Anna Louise McGowan

Miss Ann "Annie" Louise McGowan was born in Scranton, Lackawanna, Pennsylvania on 5 July 1894 1.

She was the eldest child of Irish Roman Catholic immigrants John McGowan (b. 9 June 1867), an illiterate farmer, and Maria Heneghan (b. circa 1867) who both hailed from the Addergoole district of Co Mayo and who had married around 1893. 

One of seven children, Annie's siblings were: Anthony (b. 17 December 1895), Maria (b. 12 December 1896), Margaret (b. 2 January 1899), Thomas Henry (b. 16 August 1900), John (b. 14 August 1902) and Bridget (b. 5 August 1906).

Her parents had emigrated to the USA, settling in Scranton where she and her brother Anthony were born but the stay in America was a short one and they returned to Co Mayo around 1896 where Annie's remaining siblings were born. 

Annie and her family first appear on the 1901 Irish census living at house 2 in Massbrook, Addergoole, Co Mayo, the home of her widowed grandfather Anthony McGowan, a farmer. Her grandfather passed away on 18 September 1908 and by the time of the 1911 census the remaining family were living in the same locale in Addergoole and when Annie described as a scholar; she had been a pupil Massbrook School within her parish. 

With a desire to return to America Annie had written to her paternal aunt Catherine McGowan, her father's younger unmarried sister who was a boarding house keeper in Chicago, expressing interests of migrating back to the USA. 

Catherine McGowan returned home to Ireland from Chicago for a visit and with the intent of chaperoning her niece across the Atlantic and they were part of a group of over a dozen steerage passengers from their locale making the same journey aboard Titanic. Annie and her aunt boarded Titanic at Queenstown on 11 April 1912 (ticket number 330923 which cost £7, 15s, 7d) and her destination was to the home of another aunt, Mrs Thomas (Mary) McDermott in Chicago.

Interviewed in 1984 Annie recalled that on the night of Sunday 14 April she and her aunt were attending a party in third class; the number of drunks made her aunt Catherine uncomfortable and she attempted to bring her away from the proceedings. 

Annie could not recollect any crash or even the slightest of bumps but what she did recall was the sudden appearance of crew members rushing around and she related that one crewman told her that the ship had no chance of survival. 

Annie McGowan survived the sinking (possibly in lifeboat 13), being unceremoniously bundled into a lifeboat wearing just a dress and shoes. In later years she recalled the bitter cold of the open Atlantic whilst in the lifeboat, the screams of those left behind and how the ship "just busted in half" whilst sinking. She never saw her aunt Catherine again, the pair having become separated during the confusion.

Coming off the Carpathia in New York Annie was described as an unmarried 17-year-old with no stated profession and her destination address was listed as 3241 North Ashland Avenue, Chicago, the home of her aunt. She later related that upon landing a sailor said to her "Look! You can see the Statue of Liberty! Take a good look at the other side, because you will never go back there..." She responded that she never would, never wanting to set foot on another boat as long as she lived, which she never did. 

Annie was hospitalised in New York following her ordeal, alongside her friend from Mayo Annie Kelly, being treated for shock and exposure before later completing her journey to Chicago where her aunt awaited her. The American Red Cross assisted in her education by sending her to a business school, following which she worked to support herself. Two years after the disaster she was joined in America by her brother Anthony and in 1919 on 4 January she lost her mother due to a heart condition.  

Anna was married in 1920 to Raymond Albert Straube (b. 7 August 1898), a plumber and a Chicago native of German descent, son of Leopold and Frances Straube. The couple set up home in Chicago and had three daughters: Frances Audrey (1921-1960, later Mrs Arthur Kopp), Jacqueline (1923-2002, later Mrs Peter Komay) and Mary (b. 1936, later Kapolnek) and appear on the 1930 and 1940 censuses as residents of Seminary Avenue and Racine Street, respectively.

Ann McGowan Straube

Annie in 1984 aged 89

Although described by family as a strong lady and a fighter, Annie never cared to speak about the Titanic and was only drawn to on seldom occasions for her grandchildren when they were doing school projects or for a very rare newspaper article in 1984 for the Daily Herald during which she reportedly became tearful. Despite her adversity to discussing the Titanic she kept a collection of newspaper articles for many years regarding the disaster. 

Upon discovery of the Titanic in 1985 Annie was critical of any notion that items should be retrieved from the wreck and felt that Titanic should not be plundered and be left in peace.

