Mr Augustus Henry Weikman

Image

Augustus Henry Weikman, Sr. was born on 17 February 1860 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, son of Charles Weikman (or Whiteman, born circa 1821 in Wurtemberg) and his wife Charlotte (born circa 1825 in Hesse Darmstadt).  On 15 June 1860, three-month-old Augustus lived with his parents and siblings Louisa, Mary, and William in the 4th ward of Philadelphia. His father worked as a carpenter. On 1 June 1870, August lived with his parents and siblings William, Amelia, George, and Louis in the 14th ward of Philadelphia. His father worked as a box maker while his mother was keeping house. The family had only $100-worth of personal possessions. August and his brother William were attending school. The family surname was reported as Whiteman by the census takers on the 1860 and 1870 censuses.   

On 9 June 1880, Augustus “Whikman” lived at 748 S. 2nd Street in Philadelphia with his brothers William (born circa 1856/1857) and George (born 1865), William’s wife Pauline, and that couples’ children Mamie and Lillie. Augustus was working as a sign painter, while his brother William was a barber.

Starting in 1882, Augustus shows up in the Philadelphia City Directory, listed as a barber. In that year he lived with his brother William at 208 Lombard Street. In 1883 he had moved out and was living at 1435 Passyunk avenue. In 1884, “Gustav” was listed at 428 S. 2nd Street, working as a barber. He lived at that address until 1888. His brother William F. Weikman was working as a barber while continuing to live at 208 Lombard.

Augustus was married circa 1884 to Mary Hendricks. She was born in June 1860 in Pennsylvania the daughter of English parents.  Mary had two brothers, A.H. Hendricks and John Hendricks

The couple’s first child was a stillborn daughter delivered by midwife Catherine Weisenberger in March 1885 at their home at 739 Passyunk Road. This child was buried in Lafayette Cemetery.

Augustus is no longer listed in the Philadelphia City Directory after 1888. He apparently started working for the White Star line around 1892 as a barber, and may have been working earlier for another shipping line. By 1897 the Weikman family had moved to Palmyra, Burlington County, New Jersey. In July of that year, “Augustus Weikman arrived home from an ocean voyage on Wednesday afternoon.” In 1898 it was reported that:

PALMYRA. Oct. 29- Mrs. Augustus Weikman and family have been spending the week with her mother in Philadelphia.” On 18 February 1900 it was reported: Mr. Augustus Weikman arrived on Wednesday from his trip to Europe.”

On 6 June 1900, the couple and four children - Edward C., Frank S., Helen M., and Augustus H. - lived at 521 Leconey Avenue in Palmyra. They owned their home. Augustus was working as a barber. The two oldest boys were attending school. In 1905, Augustus and Mary and their four children - Charles, Frances, Helen, and Augustus - were listed as living in Burlington County.

On 15 April 1910, Augustus and Mary, along with their four children - Edward C., Frank S., Helen M., and A. Harry - lived at 531 Leconey Street in Palymra.  They owned their home. Augustus was working as a barber on a steamship. Son Edward was a rug salesman and son Frank was a wool broker.

Augustus was listed at Ivy Bank, Dyer Road, Shirley in the household of Mrs. Daysh in the 1911 English census. Mrs. Daysh took in boarders and another man, William Thomas Hughes, would later be the Assistant 2nd Steward on the Titanic.

The Weikmans raised registered Pomeranian puppies sired by Nippers Wee Boy, offering them for sale cheap in February 1912 from their home in Palmyra.

Augustus signed on to be the Titanic’s barber on 4 April 1912, his previous ship the Olympic. He gave his address as at Mrs. Daysh’s home at Ivy Bank, Dyer Road in Southampton. He thought he had made more than 700 trips (in some accounts he said 705, in others 750) back and forth across the Atlantic by the time he set sail. Weikman sent his wife a telegram telling her his good luck at being assigned to the Titanic. He was reportedly the only American crew member. He received a shilling a week and depended on tips from the first-class passengers to make his living. The barber' shop was located near the first-class entrance foyer, had two adjustable chairs, a waiting area, and also sold souvenirs to passengers. His brother William was working as a barber aboard the Cedric.

