The Lusitania Resource > People > Saloon (First Class) Passenger List > Mrs. Alfred Scott Witherbee (Beatrice “Trixie” Wilhelmina Theodora LaTouche)

Mrs. Alfred Scott Witherbee (Beatrice “Trixie” Wilhelmina Theodora LaTouche)

Beatrice Witherbee Saloon Passenger Saved
Beatrice Witherbee image courtesy Lawrence Jolivet.
Born Beatrice Wilhelmina Theodora LaTouche 30 September 1890 London, England, United Kingdom
Died 16 December 1977 (age 87) Canada
Age on Lusitania 24
Ticket number 14311
Cabin number D 52
Traveling with - Mary Brown (mother) - Alfred Witherbee, Jr. (son)
Citizenship United States
Residence - New York, New York, United States - London, England, United Kingdom
Other name(s) - Beatrice Brown - Beatrice Jolivet
Spouse(s) - Alfred Scott Witherbee (1910 - 1919, divorced) - Alfred E. Jolivet (1919 - ?)
Beatrice Witherbee (1890 - 1977), 24, was traveling aboard Lusitania with her mother Mary Brown and son Alfred Witherbee, Jr..  The family was relocating from New York City, United States, to London, England, where she and her husband Alfred, Sr. had recently set up residence.  During the Lusitania sinking, Beatrice survived but lost both her mother and son.  She subsequently refused to talk the disaster, so the exact details of her experience during the sinking are not known.
Contents
  1. Education and marriage
  2. Lusitania
  3. Devastation and recovery
  4. Struggling for resolution
  5. Peace at last
  6. Related pages
  7. Links of interest

Education and marriage


Beatrice was born in London, England, 0n 30 September 1890 to Mary 'May' Cummins and James LaTouche.  Beatrice moved to the US when she was 3 months old.  Her mother married a Mr. Brown, an Englishman, who lived in Larchmont.  She never referred to Brown as her stepfather, but simply as her guardian.  Even though, she was sometimes known as Beatrice Brown.  School friends referred to her as Trixie.  She attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart for her education. Trixie eloped with Alfred Scott Witherbee on 1 May 1910.  He was 49 and she was 20.  Alfred was president of the Mexican Petroleum Solid Fuel Company.  He had been married twice before, where he divorced his first wife and his second wife divorced him.  From his second marriage, Alfred already had an 18-year-old daughter, Mildred. Trixie gave birth to a son, also named Alfred, in June of 1911.

Lusitania


Trixie and her husband planned to set up residence in England during the war and she specifically came back to New York for her son and mother. They sailed on the Lusitania, even though her brother in law, Sidney Witherbee, told her about the warning from the German Embassy.   Even as late as the day of the sailing, 1 May 1915, Sidney tried to persuade Trixie not to sail. Trixie's acquaintances on board included Rita Jolivet, Charles Hill, Wallace Phillips, and George Kessler.  The Witherbees occupied cabin D-52. Not much is known about what happened to Trixie during the sinking. Her mother Mary and son Alfred were lost.  Beatrice refused to talk about the sinking afterwards, except for one time when she revealed to Rita Jolivet's mother, Pauline, that she had tried to hold on to Alfred Witherbee in the water. It is possible that Trixie was the woman Margaret Mackworth saw scolding Captain Turner on the rescue vessel Bluebell, saying, “My child’s death was not necessary. It was due to the lack of discipline and organization aboard your ship.” That woman had lost her son when a lifeboat overturned.  Alfred was 3 years old. Per the list of interments at Cobh, Alfred Scott Witherbee was identified as body #243, male, age 4 years, 1st Class passenger.  Beatrice was involved in a court battle with Arthur Luck over the identity of body #243, as Arthur claimed that it belonged to his son Kenneth, who was lost in the Lusitania sinking with Arthur's wife Charlotte and son Elbridge.  Beatrice won the case, and the body was buried in the Old Church Cemetery as Alfred Scott Witherbee in private grave #616.

Devastation and recovery


After the sinking, Trixie traveled to Dublin, Ireland to recoup.  Her husband came with an attache from the American embassy to bring her to the Savoy in London.  Trixie sank into deep depression, and Alfred, Sr. lavished her with expensive gifts, trips to the Mediterranean, services, and specialists to pull her out of her depression. They began traveling almost immediately, but their relationship fell apart. Alfred Witherbee, Sr. claimed that his attempts to treat Trixie left him "ruined" and petitioned the American Secretary of State Robert Lansing for funds on grounds that Trixie's condition was the result of an international incident. Yet, Witherbee himself refused to cut back on his own spending and continued to travel and stay in expensive hotels.  On or about 15 April 1916, while at Monte Carlo, Monaco, Alfred Witherbee left Trixie. Trixie suffered a nervous collapse and went to a nursing facility in London. Trixie went to stay with Rita's family in Kew, England, in 1917 and met Alfred Jolivet, Rita's brother.  They fell in love and Trixie decided to put an end to her marriage to Alfred Witherbee.  She traveled to America on the White Star Liner  Baltic and procured a divorce in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, on 28 July 1919 on the grounds of desertion.  Thereafter, Alfred Witherbee died in London on 19 June 1922. A few months after her divorce, in November 1919, Trixie married Alfred Jolivet.  The following year, she gave birth to a son, Lawrence.

Struggling for resolution


Beatrice filed suit against Germany in the Mixed Claims Commission.  Her lawyers found her difficult to work with for refusing to answer the simplest questions about the sinking.  They found her responses to be hysterical at times and suspected that she not only would not but could not revisit the disaster.  As Alfred Jolivet was a British national, and the laws of the time dictated that she gave up her American citizenship upon her marriage to Alfred, the Commission ruled that she was not eligible to receive compensation as an American citizen. Over the years, many people tried without success to get Trixie to talk about the sinking.  She could never bring herself to talk about it, dismissing any questions about the Lusitania disaster with "Aww, you don't want to hear about that."

Peace at last


Trixie and her husband spent their time traveling and eventually settled in Canada right before the Second World War.  Her son Lawrence remembers her as a cheerful woman who found inner peace and refused to be haunted by the experiences of her past.  Lawrence recalled that Trixie had a “beautiful voice” and was always humming. She even traveled aboard a ship, the Annie Johnson, on the anniversary of the Lusitania sinking.  According to Lawrence, it most likely didn’t register with her as she had put the disaster so far out of her mind. They lived out the remainder of their lives in Canada, and she passed away on 16 December 1977.

Related pages


Beatrice Witherbee at the Mixed Claims Commission  

Links of interest


Journeys in Time: Rita Jolivet and Beatrice Witherbee (down for now) Encyclopedia Titanica: Lest We Forget - Part 1
Contributors: Lawrence Jolivet (son of Beatrice Jolivet) Shelley Dziedzic, USA Jim Kalafus, USA Paul Latimer Michael Poirier, USA Judith Tavares References: Kalafus, Jim and Michael Poirier.  Lest We Forget:  Part 1 ET Research.  <http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/lusitania-lest-we-forget.html> Mixed Claims Commission, Docket 639.

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