Encyclopedia Titanica

Richard James Slemen

Mr Richard James Slemen was born in Landrake, Cornwall, England on 16 December 1876.

He was the son of Landrake natives William Slemen (b. 1830), a shoemaker, and Augusta Louisa Steed (b. 1851), a dressmaker, who had married not long before his birth in Devonshire.

He had three siblings: Minnie Jane (1879-1884), Hilda Mary (b. 1883) and Arthur William (b. 1888).

Richard first appears on the 1881 census with his mother and sibling Minnie at the home of his widowed maternal grandfather Richard Steed (b. 1814), a gardener, at an address in Landrake. His father is listed elsewhere in the village at the home of Richard's widowed paternal grandmother Mary Slemen (b. 1802). The family are recorded at another address on the 1891 census but this time Richard is absent; aged just 14 Richard has already left school and is working as a page at the home of a medical GP, John B. Kerswill and his family at Fair Field House in St Germans, Cornwall.

His father died in 1899 and his mother was never remarried with Richard becoming the main breadwinner in the family. The family continued to live in Landrake, appearing there on both the 1901 and 1911 census records with Richard being described as a journeyman carpenter on both occasions. He was unmarried.

He embarked Titanic at Southampton and was travelling second class (ticket number 28206 which cost £10, 10s). He was most likely travelling to Nashua, New Hampshire where he was known to have had relatives.

Richard James Slemen was lost in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.

There is a memorial to Richard Slemen on a family gravestone in the cemetery at Landrake, Cornwall.

Image Image
Courtesy of Steve Coombes

His mother August later died in 1921. His brother Arthur later married a woman named Lillian Clarke (b. 1888) and settled in LaSalle, Illinois where they had a daughter named Elizabeth in 1929. They later moved to Riley, Kansas where Arthur was widowed in 1979. He himself died on 15 December 1989 just days short of his 101st birthday.

Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mr Richard James Slemen
Age: 35 years 3 months and 30 days (Male)
Nationality: English
Marital Status: Single
Last Residence: in Landrake, Cornwall, England
Occupation: Journeyman carpenter
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 28206, £10 10s
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Recovered

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References and Sources

Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
British Census 1881, 1891
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Gavin Bell, UK
Steve Coombes, UK
Chris Dohany, USA
Brian J. Ticehurst, UK
Geoff Whitfield, UK