The Lusitania Resource > People > Saloon (First Class) Passenger List > Mrs. Caroline “Carrie” Hickson Kennedy (Caroline Hickson)

Mrs. Caroline “Carrie” Hickson Kennedy (Caroline Hickson)

Caroline Hickson Kennedy, 53, also known as Carrie, was a fashion designer traveling aboard Lusitania with her sister Kathryn Hickson to Paris, France, on fashion business. They were United States citizens who lived and worked in New York City, New York. Carrie crossed the Atlantic regularly on fashion business, but the last voyage of the Lusitania was Kathryn's first trip abroad. The sisters were lost when Lusitania was torpedoed and sunk on 7 May 1915. One body was recovered and identified as Carrie's, #160.


Caroline and Kathryn were originally from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, two of at least seven children, all girls and one boy, Richard.  Their father was a cobbler and was said to have a drinking problem.  Caroline, called Carrie, Kathryn, called Kate, and Richard went into business in women's fashion with Hickson and Co. in 1902 at 657 5th Avenue, New York City, New York.  657 Fifth Avenue was the former residence of Madame Restell, America's first millionaire abortionist.  The Hicksons' customers included Julian Etinge, the famous female impersonator. To establish Richard in the business of women's apparel, Carrie had advanced Richard $800 to start.  Carrie joined the company with a starting salary of $2,600 a year plus expenses, which had increased to $5,000 by 1915.  Kate had a similar salary, but most of the income, $30,000 yearly, went to Richard.  Richard attributed Hickson's success to Carrie's business acumen, and the profit for Hickson and Co. by the end of 1915 was $125,587.56. Carrie was a rather formidable woman and may have been widowed by the time of the Lusitania disaster.  Carrie was a hat designer and made Atlantic crossings on a regular basis.  She was on her way to Paris for the spring shows and new designs, and brought Kate along for her first trip to Europe.  They were in cabin B-26 on ticket 46138 for which they paid $360.

"They wouldn't dare!"

On the day of the Lusitania's last departure, a cousin of the Hickson sisters from the Hernon family went down to the ship and begged Kate and Carrie not to go.  The Germans had put a notice in the newspapers saying that the Lusitania was a hostile ship and the Germans could torpedo it.  Carrie's reply, now legendary to her family, was, "They wouldn't dare!" The sisters were lost in the disaster. Lost with them was a wardrobe and jewelry collection valued at $14,000.00. This was all the money Richard Hickson would be awarded in his civil suit after the sinking.  A body identified as Carrie's was recovered (#160) and returned to New York aboard the White Star Liner Cymric on 2 June 1915.  The badly crushed remains makes it unclear whether the body was actually Carrie's or Kate's.  The condition of the body indicates that the sisters were killed by errant lifeboat 18 that had swung inboard due to the Lusitania's extreme list, crushing several people that were on deck in between the boat and the bulkhead. The body was buried as Caroline's in Mount Hope Cemetery in Toronto. Requiem high mass was sung by Reverend Father Hayes of St. Basil's parish when the body arrived in Toronto from New York. Caroline was buried next to her parents.

The end of Hickson and Co.

Richard Hickson, described by the family as a "waistral," was not able to manage Hickson and Co. without Carrie.  Richard withdrew $50 000.00 from the company to start a fashion magazine which turned out to be "a complete failure and the investment a total loss."  Without Carrie's guidance, Richard drove the business into the ground, and Hickson and Co. was gone by 1920.

Related pages

Caroline and Kathryn Hickson at the Mixed Claims Commission
Contributors: Cynthia Engel (grandniece of Caroline Hickson Kennedy and Kathryn Hickson), USA Anthony Hickson, UK Jim Kalafus, USA Michael Poirier, USA Zachary Schwarz Judith Tavares References: Hicksons Online.  <> "Victim of Lusitania disaster buried here." Toronto World. 15 June 1915, page 3.

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