Mrs Rhoda Mary 'Rosa' Abbott

Mrs Stanton Abbott (?Rosa ?Rhoda), 35, of Providence, Rhode Island, was the wife of Stanton Abbott, a former middleweight champion of England, but had separated from him in early 1911. She was of medium height, had a dark complexion, and long, dark hair. Mrs Abbott supported herself and her sons Rossmore (16) and Eugene (13) by sewing. She was also a soldier in the Salvation Army.

In August of 1911 Mrs Abbott decided to move to England to live with her mother in St. Albanshurst, and she and her boys made the crossing to England on board the Olympic. It wasn't long, however, before Rossmore and Eugene became homesick for Providence, and Mrs Abbott eventually decided to return to the states for her sons' benefit. In April of 1912 she booked her little family's passage back to America as steerage passengers on board the Titanic (ticket number C.A. 2673, £20 5s). Rosa's cabin was close to that of Amy Stanley.

As the Titanic took her final plunge Mrs Abbott and her two sons jumped from the deck, she managed to get into Collapsible A but the two boys were lost. The boat had been swamped as it was launched and its occupants balanced precariously in knee-deep water boat until they were eventually picked up by Collapsible D. Fifth Officer Harold Lowe ensured the survivors were transferred. It drifted away with three bodies still in it, their faces covered by lifebelts.

Amy Stanley later recalled:

"We were very close since we were on the Titanic together. And her stateroom had been near mine. I was the only one that she could talk to about her sons because I knew them myself. She told me that she would get [sic] in the lifeboat if there hadn't been so many people around. So she and her sons kept together. She was thankful that [the] three of them had stayed with her on that piece of wreckage. The youngest went first then the other son went. She grew numb and cold and couldn't remember when she got on the Carpathia. There was a piece of cork in her hair and I managed to get a comb and it took a long time but finally we got it out."

During the voyage to New York Mrs Abbott stayed in a makeshift bed on a padded sheet in the smoking room because her legs were badly damaged from the effects of cold water. Indeed, according to one source (Pellegrino 1988) her injuries were so severe that she did not stir from her cot on the Carpathia until New York and then spent at least two more weeks hospitalized. She was looked after from there by her church (Grace Episcopal Church) in Providence, Rhode Island where her son Rossmore had once been in the boy's choir. It is thought that the Abbott's 3rd class passage back to the U.S. had been arranged by members of Grace Church.




Portrait of Rosa Abbott
Rosa Abbott and her second husband George Williams
George Williams, second husband of Rosa Abbott

Articles and Stories

Voyage (2004) 
New York Times (1912) 
Herts Advertiser & St. Albans Times (1912) 
War Cry! (1912) 
Pawtucket Times (1912) 
Worcester Telegram (1912) 
Chicago Daily News (1912) 
Bridgwater Mercury 

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Trevor Baxter, UK
George Behe, USA
M. Fredrick, USA
Arthur Merchant, USA

References and Sources

Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
John P. Eaton & Charles A. Haas (1994) Titanic: Triumph & Tragedy, 2nd ed. Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1 85260 493 X
Walter Lord (1976) A Night to Remember. London, Penguin. ISBN 0 14 004757 3
Don Lynch & Ken Marschall (1992) Titanic: An Illustrated History. London, Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 0 340 56271 4
Charles Pellegrino (1988) Her Name Titanic
Search archive British newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2017) Rhoda Mary 'Rosa' Abbott (ref: #611, last updated: 16th September 2017, accessed 27th September 2020 19:41:37 PM)