Encyclopedia Titanica

Mariyam Tu'mah

Lebanese (Syrian) Child Survivor

Mariyam Tu'mah
Mariyam Tu'mah

Miss Mariyam Tu'mah (Thomas) was born in Tibnīn, al-Janub, Lebanon on 16 October 1902 1.

She was the daughter of Darwīsh Tu'mah (b. 1870), an onion farmer, and Hinnah Yūsuf Rāzī (b. 1885). She had one sibling, her younger brother Jirjis Yūsuf (b. 1904).

In 1905 her father Darwīsh left Lebanon and settled in Silver Creek, Michigan where he worked on a farm, saving enough money to buy his own farm in Dowagiac and send for his wife and children. The journey started for Mariyam, her mother and brother around February 1912 when she and other villagers left their village by camel caravan to Beirut on the coast where they journeyed by freighter to Marseille. From that port in France they journeyed to Cherbourg by train where they boarded the Titanic on 10 April as third class passengers (ticket number 2650 which cost £15, 4s, 11d). Aboard ship Mariyam and her brother spent hours running up and down passages and stairwells and playing in nearby vacant cabins.

On the night of the sinking her mother had put her younger brother Jirjis to bed but was concerned as Mariyam had not returned. When the accident occurred her frantic mother took her brother to the boat deck before returning in search of Mariyam who had fallen asleep in a vacant cabin and only awoke as her mother was returning to their own cabin. The pair made their way to the upper decks and were reunited with her brother and they escaped in a lifeboat (possibly collapsible C) and were later rescued by the Carpathia.

Upon reaching New York Mariyam, her mother and brother were taken to St Vincent's Hospital for recuperation following which they headed to Dowagiac, Michigan. Although her father was aware that his family were coming to the USA, he had no idea that they were journeying on Titanic and was surprised when he received a telegram from his wife.

Mariyam and her family settled in Dowagiac and later anglicised their names to Thomas and Mariyam became Mary and she gained a further three siblings: Sam (1913-1997), Francis (1914-1965) and Joseph (1916-1995).

Mary was married on 28 July 1919 in Elkhart, Indiana to Nicholas Haddad (b. 28 December 1896), the son of Khalīl and Thelma Haddad and also a Lebanese immigrant who had come to the USA in 1910. The couple initially settled in Dowagiac before moving to Flint, Michigan and they had six children: Emma (1920-2013), William (b. 1929), Daniel (b. 1932), Pearl (b. 1935), Gerald (b. 1938) and Francis (b. 1940).

Mary Thomas Haddad died in Flint after a long illness (liver cirrhosis) on 12 August 1953.  She is buried in Calvary Cemetery, Flint, Michigan (section St. Theresa, lot 21).

Her widower Nicholas passed away in 1976.


  1. Birthdate under dispute; whilst her exact age is not certain, the birth year of 1902 is the generally accepted date. Census records and her marriage record seem to indicate that she may have been just one year older.

References and Sources

Dowagiac Daily News, May 3, 1912, Article
Michigan Department of Health Certificate of Death
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
South Bend Tribune, 13 February, 1998, Titanic Recollections
Elias, Leila Saloum (2011) The Dream and Then the Nightmare: The Syrians who Boarded the Titanic, the Story of the Arabic-speaking Passengers. Atlas, 2011. ISBN 978-9933-9086-1-4
Thomas, Joseph L. (2008) Grandma Survived the Titanic, ISBN 1425921922
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Comment and discuss

  1. 181218

    Hello. How old was George Thomas when the Titanic sank. I was reading about a 'Night To Remember Book' he had written in and and he writes he was at age 4 ? But he was born in 1908 ? *Illustrated, hardcover edition of A Night to Remember copyright 1976 with dust jacket. Autograph of Titanic survivor G. Thomas reads: “George Thomas Jr. Survivor of the RMS Titanic, Captain Smith himself put me in the No. 2 life Boat at the age 4 April 15, 1912.” Walter Lord, the author, wrote “Best Wishes to George Thomas, Walter Lord.” Very good condition with only slight wear around the edges.... Read full post

  2. 181218

    Thanks but why does he write in this water lord book and say he was age 4 ? It's the book from the G. Auction in June.

  3. Michael H. Standart

    An imperfect memory perhaps? Confusion? There could be all kinds of reasons for that. I'd just chalk it up to one of those curiousities that come with the study of history. Even the players in the drama we take an interest in don't always get it right.

  4. 181218

    Yes ! I'm not familiar with him as a survivor so maybe he was getting on a bit and mistaken. For all I know there could have been a whole group of people asking him to sign things hence this could have been written rather quickly in order to get onto the next person. I read his obituary on Titanica, but can’t find any off his accounts of the sinking ?

  5. Michael H. Standart

    >>I read his obituary on Titanica, but can’t find any off his accounts of the sinking ?

  6. 181218

    Well I hope they exist but if they don't then they don't. I understand/agree the 2 out of 3 Titanic survivors today also not wanting anything to do with the Titanic for the reasons you said.Having said that he seemed willing to sign books on the subject and at a public functions ( I assume ) as Water Lord was there. This gives me the impression that it was a public Titanic function maybe. So maybe his accounts do exist . I would write to T.H.S and ask but there would be no point - they are very busy. I find it interesting that he says captain smith put him in a life boat.

  7. Paul Lee

    Did any of the Thouma family give interviews about their escape? I know George Thomas was very popular at THS conventions before he passed away but I don't have any of his interview notes to hand. Cheers Paul

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Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Miss Mariyam Tu'mah
Age: 9 years 5 months and 30 days (Female)
Nationality: Syrian Lebanese
Last Residence: in Tibnīn, Syria
Embarked: Cherbourg on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 2650, £15 4s 11d
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Died: Wednesday 12th August 1953 aged 50 years
Buried: New Calvary Cemetery, Flint, Michigan, United States

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