Miss Hildur Elisabeth Hirvonen

Hildur Elisabeth Hirvonen

Miss Hildur Elisabeth Hirvonen1,  known as Hildy, was born on 15 February 19102 in Dalsbruk (Taalintehdas in Finnish), Finland, then the Grand Duchy of Finland, an autonomous state of the Russian Empire.

She was the daughter and only child of Erik Aleksanteri (Eric Alexander) Hirvonen (b. 1886) and Helga Elisabeth Lindqvist (b. 1890), natives of Dalsbruk and Salo, respectively. 

By 1912 Hildur lived in the predominantly Swedish-speaking town of Dalsbruk, the birthplace of her father Erik. Erik Hirvonen left Finland in late 1911 and travelled to the USA aboard the Lusitania—arriving in New York on 3 November 1911—destined for the home of a friend at Motheral Avenue in Monessen, Pennsylvania. Setting up home in Monessen, he garnered a position as a tin worker and saved enough money to send for his wife and child to join him.

Hildur and her mother boarded the Titanic at Southampton as third class passengers (ticket number 3101298 which cost £12, 5s, 9d). She was travelling to Monessen, Pennsylvania to join her father who lived at Motheral Avenue in that city. Besides her mother, she was travelling with her maternal uncle Eino Lindqvist and fellow-Finn August Abrahamsson. Whilst aboard her party became acquainted with the Finns Eirikk Jussila, the newlyweds Pekka and Elin Hakkarainen and the Panula family

On the night of the sinking Eino Lindqvist placed his sister and niece into a lifeboat, probably lifeboat 15.

Her father Erik, whom the Daily Independent (20 April 1912) described as a screw boy at the American Sheet and Tinplate plant in Monessen, received word on 19 April 1912 that his wife and baby daughter were among the rescued from the Titanic and were then currently recuperating in hospital in New York. Having had no knowledge that they had been aboard that ship, he immediately hastened to New York to find them. 

Hildur and her mother later arrived in Monessen where they spent the next two years; in April 1914 the family returned to Finland for a visit, returning to the USA in 1915 when they then settled in Syracuse, New York and from where her father worked for the Holcomb Steel Company. Hildur was later a graduate of Porter Junior High in Syracuse, after which she attended the Central City Business Institute in that city. In the 1920s she and her mother made another visit to Finland and at the time she was described as standing at 5’ 5” and having a fair complexion and with brown hair and blue eyes.

Hildur never married and remained with her parents, moving with them to a farm in Victory, Cayuga, New York in 1936, spending the last twenty years of her life there. Following a short battle with cancer she died on 12 April 1956 and was buried in Union Hill Cemetery in Cato, New York. Besides her parents she was survived by several aunts, uncles and cousins. Her mother died in 1961 and her father in 1964 and they are buried beside her

Notes

  1. A 1924 immigration record gives her middle name as Juliana. 
  2. Birthdate also stated as 16 February 1910
 

Pictures

Hildur Elisabeth Hirvonen
HILDUR ELISABETH HIRVONEN
 

Articles and Stories

Titanica! (2017) 
 

Comment and discuss

  1. Andrew Maheux said:

    Does anybody know more about Hildur Hirvonen, did she have any children or get married and when did she died. Ive always been interested in her for some reason. Thank you Andrew Maheux

  2. avatar

    Phillip Gowan said:

    Andrew, Hildur, an only child, never married or had children. She continued to live with her parents at a little, more or less dilapidated farm near Cato, New York all of her adult life. She has a first cousin in Canada who told me that they always loved to visit the Hirvonens because there were chickens and other farm animals to play with and so many old buildings and barns to explore. Although not fancy digs, it was a fun place for the children to visit. When Hildur was in her mid 40's she was diagnosed with cancer and died on April 12, 1956 at the age of 46. Both parents survived her... Read full post

  3. Andrew Maheux said:

    Thanks for the info, thats really sad. regards, Andrew

  4. Arne Mjåland said:

    Philip also writes about Eino Lindquist from Finland in the White Star Journal. He mentions that Eino lived in a state mental institution for years. A stroke took his life at 66, but do anybody know in which town it was, and which date and year he died?

  5. Arne Mjåland said:

    According to the Western Pennsylvania History magazine, an issue two years ago I read this: "Helga Hirvonen claimed to have shared a lifeboat with J. Bruce Ismay, the director of the White Star line". According to ET biography Ismay escaped in collapsible C, and Mrs Hirvonen escaped probably in lifeboat 15.

  6. Arne Mjåland said:

    Philip Gowan wrote an excellent article about the Finland Titanic survivors Hildur and Helga Hirvonen and Eino Lindquist in the Irish Titanic society magazine a couple of years ago. In fact, according to Philip, Lindquist had been lost in America for 60 years.(Found in year 2000) I hope to add a few things to this story, as I have the obituaries about Hildur E. Hirvonen and Eric Hirvonen. Eric was not on the Titanic. He had gone to America a year earlier. From obituary about Hildur: "Hildur E. Hirvonen who lived in the town of Victory 20 years, was a graditute of Porter Junior Highschool... Read full post

  7. Arne Mjåland said:

    There seems to be few details published about Titanic passenger Hildur Hirvonen. The Cato Citizen, Cato N.Y. U.S.A. carried her obituary April 19 1956. According to this she lived in the town of Victory for 20 years, was a graditute of Porter Junior High school and of Central City Business Institute, Syracuse. In the same newspaper was the obituary of her father Eric Hirvonen March 19 1964. He was found dead in his room in the Cato Hotel where he lived by hanging. The hotel owner called the sheriff department to investigate. His daughter Hildur was mentioned as a Titanic survivor. Surviving... Read full post

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Credits

Günter Bäbler, Switzerland
Gavin Bell, UK
Marguerite Rut
Leif Snellman, Finland

References and Sources

Claes-Göran Wetterholm (1988, 1996, 1999) Titanic. Prisma, Stockholm. ISBN 91 518 3644 0
The Cato Citizen, 19 April 1956, Titanic Survivor Buried at Cato
Port Byron Chronicle, 19 April 1956, Titanic Survivor Dies in Victory; Burial in Cato
Search archive British and Irish newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2020) Hildur Elisabeth Hirvonen (ref: #875, last updated: 12th November 2020, accessed 3rd December 2020 22:51:01 PM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-survivor/hildur-hirvonen.html