Mrs Henry Sleeper Harper was born as Myra Raymond Haxtun in Manhattan, New York on 10 February 1863.1
She was the daughter of Benjamin Haxtun (b. 1826), a merchant, and Susan Carman Naylor (b. 1831). She had only one known sibling, her sister Mary Britton (b. 1853, later Mrs John Hopson).
Myra was described as a 17-year-old student when she appeared on the 1880 US census. She was married on 28 February 1889 to Henry Sleeper Harper, who came from a family of publishers, and the couple appeared on the 1900 census living with her widowed father in Manhattan. The wealthy couple remained childless and are believed to have spent their time globetrotting.
In April 1912 the couple were returning from a tour of Europe and Asia. While in Cairo, Egypt Mr Harper had acquired a dragoman (interpreter/guide) named Hammad Hassab; the presence of the handsome but mysterious servant would provide a topic of conversation among the first class passengers on the voyage home. Also joining them was Harper's Pekinese dog, Sun Yat-Sen.
The Harpers boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg. Travelling in first class (ticket number PC 17572 which cost £76, 14s, 7d), they occupied cabin D-33.
After the collision the Harpers were roused and went up to the Boat Deck where they later sat in the gymnasium. They ventured out onto the starboard side and the Harpers, Hassan, and the dog were allowed to enter lifeboat 3.
The occupants of boat 3 were rescued by the Carpathia at around 6:00 on the morning of April 15. Mr Harper was heard to remark on how small the rescue ship looked with its one smokestack compared to the ship he had just been on.
Meanwhile word had arrived that they were safe:
Myra and her husband continued to live in Manhattan. She died there on 14 November 1923 2 aged 60 and was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York, eventually being joined by her husband and his new wife Anne when they also passed away.
Michael J. Findlay, USA
Jefffrey Kern, USA
Jacob Walter Shober, USA
- Her grave says 1864
- Some sources say 27th November 1923
Articles and Stories
New York Times (1912)
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