Manuel Uruchurtu Ramirez, 37, was born 27th June 1872 in Hermosillo, state of Sonora, Mexico the son of Cap Mateo Uruchurtu Días and Mercedes Remirez Estrella. He was batized on 1st August 1872 at the Asunción Cathedral of Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico.
Uruchurtu came from a well to do Mexican family. As a young man he travelled to Mexico City to study law in what today is the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and married a fellow student Miss Gertrudis Caraza y Landero, a Mexican lady of high social standing, and they had 7 children.
He settled in Mexico City with his family and started a law practice. By the time of the Porfiriato (the Dictatorship of President Porfirio Díaz) Don Manuel was a well established figure in the national, cultural and political scene. At the time of the revolution (1910) however, Don Manuel Uruchurtu was in a less than favourable personal situation since his financial status immediately put him amongst the "catrines", i.e. wealthy people with very well defined alliances with the former establishment. In 1911, Don Porfirio Díaz was exiled to France along many other former government officials on board the German liner Ypiranga. In mid-Febrary 1912, Don Manuel, now a man of 40 years of age, decided to go to France and visit his former closest friend General Ramón Corral who was a very distinguished military strategist to Don Porfirio. Manuel, after meeting with Don Ramón and probably also with Don Porfirio himself, decided that it was time to return home to his wife.
Guillermo Obregón, the son-in-law of Corral, wanted also to return to Mexico and had therefore booked a passage on the Titanic. Uruchurtu himself had booked on the France. Obregón persuaded Uruchurtu to exchange their tickets. Don Manuel got ticket No. PC 17601 (price: £27 14 s 5 d). This happened in the beginning of April in his last residence, the Grand Hotel in Paris.*
Uruchurtu boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg. He travelled alone. On April 10th he sent a postcard to his mother in Hermosillo. He wrote that the postcard shows the ship in which he travels. And he will visit her when he's back to Mexico, and he will recount the voyage.**
On the night of the sinking it is said that he had the opportunity to take a seat in lifeboat 11 but that, as the boat was about to be lowered, he noticed an English lady of the Second Class standing by the bulwark. She pleaded to be let into the boat, because her husband and little child were awaiting her. He stood up and offered his place to her, only asking her to visit his wife at Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico.
Uruchurtu died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.
* Alejandro Gárate Uruchurtu writes that Uruchrtu sates in two letters, one adressed to his wife (Gertrudis Caraza) dated MARCH 26, 1912 and sent from Paris, France, and the other one adressed to his brother in law (Luis Caraza) dated MARCH 30, 1912 and sent from Madrid, Spain, that is was his intention to sail on the Titanic.
** His last known communication was a telegraph message adressed to his brother Remigio Uruchurtu dated APRIL 10, 1912 and sent from Cherbourg, France, which reads "EMBARCOME" (going on board).
References and Sources
Alejandro Gárate Uruchurtu, Mexico Un Mexicano en el Titanic (Spanish, English)
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55)
Marriages, Births, Deaths and Injuries, White Star Line 1912 (PRO London, BT 100/260)
Articles and Stories