and who, together with his elegant wife, attended all the premier equestrian events on both sides of the Atlantic. The Mackeys had a home in Mayfair, 5 Carlos Place (just off one of the most perfectly preserved late Victorian streets in London) and also maintained a country seat, Beauchamp Hall, near Leamington Spa. This was fashionable hunting country - as we know, Billy Carter was riding out with the Melton during the winter season of 1911/12 - and it is probable that he and Lucile were entertained at some point during their stay in England by the Mackeys at Beauchamp, where many house parties took place. In the immediate aftermath of the 'Titanic' disaster, the rather unlikely source of 'The Leamington Spa Advertiser' revealed that Constance Willard had herself visited her uncle and aunt at Beauchamp that same winter - charmingly, she seems to have attended the Warneford Hospital Ball with them, which strikes me as a rather 'parochial' event to be graced by such glamorous Americans! It follows, therefore, that Mrs Mackey thought it natural to place her young and single niece under the care of the Carters for their return trip to the States aboard the 'Titanic' three or four months later.
 
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Brian Ahern

Member
Interesting, Martin! I knew, from this thread, that the Carters were acquainted with Constance's aunt, but I had no idea the aunt was so well-placed. I had always wondered if the Carters had been cornered into escorting some hayseed across the Atlantic and if they were less than thrilled about it. I wonder how far their 'care' of Miss Willard extended. Did she dine with them? Was she much in their company, or did they merely check to make sure her dining companions, etc were not objectionable?

Needless to say, I don't expect anyone to have the answers.
 
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Martin Williams

Member
Hi Brian

Yes, I too was slightly surprised to learn that Constance Willard, from a relative backwater like Duluth, had connections with Society high-flyers like the Mackeys and the Carters. Then again, she obviously had SOME reason to be in Europe in the winter of 1911/12 and all the sources seem to agree that she had been visiting her aunt in England. That a provincial paper like the 'Advertiser' should remark on her presence in Leamington around that time seems proof positive that Mrs Mackey was the aunt in question - and my hypothesis that she met the Carters during that hunting season appears to me a very likely scenario.

The escorting of unattached women on ocean voyages was seemingly a very standard practice. The Lamson sisters were all married ladies, and much older than Constance, but Colonel Gracie didn't hesitate to place himself at their collective disposal. And Mrs Candee was positively BEATING off gentlemen who wished to 'protect' her. I see no reason why the Carters wouldn't have been happy to keep an eye on Constance. The responsibility was probably not very great (at least, not until the ship started to sink!), just a case of having acquaintances there for her to call upon, should the need arise. For the sake of propriety, having the Carter connection - however loose it actually was - known among the other passengers might also have served to deter potential predators.

Judging from the small photograph on her ET profile, which I think was taken just after the Great War, Constance looks like a very self-assured (maybe even self-satisfied) young lady, more than capable of taking care of herself. I imagine she was able to keep herself entertained, since first-class was filled with late-teens and twenty-somethings (the honey-mooning Marvins, Snyders, Smiths etc, besides Jack Thayer, Helen Ostby, Georgette Madill and Dorothy Gibson) and she could have mingled freely with any of them. I'd love to know in which boat she made her escape...if she WAS travelling with the Carters, then No. 4 would be the best bet but it seems that Nos. 8 and 10 have also been mooted. Of course, that doesn't mean very much - the Lamson sisters were somehow separated during the sinking, with Mrs Appleton and Mrs Cornell leaving in No. 2 and Mrs Brown, famously, remaining aboard until the very last minute.

Interesting, though, that Constance never married in later life.
 
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Martin Williams

Member
It appears that Florence Mackey (nee Day) was the sister of Constance Willard's mother, Cora. From the scanty sources available on-line, I gather that they originally hailed from Minneapolis and, at one point, Mr Day employed his son-in-law David, Constance's father, in his lumber business. Evidently, this was a highly lucrative enterprise, since Florence was eventually married off to the millionaire Frank Mackey of Chicago and thereby launched into a glittering social milieu.

