Encyclopedia Titanica

Elizabeth Bonnell

Elizabeth Bonnell
Elizabeth Bonnell

Miss Elizabeth Bonnell was born in Bradford, Yorkshire, England on 29 July 1850.

She was the daughter of John Fearnley Bonnell (1819-1876) and Alice Elizabeth Duffill (1826-1896). Her father, a master saddler with several in his employ, was also born in Bradford whilst her mother was a native of London. They were married in Bradford on 17 January 1848.  Elizabeth had six known siblings: John Meek Bonnell (1848-1884), Jane Ellen (1852-1915), Alice (b. 1853), Henry (b. 1855), Mary (1857-1942) and William Fearnley (b. 1862).

She first appears on the 1851 census living at 18 Bridge Street, Bradford and on the 1861 census living at 13 Edmund (?) Street, Horton, Bradford before moving to 16 Ashgrove by the time of the 1871 census. Her father died on 1 December 1876. She does not appear on the 1881 census with her mother and sister Jane who were still living in 16 Ashgrove and was instead listed as a visitor at an address in Wavertree, Lancashire. The family would later shift to Lancashire and it was here that Elizabeth lost her mother on 27 February 1896.

Elizabeth, known as Lily, was never married and continued to live with her likewise unmarried sisters Jane and Mary. Elizabeth is shown on both the 1901 and 1911 census records as living at 17 Welbeck Road, Birkdale, Southport, Lancashire and was described as a spinster living on her own means. She was a prominent member of the South and East Branch of the Women's Unionist League, and was a member of the General Council. She was also connected with the Mary Willett Day Nursery, of which she is a member of the committee. Well known in local musical circles, she was a member of the chorus which gave a performance of Elgar's Kingdom at Chapel-street Congregational Church a few weeks prior to her joining Titanic. She was a member of St. James' Church, Birkdale and was involved in several local charities. She had reportedly crossed the Atlantic several times and was no stranger to other foreign destinations.

Elizabeth joined the Titanic at Southampton on 10 April 1912 as a first class passenger (ticket number 113783 which cost £26, 11s). She was planning to visit family in Youngstown, Ohio, including her brother William Fearnley Bonnell, and was travelling with her niece Caroline Bonnell, the daughter of her deceased brother John Meek Bonnell, and several in-laws including George Dennick Wick, his wife Mary and daughter Mary Natalie who had completed a vacation in Europe. She occupied cabin C103.

After the collision, Caroline Bonnell found Elizabeth in her stateroom and brought her up to A deck where they had been instructed to gather. The Bonnells and Wicks moved up to the boat deck where they were placed in lifeboat 8. Elizabeth and the other ladies in her party were saved.

The Bonnells stayed at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City after leaving the Carpathia. She would later file a claim of $1500 for loss of property against the White Star Line.

Elizabeth returned to England and would live at 17 Welbeck Road in Birkdale for the rest of her life. It seems she continued to travel well into her advanced age, with one trip to New York aboard Laconia departing from Southampton on 24 May 1930 and a further arrival into Liverpool from Bombay, India aboard the Franconia on 1 August that same year.

Elizabeth died on 20 February 1936 aged 85. She is buried in Birkdale Cemetery, Sefton, Merseyside (Section D, Plot 632) with her sisters Jane Ellen and Mary.

Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Miss Elizabeth Bonnell
Age: 61 years 8 months and 17 days (Female)
Nationality: English
Marital Status: Single
Last Residence: in Birkdale, Lancashire, England
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 113783, £26 11s
Cabin No. C103
Rescued (boat 8)  
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Died: Thursday 20th February 1936 aged 85 years

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References and Sources

Biographical History of Northeastern Ohio (1893) Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])

Newspaper Articles

New York Times (16 April 1912) Wealthy Youngstown Folk Aboard
Daily Northwestern (17 April 1912) A SAD FAREWELL
Mrs. Wick's recollections
Southport Guardian (17 April 1912) Birkdale Lady on the Titanic
Cleveland Plain Dealer (17 April 1912) FOUR ON BIG LINER CLEVELAND BOUND
Southport Visitor (18 April 1912) LOCAL PASSENGERS ABOARD ILL-FATED SHIP
Cleveland Plain Dealer (18 April 1912) SIXTEEN OHIOANS ARE STILL MISSING
MISS CAROLINE BONNELL Washington Times (19 April 1912) NO ALARM FELT WHEN STEAMER FIRST STRUCK
Cleveland Plain Dealer (19 April 1912) TELLS OF WOMEN PULLING AT OARS
Youngstown Woman Relates Story of Escape from Sinking Titanic
Christian Science Monitor (19 April 1912) WOMAN SURVIVOR OF TITANIC TELLS OF THE LAST HOURS OF SHIP
Cleveland Plain Dealer (20 April 1912) JOY AND SADNESS COME WITH NEWS
Trenton Evening Times (20 April 1912) ROEBLING AROUSED SLEEPERS TO FLIGHT AND SCORNED TO SAVE HIMSELF
Mother and Daughter Tell How Young Trentonian and London Friend Excelled in Gallantry and Cheerfulness in the Time That Tried the Souls of All Aboard the Sinking Liner
Southport Guardian (20 April 1912) Southport and Birkdale Victims of the Titanic
Southport Visitor (20 April 1912) SOUTHPORT PASSENGERS ON THE TITANIC.

Documents and Certificates

Marconigram : Bonnell
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Trevor Baxter, UK
Gavin Bell, UK
Peter Engberg-Klarström, Sweden
Hermann Söldner, Germany
Homer Thiel, USA

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Encyclopedia Titanica (2018) Elizabeth Bonnell (ref: #34, last updated: 31st December 2018, accessed 6th December 2021 08:59:15 AM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-survivor/elizabeth-bonnell.html