Eleanor Genevieve Cassebeer - Titanic First Class Passenger
Mrs Eleanor Genevieve Cassebeer was a 36 year old first class passenger travelling back to the United States, to New York City, from a trip to Europe. She, travelling alone, boarded Titanic at Cherbourg, France on 10th April 1912.
Eleanor Cassebeer, the daughter of William and Louisa Fosdick, was born in LaPorte, Indiana, United States on 29th November 1875. In 1892 she married Lewis Peak, and they had a son, also called Lewis Peak, born on Christmas Eve 1892. Unfortunately her husband is said to have had problems with gambling and alcohol, and their marriage ended in divorce, in around 1897.
In 1909 she was married again, to Dr Henry Cassebeer (born 5th August 1874). Again, unfortunately, it does not appear to have all been a happy marriage, as in 1911 they signed a separation agreement.
In early 1912 she sailed to Europe, where her son was at the time. She is said to be amongst the many examples of passengers aboard Titanic who did not originally intend to sail on Titanic. It appears that her decision to return home when she did was at least in part due to her receiving news about Henry Cassebeer being unwell. She stepped aboard Titanic when the ship called at Cherbourg, France on 10th April 1912.
The surviving list of Titanic cabin allocations does not include her name but a 1912 newspaper article does state that her cabin was on the starboard side of D deck; in a letter she wrote in 1955 she says that her cabin was next to Mr and Mrs Harperís, who we know occupied cabin D33, and her cabin having a pothole has been mentioned. Looking at Titanicís deck plans, with this in mind, the most likely cabin is cabin D31, which is not recorded on the list to have been occupied by anybody aboard the ship, but is said to have been noted by a dive to the wreck to appear to have been occupied.
Aboard Titanic she had sat having her dinner at the table of Hugh McElroy, Titanic's Chief Purser. Others included Harry Anderson, and one of the most well-known aboard Titanic, William Stead. She also became acquainted with Titanicís designer Thomas Andrews.
At the time Titanic struck the iceberg, 11.40pm, on 14th April 1912, she was awake in her cabin. She then went up on deck to investigate, on the way meeting, and then being accompanied by, Harry Anderson. Escorted there by Harry Anderson, she was lowered away from Titanic at around 12.45am in Lifeboat 5, commanded by Titanicís Third Officer, Herbert Pittman.
Having left the United States for a trip to Europe on 26th August 1913, she was still there when the First World War broke out in late July 1914; she is said to have been in London at the time. From London, she applied for an emergency passport to return home in September 1914, and soon sailed home.
After Henry Cassebeer had completely stopped paying her the monthly money he was supposed to as part of their separation agreement, Eleanor Cassebeer, in 1923, started court proceedings against him, which eventually resolved the situation in her favour.
In the mid 1950ís Eleanor Cassebeer began corresponding with Titanic historian and author of the Titanic book A Night to Remember, Walter Lord. When the film version of A Night to Remember was released in America in 1958, Eleanor was amongst a group of survivors who attended its New York premier.
When and exactly where Eleanor Cassebeer passed away has long been a mystery, not really resolved to this day. It is known that she attended the funeral of her son, Lewis Peak, who died in January 1968, and at the time she was living in a boarding house for the elderly in New York City. It is believed she died in the late 1960ís or early 1970ís.