Ann McGowan Straube

Annie as depicted in her obituary

Annie had been widowed on 2 July 1965 and continued to make her home in Chicago, surrounded by her children and grandchildren. She died on 30 January 1990 at the ripe age of 95 and was later buried in All Saints Cemetery, Des Plaines, Illinois. Her death left only one remaining Titanic survivor from an Irish background, Cork-native Ellen Shine Callaghan of Long Island, New York who died three years later.

Notes

  1. Her social security application and death record give her birth date as 5 July 1897. The 1901 and 1911 census records confirm her age as 17 going on 18.

References and Sources

Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279]).
Noel Ray (1999) List of Passengers who Boarded RMS Titanic at Queenstown, April 11, 1912. The Irish Titanic Historical Society Cleveland Plain Dealer (Ohio), 18, 19, 20 April 1912
Chicago Daily Tribune (Illinois), 26 April 1912
The Sunday Herald, 15 April 1984, After 72 years, Titanic survivor talks to press about fatal night
The Daily Herald, 6 September 1985, Titanic Survivor; Ship and its victims should 'rest in peace'
The Daily Herald, 2 February 1990, Titanic survivor dies after life as a fighter
Evening Herald (Ireland), 1 February 1990, Irish survivor of Titanic dies

Research Articles

John Kelly Titanica! (2011) Anna Katherine Kelly 1892 - 1969

Newspaper Articles

Chicago Examiner (20 April 1912) MISS ANNIE KELLY IN HOSPITAL
Cleveland Plain Dealer (20 April 1912) REMAINS IN HOPE HUSBAND IS SAVED
Chicago American (23 April 1912) Chicago Girl In Last Lifeboat
Chicago Daily Journal (25 April 1912) Girl Victim of Titanic Near Death; Got Only $25
Chicago Daily Tribune (26 April 1912) PLEA FOR TITANIC ARRIVALS
Girl Immigrants Here Get Only Nightgowns in New York
Chicago Examiner (28 April 1912) Examiner Fund Aids Girls from Titanic
Connaught Telegraph (25 May 1912) Loss of the Titanic.
Chicago Tribune (27 March 1960) Frances A. King, née Straube - Obituary
Chicago Tribune (4 July 1965) Raymond A. Straube : Obituary
Kris Kopp Daily Herald (15 April 1984) After 72 yrs., Titanic survivor talks to press about fatal night
Chicago Tribune (31 January 1990) Ann Straube
Chicago Sun-Times (2 February 1990) Ann Straube, 92, One of Last Survivors of Titanic Disaster

Images

Addergoole Titanic Memorial

Documents and Certificates

1930 Census Record - Anna McGowan Straube

Miscellaneous

Addergoole Parish 2008
Addergoole's Annual Ringing Of The Timoney Bell
Three members ring the Timoney Bell in daylight
Annie McGowan - School Register Entry
Annie McGowan's Age
The Addergoole Parish Loss
John Kelly (2011) Titanic Passengers from County Mayo, Ireland and their Relationships
by a great-nephew of Anna Katherine Kelly
Addergoole Titanic Society (2011) New Titanic Themed Church Stained Glass Window
New window for Church in Lahardane; Ireland's Titanic Village

Graves and Memorials

Red Cross Report and Memorial
Search archive online

Comment and discuss

  1. Vanessa said:

    It's so sad and fascinating about all of these people. The new movie said alot about the real thing. It was very realistic. Someone was going to Chicago, right outside my h ometown, Anna (Annie) McGowan. So many people had great lifes, it's so sad that they lost them. Vanessa Cicero, IL

  2. Noelle K. Lantka said:

    I was wondering if anyone could tell me anything about Ann McGowan. I just recently found out that she was born in my hometown, Scranton, PA. Also, Cordelia (Delia) Stanlick, 3rd class, lived in Scranton as well. I'm new to the ET message boards, but I've been fascinated with Titanic for as long as I can remember. If anyone could offer me any info. I'd greatly appriciate it! Thanks! Noelle

  3. avatar

    Michael H. Standart said:

    Noelle, you may find to be of some use. Be sure to follow the other links on that page.

  4. Noelle K. Lantka said:

    I had looked at that page, thank you so much. It seems though, the more research you do, the less and less new information you come across. Every page looks like a carbon copy of the page I read before that. I just wish there was more!

