Encyclopedia Titanica

Imanita Parrish Shelley

Mrs Imanita Parrish Shelley was born on 2 July 1886,1 reportedly in Lexington, Kentucky.2 

She was the daughter of Samuel Edward Parrish, a farmer, and Lutie Davis Temple; her parents were also from Kentucky and had married in the 1870s.
It is not certain if Imanita was the natural child of Lutie and Samuel and there is a possibility she was adopted. 

Listed as Mamie Parrish, she was married to William H. Shelley (b. circa 1876), in Salt Lake City, Utah on 28 June 1909. Shelley hailed from Louisville, Kentucky but little else is known about him and he and Imanita had no children.

She and her mother appear on the 1910 census a residents of an unspecified address in Salt Lake City along with her adoptive brother Jack Huntington Hall (b. 1881), an electrical house superintendent Her husband was not listed and his whereabouts are uncertain. Imanita, her husband mother seemingly moved to Butte, Montana around the latter half of 1911 before she and her husband relocated to Deer Lodge, Montana around the start of 1912.

She and her mother left for England around February 1912 and for their return to the USA the pair boarded the Titanic at Southampton as second class passengers ( ticket number 230433 which cost £26).

When they boarded the ship, having purchased what they termed "the best second-class accommodation," they were led instead to a small cabin deep down in the ship, which was so small that they called it a cell. The ladies sent the stewardess to the purser demanding a transfer to better accommodation. His reply was that he could do nothing until the ship left Queenstown, Ireland when he would check tickets to see if there was any mistake. She wrote a note to the purser, explaining that she was ill, and reminding him that she had paid for better accommodations. The result was the arrival of 4 stewards who carried her to her new room. She later asked the stewardess what the purser had said on reading the note, to which the stewardess replied: "He asked first if you were really so very sick, to which I answered there was no doubt about that." Following her transfer to the new cabin second-class physician, Dr Simpson, called on her three to four times a day and ordered her to remain in her cabin.

On the evening of the 14 April the temperature had fallen considerably. At the time of the collision Imanita and her mother were awakened out of sleep by the shock, and especially by the stopping of the engines. The ladies heard excited voices outside in the passage, saying that an iceberg had been run into. They called for a steward and upon his arrival were told that all was well and for all passengers to go back to bed. A while later a steward came down the passage calling "All on deck with lifebelts on." He brought both Mrs Parrish and Mrs Shelley each a lifebelt and showed them how to tie them on, then told them to go up to the Boat Deck.

Mrs Shelley claimed that Mr Isidor and Mrs Straus, who had known of her being ill, helped them to the upper deck, where they found a chair for her to sit. The ladies made their way to lifeboat 12. The ladies found the boat was some few feet away from the ship and so deckhands roughly tossed Mrs Parrish in whilst Mrs Shelley jumped and landed safely. Upon reaching the water the falls would not slacken, forcing the ropes had to be cut. After reaching the water, the lifeboat pulled out away from the ship, fearful of suction as Titanic went down. They rowed out about 100 yards when a loud explosion or noise was heard, followed closely by another, and the vessel began sinking rapidly.

During the morning, boat 12 was one of the two which rescued those who had been forced to stand on the overturned Collapsible B. The lifeboat was later picked up by the Carpathia, sometime just after 8 am.

L. Manta Shelley (sic) of Deer Lodge, who is reported to have been among the passengers of the ill-fated Titanic, was the wife of W. H. Shelly, resident of Butte for several months, Mr and Mrs Shelly leaving here about three months ago for Deer Lodge. While in Butte they lived at the Lenox Hotel, coming here from Salt Lake to start an abstract business. When she left for England two months ago she spent a few days in Butte and informed several friends that she would return to Montana in April. She was accompanied by her mother, Mrs Parrish of Deer Lodge.
The name given in the list of second-class passengers is L. Manta Shelly.
(The Anaconda Standard (Montana), 12 April 1912)

On board of the Carpathia Mrs Shelley tried to sent a telegram to her husband in Deer Lodge. It was never transmitted because of the backlog and Mrs Shelley later raised the fact that she was still charged despite this(!).

