Mrs Eliza Johnston

Mrs Andrew Emslie Johnston was born as Elizabeth Watson around 1876 in Bracadale on the Isle of Skye in the Inner Hebrides, Scotland.

She was the daughter of William Watson (b. 1827), a shepherd, and Margaret "Peggy" Ross (b. 1832), both natives of Rossshire who were married on 30 May 1851 in Alness, Ross and Cromarty. They seemingly initially settled in Sutherlandshire where their first three children were born before settling on the Isle of Skye sometime around 1856. They had thirteen known children in all: Andrew (b. 1853), Christina (b. 1855), James (b. 1857), Margaret Ann (b. 1858), Catherine (b. 1859), Dolina (b. 1861), William (b. 1864), Thomas Neil (b. 1866), Catherine (b. 1868), Neil (b. 1869), Robert (b. 1871), Robert (b. 1873), Elizabeth (b. 1876).

Elizabeth appears on the 1881 census when she was living at Gruile 2, Bracadale. Her father had passed away by the time of the 1891 census and the family home had passed into the hands of her brother Neil, a postman, who then lived with her widowed mother and sister Kate at Harport House, Bracadale, although Elizabeth was not present at this address and her whereabouts are unknown. By the time of the 1901 census she was living in Govan, Glasgow and residing at 52 Aytoun Road and described as a domestic table maid to a wealthy industrial family.

She was married in the United Free Presbyterian Church, Alexandria, Glasgow on 24 December 1902 to Andrew Emslie Johnston (b. 1876), a plumber from Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The couple settled in Croydon, Surrey, England and had two children: William Andrew (b. 1903) and Catherine Nellie (b. 1905). The family appear on the 1911 census living at 21 Luna Road, Thornton Heath, Croydon.

Also living in England, but in the county of Sussex, was Elizabeth's elder sister Margaret Ann Ford. Margaret's daughter Frances, was already in the United States working as a domestic servant, and so impressed the family with tales of a better life that both families decided to leave for America. Travelling with them was a friend of the Watsons, Alice Harknett. The Johnstons originally intended sailing in October 1911 but decided to wait for the Fords. Their passage was originally booked on the Philadelphia, but owing to the coal strike a further postponement had to be made, and the party ultimately sailed on the Titanic which boarded at Southampton as third class passengers (ticket number W./C. 6607 which cost £23, 9s).

The entire party of ten were lost in the sinking. Their bodies, if recovered, were never identified.


Articles and Stories

Concord Enterprise (1913) 
Chicago Examiner (1912) 
Croydon Times (1912) 

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References and Sources

Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
Names and Descriptions of British Passengers Embarked at the Port of Southampton, 10 April 1912 (PRO London, BT 27/780B)
Marriages, births, deaths and injuries that have occurred on board during the voyage (PRO London, BT 100/259-260)
Search archive British newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2015) Eliza Johnston (ref: #911, last updated: 16th June 2015, accessed 30th September 2020 21:15:16 PM)