Mr Owen Wilmore Samuel was born in Llandilo, Carmarthenshire, Wales around 1865. He was the son of William Samuel (b. 1808), a schoolmaster, and Ann James (b. 1831). Both his parents hailed from Llandilo and had married around 1854.
Owen had six known siblings: Frederick (b. 1856), Edgar (b. 1858), Jane Letitia (b. 1859), Astley (b. 1860), Emma (b. 1863) and Margaret (b. 1872).
Owen first appears on the 1871 census of Wales when he and his family were living at the school house Cilybebyll, Cadoxton, Glamorganshire. His mother died in 1874 and his father was remarried to a woman named Louisa (b. 1853 in Bonvilston, Glamorganshire).
Owen and his family appear on the 1881 census living at Alltwen Hill, Tawyrallt, Cilybebyll. Owen, aged 16, is still listed as a scholar. His father is believed to have died in 1890. Owen probably left home shortly after this and by the time of the 1891 census he was described as a clerk, working and apparently living at drapers B. Evans and Co on Temple Street, Swansea. He left Swansea around 1900 and when he appeared on the 1901 census he was described as an unmarried commercial clerk and then living as a boarder at 47 Fieldhead Road, Ecclesall, Sheffield, Yorkshire.
Owen was married near Liverpool in the second half of 1901 to Elizabeth Mortimer Lamb (b. 5 December 1874 in Eastguard, Pembrokeshire, Wales) before returning to Sheffield. Whilst in Sheffield the couple welcomed their only child, daughter Nina "Mina" (b. 14 June 1902).
Sometime after this, although when is not clear and perhaps encouraged to do so by his wife Elizabeth's brother-in-law John Hardy (Hardy was married to Elizabeth's younger sister, Harriett Morgan, née Lamb), Samuel went to sea. By the time of the 1911 census Owen and his family were boarders at 125 Osborne Road, Portswood, Southampton and he was described as a seaman in the merchant service.
When he signed-on to the Titanic on 4 April 1912 Samuel gave his local address as 125 Osborne Road, Southampton. His previous ship had been the Oceanic and as a second class saloon steward he received monthly wages of £3, 15s. Also serving aboard was his relative, fellow steward John Hardy.
Mr. W. Samuel one of the stewards of the vessel, was at one time in the employ of Messrs. Ben Evans and Co (Limited), Swansea, and is a brother of a well-known Swansea auctioneer. He left Swansea about twelve years ago for Sheffield, and afterwards left the drapery trade and went to Liverpool -Western Mail, 18 April 1912
Owen Wilmore Samuel died in the sinking but his brother-in-law John Hardy was among the rescued. His body was later recovered by the Mackay-Bennett (#217) and was buried at Fairview Lawn Cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia on 8 May 1912.
© Bob Knuckle, Canada
NO. 217. - MALE. - ESTIMATED AGE, 50. - HAIR AND MOUSTACHE, DARK GREY
CLOTHING - Green overcoat; steward's uniform; brown waistcoat.
EFFECTS - Gold stud; glasses; corkscrew; scissors; 1s. 8d in purse. No marks at all.
SECOND CLASS STEWARD No. 22.
NAME ON KNIFE - O. W. SAMUEL. 125 Osborne Rd., Southampton.
Owen Samuel has a memorial at Brandon Hill Cemetery, Wallington in South West London.
Owen's widow Elizabeth never remarried; perhaps never recovering from his loss, in later years she became mentally unbalanced and was eventually committed. By 1939 she was an inmate at the Peckham House Private Mental Hospital in Camberwell, London where she would remain for the rest of her days. She died in 1945 aged 70 and was buried 3 August that year in Sutton, London.
Owen's daughter Nina later became a pharmacist. She was married in Surrey in 1940 to Frederick Cyril Roberts Hands (1902-1978), a civil engineer; they had no children. Nina died in Milford-on-Sea, Hampshire on 11 March 1973.