Mr Frederick Sutton was born in Wangford, Suffolk, England on 15 June 1850.
He was the son of George Sutton (b. 1822), a shoemaker, and Elizabeth Breeze (b. 1818), both Suffolk natives who had married in 1842. He had four known siblings: Mary Ann (b. 1840), George (b. 1843), Jane (b. 1846) and a brother who was also named Frederick (1845-1846).
Frederick first appears on the 1851 census as a nine month-old infant living with his family at an unspecified address in Wangford, followed by the 1861 census where he was described as a 10-year-old scholar and then living with his parents at George Street in Walsoken, Norwich, Norfolk. Other details about Frederick's early life remain vague and what became of his family is unclear.
Reportedly an alumnus of Cambridge University, Frederick emigrated to the USA in 1870, settling in Philadelphia and commenced his career with a coffee import company, White Brothers & Co, before founding his own coffee import company in 1877, Sutton & Vansant at 37 South Water Street. That same year Frederick was married to Ellen Craswell Underdown (b. 27 May 1852). Ellen was born in London, the daughter of William Underdown, a bank cashier of Mechanics National Bank, and Elizabeth Aldridge and had come to the USA with her family in 1855, settling in Philadelphia.
Frederick and Ellen, or Ella as she was better known, had three daughters: Elizabeth Ashburner (1880-1892), Florence (1881-1969, later Mrs Francis Henry Tomlin) and Jennie Banham (1883-1894) and the family settled in Haddonfield, Camden, New Jersey where Frederick would make his home for the rest of his life, building his own home there in 1886. He became realtor, interested mainly in seashore property, and made a sizeable fortune developing the fishing village of Wildwood at the beginning of the century. He was also president of the First National Bank, of Collingswood, and the Marine National Bank, of Wildwood. He held the office of treasurer in various corporations: Wildwood Hotel Company, Five Mile Beach Electric Company, West Jersey Electric Company and North Wildwood Electric Company.
Mr Sutton made the voyage to England in March 1912 on the advice of his physician for an undisclosed illness. He was also reportedly having a large house built for himself on 26th Street.1
For his return to the USA Mr Sutton boarded the Titanic at Southampton as a first class passenger (ticket number 36963, which cost £32, 6s, 5d). He occupied cabin D-50.
Sutton died in the sinking and his body was recovered by the MacKay Bennett (#46).
NO. 46. - MALE. - ESTIMATED AGE, 60. - HAIR, BROWN; BEARD, GREY.
CLOTHING - Black coat, vest and trousers; black boots.
EFFECTS - Gold watch and chain; tie clip; pocket book; knife; three silver spons with Norwich enamel crest; watch fob; gold seal ring with "F. S."; Freeman Medal; $60.00 in travellers' cheques; £2. 10s. in gold, 16s. in silver, $13 loose coins in purse; circular letter of credit for £100, Kountz Bros., N. Y., No. D. 18331; two silver thimbles; eyeglasses in case; silver whistle.
NAME - FRED SUTTON.
His son-in-law, Dr Francis Henry Tomlin, was authorised to receive the body which was taken from Halifax to Haddonfield for internment at Haddonfield Baptist Cemetery. He was buried with his infant grandson, Frederick Sutton Tomlin, who had passed away aged twenty months towards the end of 1911.
Sutton's estate, valued in excess of $50,000, was administered to his widow and surviving daughter. His widow Ella was never remarried and continued to live in Haddonfield. She died on 2 April 1931 and was buried with her husband.
His only surviving child, Florence (b. 1881) had been married to a New Jersey physician, Dr Francis Henry Tomlin (1878-1948) and had five children: Antoinette Ellen (b. 1907), twin boys Francis Henry and Frederick Sutton (b. 1910), Florence Sutton (b. 1916) and Henry Hurlburt II (b. 1919). The family resided in Haddonfield and Florence died there in 1969.
- The house Sutton was having built was eventually purchased and turned into a medical clinic by a woman named Dr. Mace who was one of the first woman to obtain a medical degree in the U.S.. The house is no longer standing.
References and Sources
Atlantic City Daily Press, 20 April 1912, Friend of Rev. Hudson's Perished in Wreck
Atlantic City Daily Press, 30 April 1912, Probate Will of Titanic Victim
Record of Bodies and Effects (#46)
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55)
Record of Bodies and Effects: Passengers and Crew, S.S. Titanic (Public Archives of Nova Scotia)
Gavin Bell, UK
Tom Perri, USA
Hermann Söldner, Germany
Craig Stringer, UK
Geoff Whitfield, UK