Edith and Edward Williams


D

doug brimson

Guest
I am trying to find out any information on Edith and Edward Williams, two of the children who survived the sinking of the Lusitania.

I have some sketchy details on Edith but nothing on Edward (although I believe both died within a few months of each other in 1992) so if anyone can help, I would be delighted.
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,114
17
298
Edith was rescued by passenger Rose Howley. An
attempt was made to engineer a reunion between the two of them, but Rose said that she had only done her duty as a Christian, was not a hero, and did not see the need for such a get together and would not participate.

John and Annie Millman Williams were married in Manchester, England in 1896. They emigrated to the US in April 1904. The record of the William's suit against Germany claimed that their infant, David, was their ninth child, but only six are named in the case; Edith; John Edward; George Albert; Ethel; Florence and David.

John Williams was employed as a groom until April 1915, when he entered service for Cunard as a steward and departed NYC aboard the Lusitania's final completed Eastbound crossing. Edith, in later years, said in interview that he was deserting the family; Wiliams, in his testimony claimed only to be traveling on ahead to set up a home for his family in England.

Edith and John were taken back to the US briefly in 1916, but were soon returned to England.

John Willliams' U.S. suit against Germany requested $40,000.00 for the loss of his wife and four children, and $250.00 for the loss of their personal effects. His suit was dismissed, for as a UK national he was not entitled to make his claim in the US courts.

Edith and John Edward Williams' suits in the US and UK both failed on the same grounds: pain and suffering caused by the loss of a loved one, by 1925 standards, was not cause for a financial settlement. Neither child could prove direct financial support provided by Annie, and their father who was suing in the same court system would not have been likely to admit desertion at the possible cost of his $40,000.00

"....the record is barren of any statement of fact which would enable this commission to measure the damages, if any, sustained by the two surviving children of Mrs Williams and resulting from her death. There is not a scintilla of evidence in the record throwing any light on Mrs Williams' character, purstuits, habits, relations to and influence over her children, or any fact on which the commission could base a conclusion that the surviving children had suffered pecuniary damages resulting from her death. It must be assumed that no such evidence of damages exists. At all events the claimants have wholly failed to discharge the burden resting on them to prove their case."
Edwin Parker, March 5, 1925

Edith's death certificate lists her birth date as March 27, 1906 in New Jersey, her middle name as "Middleton", and her parents names as being "Harry" and "Elizabeth." Her married name was "Wachtel" and she was a divorcee. She had completed 15 years of schooling. She lived in Sacramento CA, and had worked as a registed nurse for 49 years, with Good Samaritan Hosptial listed as her employer. The immediate cause of her death, on May 12, 1992, was Cardio Respiratory Arrest, and she was cremated, with her ashes scattered at sea near San Francisco.
 
Apr 11, 2001
4,565
5
223
Unbelievable detail and I'm sure, hours of work with superb results. Bravo! Too bad about Rose's reaction, that would have been quite a Kodak moment. Do we know what became of her?
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,114
17
298
Rose Howley was an exceptionally beautiful woman to judge by her photo, and was described as being very strict but not unpleasant. Her refusal to meet with Edith Williams after the disaster was in keeping with her (evidently) Spartan nature and was not a rejection of Edith but rather of the attendant publicity. She lived out the remainder of her life as a good Christian.
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,114
17
298
Doug- I meant to say "You are welcome" in the earlier post.

Just went over to Ellis Island and dug up a few more details about the Williams children. They returned to the US on April 28, 1916 aboard the Orduna. Much of their record is hard to read, since two lines were scrawled atop one another, but what can be made out from that section is that their last US residence was Westfield NJ.
Their UK residence had been with their Aunt, Mrs Foster, at 7 Bank Road, Hoylake, and they were en route to join their father (who had paid their fare)at 94 West 4th Street, Plainfield NJ.
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,114
17
298
Rose Howley: Her story is to be published soon, thanks to a History Channel contest. One indicative personal detail: she would sprinkle the rooms of her house with Holy Water during thunderstorms.
 
Apr 11, 2001
4,565
5
223
So much good stuff coming out now on passengers. Holy water? It can't hurt! It's these little details which are so revealing about passengers as real people-it's the stuff life is made of and really fleshes out just the biographical data.
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,114
17
298
Shelley: Her Maiden name was Howley. So, technically, she was Rose Howley-Howley.

Speaking of those little details- we have a new, improved, Beatrice Witherbee/Rita Jolivet article for you to post on your site. 400 pages of letters from Beatrice, Alfred and other Witherbees surfaced too late to go into the published piece, but I am integrating them into the article today and tomorrow, and you shall have them ASAP. Also, snapshots of Rita as a glamorous 50-something aboard her yacht, ill fated AS Witherbee Junior with his mother at the beach some time in 1914, Beatrice elegant as always at San Remo and more.

BTW- the family pronounces the "T" in "Jolivet" I asked, decades ago on the ET board how it was pronounced- now, it turned out they use the English and not the French pronunciation. And Rita's accent was English but with a French "lilt."
 
Apr 11, 2001
4,565
5
223
Wow! Can't wait to see that! I did see that great glamour shot of Rita -and she was a beauty, as was Trixie as well. I will do it proud-and will be glad to share the link here too! Thanks!
 

Similar threads