Henry Sutehall Jr. was born in England on 23 July 1886, the first son of Henry Sutehall, Sr., born in 1864, and Sarah Stanton Sutehall, born in 1866. His father and mother had married on 2 August 1885 and had built a family consisting of Henry and two siblings before leaving England for the United States in 1895. Both his sister, Clara, born in 1889, and his brother, William, born a year later in 1890, were born in England. Following immigration to America, the Sutehalls settled in the Buffalo, New York are and two more children were born: Ella, in 1897, and Edwin, in 1902.
Henry's father was a plasterer and worked on some of Buffalos' finest new constructions. One of those buildings was the cathedral on Delaware Street in Buffalo designed by architect and fellow Titanic passenger Edward A. Kent. Henry's mother operated the family's corner store at 2852 Delaware Avenue at the intersection of Mang Street in Kenmore, a suburb of Buffalo.
Henry, called Harry by his friends and family, worked as a "trimmer", installing and repairing upholstery in carriages and early automobiles. It was at his workplace, E. E. Denniston's in Buffalo, that he met a young man named Howard Irwin, who rapidly became his best friend.
On 1 January 1910 Henry and Howard embarked on a world tour and travelled throughout the United States during 1910. As Howard recorded in a diary only recently recovered from the wreck of the Titanic:
"On Jan. 1st, Harry Sutehall and myself started on a trip around the world. Working our way, stopping in all the principalities between Buff & Frisco. From there to Australia, then through the Suez Canal & Med. Sea to England. From there to New York and Buffalo we figure. With luck this trip will take us two years and with bad luck (WELL) we are going anyway."
When they were fortunate, they found work at their trade as trimmers. Other times, they worked at any job they could find, even picking peaches in California. In mid 1911, they left the United States for Australia. Finding employment in their profession, they remained there for a time. While in Sydney Henry met a young lady with whom he fell deeply in love. Research has not yet uncovered her name, but Henry's descendants tell the story of his young lady in Australia, to whom he became engaged. His intentions, according to letters home, were to return eventually to Australia and marry this woman.
Neither Henry or Howard were wealthy people so it was a second piece of good fortune that Henry won a sweepstake that helped to fund the rest of the tour. Both were musicians also and it is likely that they were able to earn extra money in this way. Henry and Howard parted company when they left Australia but it is believed that they reunited briefly in Durban, South Africa and vowed to meet again in England early in 1912 to conclude the voyage home together.
Henry's movements during the time he and Howard were travelling separately are unknown. He eventually arrived in England to spend time with his many relatives, he had previously revisited England in 1907. Howard had arrived in England about a week before Henry and the two reunited travellers spent time together awaiting the day Titanic would depart.
Henry boarded the Titanic at Southampton on 10 April 1912 with him were items of Howard's luggage but Howard himself did not board the ship.
In 1993, during recovery efforts at the wreck site a steamer trunk was recovered and taken to France for restoration. After 81 years at the bottom of the ocean, Howard Irwin's personal possessions were found. Among the trunk's contents were love letters from 21 year old Pearl Shuttle, a travelling musician, to Howard Irwin. Pearl died of pneumonia in October 1911. It is possible that Irwin had received word of her illness and hastened home leaving some of his belongings with Henry.
Henry died in the sinking, his body, if recovered, was never identified.
Henry's father was appointed by the courts as Administrator of Henry's estate after his death. They received $200 in damages from the White Star line on 14 March 1916.
Howard Irwin died in 1953.
Dave Shuttle, USA
Barbara Shuttle, USA
Articles and Stories
Washington Herald (1912)