Miss Cornelia Theodosia Andrews,1 63, was born in Hudson, Columbia County, New York, USA, on 12 August 1848. She was the daughter of Robert Emmett E. Andrews, a lawyer born 25 May 1819 at New Lebanon, New York (d. 1901), and Matilda Scudder Andrews (née Fonda; born c.1822 at Schaghticoke, Rensselaer County, New York). Her parents had married 13 July 1846 at Linlithgo Dutch Reformed Church in Livingston, New York.
Cornelia was christened on 22 October 1848 at Schaghticoke, Rensselaer, New York, in the Dutch Reformed Church tradition. Her known brothers and sisters were Emmet Fonda, b. 4 July 1847, Mary Deare, b. 7 January 1850, Louisa Fonda, b. 26 January 1851 (d. 1854), Robert Emmet, b. 26 July 1852, Matilda, b. 26 September 1853, Roberta Ella, b. 19 January 1859, and Anna Louisa, b. 5 May 1860. In 1910, it was stated there were ten children born to the family, five of whom were alive.
In 1900, she lived at 751 Warren Street in Hudson City, Columbia, New York, with her family, which at the time consisted of her father Robert, 81, still listed as a lawyer, mother Matilda, 78, widowed sister Mrs. Anna Hogeboom, 40, widowed brother-in-law Levi F. Longley, 40, a lawyer, niece Gretchen F. Longley, 10, niece Matilda Cadby, 15, and nephew R. Andrews Cadby, 9. There were two servants living in the household as well; Elizabeth Welden, 34, a waitress, and Helen Mutt, 24, cook. In 1910, she still lived at the same place and the family now consisted of her widowed mother Matilda, now aged 83, widowed sister Louise Hogeboom and her two children Matilde, 20, and Andrew, 18, also her niece Gretchen Longley, 19, and two servants; Oliver and Mary Baird, both 45.
A graduate of (?) Oberlin College in Ohio, Miss Andrews was for many years a leader in society and charitable works in Hudson, New York. She was one of the Managers of the Hudson City Hospital since its founding and was its Vice-President in 1912.
Andrews was returning home on the Titanic to Hudson with her sister, Anna Hogeboom, and their twenty-one-year-old niece, Gretchen Fiske Longley. All three ladies boarded in Southampton under ticket number 13502 (£77 19s 2d). Miss Andrews occupied cabin D-7.
On the night of the disaster, Gretchen and Anna were asleep. Miss Andrews, who had apparently been ill, was reading when the Titanic struck the iceberg. Gretchen, who was awakened by the impact, asked her aunt what happened. Interestingly, Miss Andrews seemed to know without having been told. "We must have struck an iceberg. Go and ask the steward if we are in danger." Gretchen went out three times to ask if there was any danger, but was reassured by stewards that everything was fine.
Kornelia did not believe what the stewards were saying so she went out to find their day-steward who informed her that the Titanic was in danger and that they were to report to the boat deck with lifebelts. The ladies dressed, put on fur coats, and headed to the Boat Deck.
Miss Andrews related that the first three boats they tried to enter did not contain room for them. They waited for the fourth boat, which turned out to be lifeboat 10, and were helped aboard. She told of how annoyed she was with many of the crew who were in her boat. 'When we got out on the water,' she said, 'we realized that the crewmen had only claimed they could row only for the purpose of saving themselves. My niece had to take an oar. In a boat alongside ours, a sailor lighted a cigarette and flung the match carelessly among the women in our boat. We screamed with protest to which he replied, "Ah, we're all going to the devil anyway, and we might as well be cremated now as then.'"
In describing the Titanic's final moments, Miss Andrews explained, "We were a mile away from the Titanic when there was a great explosion. It appeared to me as if the boilers had blown up and the Titanic had been lifted up amidships and broken in half. This is the way it appeared to me."
All three ladies were rescued by the Carpathia, and eventually reached their homes in Hudson, New York. Miss Andrews later filed a $480.50 claim against the White Star Line for lost possessions including such items are fur coats, numerous dresses, 3 brass antique lamps and "one velvet hat with ostrich plumes.'
Cornelia never married and died less than two years after the sinking, on 4 December 4, 1913. She passed away at her home in Hudson from lobar pneumonia, she was 65.
Her sister, Anna Hogeboom, died in 1947, and her niece, Gretchen Longley (later Leopold), in 1965.