When the ship struck the iceberg he was in his barber's shop reading and felt a slight jar, but it did not seem serious.  “I went forward to the steerage on ‘G’ deck and saw one of the baggage-masters [Edward Bessant], and he told me that water was coming in in the baggage room on the deck below." Weikman hurried up a stairway toward the deck and passed Thomas Andrews who told him, “My God, it’s serious,” when he asked him whether the ship was in danger. Captain Smith also passed by but did not answer Weikman’s question.   He then proceeded along E deck to his room on C deck and then up to the main deck where he saw some ice laying about.

Steward George Dodd was giving the order to man the lifeboats. Weikman began to help, noting that he was putting in three or four women for every man. There was a shortage of women for the first boats.  He did not board one of the boats “the lifeboats offered no opportunity for the savings of a humble barber.” He worked alongside Bruce Ismay, who was wearing his pyjamas and was barefoot. After launching several lifeboats “he came to the conclusion that it was not necessary to spoil his new uniform so he returned to his room and put on an old suit and supplied himself with a pair of gloves.” He returned on deck and as the last boat was being launched, saw Ismay and Mr. Carter climb in Collapsible C “there were no women in the vicinity of the boat.”

Augustus then began to help to get loose one of the two remaining collapsible lifeboats, almost certainly Collapsible A, the men attempting to pull up the sides. He claimed that John Jacob Astor and George Widener were standing nearby. Suddenly the bow dipped under. He and many others were “hurled into a jumble in the centre of the boat. I was covered with ropes, timbers, and chains [probably chairs] and while endeavouring to extricate myself could hear the shrieks, yells and moans of the dying. Finally, I got loose except for a rope fastened around my foot. This gave me considerable trouble, but I finally got free and began to swim away from the ship.” He got about 15 feet away and the second of two explosions occurred and he thought he was thrown about 100 feet away. Nearby in the frigid water was a cluster of about one dozen deck chairs tied together and he climbed aboard. He looked back at the Titanic and saw the stern portion of the ship standing on end and slowly sinking downwards.

After the ship went under, with no noticeable suction, he scanned the area and saw a lifeboat about 600 feet away. The chair raft was not large enough and left his legs and feet in the water. He realized the lifeboat offered a better chance for survival and paddled himself over to the boat, which he found contained very few people. Some of the men who clutched the side of the collapsible were already dead from exposure. He clambered aboard and stood in the water-filled boat. He thought that about 17 of the 28 people on the lifeboat were still alive when the Carpathia arrived and that he was nearly “all in.”

He was taken aboard the Carpathia, only partly conscious, and awoke in the steerage dining room, surrounded by people who didn’t speak English. “And it was found that his feet had been frozen and he is still in danger of being maimed for life.” He was still wearing a vest and when he explored its pockets he found a one-dollar bill. ‘That he determined to keep as a souvenir of the terrible experience he had endured.” He also had a gold pocket watch that had stopped at 1:50.

Weikman’s name was not on the initial lists of survivors and it was not until Wednesday, April 17, that the family received a telegram. It was reported after the disaster that:

One of the survivors of the Titanic disaster is Augustus H. Weikman, ship’s barber. He is a resident of Palmyra, near Mount Holly, N.J., and is one of the largest property owners of the town. Relatives and neighbors were condoling with Mrs. Weikman yesterday when a message was received from her husband by way of Halifax that he was safe. Weikman has been a barber for 20 years on the White Star line and when the Titanic was put on line he was given the post of ship’s barber by reason of his seniority of service.

