Encyclopedia Titanica

Sylvia Mae Caldwell

Second Class Passenger

Sylvia Mae Caldwell
Sylvia Mae Caldwell

Mrs Albert Francis (Sylvia Mae Harbaugh) was born on 23 July 1883 in Pittsburgh, Pa., the daughter of Chambers C. and Sylvia Harris Harbaugh.

She attended Park College in Missouri, whilst there she met Albert Francis Caldwell they married in 1909, shortly after their graduation. In 1911 Sylvia gave birth to a son, Alden Gates Caldwell.

For some time the couple had been working in Siam (now Thailand.) where they taught at the Bangkok Christian College for Boys in Bangkok.

(© Charles Caldwell, USA)

They booked passage home on the Titanic, boarding in Southampton as second class passengers. The family were traveling to Biggsville, Illinois.

On the evening of the disaster, the family made their way to the boat deck. Mrs Caldwell got into lifeboat 13, Alden was tossed to Steward Frederick Ray in the stern and Mr Caldwell stepped into the bow as the boat was lowered.

On 21 December, 1914 a second son, Raymond M. Caldwell, was born.

Albert and Sylvia were divorced in 1930.

Sylvia moved to Bloomington and eventually she met, and on 8th January, 1944 married, George J. Mecherle. Mr Mecherle died in 1951 at the age of 73.

Mrs Mecherle was a member of the second Presbyterian Church, Chapter 50 of Order of the Eastern Star; a life member of the Bloomington Country Club and Bloomington-Normal Art Association, a member of the Brokaw Hospital League and an active participant for years in the work of the Community Players.

Towards the end of her life, Mrs Mecherle lived at 305 Grant Road, Bloomington, IL. She died on 14th January, 1965.


Raymond M. Caldwell died 28th April, 1990 in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mrs Sylvia Mae Caldwell (née Harbaugh)
Age: 28 years 8 months and 23 days (Female)
Nationality: American
Marital Status: Married to Albert Francis Caldwell
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 248738, £29
Rescued (boat 13)  
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Died: Thursday 14th January 1965 aged 81 years
Cause of Death:
Buried: East Lawn, Normal, Illinois, United States

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References and Sources

Pittsburgh Post, April 18 1912, Article
Unidentifed Newspaper (Bloomington, Ill), Obituary 15th January, 1965
State of Illinois Medical Certificate of Death (#65-002227)
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
New York Herald, April 19, 1912
The Daily Reflector (Greenville, NC), April 12, 1998
Albert Caldwell (1965) They said that the Titanic could not Sink

Newspaper Articles

Pittsburgh Post (18 April 1912) Mr. and Mrs. Albert C. Caldwell
New York Herald (19 April 1912) Lady Duff Gordon Saw Men Shot by Captain Smith
A man made a rush to get aboard and was shot.
Monmouth Daily Atlas (24 April 1912) Common Sailors Heroes of Titanic, Say Survivors
(1965) Sylvia Mae Caldwell (Death Certificate)
Unidentified Newspaper (15 January 1965) WIFE OF STATE FARM FOUNDER DIES AT 80


Mrs. Sylvia Caldwell
The Caldwell Family
(1912) The Caldwell Family aboard RMS Titanic
Indianapolis News (1912) Sylvia and Alden Caldwell
The Pantagraph (1929) Albert and Sylvia Caldwell in 1929
The Pantagraph (1944) Sylvia Caldwell in the 1940s
The Pantagraph (1955) Sylvia Caldwell in 1955


Mike Poirier Titanic Review (2012) A Rare Titanic Family: The Caldwells' Story of Survival
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Comment and discuss


Charles Caldwell, USA
Peter Engberg-Klarström, Sweden
Michael A. Findlay, USA
Phillip Gowan, USA
Claudia McCann, USA
Rob Ottmers, USA