Mrs Marie Jerwan was born as Marie Marthe Thuillard in Mont-de-Couvet, Kanton Neuenburg, Switzerland on 28 May 1888. She was the daughter of Jean-Pierre Thuillard (b. 1833) and Marie Anna Von Niederhausern (b. 1857) and she had several siblings.
Marie left Switzerland in early 1906 and departed from Le Havre, France aboard La Savoie before arriving in New York on 10 February that year. She was married in Manhattan on 7 July 1910 to Amin Saliba Jerwan (b. 13 December 1876), a native of Beirut, Lebanon who had come to the USA in 1895. The couple, who had known each other since around 1908, remained childless and her husband later worked as a proof reader for Blanchard Press in Manhattan. They lived at 227 West 145th Street.
In early 1912 Marie returned to Switzerland to visit her relatives at Crêt-de-la-Mosse, a farmhouse at Mont-de-Couvet. She had planned to travel back on the Olympic but when that vessel went back to Harland & Wolff for repairs she changed her mind.
Mrs Jerwan boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg as a second class passenger. To reach New York she travelled on ticket number SC/AH 541 which had cost £13, 15s, 10d. She occupied a cabin on D-Deck together with Mrs Ada Balls, a widow from Bristol, England. She became acquainted with other Francophone passengers René Lévy and Jean-Noël Malachard who had a cabin across the hallway.
At 10.30 pm on Sunday evening she was in her cabin and began to read. Suddenly she felt a hard hit and first thought the machines had exploded because they ceased. She went on Deck, after she had woken her cabin companion Ada Balls. She stayed on deck out of apprehension and saw how the seamen made the boats ready for lowering and went back to her cabin. She exclaimed to Ada Balls "Get up, dress, we sink!". Ada fully dressed and left their cabin accompanied by her brother-in-law Reverend Robert Bateman, leaving Marie alone. She packed, dressed, put a coat around her and a hat on her head and in her bag some necessities and left her cabin. On B-Deck she suddenly heard her name being called; it was Jean-Noël Malachard, René Levy and their room-mate. Malachard assured her, "We'll take care of you".
Mrs Jerwan was accompanied to starboard A-deck where several of the aft boats were being filled; she was assisted into lifeboat 11 and as the boat was lowered her friends shouted out their goodbyes.
On the Carpathia Marie wrote a telegram to her husband:
A. S. Jerwan, 227 West 145 New York
Safe on Carpathia
However, because of their tremendous workload the operators never had time to send it.
After arriving at New York she was brought to Sydenham Hospital together with Ada Balls. She stayed just for one day and tried, without success, to get a compensation for the loss of her property, worth $3364.75.
Following the disaster Marie and her husband remained residents of New York and lived for many years at 21 Convent Avenue; they were resident there in 1923 when Marie applied for her passport to make a six month trip to her native Switzerland and France on account of ill health and she travelled to Europe aboard Paris. The passport described her as standing at 5' 4" with an oval face, blue eyes, chestnut hair and a fair complexion.
By the time of the 1940 census Marie and Amin were residing at 3542 73rd Street, Queens, New York. She made another voyage to Switzerland in the early 1960s, this time on a plane.
Marie Jerwan never cared to discuss the Titanic and spent the last years of her life battling cancer. She died on 14 September 1974 at the City Hospital, Elmshurst, Queens, New York.
Articles and Stories
Le Journal de GenÃ¨ve (1912)
Le Journal de Genève (1912)
Phillip Gowan, USA
Hermann Söldner, Germany
References and SourcesDivision of Records Borough of Queens Certificate of Death
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55)
List or Manifest of Alien Passengers for the United States Immigration Officer At Port of Arrival (Date: 18th-19th June 1912, Ship: Carpathia) - National Archives, NWCTB-85-T715-Vol. 4183.
Günter Bäbler (1998) Reise auf der Titanic. Chronos, Zürich
John Booth & Sean Coughlan (1993) Titanic: Signals of Disaster. White Star Publicatons, Westbury, Wiltshire. ISBN 0 9518190 1 1