Mrs Marie Spencer


Gary.J Bell

Member
May 30, 2004
52
1
158
Having read the thread about the mix up of the Spencer Cabin in Cabin numbers, i began trying to find out a little more about Mr.and Mrs.Spencer.
The cabin number thread was started by someone quoting a misprint in a book that said the couple were quoted as staying in C-78 and had refused to leave their room once the sinking began, and how they were really in B-78.
I then had a look at the Cave list and saw that Mrs.Spencer did infact leave in a lifeboat (number 6).
I found a curious obituary for her that stated she died in Paris just a little over a year later on October 1913! She didnt live very long after her husband died and she was only 46.Does anyone know anymore about this couple or have a picture, if they refused (supposedly) to leave, what made her go?
 
Jul 20, 2000
1,479
5
313
Hello Gary,

There are no lifeboat numbers on the Cave List. The lifeboat 6 information appears in a Passenger List complied by Michael Findlay. That information also appears on several web-sites. However, in a subsequent Passenger List that Findlay complied no lifeboat number is given.

Some years ago I had a letter from Findlay in which he advised: "..... Mrs Spencer and her maid .... were thought to be in boat 6 but were not since they did not reach the deck until much later."
 
Dec 12, 1999
443
9
263
Hi Gary,

I am sorry to say that there is still uncertainty with regard to which boat Mrs. Spencer and her maid escaped in.

Interviews attributed to Elise Lurette, Mrs. Spencer's maid, in several New York newspapers soon after the sinking, implied that she and her employer were in the same boat as Molly Brown - therefore they were placed in boat #6 originally.

However, after comparing later interviews, and the testimony given at the American Inquiry, it seems likely that the Spencer party were stragglers to the boat deck. I believe the ladies left in one of the very last boats but wouldn't rule out the possibility of boat #4 altogether as some historians have done. Some researchers believe boat #4 is "overcrowded" with possibilities given the general number of occupants. I personally feel that the Spencer party was detached from the rest, and the ladies may have well entered one of the port-side aft boats....like boats #10 and #14 which contained several first-class passengers and therefore went virtually unnoticed.

According to her family, Mrs. Spencer was ill at the time of the sinking, and suffered from manic depression and anxiety. She had been ill for some time, and the family today relates the tale of how William Spencer was not only travelling to the United States to be present for the reading of his late brother's will, but also to seek medical attention for his wife.

I have heard that Mrs. Spencer continued her decline until her death in October 1913. According to one family report, the disaster was the beginning of the end for Mrs. Spencer, who reportedly stopped eating in the weeks leading up to her death. There is also a report that Marie Spencer suffered from acute nephritis (kidney failure).

I hope this will help.

Michael Findlay
 
Jun 11, 2000
2,524
25
313
Here is an list of Mrs. Spencer's lost belongings (in Fr. francs), presumably for an insurance claim. She certainly didn't travel light by our standards, but she's not in the Cardeza league. It seems she managed to get this lot into a large trunk (Vuitton!) and a travelling bag, though I don't see how. It's interesting to see what sort of clothes predominated then (so many gloves and nightdresses...). She also has six brassieres and only one corset, I think, which suggests she valued her comfort.
http://www.thesmokinggun.com/titanic/tspencer4.html
 

Claude Roulet

Member
May 27, 2007
10
1
73
I wrote a longer message in William A. Spencer subject. I am the grand-grand nephew of Elise Lurette, the "devoted family maid" of the Spencer family.

I don't know a lot about Mrs. Spencer. She and her husband were booked and had their cabin on the deck B. In March 1912 William A. Spencer asked Elise Lurette to travel with him and his wife to New-York. It was said in our family that Mrs. Spencer was morphine addicted. This was the reason why William wanted Elise to accompany them to New York. Elise Lurette liked very much William A. Spencer so she accepted.

After her return to Paris, she didn't have contacts with the Spencer family anymore.
 

Arun Vajpey

Member
Jul 8, 1999
2,509
923
388
65
Having read the thread about the mix up of the Spencer Cabin in Cabin numbers, i began trying to find out a little more about Mr.and Mrs.Spencer.
The cabin number thread was started by someone quoting a misprint in a book that said the couple were quoted as staying in C-78 and had refused to leave their room once the sinking began, and how they were really in B-78.
I then had a look at the Cave list and saw that Mrs.Spencer did infact leave in a lifeboat (number 6).
I am also interested in knowing the correct cabin number occupied bt the Spencer couple, albeit for different reasons to Gary Bell. Like him, I have read in one or two books (cannot quote the titles from memory) that they occupied C-78. But later sources including ET (other than the Cave List) have them occupying B-78 while their maid was in B-80. Then there is the Cave List, also quoted in ET, has them in B-76 while keeping the maid in B-80.

My interest stems from Bedroom Steward Henry Samuel Etches claim that a couple in B-78 (was it?) did not open the door to his knocking and kept asking him what the matter was. Assuming that Etches was telling the truth and the Cave List was correct, then the middle-aged Spencers were in B-76 and Etches would have known their identity had he been knocking on that cabin door. It transpires therefore that B-78 was probably unallocated at the start and the unknown couple were there clandestinely. Who could they have been?
 