Weikman was interviewed by the Trenton Evening Times upon his arrival in New York City.  “Weikman showed the effects of the terrible experiences through which he had just passed, and at time his talk was almost incoherent. He was unable to leave the chair and was wheeled from the waiting room to the train that leaves the terminal at 1 o’clock.” He would later state that he thought the lifeboats that had been launched could have returned and picked up more passengers. Aboard the train heading to Camden, New Jersey, he told of his adventure to interested travelers. When he arrived at the train station, a push cart was used to take him home since he could not walk.

Weikman prepared an affidavit in May 1912 in which he claimed that “J. Bruce Ismay was justified in leaving the Titanic when he did because there were no more women in the vicinity ‘when he was ordered into the boat by the officer in charge.” He was honored a few days later by being made an honorary member of Washington Camp, No. 23 P.O.S. of A.  He was walking with crutches when he attended the event. He gave another talk at the Camden Lodge of Elks in which he told of his experiences and blamed the accident on the wireless company.

In July 1912, he heard that Mrs. John Hays Hammond was raising money for a Titanic memorial and he wrote her a letter in which he told of his experiences. He sent along the dollar bill from his vest pocket.

Augustus was offered the position of “admiral’s barber” on the Olympic in August 1912 and expected to return to work after he had recovered from his injuries. He ended up sailing aboard the Lusitania instead. He registered as an American citizen in Southampton on 6 November 1914, using his Seaman’s Discharge Book as evidence of his citizenship. He resigned as barber, perhaps in early 1915, after German submarines started to target ships in the Atlantic Ocean. By 1917, Augustus was living at 109 Broad Street in Palymra. His son Augustus, Jr. was living with while working as a farmer.

On 15 January 1920, Augustus and Mary and their children Helen and Harry lived at 109 Broad Street in Palmyra. They owned their home.  He worked as a merchant while daughter Helen was a milliner and son Harry was a laborer at a watch case company.

Augustus died on 7 November 1924 in Burlington County, Pennsylvania.  Mary died in 1926. Brother George W. Weikman died in 1951.

Augustus, Mary, and George have a joint tombstone in the Morgan Cemetery in Palmyra.

In April 2012, the one-dollar bill signed “This note was in my pocket when picked up out of the sea by ‘S.S. Carpathia’ from the wreck of ‘S.S. Titanic’ April 15th, 1912/A.H. Weikman, Palmyra, N.J.” sold at auction for $32,835. Another descendant owns his pocket watch.

Notes

  1. The couple were the parents of six children, two of whom died prior to 1900: Female Weikman (stillborn on 11 March 1885 in Philadelphia), Edward Carl (born 7 August 1888 in Philadelphia, baptized as Carl August on 26 August 1888 in Philadelphia), Frank Searles (born 25 November 1889 in Philadelphia, baptized on 12 January 1900 in Philadelphia), Helen May (born 24 April 1897 in NJ, married on 21 June 1922 Theophile Maher D’utrechy, died 15 December 1973) and August Henry “Harry”, Jr. (born 29 June 1899 in NJ, died February 1986).
 

Pictures

Weikman Headstone
WEIKMAN HEADSTONE
 

Articles and Stories

Titanica! (2008) 
WHAT TIME DID THE FIRST LIFEBOAT DEPART THE TITANIC?
New York Times (1912) 
Camden Post-Telegram (1912) 
Camden Post-Telegram (1912) 
Daily Enterprise (1912) 
North American (1912) 
Camden Daily Courier (1912) 
Atlantic City Daily Press (1912) 
Camden Post-Telegram (1912) 
Newark Evening News (1912) 
Cleveland Plain Dealer (1912) 
Chicago Daily News (1912) 
 

Comment and discuss

  1. Charles Provost said:

    Saloon barber August H. Weikman certify after the sinking: "I was in my barber shop reading," said Weikman, "when I felt a slight jar and realized we had struck something. I went to the gymnasium to see whether others had noticed it. I found some of the men punching the bag, while Colonel Astor, Mr. Widener and a number of others were watching them. "I had known Mr. Widener for some time, and I advised him to put on a life belt. He laughed at me. "What sense is there in that? This boat isn't going to sink,' he said to me. 'There is plenty of time. We're safer here than in a small boat,... Read full post

