Mr William Logan Gwinn

William Logan Gwinn

Mr William Logan Gwinn (or Gwynne1) was born in Manhattan, New York in the latter half of 1875.

He was the son of Alexander Gwynne (b. 1834), a currier (leather specialist), and Emily Bishop (b. 1850). His father was born in Massachusetts to Scottish immigrant parents whilst his mother was born in New York and they were married around 1870.

William had eight known siblings: Cornelius James (b. 1874), Emily (1878-1882), Alexander (b. 1879), Harvey Ladew (1881-1884), Albion Thurston (1883-1884), Charles S (b. 1885), Olive L (b. 1887) and Elizabeth (b. 1891). Two of the children, Harvey and Albion, were lost within weeks of each other in late 1884.

Gwynne Family

William Gwynn at at a family gathering
Courtesy of Ted Robinson

William first appears on the 1880 census living with his family in Manhattan, still resident there by the time of the 1900 census with he being described as a clerk. His father apparently later became a farmer and the family appears on the 1905 census living in Olive, Ulster, New York and here William was described specifically as a postal clerk. He had reportedly spent time living and working in the postal service in Brooklyn and it is believed spent a portion of his younger years serving in the New York Militia.

A tall man, purportedly standing at 6'4" and of athletic build, he was married in Manhattan on St Valentine's Day 1907 to Florence Rohde (b. 1879 in New York) who was the daughter of Freeman Rohde and Hannah Scrutten. The couple's first child, William Thurston, was born on 18 April 1909. The small family appeared on the 1910 census living in Manhattan and they later welcomed another child, Marjorie, on 6 October 1911. By early 1912 the family were living in Asbury Park, New Jersey.

Gwynne was in England when he was reportedly informed of his wife's ill health (although not life-threatening, as some contemporary newspapers reported). Originally to have returned to New York aboard the Philadelphia, he gained a transfer to Titanic in order to hasten his journey. His local address in England was given as 4 Commercial Road, Southampton.

On the night of the sinking, Gwynne and his fellow postal clerks, assisted by several other crewmen, struggled to bring some 200 sacks of mail up to a higher deck from the flooding mail rooms. Fourth Officer Boxhall went below soon after the collision to examine the extent of the damage. When he got down to E deck he says he found it awash. He saw Gwynne in his nightclothes, he having rushed from his own quarters, and had bags of mail in each arm whilst waist deep in water. Reports vary as to the last time Boxhall saw Gwynne. One source says Gwynne was witnessed on the boat deck standing near the railing next to purser Herbert McElroy. Another report suggests that Boxhall became separated from the postal clerks on their ascent to the upper decks.

William Gwynne died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified. The news of his loss caused his wife to collapse in shock. She later took to the newspapers to rubbish claims that she was seriously ill

His widow Florence was never remarried and later settled with her two children in Brookhaven, Suffolk, New York where she lived with her mother Hannah Rohde for a time. She died in 1952 and is buried in Oaklawn Cemetery in Brookhaven. Both her children also lived the rest of their lives in Suffolk: William died on 20 September 1996. Daughter Marjorie was married in the late 1930s to Albert Brown (b. 1910), a bookkeeper, and also settled in Brookhaven where they began a family. She died in 1983.

William is remembered on a grave marker in Wiltwyck Cemetery, Kingston, Ulster County, New York next to his parents' graves.

Notes

  1. Correct spelling uncertain; variances include Gwinn, Gwenn, Gwynne and Gwynn. The majority of census records give the name as Gwinn but marriage and/or birth records vary between Gwynn and Gwinn. His wife's grave give the name as Gwynne and, likewise, his son's death record spells the name this way.
 

Pictures

William Gwinn
New York Herald  (1912) 
WILLIAM GWINN
 

Articles and Stories

Titanica! (2012) 
A UNIQUE COLLECTION OF LETTERS AND POSTCARDS SHEDS LIGHT ON THE DOMESTIC LIFE OF ONE THE RMS TITANIC'S SEA POST CLERK WILLIAM LOGAN GWINN.
The Southampton Times (1915) 
Hampshire Advertiser (1915) 
Asbury Park Evening Press (1912) 
Asbury Park Evening Press (1912) 
Newark Evening News (1912) 
Asbury Park Evening Press (1912) 
Asbury Park Evening Press (1912) 
Newark Evening News (1912) 
New York Times (1912) 
Rutherford Republican (1912) 
Newark Evening News (1912) 
Newark Evening News (1912) 
Brooklyn Daily Times (1912) 
Washington Times (1912) 
 

Comment and discuss

  1. Ted Robinson said:

    Hi all... I'm a newbie to this forum. I have come into possession of a lot of memorabilia including a pile (about 60) of love letters from William Gwinn (one of the Sea Postal Clerks lost on Titanic) to his wife Florence. The letters begin with their meeting in 1904, and continue for many years. They chronicle their courtship, marriage and birth of their 2 children. Also I have several photos of what I take to be them and their family members. There is also an official letter from the Commerce Dept. awarding Florence $2,000 for the loss of Will’s life while on duty aboard Titanic.I have... Read full post

  2. Alan James Gwinn said:

    William Logan Gwinn was my great uncle and a mail clerk aboard Titanic. He did not survive. I had a photo of him , in uniform, taken on deck, in Southhampton, before the ship sailed. Sadly, I have lost this pic. The photo appeared to have been taken by someone associated with the White Star Line. Does anyone know of a repository of photos taken along these lines? I would much appreciate any info that is available. Thanks, Alan Gwinn

  3. avatar

    Michael H. Standart said:

    I don't know that there's any one repository for that sort of thing. The photos on ET come from a wide veriaty of sources, mostly private and family collections.

