Mrs 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
Courtesy of Michael A. Findlay, USA

 

Pictures

Compton Family Plot - Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Newark, New Jersey
COMPTON FAMILY PLOT - MOUNT PLEASANT CEMETERY, NEWARK, NEW JERSEY
 

Articles and Stories

Asbury Park Evening Press (1912) 
Asbury Park Evening Press (1912) 
Newark Evening News (1912) 
New York Herald (1912) 
Newark Evening News (1912) 
 

Comment and discuss

  1. 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. avatar

    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 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 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. avatar

    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 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. avatar

    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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Credits

Gavin Bell, UK
Michael A. Findlay, USA
Hermann Söldner, Germany
Craig Stringer, UK
Geoff Whitfield, UK

References and Sources

Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
Search archive British and Irish newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

(2020) Mary Eliza Compton Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #77, updated 27th January 2020 17:24:57 PM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-survivor/mary-eliza-compton.html