Encyclopedia Titanica

Samuel Beard Risien

Mr Samuel Beard Risien was born in Deal, Kent, England on 3 June 1842.

He was the son of Samuel Smillie Risien (1807-1885), a coal merchant, and Elizabeth Chambers (1908-1889), both Kent natives who had married in Deal on 28 October 1833. He had seven known siblings: Elizabeth Ludlam (b. 1835), Joseph (b. 1837), Jonathan Braily (b. 1839), Alfred William (b. 1845), Jonathan (b. 1846), Emily Turton (1850-1897) and Edmund Ebeneezer (b. 1853).

When he first appears on the 1851 census living at 121 Lower Street in Deal he is aged 9, still at school but already working alongside his father as a coal merchant. He later worked as a carpenter and was described as such when he was recorded on the 1861 census, then living as a lodger at an address in Newington, Surrey.

He was married in London on 8 June 1867 to Mary Louisa Lellyett (b. 1846), a native of Havant, Hampshire and who was the daughter of Walter and Charlotte Lellyett. The couple had four children: Samuel Walter (b. 1868), Katie Elizabeth (b. 1870 1), Alfred William (b. 1872) and Charles James (1880-1948). They had emigrated from England to the USA not long after the birth of their first child and remaining children had been born in Michigan. By the time of the 1880 census they were living in Groesbeck, Texas and Samuel was still described as a carpenter. His wife apparently died before the end of the decade but what became of her is not clear. He was remarried around 1889 to Emma Jane Lellyett (b. 1848), his wife's sister.

The couple appeared on the 1910 census living in Limestone, Texas and it is possible they had spent time living in South Africa where Emma's family were reportedly involved in diamond mining. They returned to Durban in late 1910 and stayed for about 14 months. Family lore has them bringing back diamonds and travelling third class so no one would guess what they were carrying in their huge suitcases.

On 30 March 1912, Samuel sent a postcard to his son Charles Risien from London:

About the time you get this we will be leaving for N. York We expect to sail on the new ship "Titanic" largest in the world and her trip (45,000 tons) two more papers I think will be all I can send We shall sail from Southampton on April 10th that is if they can get coal enough to go on. it is getting very scarce and dear Both well, Papa

On 10 April 1912, Samuel and his wife boarded the Titanic at Southampton as third class passengers (ticket number 364498, which cost £14, 10s).

Samuel Beard Risien and his wife Emma both died in the disaster. Their bodies, if recovered, have never been identified.


  1. The 1880 census states she was born in Michigan; the 1900 census states she was born in Minnesota. She was later married to Marion Minter McFarland (1865-1936), a commercial traveller, and raised a family of four children in Texas. She died in 1903 aged 32.
  2. Charles J. (1880-1948) was a pharmacist in Frost, Texas and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Corsicana, Texas. He was twice married (his widow, Rosa (Bostick) Risien, lived to be 95, died in Corsicana, Texas 1984) and had an only daughter, Louise Risien, by his first wife.. Samuel M. Risien--lived and died in Groesbeck, Texas. Katherine E. (Katy) Risien-married a Mr McFarland.


Gavin Bell, UK
Daisy Bostick, USA (granddaughter-in-law of Samuel B. Risien)
Laura Myhre, USA (great-great-granddaughter of Samuel B. Risien)
Rosa Bostick Risien (daughter-in-law of Samuel B. Risien)
Phillip Gowan USA

Comment and discuss

  1. Lisa Booth

    There are a few inaccuracies in this biography. There is no evidence that Samuel's parents ever visited the USA and they did not have a daughter named Mary. Emma and Mary Lellyett were both born in Hampshire, England (as were their parents Walter and Charlotte) and can be found on the 1851 and 1861 censuses of England there. There were Lellyetts in South Africa, and one of them married a De Beer (a well-known diamond family) but the connection to Emma and mary is not known. Samuel's siblings: Elizabeth Ludlum b. 1834, Joseph b. 1837, Jonathan Brailey b. 1839 (d. 1846), [Samuel Beard b.... Read full post

  2. Andy (1230)

    Samuel Risien was a member of the Joe Johnston Camp No. 94 of the United Confederate Veterans in Mexia, Texas, a few miles from his main residence in Groesbeck. The camp subsequently reported his death in the December 1912 issue of the Confederate Veteran magazine, with the claim that Risien has served as an engineer aboard the famous Confederate sea raider Alabama during the war. I have not been able to corroborate that from any other source.

  3. Robert Taylor

    Andy, we have heard about this too and I have been searching through a pile of data regarding the Alabama crew. He is not listed as an engineer on the Confederate Raider. I can only assume he may have been in Capetown when the ships engineer accidentally shot himself and perhaps Risien volunteered to fill his place. If he did, he adopted another name but there is no mention of it in Capt.Semmes log or anywhere. The Confederate Veteran Magazine is a trusted source but Risien may have been another one of these people who like to invent past glories. ACWRTQ Australia.... Read full post

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Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mr Samuel Beard Risien
Age: 69 years 10 months and 11 days (Male)
Nationality: English
Marital Status: Married to Mary Louisa Lellyett
Last Residence: in London, England
Occupation: Hotelier
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 364498, £14 10s
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Identified

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