  2. Mike Herbold said:

    Charles: The obvious answer would be Thomson Beattie, the only first class passenger who died in Collapsible A, and whose body was found a month later floating in it. There is no mention of Henry Harris making it to a lifeboat, and his body was never found. I'm confused about the testimony that you attribute to Weikman. I don't see in his Senate testimony, or affadavit actually, that he went to the gymnasium after feeling the slight jar. Also don't see any reference he made to Astor or Widener. Was this a later affadavit? Mike

  3. Charles Provost said:

    Mr Beattie was certainly not considered to worth $5,000,000, and I believe that Henry Harris could have easily swam to half-filled collapsible boat A after the Titanic disapears. There are no exact mentions on the fate of Mr Harris. He was seen for the last time by his wife, Renée, as she step in boat D. Weikman seems to explain that this gentleman, when the other occupants of boat A saw he was dead, plunged the body in the water. If the man did not wear a lifebelt, that explains why his body was not recovered. The text I wrote in my message does not come from an affidavit at all, but it... Read full post

  4. Mike Herbold said:

    Charles: If being worth $5 million is the criteria, maybe it was Astor then? What makes you think it was Harris? Mike

  5. Charles Provost said:

    Mike: in all the books I read, they said Colonel Roebling, George Rheims and Emil Brandeis worth $3 million. Henry Birkhardt Harris and Isidor Straus worth $5 million. George D. Widener and John B. Thayer were $10 million. Finally, many books exagerate on the fortune of Colonel Astor saying he worth over than $25 million. Actually I think Astor worth $15 million. You seem to forget that Astor was crushed by the falling of the 22 meters first funnel. The same way as Charles Duane Williams. Mr Harris seems to be one of the only prominent man that we don't know the way he died. But one never... Read full post

  6. Mike Herbold said:

    Charles: You are correct that there was not much time or distance between Harris loading his wife on 'D', and the release of 'A', even though they were on opposite sides of the ship, but I still can't find anything that positively links him to 'A'. Thanks to you I spent all night reading about the water-logged Collapsible A, including parts of Col. Gracie's book and the testimony of Weikman, Abelseth, Williams, Lowe, and others. Abelseth does say that after he finally got on this raft: "Some were trying to get on their feet who were sitting or lying down; others fell into the water... Read full post

  7. Charles Provost said:

    Mike: I remember where I saw Weikman's newspaper interview. It was in 'Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters', edited by Logan Marshall in January 1997. Thank you for the research and the informations above. Which Abelseth account did you read? Thanks, Mike. Best wishes, Charles

  8. Mike Herbold said:

    Charles: As luck would have it, I'm re-reading the Logan Marshall book right now. Haven't gotten to Weikman's interview yet, but I'll thumb through real quick. Boy, there are some real wild statements printed there, though. This one is off the subject at hand, but a good example: ""Mr. Ismay was in the first lifeboat that left the Titanic," declared William Jones, an eighteen-year-old stoker, who was called to man one of the lifeboats. Jones comes from Southampton, England, and this was his first ocean voyage. He left the Carpathia tottering. "There were three fireman in each... Read full post

  9. Mike Herbold said:

    Charles: Oops, forgot. The Abelseth account was from "The Titanic Disaster Hearings: The Official Transcripts of the 1912 Senate Investigation" edited by Tom Kuntz. Mike

  10. Charles Provost said:

    Mike: In fact, there are some inacurracies in the book, but there are several good informations and fascinating passengers' stories. We can not trust the text in it's entirety, but remember that Logan Marshall took several 1912 interviews given by passengers and crew members, and, so early after the sinking, people wished to gave good impressions and they often exaggerate their testimonies to make them even more pognant and sensational to read. Passengers were rewarded by phenominal amounts of money for a good story... All the best, Charles

