Whatever happened to the Sage family


Geoff Whitfield

Hello out there! I'm working on an article pertaining to the Sage family of Peterborough, England. I know that Stella, the eldest daughter, entered one of the lifeboats but for some reason got out again. Has anyone heard this story? Did she leave the lifeboat because some of the family were prevented from going with her? Or did she sacrifice her life because of her mother's terror of water, as the family descendants believe?
Would be pleased to hear if anyone could shed any light on this.
Hi Geoff,

I forget which third-class survivor claimed that Stella Sage secured a space in a lifeboat but then got out because her father and older brothers were not allowed in. I believe it was either Emily Badman or Sarah Roth who made the claim but I could be wrong. This I will check.

It is evident that the family managed to reach the boat deck. Will Sage's body was recovered by the MACKAY-BENNETT so there is some truth to the report that Stella Sage and her family at least made it to the boat deck - unlike other third class families.


Hi Mike,
Yes, I agree that Stella could have gotten out of the lifeboat because her brothers couldn't go, but why couldn't the other four females go? I wonder if the family had somehow become separated or if the older boys were quartered with the single men, perhaps they never met up at all, which would account for the famliy's reluctance to leave. The Cazaly family (Annie Sage's descendants) still claim that she would have been unwilling to trust their safety to a small boat. She was terrified of water - since daughter Dolly had fallen into a well and almost drowned - and had told her relations and neighbours that they would never reach America, indeed, she was so convinced of this that she gave away most of her personal possessions, including the family photograph album, which surely no rational mother would have done. By the way Mike, I have gotten hold of a photograph of Stella Sage (not the one from the newspapers) but one of her attending a wedding, she was absolutely beautiful.I've been castigated by Phil Hind because somewhere along the line I've lost it!
Thanks for your response Mike.

Best wishes

Unfortunately all the Sage family died. You are right in saying that Stella got into a boat, but when realising that her family couldn't join her she chose to step out.

It seems the whole family was seen on deck when stella got into the boat, so it seems that she did choose to die with her family.

Only one of the Sage family bodies was found, that of William, but he was too disfigured and was buried at sea. He was in berth 126, as qualified by a peice of paper in his hand.

Hope this helps,

Has everyone read the updated biography of this family on the site? A family of eleven were all lost! It's horrible.
I was browsing this site last week and came upon the SAGE family. My mother is sure that John SAGE was a brother of her Grandmother Annie SAGE as she recalls that the family talked about the SAGE's who died on the Titanic.
I have yet to substantiate this yet though, my research showed this Annie SAGE as being from Leigh Sinton Worcs - I also read that in the probate it mentions a Mary Anne PERRIN - which is also a family name on my mothers side.
Is there any info on the family of John SAGE?

(New Zealand)
My grandfather worked with John and George the summer they spent in Saskatchewan. He was under the impression that George, who was 19, was coming back to Saskatchewan in 1912 to marry a girl from Davidson. In fact, the land titles office, shows a George Sage planned to homestead in Saskatchewan...
If you wish to read the 1901 Census entry for the Titanic SAGES, look under the surname, JAGE. Stella is listed as Etilla!
I am tracing SAGE Genealogy as Annie Elizabeth CAZALY was a great aunt. Anyone with information about the Sages....eg. Was Annie SAGE a maiden name, Norm? Any dates? Does anyone know anything about the PERRINs.Any dates.I have traced John SAGE's ancestors to Abbey, St Albans, Hertfordshire.It is hard to trace his family - some of the spelling entries have to be seen to be believed; and with the whole family dying on the Titanic I feel that someone has to give them roots. Of course I know a fair bit about Annie Elizabeth CAZALY. By the way if you wish to look her up in the 1881 census you will find her family listed under CZALZ, she is named as Amy E.
Any information welcomed and needed!
Penny Cazaly
Iam a decendant of one of the orignal sages in england my grandfarther has traced our family back to norfolk virginaI think that there were to sage brothers in england one came to america and started my family tree and the other one died on the titanic with his family
Hello guys!

Does anyone know the source of the story that Stella Sage entered a lifeboat but left it when she saw that her family could not join her? Did a survivor tell this story to the newspapers or is it just a myth? I see no reason for giving up a seat in a lifeboat, as only two or three lifeboats left the ship fully occupied (boat 13 and 15, boat C was almost full). Even if they had reached a lifeboat on the port side, at least the women and children would have been saved. There are several accounts that the women on the port side were forced into the boats, so Stella certainly could not just step out of the boat.