  4. Alan James Gwinn said:

    Hi Ted, My name is Alan James Gwinn and Will Gwinn was my great uncle. I'm new to the site and have been looking for info on him. I had a photo of him, in uniform, taken on deck, at Southhampton, before sailing. In a move, I lost this treasured family heirloom. I am so glad to have read your message and I would love to have access to his letters and any photos. My grandfather, Corneilus Gwinn was an inveterate letter writer and I sure some of your correspondence would include missives between these two brothers. I have a picture taken at Christmas, 1911 in the home of their father, my great... Read full post

  5. avatar

    Jason D. Tiller said:

    Hello Alan, Please note that Ted has not accessed the board for just over a year, so he may or may not see your message. This information can be obtained by clicking on his name. However, you can send him an e-mail through his profile.

  6. Alan James Gwinn said:

    Jason- I did sent Ted a copy of my posting by clicking on his name and forwarding my scribbling. I am on pins and needles in anticipation of a response from him. No one in my family has ever come this close to getting more information about Uncle Will!

  7. avatar

    Jason D. Tiller said:

    All the best in your research then, Alan.

  8. Alan James Gwinn said:

    To All- Member Ted Robinson contacted me regarding info relating to my uncle, William Gwinn, a postal clerk aboard Titanic, who did not survive. Ted had purchased, at a private estate sale on Long Island, books and memorabilia that included letters and photos belonging to William Gwinn's widow, Florence Rohde Gwinn- covering the time period 1904 to 1912. Ted, while sensing the private nature of this material, went forward with a genealogical search of the Gwinn/Rohde families that resulted in an exchange of E-Mails and phone conversations between us- resulting in his sending me a CD... Read full post

  9. avatar

    Jason D. Tiller said:

    That's terrific news, Alan! I'm so glad to hear that you received an e-mail from Ted and that he was extremely generous enough to compile the information on your uncle, and send it to you.

  10. Ted Robinson said:

    To all... I'm grateful to Alan Gwinn for all his kind words regarding my research into his family (Will Gwinn, sea-post clerk lost on Titanic). If anyone else has an interest in the material, please contact me. Ted Robinson

  11. Bonnie Stephenson said:

    Dear Alan, I recently discovered this site and found your posting. My grandfather was William Gwinn! I have some original papers and letters and would like to hear more about your connection. Hope to hear from you, Bonnie Stephenson

  12. Alan James Gwinn said:

    Hi Bonnie- Marjorie's daughter! Wonderful to hear from you! I'm the grandson of Corneilius, Will's brother. MY father, Alexander, was named after our great-grandfather. I'v posted on a number of these ET sub-sections about Will. Look below this segment on crew research to "William Logan Gwinn-Sea postal clerk". See postings between June 3rd and August 2nd, 2006. Also, in the introduce yourself section see my posts from June 3rd thru June 11th, 2006. This represents my family's recollections of Will and the family through the years. On this site I have posted a family picture taken at... Read full post

  13. GwinnAnne said:

    Hello. My name is Gwinn. My mothers' family, though my grandmothers' side of the family, is related to William Logan Gwinn uncles death on the Titanic...this is a missing piece of my story and history I hope to fill in. Can either of you help me? I was very excited when I read your posts! Corneilius and Alexander are family too, so please, I'm axious to know if you have any infomation on my family!... Read full post

  14. Mark Baber said:

    Hello--- Have you checked out ? There are links to a few New Jersey newspaper reports concerning Gwinn and his family.

  15. Ted Robinson said:

    I have done extensive research on the life of Gwinn and his wife Florence, based on several dozen letters in my possession between them in the decade leading up to the Titanic sinking. I tried to post the white paper on this forum, but it was not accepted due to the fact that it was much too long. If anyone is interested in seeing it, please contact me at

  16. Alan James Gwinn said:

    I've been invited to participate in a wreath laying memorial service honoring my great uncle William Logan Gwinn. The service is taking place at the 71st Inf. Regt., New York State Natl. Guard Veterans Cemetery in Hastings-on Hudson, NY The Veterans Assocation is hosting this event on April 14th at Mount Hope Cemetry. William Gwinn was a member of the Regiment and served with it in Cuba during the Spanish-American War in 1898. Every year, in May, the Regiment holds a memorial service for those who served in this war. This year the event has been moved up to coincide with the 100th... Read full post

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  17. Mark Baber said:

    Hello, Alan--- 1. Great pictures. 2. On that page, there are transcriptions of articles from the Asbury Park Press about his wife, who was living in Asbury Park at the time and then left for parts unknown (at least to the Press). Would you happen to know what became of her.

  18. Alan James Gwinn said:

    Mark- Will Gwinn's widow, Florence, lived with her parents after the Titanic disaster, first in Brooklyn, then on to Brookhaven Hamlet on Long Island. She raised her children there and died in 1952. Her son Thurston died in 1996 and her daughter Marjorie in 1992. Will Gwinn's only grandchild- Marjorie's daughter Bonnie Stephenson, who lives in Florida, is attending the ceremony on the 14th. Bonnie and I first corresponded on the Titanica sight about five years ago, but have never met. We are related only distantly- her mother and my father were cousins. Really looking forward to our meeting!!

  19. Alan James Gwinn said:

    Text, pictures and a newspaper article depicting the memorial honoring Will Gwinn this past April are included here for those who have expressed interest in this event. It was a simple service but meaningful to those who participated. Scroll down through text, the memorial's program and pics to a three page newspaper article at the end that sums up very well the events of the day.

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Credits

Trevor Baxter, UK
Gavin Bell, UK
Chris Dohany, USA
Hermann Söldner, Germany

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2019) William Logan Gwinn (ref: #1888, last updated: 30th May 2019, accessed 29th October 2020 19:29:31 PM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-victim/william-logan-gwynn.html