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Betrothal to John Jacob Astor Announced by Mother, Who Denied Report Week Ago
Her Fiance's Engagement to Miss Eileen S. S. Gillespie Called Off in January
Mrs. Livingston French of 660 Park Avenue and Cliff Terrace, Newport, R. I., has formally announced the engagement of her elder daughter, Miss Ellen Tuck French, to John Jacob Astor, younger son of Colonel John Jacob Astor, who was lost on the Titanic.

The engagement of Miss French to Mr. Astor had been anticipated since he returned, about a month ago, from a trip around the world, on which Mr. Astor embarked shortly after his engagement to Miss Eileen S. S. Gillespie was canceled in January.

Miss French's engagement to the young scion of the house of Astor was denied by her mother not later than last Thursday, although friends and relatives knew there was an understanding between these two young persons and that the marriage would be an event of the near future.

Miss Gillespie's engagement to Mr. Astor was announced last Dec. 16, and the marriage was arranged for Feb. 6 in St. Thomas Church, to he followed by a trip abroad, possibly around the world. Society was surprised to learn on Jan. 22 through the newspapers that there had been a misunderstanding between the eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Lewis Gillespie and the grandson of the late Mrs. William Astor.

Friend of Miss Gillespie

Miss French was included in the list of proposed bridal attendants of Miss Gillespie. The two have been friends for many years and were brought up almost together in Newport, where the future Mrs. Astor and her mother are at present.

In the prospect of his marriage to Miss Gillespie, Mr. Astor had taken a long lease on the spacious house of Mrs. James A. Burden, 7 East Ninety-first Street, and purchased Chetwode, the villa of Mrs. William Storrs Wells in Newport, which he is having renovated for his occupancy this Summer.

Miss French is a daughter of Francis Ormond French, now living in Dedham, Mass. She is a granddaughter of Amos Tuck French and his late first wife, who was Miss Pauline Le Roy, daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Stuyvesant Le Roy of New York and Newport. She is a great granddaughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Francis Ormond French, also of Newport and New York, and a grand-niece of Mrs. Paul Fitz Simons of Newport, first wife of the late Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, and of Elizabeth Lady Cheylesmore of Englefield Green, Surrey, England.

Grand-Niece of Edward Tuck

She is a niece of Mrs. Donald O. MacRae, Stuyvesant Le Roy French and Amos Tuck French Jr. Miss French is a great grand-niece of Edward Tuck of Paris, famous philanthropist, who has been called the dean of the American colony in that city. Mr. Tuck, one of the principal benefactors of latter-day France, and his wife, who died in 1928, have been honored several times by the French Government for their gifts to that nation.

On the maternal side Miss French is a granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Livingston Burrill, also of 660 Park Avenue, and a grand-niece of Mrs. George W. Forsyth. She is a great grand-niece of Charles Drayton and a descendant of Thomas Middleton, both of Charleston, S. C. She is a niece of E. Livingston Burrill Jr., and Mrs. W. Whitewright Watson. Miss French made her début last Winter. Miss Virginia M. French is her sister.

Mr. Astor, a descendant of the original John Jacob Astor, is the son of the late Colonel Astor by his second wife, the former Miss Madeleine Talmage Force, now the wife of Enzo Fiermonte, Italian middleweight pugilist. Some years after his father's death Mr. Astor's mother became the wife of William Karl Dick. That marriage ended in divorce and Mrs. Dick subsequently was married to Mr. Fiermonte.

$3,000,000 Left by Father

Mr. Astor was born four months after the death of his father, on Aug. 14, 1912, at the Astor mansion, 840 Fifth Avenue, where now is located Temple Emanu-El. He attained his majority last August, when he came into the $3,000,000 trust fund, now materially increased, left to him by his father.

On the paternal side Mr. Astor belongs to the Beekman, Livingston, Van Cortlandt and Schermerhorn families. The Schermerhorns long were active in the affairs of the Manor of Rensselaerwyck, the feudal estate of Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, which includes the present counties of Albany, Columbia and Rensselaer, N. Y. He is a direct descendant of William Beekman, founder of that family in New York, and of General John Armstrong of the Continental Army. Vincent Astor is his half-brother and Mrs. Raimund von Hoffmannstahl, the former Alice Astor, and one time the Princess Serge Obolensky, is his half-sister. William K. Dick Jr. and John H. Dick are his half-brothers by his mother's second marriage.

On the maternal side Mr. Astor is a grandson of Mrs. William H. Force and the late Mr. Force and a nephew of Mrs. Lorillard Spencer. He was graduated from St. George's School, Newport, and is fond of outdoor sports and mechanics. He belongs to the Union and Racquet and Tennis Clubs of New York.

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Madeleine Talmage Astor
John Jacob Astor


Mark Baber


Encyclopedia Titanica (2004) ELLEN TUCK FRENCH IS ENGAGED TO WED (New York Times, Thursday 31st May 1934, ref: #3411, published 9 August 2004, generated 26th July 2021 05:29:19 PM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/ellen-tuck-french-is-engaged-wed.html