Encyclopedia Titanica

Lily May Futrelle

Lily May Futrelle
Lily May Futrelle

Mrs Jacques Futrelle (Lily May Peel), 35, was born in Atlanta, Georgia on 26 May 1876, the daughter of David G. Peel and Molly Thompson.

May Peel Futrelle was the wife of Jacques Futrelle, Sr. they lived in Scituate, Massachusetts with their two children, Virginia and Jacques, Jr. The children were born barely 12 months apart. Virginia was born November 8, 1896, married a Mr Raymond, and died in Haverhill, Massachusetts in January of 1981. Jacques Futrelle, Jr. was born 20 November 1898. He later became the night news editor of the Washington Post and died in Herndon, Virginia in July 1979.

Mrs Futrelle was a prolific author short stories and had also published several novels.  The couple had been in Europe for several weeks while Jacques wrote a number of magazine articles. On the night before sailing, friends had gathered in London to celebrate Mr Futrelle's birthday. The party did not end until 3:00 A.M. and the Futrelle's never went to bed but packed and headed for Southampton. Mrs Futrelle was later to lament that "if my husband had got drunk that night, he might not have sailed, and he might be alive today. But he never did drink much."

On the night of the sinking, Mrs Futrelle made her way to the boat deck and encountered a group of men with "smoke-blackened faces" standing silently in a group staring at her. She later commented, "they said nothing but their eyes seemed to say, 'at least you have a chance, we have none.'" May Futrelle was rescued probably in Lifeboat 9 but Jacques died in the sinking.

Mrs Futrelle returned to Scituate, Massachusetts.

She died at the age of 91.

References and Sources

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Certificate of Death
New York Times. 26 June 1915, Says Ismay Ruled in Titanic's Boats

Newspaper Articles

Chattanooga News (6 March 1912) A distinguished visitor
New York Times (16 April 1912) BOSTON MAN MISSING
Nearly a dozen Boston men, known to have been aboard the Titanic, are unaccounted for.
Washington Herald (18 April 1912) PREMONITION CAME TO NOTED NOVELIST
By The Associated Press Worcester Telegram (18 April 1912) Report Futrelle Safe
Washington Times (19 April 1912) MEN SNEAKED INTO BOATS, SAYS WOMAN
Worcester Telegram (20 April 1912) Futrelle Met Death Like Hero Says Wife
Atlanta Constitution (26 April 1912) Mrs. May Futrelle's account
New York Times (30 July 1912) FUTRELLE'S MOTHER IS DEAD
The Washington Post (16 January 1913) TITANIC CLAIMS $10,000,000
Ballymena Observer (11 April 1913) THREE WIDOWS TO VISIT SCENE
New York Evening Post (28 June 1915) ISMAY AS BEHR SAW HIM
Boston Globe (16 April 1961) May Futrelle - RECALL TITANIC SINKING
Survivor Tells of Titanic


Boston Globe (1912) May Futrelle
Indianapolis News (1912) May Futrelle in 1912
Boston Sunday Post (1912) Jacques Futrelle with his family
Philadelphia Inquirer (1912) May Futrelle in 1912
Atlanta Constitution (1947) May Futrelle in 1947
Boston Globe (1961) May Futrelle in 1961
Boston Globe (1967) May Futrelle in the 1960s

Documents and Certificates

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Comment and discuss

  1. Charles Provost

    Hi! Does someone really know in which lifeboat Mrs Jacques Futrelle escaped? It is likely that she embarked in the same boat as Mrs Harris, her friend, but some sources place her in lifeboat 9 and some others place her in lifeboat 16. Thanks, Charles

  2. Katie Sharrocks (Katie)

    Katie Sharrocks (Katie)

    In the book "Women And children First" it says no.9. Other books say the same thing.

  3. Jeffrey Kern (Jeffrey)

    Jeffrey Kern (Jeffrey)

    To Katie: Is that 'Women and Children First' by Judith B. Geller? If so, Mrs Geller does not mention that Mrs Futrelle entered Lifeboat 9, but it is most likely she and her husband stayed with their friends, the Harrises. My speculation, therefore, is that she definitely was in Collapsible D.