  11. Mike Herbold said:

    Charles: I just thought of something. Isn't there a good possibility that the body of whoever Weikman was talking about was eventually recovered by the MacKay Bennett or one of the other recovery ships? The other people in A had no way to weight it down when they pushed it overboard, Titanic had already sunk so it couldn't go down with it. Which leads me to another thought. Is there a list of passengers who were buried at sea by the recovery ships? Or at least descriptions of them? Mike

  12. Charles Provost said:

    Dear Mike, I have never heard of a register listing passengers who were buried at sea, but maybe someone else know of the existence of this list. Those buried in the ocean were often people with no sign of identification on them. A prominent man have always affair papers and ID cards on him and, if it was really Mr Harris, certainly he have such papers in his clothes. But, one time again, we don't know exactly which clothing Harris took time to wear after the collision. Maybe he was still in his pyjamas with an overcoat and let the papers in his suite. Perhaps Mrs Harris mentions in her... Read full post

  13. avatar

    Mike Poirier said:

    First off, it has been established that Astor crushed by the fallinf funnel was an urban myth. The description of the body by the Mackay Bennet doesn't mention a a crushed body. Secondly, it is more heresay, by someone telling Weikman that someone is worth 5 million. It was an estmate not fact. It could been one of several men. One of the more wealthier millionaires aboard was Molson and he swam away from 2 shipwrecks so it may have been him. We'll never know.......

  14. avatar

    Mike Poirier said:

    First off, it has been established that Astor crushed by the fallinf funnel was an urban myth. The description of the body by the Mackay Bennet doesn't mention a a crushed body. Secondly, it is more heresay, by someone telling Weikman that someone is worth 5 million. It was an estmate not fact. It could been one of several men. One of the more wealthier millionaires aboard was Molson and he swam away from 2 shipwrecks so it may have been him. We'll never know.......

  15. Charles Provost said:

    Michael: You started an interesting point of view. I have never thought it could have been Harry Molson with his two miraculous shipwreck escapes. Do you think that man, whoever he was, was thrown overboard or was buried at sea by the Mackay-Bennett, as Mike proposed above? Do you agree with the possibility that the man could have been Henry B. Harris too? You are correct in saying that Astor was maybe not crushed by the first funnel, but I think that if Astor was the man we talk of, certainly Mr Weikman would have recognized him. It is known that the colonel went each day for a shaving and... Read full post

  16. Daniel Rosenshine (Danielr) said:

    Hi! Had the man been Astor, Mr Weikman would certainly have remembered him by name. If the man's worth was under or over estimated at 5 000 000 pounds by a person, he was still trying to say that the man was worth a fair bit. I doubt that Harris was worth 5 000 000. Harris was known amongst the passengers, and I'm sure Weikman would have known him too. Roebling is often mistaken with his father, but never the less the family fortune was 5 000 000. Perhaps the man in question is Mr Roebling. His body was never recovered, but then again, he might not have been wearing a lifebelt. I... Read full post

  17. Mike Herbold said:

    Wait just a darn minute here. Molson would be my sentimental favorite, too, because of the beer connection. But he wasn't any richer than Beattie, and we still have the fact that Beattie's body ended up in the boat. Mike

  18. avatar

    Mike Poirier said:

    Mike: Beattie didn't expire till the very end. Had he expired before that time, he probably would have been toppled over board.

  19. Charles Provost said:

    Astor and Beattie were not our men. Astor would have been recognized and Beattie expired at the very end and was not toppled overboard. I do not like the Roebling theory, but it's a possibility. Molson fit very well the role. He was the richest canadian on board and we don't know his exact fate. He was known to be a good swimmer and could have swam to boat A. Yes, the Molson theory is my favorite too. Now, does someone ever think that the man could have been Emil Brandeis? Regards, Charles

  20. Daniel Rosenshine (Danielr) said:

    We may hypothesise all we like, I could list all the rich men that are unaccounted for to being in a boat or how they died. The body of the man in question may have been recovered or may have not, thus we cannot pinpoint any particular person unless further proof may be found. For the mean time, who that person was is anyone's guess. Daniel.

