Encyclopedia Titanica

Mary Eliza Compton

Mrs Alexander Taylor Compton was born as Mary Eliza Ingersoll in Westchester, New York on 7 August 1847.

She was the daughter of Lorin Ingersoll (1813-1889), a tin manufacturer, and Rebecca Ely Halsey (1819-1890). Both her parents hailed from New York and she had six known siblings: James Harrison (b. 1840), Moses Ely (b. 1842), William (b. 1844), Sarah Maria (b. 1849), John Ely (b. 1856) and Laura J. (b. 1858).

She first appears on the 1850 census living in West Farms, Westchester, New York with her parents and siblings but by the time of the 1860 census she was living with her family in Morrisania, Westchester.

She was married to Alexander Taylor Compton (b. 17 May 1842 in Newark, New Jersey), the son of John and Sarah Jane Compton. He worked as a lawyer in both New York and his native New Jersey.

She and her husband appeared on the 1870 census living with her parents in New York. They went on to have three children: Lorin Ingersoll (1870-1872), Sara "Sadie" Rebecca (b. 1872) and Alexander Taylor Jr (b. 1874). The family would appear on the 1880 census living in New York and on the 1885 census living in East Orange, New Jersey.

Alexander Taylor Compton died on 30 January 1902 and his remaining family later settled in Lakewood, New Jersey.

Together with her son Alexander and daughter Sara, she boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg as a first class passenger (joint ticket number PC 17756, £83, 3s, 2d). Mrs Compton occupied cabin E-45.

Mary and Sara were rescued in lifeboat 14 but her son Alexander was lost. Following their arrival in New York aboard the Carpathia Mrs Compton and her daughter stayed at the Murray Hill Hotel in New York and was she was reportedly devastated at the loss of her son. She later related that when she said goodbye to him on the boat deck as she entered a lifeboat that that would be the last time she saw him.

Following the sinking, Mrs Compton continued to travel the world but made New York City her home base. She continued to spend her summers in Lakewood, New Jersey and died on died 4 December 1930. She is buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Newark, New Jersey.

Compton Grave Grave Inscription
Courtesy of Michael A. Findlay, USA

Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mrs Mary Eliza Compton (née Ingersoll)
Age: 64 years 8 months and 7 days (Female)
Nationality: American
Marital Status: Widowed
Embarked: Cherbourg on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 17756, £83 3s 2d
Cabin No. E45
Rescued (boat 14)  
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Died: Thursday 4th December 1930 aged 83 years
Buried: Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Newark, New Jersey, United States

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Newspaper Articles

Newark Evening News (16 April 1912) LAKEWOOD INQUIRIES
No word received as to their fate.
New York Herald (19 April 1912) Lady Duff Gordon Saw Men Shot by Captain Smith
A man made a rush to get aboard and was shot.
Asbury Park Evening Press (19 April 1912) LAKEWOOD WOMEN ARE AMONG SAVED
Compton's prominent in the winter colony at Lakewood
Newark Evening News (19 April 1912) MRS. COMPTON TELLS OF TITANIC DISASTER
Completely prostrated over the loss of son.
Asbury Park Evening Press (20 April 1912) COMPTONS TELL OF TITANIC DISASTER


Compton Family Plot - Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Newark, New Jersey

Documents and Certificates

1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 US Census
(1912) Contract Ticket List, White Star Line (Southampton, Queenstown), National Archives, London; BT27/776,780


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, New York; NWCTB-85-T715-Vol. 4183.
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Comment and discuss

  1. laddie

    laddie said:

    Just attended a Titanic exhibition. My "boarding pass" was issued in the name of Mrs. Alexander Taylor Compton (nee Mary Eliza Ingersoll) Upon leaving, read the list of those who died - she was listed as not being a survivor, but I understand from the biography listing, that she was a survivor along with her daughter, but not her son. She was in cabin E-45, so assume she was not among the elite of the passengers who received more publicity. Thanks for any help you can give.

  2. Michael H. Standart

    Michael H. Standart said:

    Maybe not elite, but she was in First Class. Considering that her tombstone gives a date of death in 1930, my bet is that she survived the Titanic. Cordially, Michael H. Standart

  3. Ben Holme

    Ben Holme said:

    Laddie, You may also be interested to know that Mary Compton appears to have been the oldest woman on board. Born on 7 August 1847, she was 64 at the time. Best Regards, Ben

  4. Mark Baber

    Mark Baber said:

    It's not much, but the Asbury Park Evening Press published an article about the Comptons on 20 April 1912. It's at

  5. Inger Sheil

    Inger Sheil said:

    The Comptons were also quite possibly the source for an article which appeared in the NYT in the immediate aftermath of the disaster (it describes, among other things, their parting with Alexander on the boat deck and Lowe's rescue efforts). Sara Compton wrote a letter regarding Lowe's handling of #14, extracts of which appear in Gracie's 'The Truth About the Titanic'. Mother and daughter made a joint presentation of a matchbox to Lowe, inscribed Harold Godfrey Lowe In Gratitude Mrs & Miss Compton It is still in the Lowe family collection today.

  6. laddie

    laddie said:

    Thank you all for your information. Now, I have to look at Lowe (assume he was a crew member in charge of the lifeboat). Laddie

  7. Michael H. Standart

    Michael H. Standart said:

    Harold Godfey Lowe was the Fifth Officer and he was the one in command of Lifeboat 14. Go to; for more. Cordially, Michael H. Standart

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Gavin Bell, UK
Peter Engberg-Klarström, Sweden
Michael A. Findlay, USA
Hermann Söldner, Germany
Craig Stringer, UK
Geoff Whitfield, UK