  5. avatar

    Michael H. Standart said:

    Did you check out the other links on that page? is a bit more detailed, but not by much. I can understand you're frustration. I know a number of passenger researchers who have been working for years to try and track down some very elusive people. It's an ongoing effort with no end in sight. I wish there was more myself, but the reality is that most people on the Titanic were not celebrities and had no interest in being such. The ones who made it to the other side of the Atlantic were all too happy to make it there... Read full post

  6. Noelle K. Lantka said:

    I agree...thanks for your help anyway. Maybe some other new information will surface someday. Here's hoping. Noelle

  7. avatar

    Brian J. Ticehurst said:

    Noelle - Greetings - Here is a bit more on Annie Mcgowan which may help: McGOWAN, ANNIE, MISS (LATER MRS. STRAUBE). Saved in Lifeboat number 14. Born 5th July 1895, died 30th January 1990 and was buried in the All Saints Cemetery, Des Plaines, Illinois. (From The Emergency and Relief booklet by the American Red Cross, 1913). Case number 283. (Irish). A girl, 17 years of age, travelling with her aunt who was lost, left without funds or friends, suffered seriously for many months from shock and exposure. She lost all her belongings, and received, immediately, clothing and $125 from other... Read full post

  8. Noelle K. Lantka said:

    Brian, Thank you so much for your information! Can I ask, where do you do most of your "off the beaten path" research? I'd love to discover a new resource. Thanks so much. Noelle

  9. avatar

    Brian J. Ticehurst said:

    Noelle - Its nothing new just the results of gathering information for years and years from any source available. Its amazing what turns up though if you look. Cheers Brian

  10. Noelle K. Lantka said:

    I wonder if anyone knows if either of these woman had or still have, relatives in the area. I combed the local newspaper archives but can't seem to come up with anything.

  11. Arne Mjåland said:

    Hallo Noelle If you are looking for descendants of Ann Straube, here are some you can start with: Fron the Ann Straube obituary Chicago Tribune Jan 31 1990:Survived by two daughters , Jackie Komay and Mary Kapolnek, 11 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great-grandchildren. I do not know where you can find any of them, but perhaps try to look up in Chicago telephone directory for the surnames Komay and Kapolnek? Good luck.

  12. Noelle K. Lantka said:

    Arne, thank you so much! I'm going to do a 'people search' right now on Yahoo! I hope I can find something. I'll let you all know if I do. Thanks again! Noelle

  13. Mick Molloy said:

    Annie McGowan's father was born in the parish of Addergoole in Co Mayo in the Irish Republic. She was returning to USA with her aunt, Catherine, and a larger group of travellers from the same area. The family home is no longer standing; there is a new house on its site. There are relatives here in Mayo. I was talking to one last night. Sadly Annie never kept in touch with her Irish relatives. You might find this website link useful, its our local Titanic site.

  14. Noelle K. Lantka said:

    Mick, Thank you so much for the history on Annie McGowan's family. Your local Titanic website is so fascinating, too. I was looking for more info. on Annie's connection to Scranton, PA vs. her Irish heritage but nonetheless, it's very interesting. Noelle

  15. Mick Molloy said:

    Noelle Annie McGowan gave an interview in 1984 to her grandson Kris Kopp, a journalist. This is quoted verbatum on pages 140 - 141 in Senan Melony's well written book; "The Irish Aboard The Titanic". If you happen to come across her relatives, their family in Terrybaun,Lahardane Mayo would like to make contact. I know this from talking to Tom, her grand-nephew last night.

  16. Noelle K. Lantka said:

    Mick, I will keep you updated on the search for her family. I don't know how well I'll do regarding her family in PA seeing as she was born there but further than that, it seems the majority of her life was spent in Chicago. I will be happy, however, to let you know if I find anything. Noelle

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  17. Mick Molloy said:

    Noelle, thank you. We are, as they used to say, a one-horse-town here. Any information you can gather would be gratefully received by family and community.

  18. Noelle K. Lantka said:

    I'd be happy to help. Feel free to email me if you haven't heard from me in a few weeks with an update. Noelle

  19. Samantha Komay said:

    Re: Anna was my husband's Great-Grandmother. I had the privelege of seeing the traveling Titanic enhibit in the Twin Cities about 8 years ago and saw her & her Aunt's names carved on the glass walls. My husband remembers that Anna (Great-Grandma Straube) never spoke of the Titanic tragedy. I never met her, but her daughter Jacqueline, my husband's paternal grandmother, confirmed that her mother would never speak of it.

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Credits

Gavin Bell, UK
Peter Engberg-Klarström, Sweden
Phillip Gowan, USA
Noel Ray, Ireland
Homer Thiel, USA

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2015) Anna Louise McGowan (ref: #1018, last updated: 24th June 2015, accessed 2nd August 2021 21:34:05 PM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-survivor/anna-annie-mcgowan.html

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