Mrs Juha Panula (Maija Emelia Abrahamintytar Ojala Ketola), 41, was born on 1 December, 1870, the daughter Susanna Maria Taavettintytar Norrkiilunen and Aaprahami Aaprahaminpoika (Abraham) Ojala Ketola. She had five siblings: Liisa, Anna, Juho Heikki, Emma, Sanna Kaisa and Aaprahami Ojala Ketola.
Maria Panula was married to Mr Juha (John) Juhonpoika Panula on 14 February 1892. They would have eight children in total:
- Juho Eemeli Juhonpoika Panula born 23 Oct 1892-23 Dec. 1892, Kauhajarvi, Finland
- Ernesti Arvid Juhonpoika Panula born 18 May 1895, Cooks Fall, Michigan, USA
- Jaakko Arnold Juhonpoika Panula born 8 Feb. 1897, Cooks Fall, Michigan, USA
- Emma Iita Juhontytar Panula born 24 Feb 1901, Conneaut, Ohio, USA died 8 April 1910, Haapajarvi, Finland (drowned)
- Lyytia Juhontytar Panula born 17 June 1902-23 Dec 1902, Kauhajarvi, Finland
- Juha Niilo Juhonpoika Panula born 1 Sept. 1904 born Haapajarvi, Finland
- Urho Aaprhami (Abrahm) Juhonpoika Panula born 25 April 1909, Yliharma, Finland
- Eino Viljami Juhonpoika Panula born 11 March 1911, Yliharma, Finland
She first came to America in 1893, changed her name to Maria Emelia Panula and settled in Michigan but in 1910 had returned to live in Ylihärmä, Western Finland.
Later they decided the family should emigrate to America and, in February 1912, Maria sold their farm to her brother-in-law for 6500 Fmk. ($1243/£256) She carried most of the money with her, as well as 400 Fmk ($76/£15 15s) in cash. Her husband was living in Coal Centre, Pittsburg. Maria paid 163 Fmk ($31/£6 9s) for the tickets including train to Coal Centre.
She boarded the Titanic at Southampton with her five children: Ernesti Arvid, Jaako Arnold, Juha Niilo, Urho Abraham and Eino Viljami (William). Travelling with them was their neighbour's daughter Sanni Riihivuori who was (possibly) going to become their maid in America.
On the Titanic Ernesti and Jaakko were, as unmarried men, berthed towards the bow of the ship. Maria and her 3 younger sons shared a cabin in the stern with Anna Turja. Turja later told, that one of the older boys had come from the bow and woken them. He had then said that they must hurry to rise because the ship was sinking, otherwise they would "travel to the bottom of the ocean."
Later, in the confusion, Maria lost some of the boys. Anna Turja later met her on deck where she broke down. "She was crying and said that one of her children had drowned back in Finland and should they now drown all here?"
None of the family survived, but Juha Panula had to wait a week for confirmation that they had travelled on the Titanic. He was waiting at his new-repaired home in Coal Center when he got the final news on 21 April 21. He later visited Anna Turja a few times at her home in Ashtabula, Ohio.
The bodies of Maria and her children were never found.
The Mansion House Fund paid £50 to Juha and £50 to Maria's mother. In addition 2527.07 Fmk ($483/£100) was paid to Juha in compensation for the loss of his entire family. This sum was later divided between him and Maria's mother, who had declined a legacy but not compensation. Juha Panula protested because, according to him, he had paid all the tickets and his mother in law had paid nothing. But according to documents £100 was paid and had to be shared equally.
Leif Snellman, Helsinki, Finland
Articles and Stories
The Charleroi Mail (1912)