Fletcher Fellowes Lambert Williams was born on 25 July 1868 in a home on Walnut Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of George Foster Williams (1805-1872) and Susan Lucy Fellowes (1829-1915). His birth record lists his name as Arthur Fletcher Williams, his name was later formally changed.1
In July 1870, “Arthur F. Williams” lived with his parents and siblings Lucy, Gertrude, Maud, Ida, Robert, and Percy in Boston. Aunt Charlotte F. Fellowe lived in the household, as did three members of the related Davis family and six servants (four female domestics, a coachman, and a laborer). George Williams was a banker and real estate investor, he reported that he owned $100,000 in real estate and $3,000 in personal property.2 Arthur’s father would die in 1872
In June 1880, Arthur lived with his widowed mother, siblings Lucy, Matilda, Ida, Robert, and George, his aunt Charlotte Fellows, a cousin Charles Davis, and three female servants at 314 Beacon Street in Boston. He was attending school.3 Arthur Fletcher Williams changed his name to Fletcher Lambert Williams on 18 October 1886.4 In 1889 and 1890, Fletcher lived at his mother’s house at 314 Beacon Street in Boston, while working as a clerk.
Fletcher first applied for a passport in Boston on 22 October 1892. He was described as being 5 ft 9 ¾ inches tall, had a high forehead, blue eyes, prominent nose, average mouth, sharp chin, brown hair, light complexion, and a rather spare face. He reported that he was going to Europe and intended to return in three to five years.
A few days after he applied for the passport, Fletcher was married in Boston by W. Dewes Roberts on 27 October 1892 to Mary Elizabeth (Leeds) Goddard. Mary was born on 21 January 1852 in Boston, Massachusetts, daughter of James Leeds and Mary E. (--?--).
Mary was previously married on 20 May 1868 in Boston to Edward S. E. Goddard. He was born on 29 March 1844 in Massachusetts, son of William Warren Goddard and Harriet Irving (his father was a prominent shipbuilder).5 In June 1880, Henry and Mary were “travelling in Europe” when the census was taken.6 The Goddards had a son, Edward Shirley, born on 22 June 1870 in Paris, France, and a daughter, Mary Elizabeth, born on 10 January 1873 in New York. According to passport declarations, the couple spent many years in Italy- from 1868 to 1871, 1875 to 1878, and 1880 to 1883. In June 1880, Edward and Mary, their two children, and four female servants lived at 104 E. 35th Street in New York City. Edward worked as a paper commission merchant.7 Edward died on 14 April 1883, apparently in Europe, and the family returned to the United States afterward.
Fletcher and Mary lived in London, occasionally returning to the United States to visit relatives. In 1895 it was reported: “Mrs. Fletcher Williams with her daughter Miss Goddard (who is registered from London, by the way), is with Mrs. James Leeds at the Dixon cottage, Bar Harbor. Mrs. Williams is quite as much admired this season as when she was the beautiful widow Mrs. Goddard.” She attended a talk at Bar Harbor, “Artists’s Life in Rome” while at Bar Harbor.8 In October 1899, Mary sailed for Liverpool aboard the Dominion Line steamer Canada.9
The couple was probably lived in England when the 1900 United States census was taken. In March 1901, Fletcher headed a household at 6 Wesy Bickenstall Mansions, St. Marylebone, St Mary Bryanston Square in West London, living there with his wife Mary, her daughter Mary Goddard, and an Irish servant, Deborah Flynn. In June 1901, Fletcher attended the annual communion of Christian Scientists outside of Boston. At that time he was living in Manchester, England.10
Fletcher continued to make frequent trips back to the United States to visit family members and probably to conduct business. Williams traveled on the Cretic, leaving Liverpool and arriving in Boston on 30 April 1904. Fletcher sailed from Liverpool aboard the S.S. Arabic and arrived at Boston on 2 June 1906.
The couple left the United States for an extended two-year-long trip on 25 August 1906, staying at 6 Bickenhall Mansions on Gloucester Place in Marylebone, London. Fletcher applied for a passport at the United States Embassy in London, England in March 1907 He was described as being 5 ft 10 ½ inches tall, high forehead, glue-grey eyes, prominent nose, had a moustache and beard, brown hair, medium complexion, long face, and had a “left nostril closed-right nostril open.” They returned to the United States aboard the S.S. Republic , traveling from Liverpool and arriving at Boston on 17 October 1907.
In 1911, Fletcher Williams was living at St. Marylebone, London, along with two servants, Deborah O’Flynn and Bessie Milson (Mary was probably traveling). In December 1911, Mary, who was a resident of London, was visiting her mother Mrs. Leeds at the Cambridge, 483 Beacon Street in Boston, Massachusetts.11
Fletcher was the managing director of the Mono-Service Company of England, a manufacturer of paper cups used in hotels and other businesses. Elmer Taylor had invented the paper cups manufactured by the company.12 Fletcher met Elmer Taylor on the boat train heading for Southampton. He boarded the Titanic there, traveling First Class in Cabin C-128, ticket number 113510 for which he paid 35 pounds. He was coming back to the United States to visit his elderly mother.13
After the collision with the iceberg, Williams was “laying in bed reading, smoking a cigar, and nursing a highball” when Elmer Taylor stopped by to show him a piece of iceberg he picked up on deck, “I’ve brought you some ice for your drink.”14 Fletcher eventually left his cabin and later went up to the Countess of Rothes and told her “that the water-tight compartments must surely hold!”15 He perished in the sinking and his body was not among those recovered and identified.
At first it was uncertain whether he was aboard the Titanic, his name appearing as Lambert Williams on early passenger lists. Eventually it was determined that he was a victim. 16
A funeral was held afterward:
FUNERAL. Fletcher Lambert Williams. Memorial services for Fletcher Lambert Williams of London, who lost his life in the Titanic disaster, were held yesterday afternoon at the home of Mr. Williams’ mother, Mrs. G. Foster Williams, 314 Beacon street. The Rev. Paul Revere Frothingham, pastor of the Arlington Street Church officiated. A large number of friends and relatives were present from Boston and vicinity. A quartet from the Arlington Street Church sang “Nearer My God to Thee” and “Crossing the Bar.”17
A tombstone for Fletcher was erected at the Jamaica Plain Cemetery in Suffolk County, Massachusetts.
Mary Elizabeth was apparently in London at the time of the sinking. She traveled back to the United States and returned to London in February 1913. She was living at 6 Church Road in Southbourne, England in October 1914 when she registered as a widowed woman with the United States Embassy.18 In February 1915, she applied for a passport stating that although her residence was now London, she wished to return to the United States for a visit. She renewed her passport in 1916, 1918, 1919, and 1920. Her unmarried daughter Mary Elizabeth Goddard was living with her for much of this time. On her 1920 application she stated that she planned to visit Great Britain, Ireland, France, Holland, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Scandinavia, and Algeria.
Mary again applied for a passport in December 1922, stating she was planning to travel to England, Italy, France, and Belgium while “painting.” She was described as being 5 ft 3 ½ inches tall, medium forehead, blue eyes, small nose, medium mouth, round chin, had white hair, a ruddy complexion, and an oval face. The date of Mary’s death has not been determined.