William Shelley, Deer Lodge, Montana
Mother I safe, Titanic sank midnight.
Board Carpathia. Land New York
Wednesday Thursday

Mrs Shelley gave an affidavit to the U.S. Senate Inquiry, dated 15 May 1912.

Imanita and her mother, despite their ordeals on Titanic, remained avid travellers and frequently sailed between California and Honolulu, Hawaii where they eventually settled sometime prior to 1920. In January 1919, when she and her mother arrived in Honolulu aboard Manoa, having sailed from San Francisco, their residence was given as Cheyenne, Wyoming. The 1920 census shows Samuel Parrish and William Shelley as lodgers at an address in Honolulu, both having no stated profession and with their wives notably absent, presumably globetrotting; curiously both men described themselves as widowers. 

Perhaps around the same time, but this is unclear, the marriage between Imanita and her husband William Shelley ended. The reasons for which are unknown and what eventually became of William Shelley is not certain. She was remarried to a person of very close acquaintance, Jack Huntington Hall.

Jack Huntington Hall was born in Lexington, Kentucky3 on 2 October 1881, the son of L. D. Hall and Victoria Holcomb, both English4. At the time of his draft registration in 1917/1918 he was working as an electrician in Cheyenne, Wyoming and gave his nearest relatives as Mrs L. D. Parrish who lived at an address in Cheyenne. He and Imanita were married in Manila in the Philippines on 6 December 1923. 

The newly-married couple, including Imanita's mother Lutie, returned to the USA and arrived in Honolulu in January 1924 aboard the Tenyo Maru; in February 1925 they sailed from Los Angeles to Honolulu aboard the Calawaii and in September 1927 they arrived in Seattle, Washington aboard the Niagara, having travelled from Sydney, Australia and at the time their address was specified as Ewa, Hawaii.

The 1930 census shows Imanita, her husband and mother as residents of 22 Ewa Plantation; Jack was described as an electrician in a sugar mill and Imanita and her mother were described as being of British-English birth. Later that same year Imanita made another trip to San Francisco and returned to Honolulu aboard the Maui in October.

Following the death of her mother Lutie in 1930 Imanita and Jack eventually returned to mainland USA and settled in Sonora in Tuolumne County, California around 1942, being present there at the time of Jack's 1942 draft registration. 

Imanita from died from colorectal cancer at Robleda Avenue, Los Altos, California on 24 May 1954; she was aged 66 and was cremated at Chapel of Chimes, Oakland. Her widower Jack passed away in Fresno, California on 27 April 1970.


  1. Birth date as per death record; cited in the California Death Index as 2 July 1887.
  2. Birthplace disputed; some later census records give her birthplace as England and state that she had not arrived in the USA until 1903.
  3. His death record states he was born in Ohio.
  4. Their identity has not been determined but the 1930 census describes them as English.

Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mrs Imanita Parrish Shelley (née Hall)
Age: 24 years 9 months and 13 days (Female)
Nationality: American
Marital Status: Married to William H. Shelley
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 230433, £26
Rescued (boat 12)  
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Died: Monday 24th May 1954 aged 66 years
Cause of Death:

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References and Sources

Greg Kocher (2012) Woodford woman was among the Titanic's survivors, Lexington Herald-Leader
California Death Index (Rootsweb)

Philippines, Marriages 1723-1957 (FamilySearch.org)

Newspaper Articles

The San Francisco Call (16 April 1912) Oregonians on Ship


United States Senate Hearings (1912) Imanita Shelley Affadavit
Sworn statement of Imanita Shelley in regard to the Titanic disaster


Imanita Parrish Shelley Titanic Survivor

Documents and Certificates

Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912, National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279]).


List or Manifest of Alien Passengers for the United States Immigration Officer At Port of Arrival (Date: 18th-19th June 1912, Ship: Carpathia), National Archives, New York; NWCTB-85-T715-Vol. 4183.
(1912) Subcommittee Hearings of the Committee on Commerce, Titanic, Titanic Inquiry Project
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