Miss Mariayam Nakid was born in Ihdin, Zaghartā, Lebanon around March 1911.1
Her paternal grandmother Cattur Habīb Nakid lived in Waterbury, Connecticut and it was decided that she and her family would also settle there. To reach their destination they boarded Titanic at Cherbourg as third class passengers (ticket number 2653 which had cost £15, 14s, 10d).
Her father later recounted the family's experiences in The Waterbury Republican on 25 April 1912.
"The first I knew that the boat was in danger was when one of the officers came running thru (sic) the steerage and told us to go on deck as fast as we could, as the ship was sinking. My wife and I had been sleeping soundly and did not feel any jar. We could see by the slope of the floor that the boat was going down and not waiting to put on any more clothes we rushed up to the deck with the baby. We had to go up three stories before we came to where the boats were. At that time the bow of the boat was way down in the water and the stern was sticking up at a slant, way out of the water... The boat we got into was one of the last to leave the ship and it left in such a hurry that there were only about twenty on board. Six of these were men to row the boat and there was one other man.
The sailors saw my wife who had only her nightgown on, and me with the baby, and motioned for her to take a seat in the boat. She did so. I helped her over the side of the boat and was going to get in with her when one of the sailors pushed me back and motioned for me to stay behind. I pointed to the baby and he took it away from me and gave it to my wife. The baby started to cry and reached out her hands to me, but even then the sailors would not let me get in. Just then I saw another boat nearby being loaded preparatory to going in the water. It was nearly full of women when I saw a man try to get in. The sailors held him back but he managed to break thru (sic) them and jumped into the boat. When he stood up a sailor pulled out a reveolved and shot him. The man's body tumbled over the side of the boat and that was the last I saw of him.
I saw it would not be well to take a chance like that and waited. The baby pleaded with the sailors to let me get into the boat but they would not allow it. There was plenty of room there for more., and as there were no more women to get in, I determined to take a chance. . As the boat was being lowered I jumped into it and fell flat on my face. The women covered me over with their skirts and I laid there. There had been so much confusion in casting off that the sailors did not see me jump and of course did not see me afterwards...
Upon arrival in New York Mariayam and her parents were taken care of in St Vincent's Hospital and was also given clothing and money ($62.30). Her grandmother, who had been unaware that her son and his family were travelling aboard Titanic, hastened to New York to meet them.
Mariayam and her family settled in Waterbury, Connecticut, Anglicising their surname to "Nackid" and she becoming known as Maria.
Maria Nackid soon fell ill and died on 30 July 1912 as a result of meningitis. She was the first person among the 712 Titanic survivors to die and was buried in an unmarked grave in Calvary Cemetery, Waterbury.
Her parents continued to live out the rest of their lives in Waterbury and had five more children: Thomas (1913-1962), John A. (1917-1966), Catherine (1921-1954), Anthony Thomas (1923-2001) and Frederick R. (1926-1988). Her father died in 1926 and her mother in 1963. Her last surviving sibling, Anthony, died in 2001. She still has a large number of family members living in the Waterbury area.
Michael A. Findlay
- Birth date disputed. Often stated that she was 18 months old in April 1912, placing her time of birth as in the latter months of 1910; her obituary states that she was, at the time of her death, 16-months old, placing her time of birth as February or March 1911 and The Waterbury Republican describes her as 13 months old in April 1912. Her death certificate states that she was born in 1910.
Waterbury Republican, 25 April 1912: Tells How He Saved His Life
State of Connecticut Medical Certificate of Death
Leila Salloum Elias (2011) The Dream and Then the Nightmare: The Syrians who Boarded the Titanic, the Story of the Arabic-speaking Passengers.
Articles and Stories
Waterbury Republican (1912)