Mrs John Borland Thayer (Marian Longstreth Morris), 39, from Haverford, Pennsylvania, her husband John B. Thayer and son Jack Thayer boarded the Titanic as first class passengers. Mrs Thayer's maid Margaret Fleming travelled with them.
At around 5 p.m. on the afternoon of Sunday April 15, Marian went to the stateroom of her friend Emily Ryerson to ask if she would care to join her for a walk. Mrs Ryerson agreed, which delighted Marian because it was the first time Mrs Ryerson had been on deck in public during the voyage. She was in mourning for a son killed the week before in Bryn Mawr, PA.
The two ladies walked for nearly an hour before settling into deck chairs outside the aft staircase on A-Deck to enjoy the sunset. As they sat their they were approached by Bruce Ismay. He sat down, and after asking whether the ladies were comfortable and enjoying the trip, he explained to them about the possibility of meeting icebergs in the area. He showed them the ice warning from the Baltic that Captain Smith had passed to him.
The family were preparing for bed when the collision occurred. Jack went up immediately to investigate, he returned to their stateroom and they followed him back on deck.
'I saw what looked like a number of long, black ribs, apparently floating nearly level with the surface of the water, parallel with each other I [and the side of the ship] but separated from each other by... two or three feet of water... the nearest one being probably twenty feet from the ship, and they extended from near the bow to about amidship. I saw no high iceberg at the time.'
Marian said good-bye to Jack her husband at the top of the grand staircase on A deck. She and Miss Fleming then went onto A deck on the port side. The two men thought she was safely off the ship until Chief Second Steward George Dodd told them that she was still aboard. He them took them to her.
Jack somehow lost his parents in the confusion on deck but John B. and Marian eventually made their way back to the port side forward on A deck. By around 12.30 a.m. they and other first class passengers waited by the windows of the enclosed promenade to board lifeboat 4 which hung in the davits on the over side of the glass. After first being led up to the Boat Deck and then back down again Mrs Thayer exclaimed 'tell us where to go and we will follow!.'
The boat finally left at 1.55 a.m. With only two seamen aboard Mrs Thayer and the other ladies grabbed the oars and helped to row.
During the night when lifeboat 12, with boat 4 alongside, picked up the survivors from the upturned collapsible B Mrs Thayer was too numbed with cold to see that her son Jack had also been saved. Their reunion had to wait until 8.30 a.m. when boat 12 arrived at the Carpathia. On meeting her son she asked 'Where's daddy' Jack answered 'I don't know, mother.'
After they disembarked from the Carpathia Marian, Jack and Margaret Fleming made their way to Jersey City, NJ where they boarded a private train back to Haverford.
On 31 May Marion dined with Madeleine Astor and Florence Cumings. The guests of honour were Captain Rostron and Dr. McGhee of the Carpathia.
Marian never claimed from White Star for the loss of her husband's life, but curiously, she did claim for the loss of their luggage.
Marian Thayer never remarried, she continued to live in Haverford, Pennsylvania and died on April 14, 1944.
Courtesy of Michael A. Findlay, USA