Kate Mullin

Kate  Mullin

Miss Catherine "Kate" Mullin1 was born in Rhyne, Cloonee in Co Longford, Ireland on 28 July 1890.2

She was the daughter of Thomas Mullin (1846-1919), a farmer, and Mary Duignan (1847-1916) who were married in Ainbegs Roman Catholic church in Drumlish in their native Co Longford on 14 February 1871. 

The youngest of nine children, Kate's siblings were: Michael (b. 28 April 1872), Patrick (b. 28 February 1874), Mary Anne (b. 22 December 1876), Rose (b. 1 April 1879), John (b. 9 August 1881), Eliza (b. 6 October 1883, later O'Flynn), Bridget (b. 7 July 1885, later Thompson) and Thomas (b. 26 July 1887) and she grew up in a Roman Catholic household.

Kate and her family appear on the 1901 census of Ireland living at house 7 in Rhyne, Cloonee and by the time of the 1911 census at house 23.
Kate boarded the Titanic at Queenstown as a third class passenger (ticket number 35852 which cost £7, 14s, 8d). She was destined for New York City where she had a sister; whilst aboard she shared cabin Q161 on E-deck with three other Longford girls, Kate Gilnagh and sisters Margaret and Catherine Murphy

On the night of the sinking Kate and her roommates had been in their cabin when another acquaintance, Longford James Farrell who came from the same parish as Kate, knocked on their door and told them to get dressed as something was amiss, the engines having stopped. The four girls did as they were bid and upon trying to find a way to the higher decks found their way impeded by physical barriers or crewmen redirecting them elsewhere. When one crewman tried to block their way James Farrell intervened, shouting the at the crewman to let the women through. Intimidated by this strapping Irishman, the crewman relented and the party passed through.

Kate was rescued, probably with Kate Gilnagh and the Murphy sisters (the exact boat number is uncertain). The last she saw of James Farrell was him kneeling by his suitcase reciting the rosary. She later wrote to her father describing her experiences and related how her boat was packed with over 50 persons and how the screams of those left behind had haunted her.

Landing in New York following their rescue by Carpathia, Kate was described as a 20-year-old unmarried domestic and was headed to the home of her sister Mrs Murray at 231 East 50th Street, New York. Assisted financially for the loss of her belongings, Kate later garnered employment as a domestic in her new home.

Kate was married in Manhattan on 2 January 1916 to labourer Martin Kearns (b. 5 April 1889), son of John Kearns and Margaret Larkin who had migrated from his native Co Galway in 1910. They had four children: Margaret "Peggy" (b. 1918), Mary (b. 1919, later Dormer), Eileen (b. 1922, later Wall) and John Thomas (b. 1925). 

The family spent two decades living in the Bronx, New York, their 1920 address being Miller Avenue and their 1930 address as St Anne Avenue. By the time of the 1940 census they had relocated to Queens, New York and were living at 65th Street in that borough--where they would live for many years--where Martin Kearns was by then working at the docks. 

Kate never cared to remember the Titanic disaster and it is not clear if she ever returned to her native Ireland. Both her parents remained in Ireland and died within a few years of her leaving, her mother passing away on 13 August 1916 from bronchitis and her father on 3 September 1919 from influenza. 

The loss of Kate's son John in 1944 in the sinking of his troopship at age 19 took an especial toll on Kate in later years and for the most part she remained silent on the topic of Titanic but did, on a few rare occasions speak about it to family or the local media. Interviewed for the fiftieth anniversary of the sinking she simply thanked God for her survival but stressed she did not want to be reminded about that awful event. 

Kate Mullin Kearns died in Queens on 1 November 1970 aged 80; following a mass at St Sebastian's Roman Catholic church she was buried in St Raymond's Cemetery in the Bronx. Her death notice made no mention of her ties to Titanic. Her widower Martin Kearns died in Queens on 27 September 1976 and they are buried together.

Notes

  1. Surname spelled as Mullen in most Titanic lists and media. Census and birth records give the spelling as Mullin and her parents' marriage record also as Mullin; however, the spelling varies across the birth records of her siblings. In later years she seemingly preferred to spell her first name with a K. 
  2. Birth date sometimes given as 29 May 1890. 

References and Sources

Noel Ray (1999) List of Passengers who Boarded RMS Titanic at Queenstown, April 11, 1912. The Irish Titanic Historical Society
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
Longford Leader, 18 August 2000
Daily News (New York), 13 April 1962, 50 years ago and a night of horror...
Daily News (New York), 3 November 1970, death notice. 

Images

Catherine Mullin
New York Daily News (1962) Kate Mullin in 1962

Miscellaneous

Addergoole Titanic Society (2011) New Titanic Themed Church Stained Glass Window
New window for Church in Lahardane; Ireland's Titanic Village
Search archive online

Comment and discuss

  1. mary mason said:

    does anyone know anything about Katie's life before Titanic? and does a photo' exisit? thanks for your time

  2. avatar

    Phillip Gowan said:

    There's a good photo of her as a young unmarried woman on the cover of The Irish Aboard Titanic by Senan Molony (and with the included biography). Phil

  3. mary mason said:

    Thanks Phil. I've ordered the book

  4. avatar

    Michael H. Standart said:

    You won't regret it, Mary. It was a bit of a trick at the time, but I got my copy almost four years ago. Senan did a very thorough job of researching passengers and crew who were on that ship, including digging up some information on some incredibly obscure figures, and included some family legends and lore in the entries. When I met him at a dinner the Phil Gowan hosted, he indicated that he spent nearly 8 years researching it. I beleive it!

