Encyclopedia Titanica

Elizabeth Lindsey Lines

Mrs Ernest Howard Lines  was born as Elizabeth Lindsey James in Burlington, New Jersey on 15 June 1861.

She was the eldest child of Benjamin Lloyd James (b. 1822), a Canadian-born grain merchant who was of Welsh descent, and Ann Lindsey Langstrom (b. 1829), a native of Pennsylvania. Her parents had married in Burlington on 22 August 1860 and she had two siblings: Helen K. (b. 1862) and Ann L. (b. 1863). She first appears on the 1870 New Jersey census living with her family.

Elizabeth was married in Pennsylvania in 1889 to Dr Ernest Howard Lines (b. 22 October 1859), a New York native and president and medical director of the New York Life Insurance Company. The couple had two children: Howard Burchard (1892-1916) and Mary Conover (1895-1975). The family appeared on the 1900 census living in Manhattan. They latterly settled in Paris and were frequent travellers across the Atlantic.

In April 1912, Elizabeth and her daughter Mary were travelling to the United States to attend her son's graduation from Dartmouth College. They boarded the Titanic at Southampton as first class passengers (joint ticket number 17592 which cost £39, 8s) and occupied cabin D-28.

On Saturday 13 April the two ladies had just finished luncheon in the first class dining room on D Deck. They had made a habit of stopping for coffee in the adjoining reception room following their meal. After she had taken a seat, Captain Smith and Bruce Ismay came and sat at a table nearby and began discussing the possibility of having the last boilers lit. Mrs Lines recognised Mr Ismay from several years back when they had both lived in New York, and she confirmed his identity with her table steward.

On the night of the sinking Mrs Lines and her daughter became alarmed when the ship stopped and the noise of steam being vented out could be heard. They were soon pacified by their steward who told them to remain in their cabin which they did, for some time and the steward never returned. Her daughter later recalled that a man from a neighbouring cabin (whom she identified as a Mr White, possibly Percival White or his son Richard) alerted them to get dressed and helped them find their lifebelts. Half-dressed, the ladies left their cabin and ventured to the boat deck where an officer tied their lifebelts on, saying "We are sending you out as a matter of precaution. We hope you will be back for breakfast."

Mrs Lines and her daughter were rescued in lifeboat 9. Whilst aboard the rescue ship Carpathia Mrs Lines was given a bunk whilst her daughter slept on the floor with another girl around her age. She and her mother did manage to arrive at her brother's graduation and eventually returned to Paris.

During the outbreak war in Europe Elizabeth's son Howard joined the Ambulance Service and was sent to the frontline at La Grange aux Bois. He died from pneumonia complicated by meningitis on 23 December 1916 and is buried in Suresnes' American Cemetery.

Elizabeth Lines and husband 1925

Elizabeth and Dr Ernest Howard Lines in 1925

Mrs Lines continued to travel the globe in later years and she was widowed in 1936. She died at the home of her daughter Mary Wellman in Topsfield, Massachusetts on 17 December 1942 as a result of pneumonia. She was buried with her husband in Harmony Grove Cemetery, Salem, Massachusetts.

References and Sources

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Standard Certificate of Death
Salem Evening News, December 19, 1942, Death Notice

Newspaper Articles

Chicago American (16 April 1912) 300 OF TITANIC'S PASSENGERS WERE BOOKED AT PARIS
Salem Evening News (19 December 1942) MRS. ELIZABETH LINES

Documents and Certificates

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Comment and discuss

  1. Jack Killington

    I have forgotten the surname of one first class passenger. Her first name as you would of guessed is Elizabeth, but what sets her apart is that at the senate hearing following the disaster, she testified to have heard a conersation beetween Cptn. Smith and J. Bruce Ismay that went something like this E-DECK DINING SALOON JBI: So you've not yet lit the last four boilers EJS: No I dont see the need JBI: The press already knows of Titanics shear size now I want them to marvel at her speed, we must give them something new to print. EJS: Mr. Ismay, I'd like to give them a chance to be... Read full post

  2. Iain Stuart Yardley

    Afternoon Jack, The person to whom you refer is Elizabeth Lines. The conversation you mention is obviously the one from the 1997 movie. Cheers, Boz

  3. Camron Miller

    Camron Miller

    I understand that snippets of verbal exchange between Joseph Bruce Ismay and Captain E.J Smith were picked up by several passengers - this conversation was a slightly elaborated version of the one overheard by Elizabeth Lines.

  4. John Clifford

    The overheard conversation was also mentioned in the A&E program "Death of a Dream/The Legend Lives On". The main thing mentioned was the idea that the ship was supposed to get in to New York on Tuesday night, instead of on Wednesday morning. It was mentioned that some passengers, like the Ryersons, then became concerned about where to stay, on Tuesday the 16th. John Clifford

  5. Daniel Klistorner

    It wasn't at the senate hearings following the disaster. She gave a deposition in Nov 1913.

  6. elizabeth lines

    elizabeth lines

    Found your website because my name is Elizabeth Lines. I am not related (I don't think) I just have the same name. Very interesting

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Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mrs Elizabeth Lindsey Lines (née James)
Age: 50 years 10 months (Female)
Nationality: American
Marital Status: Married to Ernest H.
Last Residence: in Paris, France
Embarked: Cherbourg on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 17592, £39 8s
Cabin No. D28
Rescued (boat 9)  
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Died: Thursday 17th December 1942 aged 81 years
Cause of Death:
Buried: Harmony Grove Cemetery, Salem, Massachusetts, United States

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