Mr Theodoor De Mulder

Theodoor de Mulder

Mr Theodoor (Theodore) De Mulder, 30, was born in Nederhasselt, Belgium on 15 September 1881. Growing up in Aspelare, Belgium, he was a farmer and in 1907 had married Jeanette D'Hondt. The couple had two children. The poor living conditions drove Theodore to journey to America to work as a farm hand for the sugar beet season near Detroit, Michigan.

He boarded the Titanic at Southampton as a third class passenger (ticket number 345774, £9 10s).

Theodore was one of four Belgian men who would survive the sinking. According to him, he reached the Boat Deck with Jean Scheerlinckx and Jules Sap. All three would later give numerous and conflicting accounts of how they survived so it remains unclear just how they left the Titanic. All later claimed to have jumped into the sea and were rescued by passing lifeboats. Theodore himself told how he was rescued after clinging to a chair he had thrown into the sea. More than likely, much of the evidence seems to indicate that all three men left together in either boats 11, 13 or 15 since a large percentage of third class men escaped in these boats. Sap had mentioned years later that several women had hid him under their skirts - an action that would not have taken place aboard one of the two collapsible boats that floated free of the ship.

After his rescue, De Mulder joined his friends Sap and Scheerlinckx in a travelling road show. When they lost all their promised money (see Scheerlinckx), the American Red Cross assisted him. De Mulder received $300.00 with the notation that he had "a wife and two young children, as well as a dependent aged father and mother-in-law in Belgium." He had lost all his baggage and money which was valued at $200.00.

With the exception of William DeMessemaeker, Theodore DeMulder would remain in the United States the longest of all the Belgians. He made it to Detroit and found a job with the Ford Motor Company but left a few years later to take up farming in Canada. In 1921, Theodore was finally reunited with his wife and two sons (their arrival had been further delayed because of the World War). Three other children were later born in the U.S.

The Great Depression of 1929 hit the De Mulders hard and they returned to Belgium in 1931. De Mulder had become an American citizen but decided to remain in Belgium. He and his family settled back down in their hometown of Aspelare. De Mulder turned his home into a "roadside cafe" and named it "In den TITANIC. ("In the Titanic). He then paid a visit to Mrs Marie Van de Velde, whose husband, Johannes, had perished in the sinking.

The "Titanic" cafe was demolished in 1951 when the road was widened and a new house built.

Theodoor De Mulder

Theodore De Mulder in a later passport picture

Theodore De Mulder died on 19 April 1954 at the age of 72. Two of his five sons still live in the United States, two in Canada and his son Edmond in the family home at Aspelare.

In 1912, Mrs De Mulder had erected a cross to thank God for having saved her husband and to honour the memory of those who perished from Denderhoutem. The cross still stands in Aspelare.

 

Pictures

THEODORE DEMULDER : SWIMS RIVER
Windsor Star  (1930) 
THEODORE DEMULDER : SWIMS RIVER
Theodore Demulder one time champion swimmer
Asbury Park Press  (1930) 
THEODORE DEMULDER ONE TIME CHAMPION SWIMMER
Julius Sap, Theodoor De Mulder and Jean Scheerlinck
(1912) 
JULIUS SAP, THEODOOR DE MULDER AND JEAN SCHEERLINCK
 

Articles and Stories

(1932) 
Unidentified Newspaper 
 

Comment and discuss

  1. Arne Mjåland said:

    I had a letter about him and his family in September 2000 from Omer Scheerlinck, Belgium. As his information about the Mulders conflicts a bit with what is on the ET biograghy about them, I bring some of what he wrote here: "You had sent another letter to the same adress in 1999, but it was in the hands of Mrs Edmund De mulder. Edmund De Mulder died 4 years ago (It must be in 1996) and was a son of Theodor De Mulder, a survivor of the Titanic disaster. In relation to the Encyclopedia Titanica the information should be changed as follows: Theodoor De Mulder had five children, four sons and... Read full post

  2. Sonja van Rooijen said:

    I think its De vlamingen op de Titanic, not the

  3. david e . helms said:

    Re: good titanic history.i have a picture & signature of milvena dean, one of few remaining survivors. does anyone out there know how i can get a copy of liland asplund's funeral bulletin. she died several months ago. thanks for any help you can offer. sincerely, david helms

  4. Theo said:

    Re: my name is Theodore Charles Dalton II son of Theodore Dalton I, son of Joseph Dalton I, Son of Theodore De Mulder. For some time I searched for my historical blood line on the internet and this article is the best I've come accross. There is not much out there concerning the De Mulder lineage. Some things were confirmed and some other details were new, but I still desire to get in touch with more information concerning this blood line and get to know my family of time gone by.

  5. Theodore C. Dalton II (DeMolder) said:

    Re: My name is Theodore C Dalton II; I can claim the original heritage surname De Mulder from Belgium decent. What a wonderful find for me as I've sought to know my heritage more in-depth. This article is about my great grandfather De Mulder which is derived the surname Miller as well. This research has furthered my understanding of the family line and I would love to get more information of the Cafe' Titanic as well as a historical record of the family members mentioned in this article. So, all you De Mulder descendants- craft,... Read full post

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Credits

Herman DeWulf, Belgium Michael A. Findlay, USA Georges Picavet, Belgium Kassandra Picavet, Belgium

References and Sources

Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
Herman De Wulf and Michael A. Findlay (1998) The Belgians and the Titanic. Voyage. #27
Search archive British and Irish newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2013) Theodoor De Mulder (ref: #767, last updated: 20th August 2013, accessed 3rd June 2020 20:09:10 PM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-survivor/theodoor-de-mulder.html