Encyclopedia Titanica

Ralph Lester Wells

Ralph Wells
Ralph Lester Wells, summer 1912
© Iris Stacey, USA

Ralph Lester Wells was born in Newlyn, Cornwall, England on 12 December 1909.

He was the son of Arthur Henry Wells (b. 1883), a railway conductor originally from London, and Addie Dart Trevaskis (b. 1883), a dressmaker from Cornwall who had married in 1907. He had one sibling, his elder sister Joan (1908-1933).

Ralph's father had emigrated to Akron, Ohio in 1910 with his maternal uncle Adednego Trevaskis (1877-1934) where they gained employment and lived at 279 Arch Street. Ralph, his mother and sister would be shown on the 1911 census living at 24 Alma Place, Heamoor, Penzance, the home address of his maternal grandparents. By April 1912 Ralph and his family resided at Nevada Place, Heamoor.

To join his father in America, Ralph, his mother and sister boarded the Titanic at Southampton as second class passengers (ticket number 29103 which cost £23). Accompanying them to the dock had been his uncle William Wells (b. 1890) who would later be joining the family in Akron. The family had originally been booked to travel on the Oceanic but were transferred due to the coal strikes.

Whilst aboard his mother made the acquaintance of several other Cornish families, including Mrs Agnes Davies and Mrs Emily Richards and their families, and it could be surmised that Ralph spent his time playing with Mrs Davies' son John and Mrs Richards' sons William and Sibley.

Addie and her children were well asleep when the ship struck the iceberg and she awoke to a tremendous jolt. She heard a commotion and a friend yelled "Dress quickly: there's some trouble I believe, but I don't know what it is." She dressed herself and her children but found attempts to make it to the upper decks difficult as several familiar passages were now locked. Once they reached the boat deck they were guided to lifeboat 14, in which they departed. Mrs Wells described the boat as being so crowded that she could only stand held her children in her skirts to keep them dry. On the Carpathia, Mrs Wells refused to sleep below and supposedly they slept on deck.

Upon arrival in New York the Wells family were met in New York City by his father and his uncle Abednego who had travelled from Akron. They spent the night of the 19th at the Star Hotel, 57 Clarkson Street before journeying to Akron.

In America Ralph gained two siblings, Arthur Lovesy (1918-2008) and Charles Owen (1921-2002) and would live in Akron for the rest of his life. He later worked as a shipping and receiving clerk at George J. Myer Manufacturing, a machine parts producer. Socially, he was a member of the Eagles Aerie 2238 and later president of the Grand Aerie Fraternal Order of Eagles.

He was married in Summit, Ohio on 6 January 1950 to Colina Troutman, née McDonald. Colina had been born in Scotland in 1915, came to the USA in 1923 and was married to an American, Lee Troutman (b. 1915), a machinist, and with him had two children: Sherry Lee (b. 1936, later Johnson) and Wilbur (1937-2007). What became of Lee Troutman is not certain. Ralph and Colina had no children of their own.

Ralph died suddenly on 27 September 1972 aged 62. He was buried in Mt Peace Cemetery in Akron. His widow Colina died in 2016 aged 101.

References and Sources

Beacon Journal, Akron, Ohio, 28 September 1972, Obituary
Beacon Journal, Akron, Ohio, May 15, 2016, Death Notice (Corina Wells)

Newspaper Articles

West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser (18 April 1912) Penzance party on Titanic bound for Akron
Seven adults and four young children from Penzance all bound to Akron.
Akron Beacon Journal (3 June 1953) Addie and Ralph Wells in 1953
Akron Beacon Journal (28 September 1972) RALPH WELLS, 62, 'TITANIC' SURVIVOR


Western Daily Mercury (1912) Addie Wells with her children Joan and Ralph
Akron Beacon Journal (1912) Joan and Ralph Wells

Documents and Certificates

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Comment and discuss

  1. Arne Mjåland

    Remember Ralph Wells. To day it is 30 years since he died in Akron, OH. The present owner of the house Raplh lived in in 1972 kindly sent me pictures of the house. Not only that, he also wrote about his house and the area: "Enclosed is picture of 3 unit building Mr. Wells lived in 2nd. floor. The neighbourhood in the 605 + 705 was nice middle class working neighbourhood". He even later sent me "street" pictures and apartment pictures of his house.

  2. laraine asciak

    laraine asciak

    hi arne i just rec the letter this morning and had to come into here for your address as i lost in emails clean up also thanks for the pic of house thats great and really appreciated , i am related to ralphs father arthur who is my great grand fathers brother and i will now put him and hes family into my tree which im doing and hopefully some one in america might see and get in touch as i would love to hear from the lady iris stacey who is a wells .thank you again and hope to still hear from you bye laraine x

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Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Master Ralph Lester Wells
Age: 2 years 4 months (Male)
Nationality: English
Last Residence: in Heamoor, Cornwall, England
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 29103, £23
Rescued (boat 14)  
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Died: Wednesday 27th September 1972 aged 62 years
Buried: Mt. Peace Cemetery, Akron, Ohio, United States

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