Miss Margaret Bechstein Hays was born in New York city on 6 December 1887.
A resident of 304 West 83rd Street, New York City she boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg. She travelled with Lily Potter and Olive Earnshaw. Olive and Margaret had been school friends at Briarcliff School in New York.
Olive and Margaret shared cabin C-54. Their self-appointed "escort" Gilbert Tucker took cabin C-53. Mr Tucker had met the three ladies during their travels and fell immediately for Margaret. A handsome man, Cornell University graduate, and a 31-year-old bachelor, he had travelled with his parents and sister to Europe but left them to head home earlier than planned to spend more time with Margaret.
On the evening of April 14 the three ladies were in bed when the Titanic collided with the iceberg at 11:40 p.m. Soon after, the engines stopped and Olive and Margaret went to Lily Potter's room. Lily ordered them to go out and see what the trouble was. About ten minutes later, they reported: "We have hit an iceberg but the steward told us we should not worry and should go back to bed." Miss Hays apparently thought little of the incident but Lily was more frightened.
After dressing they wrapped Margaret's little Pomeranian dog in blankets and headed topside, they met Gilbert Tucker along the way. Waiting for orders at the landing on C deck, Gilbert Tucker helped the three ladies into lifejackets before placing one on himself.
The group then went to the Boat Deck. As Margaret stood waiting and holding her Pomeranian, James Clinch Smith passed by and jokingly commented, "Oh, I suppose we ought to put a life preserve on the little doggie, too."
Margaret Hays Easton in 1918 holding her daughter, Margaret (later Mrs. John W. Starbuck).
(Courtesy of Mrs. John W. Starbuck Jr. & Michael A.Findlay, USA)
Lifeboat 7 was the first boat prepared and, after a call for women was made Lily stepped into the boat, closely followed by Olive and Margaret (still holding her Pomeranian dog).
Those aboard boat 7 were picked up by the Carpathia in the early hours of 15 April.
Aboard the rescue ship, Miss Hays, fluent in French, volunteered to care for two young French boys who spoke no English and had been unclaimed by an adult relative. The boys were Michel and Edmond Navratil, whose late father Michel Sr. had been trying to take them to America after kidnapping them from their mother. They stayed in Miss Hays home, under the supervision of the Children's Aid Society, until the children's mother was located and brought to America to claim them.
Margaret Hays kept in regular contact with Gilbert Tucker after their rescue but chose to marry Charles Daniel Easton, a Rhode Island physician in 1913 and the couple lived in Providence and Newport, Rhode Island. They were the parents of two daughters.
Dr. Easton died on 4 October 1934 and Margaret died in Buenos Aires, Argentina while vacationing with her daughter and grandaughter 21 August 1956. She was buried at St. Mary's Churchyard, Portsmouth, Rhode Island.
Courtesy of Michael A. Findlay, USA
Phillip Gowan, USA
Marta Santiago, Spain
Emma Santiago, Spain
References and SourcesEvening World, 22 April 1912, No Light on the Mystery Hiding the Identity Of Two Waifs of the Sea
New York Times, 5 October 1934, Obituary [Dr Charles Daniel Easton]
New York Times, 6 October 1934, Death Notice [Dr Charles Daniel Easton]
Newport Daily News, 28 August 1956, Obituary
American Foreign Service Report of the Death of an American Citizen
Passport Application, Bureau of Citizenship, Dec 6 1911