Miss Bridget Delia McDermott

Miss Bridget McDermott was born in Knockfarnaght, Addergoole, Co Mayo, Ireland on 8 March 1881.1

She was the daughter of Michael McDermott (b. 1834), a farmer, and Bridget Rowland (b. 1838), Mayo natives who had married around 1867. 

One of four surviving children from a total of seven born, Bridget's known siblings were: Patt (b. 6 July 1871), Mary (b. 9 August 1874) and Thomas (b. 15 April 1877). The family were Roman Catholic and spoke both Irish and English.

Bridget appears on both the 1901 and 1911 census records, on both occasions living with her parents and family in Knockfarnaght and she was described on both as a farmer's daughter. 

Bridget was travelling to the home of her cousin, Maria Finnerty in St. Louis, Missouri. She had purchased a third class ticket from Thomas Durcan of Castlebar, Co Mayo (ticket number 330932) which cost her £7, 15s, 8d.

Before her departure one day she travelled to the town of Crossmolina to buy new clothing; one of her purchases was a stylish new hat. She liked the hat so much that weeks later she risked her life to recover it from her cabin on the Titanic. Bridget was one of fourteen people from Addergoole, led by Catherine McGowan, preparing in Spring 1912 to travel on the Titanic.

Bridget McDermott's niece, Mrs Delia Melody of Lord Edward Street, Ballina, told of a strange and chilling encounter between her aunt and a mysterious man in black in Lahardane village the evening before she left for Queenstown:

"She was in Lahardane with friends when suddenly a hand tapped her on the shoulder. She turned around and there was a little man there whom she thought was a traveller. My aunt went to give the man a few pennies and he told her he knew she was going on a long journey. 'There will be a tragedy but you will be saved', the little man said before disappearing".

When Bridget mentioned the man to her friends they said they hadn't seen anybody. Thus Bridget McDermott began her journey with some apprehension.

At the time of the collision Bridget was sleeping and felt nothing; she was only alerted to any danger when a steward came to their cabin told she and her cabin mates to get up, get dressed and head topside. The steward, however, also assured them that there was no danger. Bridget recalled that officers held passengers back at the companionways, telling them that things were not ready. Despite this impediment, Bridget was one of the first to find a lifeboat but returned to her cabin for the new hat she had bought before the journey.

John Bourke and Peter Canavan, from her locale, knew from previous exploration of the vessel that there was a ladder leading to the upper decks. Gathering the women and girls about them, they started for the ladder.

Bridget escaped in (possibly) lifeboat 13, after having to jump some fifteen feet from a rope-ladder and into the boat. She survived the sinking, one of the few from Addergoole to do so.

Her brother Thomas later followed her across the Atlantic the same year and would later live with his sister. Back in Ireland her father died on 27 March 1916 and her mother died on 16 January 1926, both in Knockfarnaght.

Bridget was later married, towards the end of the decade, to a fellow countryman, John Joseph Lynch(2), a railroad labourer and fellow Irishman from Galway who had emigrated in 1915. The couple settled in Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey and had three children: Julia (1921-2007, later Danning), Margaret (b. 1922, later Hughes) and Thomas (b. 1925). The family reportedly ran a boarding house for many years and Bridget was a member of St Patrick's Roman Catholic Church in the city. Her last known address was 185 Lexington Avenue in Jersey City.

Bridget Lynch, née McDermott died in Jersey City on 3 November 1959 aged 78 and was buried under an elaborate headstone in Holy Name Cemetery there, resting place to three other Irish survivors: Margaret Devaney, Elizabeth Dowdell and Thomas McCormack. Her widower John died in 1963.

 

Pictures

Addergoole Titanic Memorial
 

Articles and Stories

(2011) 
Titanica! (2011) 
(2011) 
Jersey Journal (1959) 
Hudson Dispatch (1959) 
Connaught Telegraph (1912) 
 

Credits

Gavin Bell, UK
Robert L. Bracken, USA
Noel Ray, Ireland

Notes

  1. Birth date as per birth record. Throughout her life McDermott would claim ages, sometimes as much as 14-years at odds with her true age. The 1901 census gives her age as 17 and the 1911 census as 32; continuing the trend of age-denial when she died in 1959 it was stated in local media that she was 65. The 1930 and 1940 census records give her year of birth as 1895. 
  2. If the US census records are to be believed he was born circa 1895. A United States World War I Draft Registration 1917-1918 card has a John Joseph Lynch who enrolled and was born on 20 May 1893. 

References and Sources

Jersey Journal, 4 November 1959, Mrs Bridget Lynch; survivor of Titanic (obituary)
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

Link and cite this biography

(2018) Bridget Delia McDermott Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #1014, updated 19th May 2018 07:02:19 AM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-survivor/bridget-delia-mcdermott.html

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