Austin Blyler van Billiard (1877 - 1912) MP

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: Pensylvania, USA
Death: Died
Managed by: June Barnes
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About Austin Blyler van Billiard

http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-victim/austin-blyler-van-billiard.html

  • Name: Mr Austin Blyler van Billiard
  • Born: Friday 9th February 1877
  • Age: 35 years
  • Last Residence: in London London England
  • 3rd Class passenger
  • First Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
  • Ticket No. 851 , £14 10s
  • Destination: North Wales Pennsylvania United States
  • Died in the sinking.
  • Body recovered by: Mackay-Bennett (No. 255)
  • Buried: Union Cemetery, Zion Lutheran Church Flourtown Pennsylvania United States

Mr Austin Blyler van Billiard, was born on 9 February 1877, the only son of James van Billiard, a successful marble merchant..

At the turn of the century Austin emigrated to Europe to find work during the arrangements for the Universal Exposition that was opening in Paris, France that same year. Austin found work, as an electrician, and he prospered. It was while working in France that he met his English wife, Maude Murray (b. 13 April 1873), whose father was in Paris on business. The two were married on 3 November 1900 after only a few months courtship. The couple soon had two children: James William (b. 20 August 1901) and Walter John (b. 28 February 1903). In 1906 the van Billiard family decided to try their luck at diamond mining and, therefore, emigrated to Central Africa. Here they lived a harsh existence and two more children were born. In 1912, however, Austin had decided to return back to America to work as a diamond merchant. They first returned to London, England on board a French steamer, after smuggling their children on board (1). Maude’s parents lived in London.

Austin decided to take his two eldest children with him to America ahead of the rest of the family. He and his two sons boarded the Titanic at Southampton as third class passengers (ticket number A/5. 851, £14, 10s). Austin carried with him on board the Titanic several (at least 12) uncut diamonds (which were found on his body when it was recovered) by the MacKay Bennett (#255).

NO. 255. - MALE. - ESTIMATED AGE, 40. HAIR, DARK; RED IMPERIAL AND MOUSTACHE.

CLOTHING - Grey suit; green flannel shirt; brown boots.

EFFECTS - Pipe; £3 5s. in purse; gold watch, "J. B." on back; 12 loose diamonds; 1 pair cuff links.

THIRD CLASS.

NAME - AUSTIN VAN BILLIARD.

The body of his son Walter was also found (#1) but James’ body, if recovered, was never identified.

Austin’s wife Maude received compensation of £100 from the Red Cross and £540 from other assorted relief funds. She did eventually make the trip to North Wales, Pennsylvania with her two remaining children: she never remarried and died in a nursing home on 17 January 1968, aged 94.

Notes

1. French steamers in those days had a policy that children would not travel on board and, if they did, they would not dine with their parents but in the ship’s nursery. The Laroche family from France also came up against this problem when booking passage to America on board the French steamer La France: they hastily rebooked their tickets with the Titanic.

Documents

  • Record of Bodies and Effects: Passengers and Crew, S.S. Titanic (Public Archives of Nova Scotia) (#255)

References

  • Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
  • John P. Eaton & Charles A. Haas (1994) Titanic: Triumph & Tragedy, 2nd ed. Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1 85260 493 X
  • Judith Geller (1998) Titanic: Women and Children First. Haynes. ISBN 1 85260 594 4
  • Brian Ticehurst (1996) Titanic's Memorials World wide: Where they are Located. ISBN 1 871733 05 7
  • Unidentified Newspaper, c. May, 1912, Article

Acknowledgements

  • Judith Geller, USA
  • Haynes Publishing, UK

Travelling Companions (on same ticket)

  • Master James William van Billiard
  • Master Walter John van Billiard

......................

Austin Blyler van Billiard (35) and his sons, James William (10) and Walter John (9), were 3rd Class passengers on their way to South Wales, Pennsylvania, USA. None survived. Austin was a part owner of a diamond mine. He left Cape Town for England, with his wife Maude and children - James William (born 20th Aug 1901 in France), Walter John (born 28 Feb 1903 in France), Dorothy Jane and Donald. He had several diamonds cut in Amsterdam and decided to go to New York where he might get a better price. His father and brother, Monroe, lived in South Wales, Pennsylvania. Maude became ill and it was decided that she remain in England with the youngest children, until she was well enough to travel. Austin's body (found with 12 diamonds in the pockets) and Walter's body were found and buried at Union Cemetery, Zion Lutheran Church, Flourtown, Pennsylvania.

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Austin Blyler van Billiard's Timeline

1877
February 9, 1877
Pensylvania, USA
1900
November 3, 1900
Age 23
1901
August 20, 1901
Age 24
France
1903
February 28, 1903
Age 26
France
1905
1905
Age 27
South Africa
1907
June 2, 1907
Age 30
South Africa
1909
November 19, 1909
Age 32
South Africa
1912
April 15, 1912
Age 35
December 14, 1912
Age 35
South Africa
????
Union Cemetery, Zion Lutheran Church, Flourtown, Pennsylvania.