Mr Mackey played polo at the most fashionable grounds with sundry Phippses, Whitneys, Vanderbilts and Belmonts and, during the frantic summer season of 1907, his wife entertained the likes of Lord and Lady Kilmorey, Lord and Lady Craven, Lady Amherst, Mrs Bradley Martin, Mrs Ronalds and Mrs Ian Malcolm (Lillie Langtry's illegitimate daughter by Prince Louis of Battenberg) at a splendid dinner dance in London, to which she wore a silver gown and a crown of diamonds and turquoise. There are also references to her dining at the Ritz with Lady Paget, attending a royal garden party at Windsor Castle and mingling with some exceedingly illustrious personages at Mrs Whitelaw Reid's ball at Dorchester House.

Evidently, she was quite the right sort of aunt to have!
 
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Martin Williams

Member
...quite the right sort of aunt indeed. By chance, I've just come across what I take to be a tantalising reference to Constance Willard in the Society columns of 'The New York Times' for March, 1912. It seems that Mrs Frank Mackey organised a 'brilliant' dinner and dance for 'her niece' (who SURELY must be Constance?) at the house she was renting in London from Princess Dolgourouki and those taking part in the cotillion included Mrs Hwfa Williams, Lady Cunard and - interestingly - Ava Astor, the Colonel's first wife.
 
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Martin Williams

Member
I've finally nailed a definite reference to Constance Willard in the Society columns of the 'New York Times' during the spring of 1912. Pretty much as I suspected, she was indeed the niece of the very well-connected Mrs Frank Mackey and it was she who was the guest-of-honour at a grand cotillion her aunt had organised at the house she had rented in Mayfair and which was extensively reported in the press on 24 March. The cream of that year's debutantes, chaperoned by their mothers, were in attendance and Constance would have been introduced to some very well-bred gels indeed - Ladies Marjorie and Diana Manners, with the Duchess of Rutland; Monica Grenfell, with Lady Desborough; Violet De Trafford, with Lady De Trafford; Lady Cunard; Lady Paget; and so on. The cotillion favours were purchased from Lady Sackville's Working Girl's Association and included small framed pictures, fans and opera glasses.

What is interesting is that, even at this glittering event, it was observed by Mrs Mackey's guests that 'she did not seem to be in a normal condition of health' and, the very next day, she became gravely ill with what was described as a 'brain fever'. Mr Mackey was then in the States and, although he was cabled directly, he arrived in England to find that the situation had deteriorated alarmingly. Temporarily rallying from her first complaint, Mrs Mackey ultimately died from pneumonia in a nursing home on 16 May. What strikes me as odd is that, during such a crisis, Constance did not remain with her aunt in London - instead leaving town just a fortnight later for her journey home on the 'Titanic'. One can only imagine that (wrongly, as it turned out), Mrs Mackey's symptoms were deemed to have improved sufficiently for Constance's services and company to be no longer required. Perhaps the original intention had been that Mrs Mackey would accompany her niece across the Atlantic herself but, because of her condition, she decided to entrust her to the Carters instead?

(On a wholly separate note - is there a moderator lurking who might read this and be able to transfer this thread to the 'Biographical - 1st Class' section where it perhaps more rightfully belongs? It seems a pity to leave poor Constance sitting here, all on her own!)

[Moderator's Note: This thread, originally posted in another subtopic, has been moved to here. JDT]
 
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TitanicSam

Member
Hi, I am new here and I would like to know if anyone has info on Constance Willard? Thank you for your help.
 
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TitanicSam

Member
Thank you carla constance willard was realy burid at lakewood cematery in minniopils mn thamnk again carla
 
Ana Florencia Pinton

Ana Florencia Pinton

Member
Cabin number

Is it possible to know her cabin number, or at least a general area/deck where she was staying?
 
Ana Florencia Pinton

Ana Florencia Pinton

Member
How come this information is not updated on the main website? By the way, thank you very much! Where did you get that information?
 
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Bob Godfrey

Member
Can't remember the source. I don't think Ms Willard is on the Cave list (The Cave List) but her cabin number could have been mentioned in one of the interviews she gave to newspaper reporters after the event.
 
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