Encyclopedia Titanica

Lillian Mae Minahan

Lillian Mae Minahan
Lillian Mae Minahan

Mrs William Edward Minahan (Lillian Mae Thorpe) was born in Fort Wayne, Allen, Indiana on 7 February 1875.

She was the daughter of Sylvanus Thorpe (b. 1852), a farmer and later a railroad conductor, and Mahala Babb (b. 1851). Her father was originally from Ohio and her mother from Shelby, Indiana. She had six known siblings: Ellis Ottis (b. 1878), Alva (b. 1880), Nellie (b. 1883, later Mrs Alomzo Holt), Fred (b. 1887), Lottie (b. 1892) and Dorothy (b. 1893).

She first appears on the 1880 census living in Buck, Illinois but the family later moved to Kansas, settling in Arkansas City and appearing there on the 1900 census. She was later married to a portrait artist named Paul Lawrence, Lillian reportedly being his muse, but little is known about that union and Lawrence is believed to have died early.

In 1903, while visiting friends in Wisconsin, Lillian met Dr William Edward Minahan (b. 1867) whom she later married, her first husband having died. The couple remained childless and settled in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, appearing there on the 1910 census. 

In early 1912 Lillian, her husband and sister-in-law Daisy were on a visit to their ancestral Ireland. They were the only first class passengers to board Titanic at Queenstown (ticket number 19928 which cost £90). They occupied cabin C78.

On the night of the sinking the Minahans spent time in the Café Parisien and enjoyed the company of Major Archibald Butt, the Wideners, the Thayers and Captain Smith before retiring to bed around 9.30 pm. Asleep at the time of the collision they were later wakened by the sound of a woman crying in the companionway outside their cabin and immediately began to dress. Leaving their cabin they headed to the portside boat deck and were shown to lifeboat 14. Minahan's last words to his wife and sister were report to be "be brave."

Lillian and Daisy were rescued in lifeboat 14 but were transferred to collapsible D during the night.

Upon landing in New York Lillian and Daisy were taken to the home of fellow survivors Charles and Annie Stengel of Newark, New Jersey until her brother-in-law Robert Minahan came from Green Bay to fetch them.

Following the disaster Lillian moved to California and on 28 March 1914 was remarried in Riverside to another physician, Kansas-born Dr Lee Perry Kaull (b. 1873), possibly an old acquaintance from her youth. Following WWI the couple settled in Jerome, Yavapai, Arizona where Kaull was appointed as chief surgeon at the United Verde Mining Corporation and the couple appeared there on the 1920 census. Lillian was widowed again when Lee Kaull died on 19 December 1923 and she returned to live in California, settling in Hollywood until her marriage to C. D. Danielson. During WWII she lived on Catalina Island while it was under jurisdiction of the Coast Guard and in 1947 moved to Laguna Beach where she lived for the rest of her life.

Lillian Danielson, née Thorpe, formerly Minahan, died on 13 January 1962 aged 86. She was buried in Melrose Abbey Memorial Park, Anaheim, California.

References and Sources

The Laguna Beach Post (California), January 25, 1962, Obituary
Green Bay Press-Gazette, March 20, 1998

Newspaper Articles

Chicago Daily News (17 April 1912) ASKED TO MEET TWO WOMEN
Wireless message from the steamer Carpathia
Newark Evening News (18 April 1912) STENGELS TO CARE FOR MRS. AND MISS MINAHAN
R. E. Minahan hurrying to the Stengel home to meet his mother and sister.
Chicago Tribune (20 February 1925) THIRD SUICIDE IN FAMILY MYSTERY
Premonition that something fearful had happened
Laguna Beach Post (25 January 1962) Titanic Survivor Memorial Service
Memorial services for Mrs. Lilian [Minahan] Danielson
Stan Gores The Reporter (12 April 1968) Led wife and sister to safety
Dr Minahan stayed on Titanic
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Gavin Bell, UK
Peter Engberg-Klarström, Sweden
John Frey
Phillip Gowan, USA
Thomas J Hawley
Lisa Bertrand Moore

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Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mrs Lillian Mae Minahan (née Thorpe)
Age: 37 years 2 months and 8 days (Female)
Nationality: American
Marital Status: Married to William Edward Minahan
Embarked: Queenstown
Ticket No. 19928, £90
Cabin No. C78
Rescued (boat 14)  
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Died: Saturday 13th January 1962 aged 86 years
Buried: Melrose Abbey Memorial Park, Orange, California, United States

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