History Today in Drowned Dudes
posted by May 22 at 13:52 PMon
John Jacob Astor IV, the richest man to sink with the Titanic.
He made millions investing in real estate, wrote a science-fiction novel (A Journey in Other Worlds, 1894, about life on Saturn in the year 2000), invented things (a bicycle brake, a “vibratory disintegrator” which has something to do with gas and peat moss), loaned his yacht to the U.S. government during the Spanish-American war, and owned a dog named Kitty.
His divorce, followed by his marriage [September 11, 1911] to the much younger Madeleine Talmadge Force, caused a scandal. The couple planned an extended honeymoon abroad to wait out the controversy, but cut it short because of Madeleine Astor’s pregnancy. They booked passage home on the Titanic.
Many exaggerated and unsubstantiated accounts about what Astor did the night Titanic sank appeared in newspapers and books after the disaster. There was a story that he was the one who opened Titanic’s kennel and released the dogs; another story has Astor putting a woman’s hat on a boy to make sure he was able to get into a lifeboat. Another legend states that after the ship hit the iceberg, he quipped, “I asked for ice, but this is ridiculous.”
Tomorrow in drowned dudes: Yusuf Ismail, “the Terrible Turk,” a wrestler who only lost one match in his life but drowned in a shipwreck 1898.