Titanic Sinking - Vanbilliard Children


Philadelphia Grandparents Surprised by News of Bereavement.

Special to The New York Times.

PHILADELPHIA, April 21.---Another pathetic chapter to the story of the Titanic was added to-day when James W. Van Billiard, Burgess of North Wales, Penn., received the following cablegram:

London, April 20. James W. Vanbilliard, North Wales, Penn. Austin and two eldest children sailed on Titanic. MAUDE.

At the home of Mr. Van Billiard it was explained to-night that his son Austin, accompanied by his two eldest children, James, 11, and Walter, 9 years old, sailed from Liverpool for a visit to the family here. There is a possibility that the children were saved, and to-morrow members of the family will go to New York to begin search among the waifs of the disaster in an effort to find the two boys.

Because Austin Van Billiard had written that he would not sail for at least two weeks yet the Van Billiards had not the slightest inkling of their loss until to-day. The had noticed the name "Billiard" in the list of lost passengers but believed it some one outside their family.

While the exact amount is not known, it is believed that Austin Van Billiard was returning home with many thousand dollars worth of diamonds, mostly uncut stones. For the last six years he has been in the diamond fields in Congo Free State, Central Africa, and, judging from numerous letters received, his father believed that he had been extremely fortunate in his mining ventures.

A few months ago the elder Van Billiard received a letter from his son stating that he would bring his family to Philadelphia to live very shortly. He said that he would be home by Easter. His plans were upset, however, by the illness in London of his wife. He went to Amsterdam and had a number of his diamonds cut, and wrote that he would sail for America the latter part of April. Mr. Van Billiard said he had no doubt that Austin decided to come on the Titanic to surprise his parents.

The New York Times, New York, NY 22 Apr 1912