In Elizabeth Dowdell's account of the sinking there is a passage that speaks of a family of nine, consisting of a mother and father and several daughters and sons, at boat 15. One of the daughters was reportedly already in the boat when she realized that her brothers and father could not follow her, so she climbed out of the boat again.

"There was one instance of a family of nine, including the mother and father. The men tried to force one of the daughters into the boat, but when she learned that her father and brothers could not be saved, she leaped back on the wave-washed Titanic deck. This was in the boat lowered after ours."

Elizabeth Dowdell (Hudson Observer, 20 April 1912)

This could be an indication of the fate of the Sage family, even if the family consisted of eleven members instead of nine. But it's possible that Elizabeth Dowdell got the number wrong.
But it's possible that Elizabeth Dowdell got the number wrong.
Elizabeth Dowdell might have got a few things wrong. There was a big crowd around Lifeboats #13 and #15 when she arrived with her charge Virginia Martin-Emanuel and it would have been difficult to distinguish between family and friends that she did not know from before.

From her account on her bio here on ET, its seems very likely that Dowdell and Virginia arrived very early during loading of Lifeboat #13 on which they were rescued. Dowdell reports seeing the crew remove the covers off the lifeboat and the two were soon ushered into the boat. That would mean that Dowdell and Virginia got into Lifeboat #13 when it was still on the boat deck; it was then lowered partially loaded onto the A-deck where more people were put into it. So, Dowdell could not have seen what was going on with Lifeboat #15 which was also being loaded but t that stage still on the boat deck under Moody's supervision. IMO, it was just after #13 started to lower that Lifeboat #15 was also briefly lowered to the A-deck for further loading from there.

As to what happened to the Sage family, they must have spent a lot of time in the steerage areas trying to decide where to go. Even though there was no language issue with them, it would not have been easy to keep track of all the children though the narrow and confusing corridors and through the increasingly excited crowd. Also, I think we must try to guess where they were berthed; from what I could see from BB's deck plans, the large 8 to 10 sleepers of Third Class were all in the bow section, mostly on the port side. Yes, there are reports that one or more of them got to the upper decks and one girl even got into a lifeboat, only to get out again because she could not see rest of her family. But I expect there was more than one incidence like that and it is difficult to be certain that Dowdell was talking about the Sages.
I forgot to mention that my theory implies that Elizabeth Dowdell was watching the events at boat 15 from boat 13 when she was already on the A-deck. Boats 11 and 13 were partly loaded from the A-deck, Boat 15 was completely loaded from the A-deck according to Steward Rule. From there, Elizabeth Dowdell could have watched what was happening on the promenade deck.
From what we can try and reconstruct based on survivor accounts, Lifeboat #13 was only partially loaded when it was lowered to the A-deck. At that stage, Lifeboat #15 had only just started loading and so if the Sage family had arrived there just before #13 was lowered to the A-deck, they would have been allowed on #13 as there was still room; a large family with many children would have been prioritized on any boat. They could have also got into Lifeboat #15 without any issue. But I have read a few accounts that when Lifeboat #15 was being loaded on the boat deck, there were largely men near it; no mention (other than by Dowdell) of a large family with small children AFAIK.

Once Lifeboat #13 was lowered to the A-deck, Dowdell (who was in it) would not have been able to see the activity on the boat deck very well. Remember that Leading Fireman Barrett, who got into #13 just before it was lowered from the A-deck to the sea, said that he could hear an officer above on the boat deck (Moody) giving orders but was unable to see him or the activity around. It was at the same time or even 15 or 20 seconds after Lifeboat #13 was launched from the A-deck that #15 was lowered to the A-deck. It was still partially loaded at that stage and so the Sages, had they arrived on the boat deck just before, would have been ushered in. Lifeboat #13 was on its slow & jerky way down to the sea when they started to complete the loading of #15 on A-deck and so Dowdell again would not have been able to see the activity.

I have read a bit on Elizabeth Dowdell's various post-disaster statements during my research into Virginia Martin. There appeared to be a hint of melodrama and exaggeration involved and so we have to take what she said with a pinch of salt.
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