  4. Peter Engberg-Klarström

    Mrs Futrelle is probably one of the most enigmatic survivors to place in a particular lifeboat; Colonel Gracie put her in boat No 9, she describes 'the last boat on the starboard side' and said this was boat 16, she also describes some stewards in her boat and that she was with Mrs Harris. Now, the most likely boat is probably the half-filled collapsible boat D, but one never knows..... Best regards, Peter Engberg-Klarström

  5. J. Michael Doyle

    J. Michael Doyle

    A few months ago, someone quoted in this forum Mrs. Ella Holmes White as having said that it was not so much courage on the part of the men passengers that made them remain on board the Titanic, but rather the fact that no one really believed it would sink. They went on to say that Mrs. White was a credible source. I would suggest that Mrs. White is somewhat less than credible as a source for two reasons: First, she had just abandoned her valet, Sante Ringhini, to his fate. She, after all, was the cause of his being on the Titanic, facing imminent death. One suspects there is some... Read full post

  6. Michael Findlay

    Dear Mr. Doyle, While Mrs. White may have been a bit eccentric, she did relate valuable testimony before the U.S. Senate Inquiry. Many of the incidents she described corresponded with what other survivors remembered. She stated that the ship broke in two before it went down. Other "credible" witnesses who believed just the opposite and whose testimonies other historians relied upon were later proven to be incorrect. Mrs. White's manservant, Mr. Reghini, was lost in the disaster. Mrs. White can hardly be blamed for this. The "women and children" first rule applied to the men filling... Read full post

  7. Mike Poirier

    There has always been confusion over May Futrelle's boat. May remembers it being 16. But she also says Miss Thaw ( Maybelle Thorne )and Rene Harris was in her boat. We know Thorne was in D. She also mentions Jane Hoyt who was in the vicinity who also ended up in D. Rene Harris remembers travelling from boat to boat with a select group of 1st class women before she was convinced to get into D. Is there any evidence that proves that May was in 16?

  8. Jason D. Tiller

    Hi Michael, I just checked my copy of The Wall Chart of The Titanic and it says that May Futrelle was in collapsible boat D, not in boat #16. Hope this helps Best regards, Jason D. Tiller

  9. Ben Thomas Sebastian Holme

    Ben Thomas Sebastian Holme

    Hi Jason and Michael, If this helps, it was reported that Jacques Futrelle shouted to his wife, "This is your last chance, for god's sake go!" As collapsible D literally was the "last chance" of escape without getting cold and wet, it makes sense that Mrs. Futrelle escaped on that boat. Yours sincerely Ben (new person)

  10. Mike Poirier

    Ben: Even though Jacques supposedly said this- when you read accounts you have to take certain things with a grain of salt. But if you see certain clues such as mentioning certain names that were grouped together ( ie Jane Hoyt and Mabel Thorne ) you can draw logical conclusions. Many husbands implored wives believing it was their last chance. But not every woman left in the last boat. The reason I originally questioned this was that she has been listed in 9 and 16 as well. Even though I believe D, I wanted to see if there was evidence otherwise.

  11. Daniel Rosenshine

    Daniel Rosenshine

    Gracie did put her in 9, perhaps he had conversed with her personally or had other evidence (which he did not mention) to place her in 9. I was also thinking, since 16 and D were both part of a flotilla of boats, where passengers were shuffled around so that 14 could go rescue some more. Perhaps May F. was in 16 and changed boats to D. Then again, she does not seem to mention that incident (I have not read any of her accounts, but this would have been pointed out if she had written it). Daniel. PS. Mike, I wrote you an e-mail some time ago, just wondering if you had changed your... Read full post

  12. Mike Poirier

    No Daniel i did not receive your email. But I should wanr you in advance I am not doing too much with Titanic right now. I have been concentrating on 4 other ships. Lusitania, Laconia, Vestris and Athenia.

  13. Daniel Rosenshine

    Daniel Rosenshine

    Mike, I was offering to send some things, but if you're not doing much with Titanic it would probably be of no use to you. Is your e-mail address still @earthlink? D.

  14. Mike Poirier

    It is earthlink. Definitely by February- I will be doing more Titanic related stuff. I do have your email on file.

Showing 15 posts of 22 total. View all.

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Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mrs Lily May Futrelle (née Peel)
Age: 35 years 10 months and 20 days (Female)
Nationality: American
Marital Status: Married to Jacques Heath Futrelle
Last Residence: in London, England
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 113803, £53 2s
Cabin No. C123 ?
Rescued (boat 9)  
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Died: Sunday 29th October 1967 aged 91 years
Cause of Death:
Buried: St. Mary's Cemetery, Scituate, Massachusetts, United States

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