Mrs Peter Joseph (Catherine Rizk), 24, was born in Lebanon c.1888. She was married to Peter Joseph (an anglicised form of his Lebanese name), in 1907 the couple emigrated to Detroit, Michigan where they had two children, Michael and Mary Anna.
In 1912 Peter Joseph sent his wife and children back to Lebanon whilst he got on his financial feet. Catherine's tuberculosis may also have been a factor in the trip, as the Lebanese climate would better suit her.
By April 1912 their financial situation had improved and Catherine planned her return to Detroit. She and her children boarded a freighter at Bayrût (Beirut) to reach Marseilles. From there they travelled to Cherbourg where they boarded the Titanic as third class passengers (ticket number 2668, £22 7s 2d). When giving her name she adopted her husband's first name as her last, and that is how she and her children appear on passenger lists as the Peter family.
On the night of the sinking Catherine bundled her two children into warm clothes and headed towards the higher decks. It is presumed that she and her children were guided towards the Boat Deck along with all of the other Lebanese and Syrians. On their way to the boat deck, Catherine lost contact with her son Michael and ended up in one collapsible boat while Michael was placed in another (1). Mother and son were later reunited on the Carpathia, where she was overcome with joy and relief and knocked them both to the deck.
After her arrival in New York she travelled onto Detroit, Michigan. In years after the disaster the Joseph family was plagued with misfortune. Catherine had another child, a boy, who died not long after birth. In 1914 her daughter Mary fell victim to a house fire.
Catherine Rizk Joseph died in Detroit, Michigan in 1915, from the tuberculosis that had plagued her for some time. Her husband died in 1920.
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- It is not clear which collapsible boats were involved but Michael thought his boat was collapsible D and that his mother and sister were in C.
References and SourcesLeila Salloum Elias (2011) The Dream and Then the Nightmare: The Syrians who Boarded the Titanic, the Story of the Arabic-speaking Passengers. Atlas, ISBN
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55)
Judith Geller (1998) Titanic: Women and Children First. Haynes. ISBN 1 85260 594 4
Titanic Commutator, 1991, issue 2: obituary of Michael Â‘TyÂ’ Joseph