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TITANIC BIOGRAPHIES - DECEMBER
 

Hens and Roosters and Icebergs, Oh My!
The Ella White Story, by Crewmember Cheri

You’ve probably heard stories about the ten, dear dogs that were on Titanic, but I’ll bet you didn’t know there were chickens on board, too. They weren’t your ordinary, barnyard birds of course, not on Titanic! These were rare and exotic French roosters and hens, the very symbol of French national pride.

This elegant brood belonged to widow Ella White, 55, and her traveling companion Marie Grice Young, 36. The two women purchased the birds while touring the continent with a maid and man servant. They were returning to Ella’s family home, Briarcliff Manor and Farm in New York, where they planned to raise the colorful foul.

Personality wise, these two women were as different as night and day. Ella was brash and aggressive, while Marie was soft-spoken and artistic - she was once music instructor to President Theodore Roosevelt’s daughter Ethel. When Ella injured her ankle, it fell to kind-hearted Marie to look after her and to mind the chickens nesting in the ship’s kennel.

It became a happy, daily routine for Marie to visit the birds in their “D” deck coop, always accompanied by Titanic’s 26-year-old carpenter, John Hutchinson, who, by the way, also looked after the welfare of Titanic’s ten dogs. Checking on the chicks gave Marie a chance to explore the work-a-day world aboard ship and to report her findings to Ella.

On the night before Titanic struck the iceberg, 2nd Class passenger Nellie Hocking was shocked to hear a cock crowing between sunset and midnight and that, according to folklore, signaled impending disaster. Well, you know what happened next, but before the sinking Marie had tipped the young Mr. Hutchinson with some gold coins, to which he exclaimed, “It’s such good luck to receive gold on a first voyage.” Sadly, his luck, along with that of his feathered and furry wards, ran out when Titanic went down.

Marie and Ella, however survived, maintaining their relationship for 30 more years. When Ella died, Marie inherited the majority of her estate.

1
1st Class Passenger
Dorothy Annan Harder
Died 1926
2
3rd Class Passenger
Franz Karun
Born 1872
3
1st Class Passenger
John Bertram Brady
Born 1870
4
Lookout
Archie Jewell
Born 1888
5
2nd Class Passenger
Bertha Lehmann Luhrs
Died 1967
6
1st Class Passenger
Margaret Bechstein Hays
Born 1887
7
Third Officer
Herbert John Pitman
Died 1961
8
Second Officer
Charles Herbert Lightoller
Died 1952
9
Chief Baker
Charles John Joughin
Died 1956
10
Boots Steward
Joseph Charles Chapman
Born 1879
11
3rd Class Passenger
Gertrud Emilia Klasen
Born 1910
12
White Star Line
Managing Director
Joseph Bruce Ismay
Born 1862
13
1st Class Passenger
William Thomson Sloper
Born 1883
14
Fireman/Stoker
Henry Dennis Witt
Born 1874
15
3rd Class Passenger
Jennie Hansen Emerson
Died 1952
16
2nd Class Passenger
Richard James Slemen
Born 1876
17
Fireman/Stoker
Walter Hurst
Died 1964
18
3rd Class Passenger
Nikolai Erland Kallio
Born 1894
19
3rd Class Passenger
Frank John William Goldsmith
Born 1902
20
3rd Class Passenger
Anna Turja Lundi
Died 1982
21
1st Class Passenger
Virginia Clark Tanner
Died 1958
22
Fireman
John O’Connor
Born 1884
23
2nd Class Passenger
Ellen Mary Toomey, Died 1933
24

1st Class Passenger
Martha Eustis Stephenson, Died 1934

25
1st Class Maid
Annie Ward Moynihan
Died 1955
26
2nd Class Passenger
Ingvar Enander
Born 1890
27
3rd Class Passenger
Berta Nilsson Christensen
Died 1976
28
3rd Class Passenger
Anna Katherine Kelly
Died 1969
29
Fireman/Stoker
Henry Noss
Born 1881
30
3rd Class Passenger
Guillaume Joseph
deMessemaeker
Born 1875
31
2nd Class Passenger
Lawrence Beesley
Born 1877

 
 
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