On March 7, 2013, members of Loco Mag’s staff traveled to Philadelphia to visit The Franklin Institute’s Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition. The exhibit offered a look into the world of the ill-fated ship. They had original items from the ship and first-hand accounts of people who had boarded Titanic. When we arrived at the exhibit, we were given a card with the name of someone who had traveled aboard the ship. Below are a selection of cards we received at the exhibit and the stories behind these people.
Ms. Jamila Nicola-Yarred, a 14-year-old girl from Hakoor Lebanon, and her brother, Master Elias Nicola-Yarred, 12 years old, traveled on the Titanic in third class to meet their family in Jacksonville, Florida. Her father, after getting an eye infection, was denied access to the ship and had to send them alone. On the night of the sinking, Jamila heard a bump, later determined as the Titanic hitting the iceberg. Becoming concerned, she convinced her brother to go to the boat deck after hearing suggestive noises out in the hallway. On their way to the top, Jamila forgot the $500 that her father had given them and they both returned back to their room. However, when she saw that it was filling with water, they turned around and tried to go back to the boat deck. Once they reached the deck , because they were children, they were allowed into a lifeboat. After the sinking and their subsequent rescue, their uncle immediately took them to Nova Scotia until their father could meet them from France. They then proceeded to travel to America. When they stopped at Elis Island, their names were been changed: Jamila became Amelia Garrett and Elias became Louis Nicolas Garrett. Now Amelia , Jamila married Issac A. Issac and they had seven children. In 1953, she attended the screening of Clifton Webb’s Titanic, an event that was held in her honor. She died on March 8, 1970 and is buried in Evergreen Cememtary in Jacksonville, Florida.
Written by: Megan
Selini Alexander (Selini Alexander) was traveling aboard the Titanic with her husband, Antoni Yazbeck, to Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. Brought together in an arranged marriage, Selini was only 15 years old when she was married and traveling to America. Luckily, she found her husband charming and fell in love with him quickly. On the night of the sinking, Selini made it to a lifeboat, but her new husband was lost in the waters. Later in life, she remarried a man named Elias M. Decker. Together they moved to Norfolk, Virgina where they had nine children. She died on March 10, 1966 and is buried at Saint Mary’s Cemetery in Norfolk, Virginia.
Written by: Megan
Bertha Antoinette Mayne was born on July 21, 1887 in Ixelles, Belgium. At 24-years-old, she was a cabaret singer in Brussels and Paris. In the winter of 1911, Mayne met a twenty-four-year-old bachelor from Montreal, Canada, Quigg Edmond Baxter. While she performed at a café in Brussels, the two became involved. Baxter convinced Mayne to travel back to Canada with him, his mother, and sister aboard the Titanic in April 1912. Aboard the ship, Mayne was a first class passenger known as Mrs. De Villiers so no one would know of her involvement with Baxter until they were married (which was planned for shortly after their assumed arrival in Canada). The night of the sinking, Baxter took Mayne, along with his mother and sister to Lifeboat 6 for their safety, but he did not get in with them and tragically lost his life. Mayne stayed in Montreal with the Baxter’s for a few months before she returned to Paris to continue her career. On October 11, 1962, Mayne passed away, having never married. Her story became known among her personal belongings, newspaper clippings, letters, and journal articles after her death.
Written by: Ashley
Peter Joseph and Catherine Rizk were married in 1888 and in 1907 they immigrated to Detroit, Michigan where they had two children, Mary Anna and Michael. However, in 1912, Peter had sent his family back to Lebanon while he could help them financially by remaining in Michigan. His wife also had tuberculosis and the climate in Lebanon would be good for her health. After a few years, Catherine planned for their trip back to Michigan aboard the Titanic. They sailed third class from the Cherbourg port. On the night of the sinking, Catherine put her children in their warmest clothes and headed to the top of the ship. They were put with other Lebanese and Syrian people, and in the midst of their panic, Catherine lost contact with her son, Michael. He was placed on one lifeboat while Catherine and Mary Anna were placed in another. They were reunited on the sister ship, Carpathia. Once in New York, they all traveled to Michigan. Following the sinking, Catherine and Joseph had one more child, but he died shortly after birth. Then, in 1914, Mary Anna died in a house fire. Catherine then died in 1915 from tuberculosis followed by her husband’s death in 1920.
Written by: Megan
Elna Matilda Persson was a Swedish-American who married Wilhelm Strom. Together they lived in Indiana, USA. However, Elna, her daughter, Selma, and her brother, Ernst, returned to Europe to visit her parents and later departed on the Titanic at the Southhampton dock. Being in third class, the Stroms had to room with Agnes Sandstrom and her children. On the night of the sinking, the Stroms had lost the Sandstroms in the panic. While on deck, Ernst tried to remain as close as he could to his sister, but they were late to the lifeboats. While moving to another deck, the ship jumped forward, and Ernst lost his grip on his sister. Because they could not find a lifeboat, Elna and Selma were lost in the sinking, their bodies never being found. However, Ernst was saved. Years later, Wilhelm met Alma Karlson, a domestic servant for a wealthier family from Sweden. They were married a year later. They had their first son, a stillborn child, and their daughter a year later, Helen, whom he was very protective over. They had two more children after that. Wilhelm died on October 9, 1964.
Written by: Megan
Elizabeth Ramell, born May 27, 1882, had suffered tragedy after tragedy throughout her life. Her first love had been washed off a pier and drowned in 1902. Two years later, she married Edward Ernest Nye, but in 1906 their nine-month old child died, followed by Edward’s death in 1911. After visiting her parents in England, Lizzie was due to return home to East Orange, New Jersey aboard the Philadelphia, but due to the coal strike in Britain, sailing was cancelled and she was transferred to the Titanic. She boarded the ship at Southampton, traveling alone as a second-class passenger. She stayed in Cabin F-33 with Mildred Brown, Selena Rogers Cook, and Amelia Lemore, all of whom survived the sinking. When the Titanic was sinking, Manuel Uruchurtu, a Mexican congressman who had been in France, was offered a seat in lifeboat 11. Ramell pleaded to be allowed a seat, claiming that her husband and child were awaiting her in America, which was false. Uruchurtu voluntarily gave up his seat for this woman, and unfortunately did not survive.
Twelve years later, Lizzie visited his family in Mexico and informed them of his heroism. Another man was not as courageous as Uruchurtu. He kept sneaking onto lifeboats and being forced off by the crew who told him that women and children had to come first. In a rage, he ran towards a woman from third class, Leah Aks, grabbed her child, and threw him overboard. Everyone panicked and tried to lunge at him, but it was too late. When Leah got offered a lifeboat, she did not want to go without her baby, but the officers told her she had to save her own life. Two days later on the sister ship Carpathia, Leah saw a woman holding her child. The woman was reported to be Elizabeth Ramell. Lizzie argued that while she was in the lifeboat, this child came flying into her waiting arms – a sign from Heaven that she had to care for him. An argument broke out, and the captain of Carpathia was forced to choose who would keep the child. Leah was able to prove the child was her own, and Captain Rostron agreed that the child should be reunited with his mother. When Lizzie finally reached the US, she settled in New York, and eventually went on to marry a Salvation Army Colonel, George Darby. She had another child of her own with George in 1915. Elizabeth died on November 22, 1963 in Asbury Park, New Jersey, and is buried at Kensico Cemetery (Salvation Army Section) in Valhalla, New York.
Written by: Brittany