Showing 20 posts of 52 total. View all.

Leave a comment

Credits

Phillip Gowan, USA
Homer Thiel, USA
RR Auctions

References and Sources

Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
Agustus H. Weikman household, 1920 US census, Palmyra, Burlington Co., NJ
All over the State of New Jersey, Palmyra column. Philadelphia Inquirer, 30 August 1898, section 3, p. 30.
Article on dollar bill auction online at http://www.phillyburbs.com/news/local/burlington_county_times_news/titanic-barber-s-silver-certificate-headed-down-under/article_5a037fea-00e9-5b31-b409-7e098768eb33.html
Atlantic City Daily Press, 20 April 1912, Escape of Weikman Interests Lippincott
August H. Weikman entry, online at http://www.plimsoll.org/images/weikman_tcm4-318901.pdf\
Augustus H. Weikman household, 1900 and 1910 US censuses, Palmyra, Burlington Co., NJ.
Augustus H. Weikman household, 1905 NJ State census, Burlington Co.
Augustus H. Weikman memorial,  http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=13055834
Augustus Henry Weikman, Jr. World War I Draft Registration Card, online at Ancestry.com.
Augustus Henry Whiteman entry, Certificate of Registration of American Citizen, online at Ancestry.com.
Augustus Weikman, Docket No, 14141316, Burlington County, New Jersey.
Brieflets. Bridgeton Evening News (Bridgeton, NJ), 7 August 1912, p. 2.
Charlotte Whiteman household, 1870 US census, Philadelphia Ward 4 Division 11, Philadelphia Co., PA.
Chas. Whiteman household, 1860 US census, Philadelphia Ward 4 East Division, Philadelphia, PA.
Crew Particulars of Engagement
Daily Sketch 18 April 1912
Edd and Flow in New Jersey’s Cities and Towns, Palymra column. Philadelphia Inquirer, 18 February 1900, p. 14.
Frank Searles Weikman entry, Pennsylvania Church and Town Records 1708-1985, online at Ancestry.com.
H. Weikman Affidavit, online at http://www.titanicinquiry.org/USInq/AmInq15Weikman01.php
Ismay Praised by Titanic Survivor. Camden Post-Telegram, 15 May 1912.
Liner’s Last Moments Graphically Described. Daily Enterprise, 20 April 1912.
Love for Sea Prevails. New York Times, 6 August 1912.
New Jersey in Review, Palmyra column. Philadelphia Inquirer, 11 July 1897, p. 39.
Notes of the Passengers. Springfield Republican (Springfield, MA), 19 April 1912, page 2.
Off Bits of Jersey news. Philadelphia Inquirer, 15 May 1912, p. 3.
Palmyra Man tells Times Representative how Victims Prayed in Vain for Rescue. Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, NJ), 19 April 1912, page 1.
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates 1803-1915; Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906; both online at Familysearch.org.
Philadelphia City Directories: 1882, 1883 (p. 1670), 1884 (p.  1658), 1885 (p. 1825), 1888 (p. 1809)
Puppy advertisement. Philadelphia Inquirer, 25 February 1912, p. 3.
Senate Hearings, 24 April 1912, Affidavit
Titanic Bulkhead Doors Open. Philadelphia Inquirer, 10 May 1912, p. 5.
Titanic Sunk, said Flash. Boston Herald, 10 May 1912, p. 3.
United States Senate (62nd Congress), Subcommittee Hearings of the Committee on Commerce, Titanic Disaster, Washington 1912
Was Saved by Sailor who Saved by Him. Camden Daily Courier, 20 April 1912.
Wm. Whikman household, 1880 US census, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Co., PA.
Women’s Tribute to Brave Men. Oregonian (Portland, OR), 14 July 1912, section 6, p. 4.
Search archive British and Irish newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2019) Augustus Henry Weikman (ref: #2188, last updated: 28th October 2019, accessed 9th August 2020 02:40:46 AM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-survivor/augustus-henry-weikman.html