Mrs John Stuart White (Ella Holmes), 55, was born on 18 December 1856. She came from New York, NewYork and lived at Briarcliff Manor, New York. She would later state that when in New York City she would always stay at the Waldorf-Astoria.
She boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg with her maid Amelia Bissette and manservant Sante Ringhini. Travelling as a first class passenger Mrs White shared cabin C-32 with Marie Young their ticket was No. PC 17760 (£135 12s 8d).
Mrs White remained in her cabin for the entire voyage and only left it when roused by the collision which she described as if the ship had run over a thousand marbles.
Mrs White and her maid were rescued in lifeboat 8. The crew's behaviour did not impress Mrs White:
Before we cut loose from the ship two of the seamen with us ... took out cigarettes and lighted them on an occasion like that! ... All of those men escaped under the pretense of being oarsmen. The man who rowed me took his oar and rowed all over the boat, in every direction. I said to him, "Why don't you put the oar in the oarlock?" He said, "Do you put it in that hole?" I said "Certainly." He said, "I never had an oar in my hand before." I spoke to the other man and he said; "I have never had an oar in my hand before, but I think I can row." Those were the men that we were put to sea with at night - with all these magnificent fellows left on board, who would have been such a protection to us. Those were the kind of men with whom we were put out to sea that night.
Our head seaman would give an order and those men who knew nothing about the handling of a boat would say, "If you don't stop talking through that hole in your face there will be one less in the boat."
She later testified before the American Inquiry that the Titanic had broken in two before sinking.
Left to right Marie Young, Ella White and Ella's niece Mrs Harry S. Durand
© Michael A. Findlay / Harry Durand Jr., USA
Ella White (née Holmes) died in New York City on 31 January 1942 at the age of 85. She was living at the Plaza Hotel when she died.
References and Sources
New York Times, 1 February 1942, Obituary
Borough of Manhattan Certificate of Death
United States Senate Hearings, 2 May 1912, Testimony
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55)
United States Senate (62nd Congress), Subcommittee Hearings of the Committee on Commerce, Titanic Disaster, Washington 1912
Phillip Gowan, USA
Michael A Findlay, USA
Related Articles and Documents
Titanic Passenger and Crew Summary
Name: Mrs Ella White
Born: Thursday 18th December 1856
Age: 55 years
1st Class Passengers
First Embarked: Cherbourg on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 17760 , £135 12s 8d
Cabin No.: C32
Rescued (boat 8)
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Died: Saturday 31st January 1942
Travelling Companions (on same ticket)
Miss Nellie Mayo Bessette
Mr Sante Righini
Miss Marie Grice Young
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