Mr Sa'īd Antūn Nakid was born in Ihdin, Zaghartā, al Batrūn, Lebanon on 6 July 1891.1
He was the son of Antūn Nakid and Cattur "Kate" Habīb (b. 1853) 2. He was married at a young age to Wadi'ah Muawwad (b. 1892) who was from the same village. Their first child Mariayam was born around the Spring of 1911.
His mother lived in Waterbury, Connecticut at 31 Bridge Street where she was described on the 1910 census as a peddler. Sa'īd decided to settle there with his young family. To reach their destination they boarded Titanic at Cherbourg as third class passengers (ticket number 2653 which had cost £15, 14s, 10d).
Mr Nakid later recounted his experiences in The Waterbury Republican on 25 April 1912.
"The first I knew that the boat was in danger was when one of the officers came running thru (sic) the steerage and told us to go on deck as fast as we could, as the ship was sinking. My wife and I had been sleeping soundly and did not feel any jar. We could see by the slope of the floor that the boat was going down and not waiting to put on any more clothes we rushed up to the deck with the baby. We had to go up three stories before we came to where the boats were. At that time the bow of the boat was way down in the water and the stern was sticking up at a slant, way out of the water... The boat we got into was one of the last to leave the ship and it left in such a hurry that there were only about twenty on board. Six of these were men to row the boat and there was one other man.
The sailors saw my wife who had only her nightgown on, and me with the baby, and motioned for her to take a seat in the boat. She did so. I helped her over the side of the boat and was going to get in with her when one of the sailors pushed me back and motioned for me to stay behind. I pointed to the baby and he took it away from me and gave it to my wife. The baby started to cry and reached out her hands to me, but even then the sailors would not let me get in. Just then I saw another boat nearby being loaded preparatory to going in the water. It was nearly full of women when I saw a man try to get in. The sailors held him back but he managed to break thru (sic) them and jumped into the boat. When he stood up a sailor pulled out a reveolved and shot him. The man's body tumbled over the side of the boat and that was the last I saw of him.
I saw it would not be well to take a chance like that and waited. The baby pleaded with the sailors to let me get into the boat but they would not allow it. There was plenty of room there for more., and as there were no more women to get in, I determined to take a chance. . As the boat was being lowered I jumped into it and fell flat on my face. The women covered me over with their skirts and I laid there. There had been so much confusion in casting off that the sailors did not see me jump and of course did not see me afterwards...
Sa'īd, for fear of being discovered, lay under cover in the bottom of the boat for what he estimated was close to five hours and did not see the final throes of the Titanic. He did hear the cries of those drowning, accompanied by the sobs of the women in the lifeboat.
Arriving aboard Carpathia, Sa'īd recalled being wrapped in warm blankets and receiving fine treatment from the passengers and crew of that vessel. Upon arrival in New York he, his wife and daughter were taken care of in St Vincent's Hospital and was also given clothing and money ($62.30). His mother, who had been unaware that her son and his family were travelling aboard Titanic, hastened to New York to meet them.
Sa'īd and his family settled in Waterbury, Connecticut, Anglicising their surname to "Nackid". Further tragedy was to strike when their daughter Mariayam died on 30 July 1912 as a result of meningitis. She was the first person among the 712 Titanic survivors to die.
Sa'īd later worked as a labourer in a brass mill and his WWI draft registration describes him as of medium height and build with blue eyes and black hair. By 1920, at the time of the census, the family were residents of 52 Bridge Street in Waterbury, later moving to Pemberton Street. He and his wife went on to have five children in their new homeland: Thomas (1913-1962), John A. (1917-1966), Catherine (1921-1954), Anthony Thomas (1923-2001) and Frederick R. (1926-1988).
Sa'īd died in Waterbury on 30 December 1926 , aged just 35, as a result of tuberculosis and only months after welcoming his youngest child Frederick on 8 May that year. He was buried in Calvary Cemetery in Waterbury. His widow died in 1963, having never remarried, and she was buried with him.
His last surviving child, Anthony, died in Waterbury on 25 February 2001 and he still has a large number of descendants living in the Waterbury area.
Michael A. Findlay
- Some sources say 7 August 1891. The July date comes from his USA WWI draft registration
- The Waterbury Republican (25 April 1912), gives his mother's name as Mrs Josephine Nakak. When she appears on the 1910 census, as Mrs Katherine Antonia, she is described as a 40-year-old peddler and resident of 31 Bridge Street, Waterbury and the mother of three children. The same census states she had emigrated circa 1885 whilst a later census, 1920, states she had emigrated around 1893.
The Waterbury Republican, 25 April 1912: Tells How He Saved His Life
Leila Salloum Elias (2011) The Dream and Then the Nightmare: The Syrians who Boarded the Titanic, the Story of the Arabic-speaking Passengers