Walter Donald Douglas

Mr Walter Donald Douglas

Walter Donald Douglas

Mr Walter Donald Douglas, 50, was born in Iowa on 21 April 1861.

A resident of Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Deephaven, MN, Douglas boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg with his wife Mahala Douglas and their maid Berthe LeRoy. Travelling as first class passengers, they occupied cabin C-86 (1).

With his brother George, Douglas had founded the family starch works in his native Cedar Rapids that later became Penick & Ford (2). Their father, George, had started Quaker Oats.

Described as a ''Captain of Industry,'' Walter Douglas had amassed a fortune of at least $4 million in various Cedar Rapids industries and branched out into the linseed oil business in Minneapolis. With his new wife, Mahala, he'd built a mansion on bluffs overlooking Lake Minnetonka that was said to be a copy of a French palace. Douglas retired on Jan. 1, 1912, and the couple took off on a three-month tour of Europe to find furnishings for their palatial retreat (3).

According to later reports Walter Douglas, dressed in his finest, helped lower the last lifeboat of survivors off the Titanic. It was reported that he refused to leave the ship while others remained, saying it would make him 'less than a man.'

Mr Douglas's died in the sinking, his body was later recovered by the cable ship MacKay Bennett (#62):

NO. 62 - MALE - ESTIMATED AGE, 55 - HAIR GREY

CLOTHING - Evening dress, with "W.D.D." on shirt.

EFFECTS - Gold watch; chain; sov. case with "W.D.D."; gold cigarette case "W.D.D."; five gold studs; wedding ring on finger engraved "May 19th '84"; pocket letter case with $551.00 and one 5 note; cards."

FIRST CLASS ? NAME ? WALTER D. DOUGLAS, Minneapolis

Mr Douglas's body was brought back to his hometown of Cedar Rapids, where he is buried alongside his wife in the Douglas family mausoleum at Oak Hill Cemetery.

Notes
1. The section of hull recovered from the sea bed known as the "Big Piece." is thought to originate from Cabin C-86.
2. The Starch works which the Douglas family owned detonated and killed around 30 people shortly before the Titanic disaster.
3. Douglas' niece Margaret Douglas married famous Cedar Rapids entrepreneur Howard Hall. They were the last couple to live in the famous Brucemore mansion in Cedar Rapids.

References and Sources

 Record of Bodies and Effects: Passengers and Crew, S.S. Titanic (Public Archives of Nova Scotia) (#62)

Credits
Phillip Gowan, USA
Craig Stringer, UK
Geoff Whitfield, UK

Pictures

Walter Douglas crossing the Atlantic

(1910) 

WALTER DOUGLAS CROSSING THE ATLANTIC

 
Walter Donald Douglas

WALTER DONALD DOUGLAS

 
Douglas Mausoleum

DOUGLAS MAUSOLEUM

 

Articles and Stories

Mrs Douglas Dies at 81

Unidentified Newspaper  (1945) 

MRS DOUGLAS DIES AT 81

 
12 DEAD IN CEDAR RAPIDS

New York Times  (1919) 

12 DEAD IN CEDAR RAPIDS

 
25 DEAD, 100 HURT IN BIG EXPLOSION AT CEDAR RAPIDS

New York Times  (1919) 

25 DEAD, 100 HURT IN BIG EXPLOSION AT CEDAR RAPIDS

 
COMES FOR $250,000 HE RISKED IN WAR

New York Times  (1922) 

COMES FOR $250,000 HE RISKED IN WAR

 
EDGAR J. MEYER ANOTHER HERO

New York Times  (1912) 

EDGAR J. MEYER ANOTHER HERO

 
Berthe Leroy: Titanic Survivor

Titanic Research  (2004) 

BERTHE LEROY: TITANIC SURVIVOR

 
The Douglases remembered by Niece

THE DOUGLASES REMEMBERED BY NIECE

 
STORY OF DISASTER TO MAMMOTH LINER FROM A SURVIVOR

Rahway Daily Record  (1912) 

STORY OF DISASTER TO MAMMOTH LINER FROM A SURVIVOR

 
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    (2014) Walter Donald Douglas Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #97, accessed 22nd December 2014 02:13:35 PM)

    URL : http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-victim/walter-donald-douglas.html