Mrs Marion Estelle Kenyon

Marion Kenyon

Mrs Frederick Roland Kenyon was born as Marion Estelle Stauffer in Hamburg, Fremont, Iowa on 5 July 1871.1

She was the daughter of John Martin Stauffer (1837-1888), an editor, and Martha Jane Alberson (1841-1938). Both her parents hailed from Pennsylvania and had married around 1865. She had seven known siblings: Etta May (1866-1950, later Mrs Elmer Thomas Massie), Anna Rose (1868-1870), Grace Salome (1873-1967, later Mrs Charles Edward Davis), Maud Valerie (1876-1980, later Mrs George Partridge Baldwin), Carl Martin (1879-1882) Earl John (1884-1939), and Frances Elisabeth (1887-1889). Marion appears on the 1880 census living with her family in Sidney, Fremont, Iowa. After the death of her father in 1888, Marion moved to Omaha, Nebraska with a friend to work in a millinery shop. 

While working, Marion met and married on 8 February 1898 in Manhattan to New York-born Alfred Meinberg (b. 1860) and possibly lived in Chicago, Illinois. She is shown living there in Hyde Park Town as a boarder alongside her sister Grace Davis and it would appear Marion was divorced within the next few years. Following her divorce, her sister Etta moved to Chicago and worked as a secretary. But it is not known whether or not Marion felt it necessary to work; she possibly drew alimony. Her younger sister Maud also soon arrived in New York to study piano and voice. Marion at some point met Michigan born Charles Stuart and they married on 19 March 1902 but once again this marriage failed and they soon divorced. Her next suitor was Frederick Roland Kenyon (b. 1871), a Connecticut-born steel magnate whom she met she met while living in Philadelphia were her sister Grace and her husband Charles Davis were living, and they were wed in Washington, DC on 11 April 1904. Fred Kenyon was involved with the West Leechburg Steel Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the Kenyons settled there in an apartment. They also had a holiday home in Noank, Connecticut. The 1910 census shows the couple living with Fred's widowed mother and unmarried brother in Southington.

In early 1912 the Kenyons had been on vacation in Paris and Panama and were returning to their home aboard Titanic which they boarded at Southampton on 10 April 1912 as first class passengers (ticket number 17464 which cost £51, 17s, 3d). Among their party aboard were Margaret Swift and Dr Alice Leader.

On the night of the sinking Marion and her husband had retired for the night and were preparing for bed when the impact occurred. They redressed and went out on deck where Mrs Kenyon escaped in lifeboat 8. She had asked her husband to follow her but he refused to do so, preferring to remain until all women and children were accounted for. He was lost in the disaster and his body, if recovered, was never identified. She later described her time in the lifeboat and recalled that the crewmen were inexperienced and that she and other ladies helped man the oars during the night. During the voyage, Marion was pregnant with her first child but delivered a stillborn child soon following the disaster.

Following the disaster, Marion moved west to California where her sisters Etta and Grace lived. She was remarried in Santa Monica on 24 December 1916 to Owen Albert Williams (1885-1944) of Noank, Connecticut, a friend of her late husband and who worked in the lumber trade in New York. The couple settled in Santa Monica and were still living there together by the time of the 1920 census but they were later divorced and Marion was living with her mother and sister Dr Grace Davis by the time of the 1930 census, having reverted to the name of Kenyon and by the 1940 Census she and Grace Davis were still living in Santa Monica.

Marion died on 3 October 1958 aged 87 at 2021 Arizona Avenue, Santa Monica, California and was interred at Woodlawn Mausoleum with her sister Etta Massie.


  1. California Death Index gives the date as 5 July 1880, and she would give different ages throughout her life; early census records confirm that she was born in 1871.


The Kenyon Home
Marion Estelle Kenyon

Articles and Stories

Oak Leaves (1912) 
Oak Park Oak Leaves (1912) 
Chicago Daily Tribune (1912) 
Chicago Tribune (1912) 
Evening Bulletin (1912) 
Oak Leaves (1912) 
Chicago Daily Tribune (1912) 
Chicago Daily Tribune (1912) 
Chicago Daily Journal 

Comment and discuss

  1. Mindy Howie said:

    If anyone out there has any additional information on F.R. Kenyon (first class, died) or his wife, Marion Kenyon (survived), other than what's on this site, please e-mail me at . I'm trying to piece together where they came from, what happened to Marion afterward, and what other relatives (particularly on Fredrick's side) survived them. I know from stories passed down in my family that they were my grandfather's aunt & uncle - I'm trying to add some names and details to that information. Thanks in advance for any help you can provide... Read full post


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Gavin Bell, UK
Michael A. Findlay, USA
Craig Stringer, UK
Homer Thiel, USA
Geoff Whitfield, UK

References and Sources

Chicago Daily Tribune (Illinois), 18 April 1912
Chicago Daily Tribune (Illinois), 21 April 1912
California Death Index, 1940-1997
Search archive British and Irish newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2019) Marion Estelle Kenyon (ref: #177, last updated: 3rd July 2019, accessed 9th August 2020 06:40:55 AM)