Arun Vajpey

Member
Jul 8, 1999
2,509
923
388
65
I have checked this enigma as much as possible and based on what I could learn and there are some relevant points that I collated:
  • Steward Samuel Etches testified that sometime after the collision, he was mustering passengers in his charge and in doing so, repeatedly knocked on "Cabin 78", a First Class room. There seemed to be an unnamed couple inside and first the man and then the woman kept asking Etches what the matter was but despite his repeated requests to do so, did not open the door. Etches did not specify the deck of that cabin but subsequently it has been postulated as both Cabin B78 and C78.
  • Etches was in charge of some First Class cabins on B-deck, including Cabins B82 and B84 in which Benjamin Guggenheim and his valet Victor Giglio were staying. Etches clearly testified that he helped both those gentlemen with their life jackets and then advised them to go to the boat deck. He then walked down the corridor to "Cabin 78" (as above) and Guggenheim and Giglio followed him and stood by while Etches tried his knocking. Neither Guggenheim nor Giglio survived but of course, Etches did.
  • According to the passenger manifest (?) and ET, Mr William Spencer and his wife Marie Eugenie occupied Cabin B78 and the maid was in Cabin B80. Mr Spencer was lost but his wife survived with the maid; Mrs Spencer was not called to testify, but AFAIK she never made any mention of a steward banging on their cabin door after the collision. Mrs Spencer and her maid were rescued on Lifeboat #6 that was lowered at 01:10 am.
  • The Minahan family - Dr William Minahan, his wife Lilian and sister Daisy - occupied First Class Cabin C78. Dr Minahan was lost but the two women survived. Daisy Minahan submitted an affidavit to the American Inquiry where she not only confirmed their cabin number but the fact that she woke her sleeping brother and sister-in-law soon after the collision. Soon afterwards an officer came in and ordered them to wear life jackets and get onto the boat deck. Daisy hinted that they spent quite sometime there and the two women managed to get into a port lifeboat at their third attempt. They were rescued on Lifeboat #14, lowered at 01:25 am.
  • Contrary to the manifest, the passenger list found on the body of Titanic victim Saloon Steward Herbert Cave - the so-called Cave List - places the Spencer couple in Cabin B76 and the maid in B80 with Cabin B78 actually unoccupied.
Based on the above information I drew a few conclusions:
  1. The "Cabin 78" on the door of which Etches repeatedly knocked but could not get the occupants to open was definitely B78 and not C78 like some works suggest. Apart from the fact that a known surviving occupant of C78, Daisy Minahan, made no mention of the Etches incident in her Affidavit, Etches was responsible for some cabins on B-deck and not C-deck. Also, after donning life vests and told to go onto the boat deck, why would Guggenheim and Giglio follow Etches to the door of "Cabin 78" unless it was just down the corridor and on their way to the boat deck? So, it definitely was the door of Cabin B78 on which Etches knocked repeatedly but could not get the occupants to open.
  2. After 5 days of servicing that row of First Class cabins and their occupants, Etches would have known where the Spencer couple was staying. Had it been B78 and they had refused to open the door, he would have said so in his testimony. I therefore conclude that the Cave List was correct and the Spencers were actually in Cabin B76.
  3. Although he does not specify the time, I calculated that it must have been between 12:25 and 12:30 am when the knocking incident took place. After failing to get the occupants to open that door, Etches almost certainly went to the boat deck, followed by Guggenheim and Giglio. Etches then helped with the loading of Lifeboat #5 and was himself ordered into it; the boat was lowered between 12:45 and 12:50 am. Guggenheim and Giglio elected to remain on the ship and 'went down like gentlemen'.
  4. Going by the same timeline, by 12:25 am the Spencers would have known that the ship was in danger and would not have asked Etches what the matter was through the closed door when he knocked. Considering that they got ready, wore life vests and went up to the boat deck where Eugenie spencer was eventually rescued on Lifeboat #6 lowered at 01:10 hours, suggests early awareness of the situation. Another reason why I believe that they were in Cabin B76 as per the Cave List and were not the people who spoke to Etches through the closed door.
So, who really was in Cabin B78 and refused to open the door? If the Cave List is correct - and I believe that it is - it would not be the Spencer couple who were in Cabin B76 and probably left for the boat deck by then. But that would have left Cabin B78 unoccupied, something that Etches would have known as he was servicing that row of rooms. But he still knocked on the closed door and got a verbal response without the door being opened. To me that suggests that the couple were meeting there clandestinely and Etches had helped them with this tryst (with an incentive, of course) and that is why he knew that there was a couple in the 'unoccupied' cabin. If the unknown couple did not want their nocturnal meeting made public, it would explain their reluctance to open the door. That probably is also the reason that Etches was vague in his testimony - quoting 'Cabin 78' without the deck prefix.
 

Similar threads

Similar threads