  5. Delia Mahoney said:

    Hi, I've noticed that the last name of Katie is spelled here as "Mullen" but I've seen it somewhere written as "Mullins" or "Mullens". Which is correct?

  6. Lester Mitcham said:

    In his book: The Irish Aboard Titanic, Senan Molony lists the name as: Katie Mullen.

  7. jean mullen said:

    does anyone have any information about katie mullen from ireland?

  8. avatar

    Jason D. Tiller said:

    Hello Jean, Welcome to ET. I moved this thread to here, where it's more appropriate and will generate a better response. Have you checked out Katie's biography, right here on this site? If not, here is the link: There are some other passenger researchers on here, who may be able to tell you more about her life. ... Read full post

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  9. avatar

    Brian J. Ticehurst said:

    Jean - All I can add is the rather stark entry : (From The Emergency and Relief booklet by the American Red Cross, 1913). Case number 321. (Irish). Girl, 20 years old. ($100). Chers Brian

  10. jean mullen said:

    thanks for the messages her bio was very interesting. I have recently ordered the book Irish aboard the titanic by senan maloney cant wait to receive it. This is a very interesting site, it is all new to me but I am enjoying the research. regards jean

  11. jean mullen said:

    I understand, from a little delving, that katie married a martin kearns in new york, she also had a son, does anyone know what he was called?

  12. Lester Mitcham said:

    According to Senan's: The Irish Aboard Titanic, the son was named John. Aged 19 along with 496 others he was drowned when their troopship was sunk 20 April 1944.

  13. Joanne O'Bray said:

    Hi, My name is Joanne, I live in New Zealand but was born in England. I have been searching for my Great Great Aunt who was on the Titanic. All I've had to go on so far is that her last name was Millen or Miller and she was born in Ireland. After an extensive search of the passenger list I have found that the closest person is Katie Mullen. I have read about her on this site but what I need to find out is about her past. Who were her family members? Did she have any brothers or sisters? If anyone has any information I would be most grateful. Joanne

  14. Lester Mitcham said:

    Hello Joanne, As one Kiwi to another welcome to Encyclopedia Titanica. Looking at Katie's biography in: The Irish Aboard Titanic: parents Thomas and Mary; 4 older siblings. John the eldest, Elizabeth who was 2 years younger, Rose 2 younger again, Thomas another two years younger again and then Katie herself who was 2 years younger than Thomas. However, I am confused because under the heading: 1911 census: ".... Thomas (65), farmer, wife Mary (64), married 40 years, nine children, seven surviving, Thomas (23) Bridget (24), Kate (19) ....." I am guessing that your Great Great Aunt... Read full post

  15. Joanne O'Bray said:

    Thanks very much for all the info Lester. I will run this information past my mother who knows more than I do about our herritage, however, going through those names I think I have hit a brick wall. A thought just occured to me though, I wonder if it was not my great grandmothers sister but my great grandfather's. I shall do a search for his name of 'Brownbill' and see if I can dig anything up. Failing that, the fact that my family never spoke of the matter of my great great aunt, I wonder if she could have been a stowaway or maybe had been on board another way. Wish me luck. ... Read full post

  16. Lester Mitcham said:

    Jo, I do not believe there were any stowaways. - You do not say if the lady survived. If she did then she should be on the survivor lists, very particularly what I refer to as the Carpathia Lists. Your other alternative if the lady arrived in the US via NY is to do a search on: - Happy hunting!

  17. Joanne O'Bray said:

    Thank you Lester, I didn't say if she survived because I do not know. I have only the information that my Mother gave me which is very flimsy as her family didn't like to talk about it. Her Mother (my Grandmother) told her she was lost on the Titanic and her mother was a no nonsence sort of lady who would not fib about such things. I believe that to mean that she drowned but the information is so minimal that it is hard to know. I am going to record my mother talking about her family (ie her grandparents) and see if I can find out that way. By tracing my family history. I have... Read full post

  18. Lester Mitcham said:

    Hello Jo, Well if she was lost then you can rule out Katie Mullen. So what about Mary Mullin? - Looking at her biography in: The Irish Aboard Titanic in 1901 she was living with her mother, three brothers and two sisters: Owen, Bartholomew, Dan, Bridget and Margaret. There is also mention of another brother named Joseph.

  19. Joanne O'Bray said:

    Hey Lester, Thanks to the link you gave me on Thursday, I have found her. I cannot thank you enough. It seems my family got it wrong, Her name was Fanny Millen and was not on board the Titanic but the S.S. Celtic. I don't know why my great grandmother told my grandmother her youngest sister was on the Titanic. A question I will never have answered I'm affraid. All my mother and I can come up with is that maybe she had discraced the family somehow. The difference between catholic and protestant back then was quite a bit. All we can do is speculate. But at least I have found... Read full post

  20. Lester Mitcham said:

    Hello Jo, Good to hear that you have a result. - Looks as if she was a widow going to her sister in NY. Glad to have been of help. Hope your family search goes well. Lester

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Gavin Bell, UK
Robert L. Bracken, USA
Peter Engberg-Klarström, Sweden
Phillip Gowan, USA
Michael A. Findlay, USA
Noel Ray, Ireland

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2018) Kate Mullin (ref: #1050, last updated: 22nd October 2018, accessed 3rd August 2021 05:31:09 AM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-survivor/catherine-mullin.html

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