Mrs Percy Coleman Corey was born as Mary Emma Miller in Pennsylvania (possibly Cambria County) in August 1879.1
She was the eldest daughter of John Alexander Miller and Sarah Jarrett, both Pennsylvania natives, and she had eight siblings: John (b. 1883), twins Albert and Bertha (b. 1885), Howard (b. 1887), Percy (b. 1890), Elva (b. 1894), Lydia (b. 1896) and Sarah (b. 1899).
The family appeared on the 1900 census living in Elliott, Pittsburgh and on the 1910 census within Pittsburgh city itself.
Mary, known as Mamie, later worked as a school teacher, teaching at Westlake School. She was married on 26 August 1911 in Windsor, Essex, Ontario to Percy Coleman Corey (b. 20 June 1874), a native of Pennsylvania and son of Joseph Corey and Anna Waite. Percy had previously been married in 1896 to Minnie Bedford (b. circa 1876) and they had a son, Harold (b. 1895) but they were later divorced.
Mary moved to Burma where her husband was working as a superintendent at a petroleum company. She fell pregnant whilst in Burma and decided to return to Pennsylvania to have her baby. She boarded the Titanic in Southampton as a second class passenger and was travelling with Mrs Claire Karnes (joint ticket number 13534, which cost £21), also a resident of Pittsburgh and whose husband Frank worked for Percy Corey in Burma where the two ladies became acquainted. Claire was also pregnant.
Mary probably spent the last day of the Titanic in the second class library. Lawrence Beesley wrote:
"Close beside me--so near I cannot avoid hearing scraps of their conversations--are two American ladies, both dressed in white, young, probably friends only: one had been to India and is returning by way of England, the other is a schoolteacher in America, a graceful girl with a distinguished air heightened by a pair of pince-nez."
Both Mary Corey and her friend Claire Karnes became two of only a dozen women travelling second class to die. The reason for their not leaving Titanic is unknown.
Mary's widower Percy later returned to the USA and was remarried in 1914 in Los Angeles, California to Hazel Eugenia McDaniels, née Cranston (b. 1890) 2, a divorcee. That marriage was also brief and he was married again to an English woman, Florence Agnes Snell (1887-1971) and they had two daughters, both born in Burma: Margaret and Patricia. His son from his first marriage, Harold, was killed in an aviation accident in New York in 1919.
Percy died in San Luis Obispo, California on 3 April 1960.
Homer Thiel, USA
- Birthplace unclear. When she appeared as an infant on the 1880 census she was living with her parents in Gallitzin, Cambria, Pennsylvania.
- Previously married on 17 April 1911 in Los Angeles to Jesse Howard McDaniels (b. 1883) but divorced within the year. Jesse McDaniels was remarried at least twice, firstly on 24 April 1912.
Articles and Stories
Cleveland Plain Dealer (1912)