The Lusitania Resource > People > Saloon (First Class) Passenger List > Mrs. George Washington Stephens (Frances Ramsey McIntosh)

Mrs. George Washington Stephens (Frances Ramsey McIntosh)

Frances Stephens
Saloon Passenger
Lost
[No Picture Provided]
Born Frances Ramsey McIntosh
27 January 1851
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Died 7 May 1915 (age 64)
RMS Lusitania
At sea
Age on Lusitania 64
Ticket number 13170
Cabin number B 5
Traveling with John Stephens (grandson)
Elise Oberlin (maid)
Caroline Milne (nurse to Master Stephens)
Body number 28
Interred At sea (Hesperian wreck)
Occupation Philanthropist
Citizenship British (Canada)
Residence Montréal, Québec, Canada
Other name(s) Fannie Stephens
Spouse(s) George Washington Stephens (1878 – 1904, his death)

Frances Stephens (1851 – 1915), 64, was a Canadian philanthropist of Scottish descent and a prominent lady of Montréal high society. She was the wife of the landowner and lawyer George Washington Stephens, a Cabinet minister of Québec.  She was traveling aboard Lusitania with grandson John Harrison Chattan Stephens, maid Elise Oberlin, and nurse Caroline Milne.  The entire party was lost in the Lusitania sinking.  Frances’ body was recovered, but while her body was being transported back to Canada aboard the RMS Hesperian, the U-20, the same German submarine that sank the Lusitania, torpedoed and sank the Hesperian.  Frances Stephens was twice a victim of Kapitanleutnant Walther Schwieger and the U-20.

Contents

  1. Family
  2. War
  3. Lusitania
  4. Hesperian
  5. A marriage from the tragedy
  6. See also
  7. Links of interest

Family


Frances Ramsay McIntosh was born to Canadian parents Nicholas and Margaret McIntosh (née Brown) on 27 January 1851 in Edinburgh, Scotland, while her father was visiting his birthplace.  She had an older sister named Elizabeth.  Frances and Elizabeth grew up in Canada.  Her sister Elizabeth had married George Washington Stephens on 29 July 1861.  Of all their children, only their son George Washington, Junior, survived to adulthood.

Elizabeth died young, and after Elizabeth’s death, Frances married her brother-in-law George Washington Stephens in 1878.  At the time, Frances was 27 years of age and G.W. was nineteen years her senior. Stephens was a wealthy man born in Montréal to an American father.  Stephens had studied law at McGill University.

The senior G.W. Stephens started his career in law before focusing his attentions on being a property owner, as his father had an extensive estate.  G.W. Stephens’ interest in politics led to his being elected a city Alderman in 1868, a capacity in which he served for 20 years, and where he was known for keeping a watchful eye on corporations and antitrust violations.  Stephens was then elected into the Québec legislature as a Cabinet minister in 1892.  He did not run for reelection in 1900 and was appointed a provincial commission on colonization in 1902.  G.W. passed away on 20 June 1904 at the age of 71.  His remains were cremated and buried with his first wife Elizabeth in Mount Royal Cemetery.

Frances and G.W. Stephens had one son, Francis Chattan Stephens, who was born in 1887. Chattan was a stockbroker at the Montréal Stock Exchange and founded the stockbroking firm F. C. Stephens & Co.  In 1912, he married Hazel Beatrice Kemp (born 1889) in Toronto, Ontario.  She was the daughter of Canadian Members of Parliament and later military Minister Sir Albert Edward Kemp.  Chattan and Hazel had two children, who were also Frances’ grandchildren.  They were Frances Elizabeth Stephens, born 1912, and John Harrison Chattan Stephens,  born 1913.

Frances and the senior G.W. Stephens also had two daughters, Elizabeth May, born 3 March 1879 and Marguerite Claire born 26 August 1883.  Elizabeth May married J. Wedderburn Wilson, and Marguerite Claire married Hamilton Gault in 1904 and they divorced sometime after World War I.

The Stephens family respected and influential in Montréal. Frances Stephens was a known and socially active member of high society, and had the reputation of being a philanthropist.

War


Chattan Stephens had been before the war reservist of the Canadian armed forces. When the First World War broke out, Lieutenant Stephens was in the 13th Canadian battalion, as part of the British Expeditionary Force was sent to France.  Hazel followed him with her ​​little daughter Frances to England, where the battalion was initially stationed for further training and mission orientation.  Hazel rented a house in Sunningdale, Berkshire, close to London.  John and Grandma Frances remained in Montréal.

Chattan was not at the front for long, as he developed trench fever and was moved to Red Cross Hospital No. 2 in Rouen to be treated.  The disease developed endocarditis, an inflammation of the membrane surrounding the inside of the heart.  The seriousness of the situation compelled Chattan to be evacuated to England.

With her son ill, Grandma Frances decided to sail to England to be with him, her daughter-in-law, and  her granddaughter.  She would also be bringing her grandson so that their family would be together again for the first time in months.  Besides, she took annual trips to Europe.  For this crossing, Frances would be taking the Lusitania.

Lusitania


Frances and her grandson John would be traveling with Frances’ maid, Elise Oberlin, and John’s nurse, Caroline Milne of Liscard, Cheshire, England.  Frances and Elise roomed in cabin D-5, while John and Caroline roomed in D-9.  Frances would be sailing at the same time that her son was being transported to England.

During the voyage, Frances Stephens shared a table in the dining room with Frederick Orr-Lewis, Lady Allan, her daughters Gwen and Anna, Dorothy Braithwaite, and William Robert Grattan Holt.

On the day of the disaster, the group had finished lunch and was in the lounge drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes when the torpedo struck the ship.  According to Orr-Lewis, they “rushed out on deck at once”, and Orr-Lewis made sure they stayed together and had lifebelts on.  They did not know what to do as the port side lifeboats were not lowered successfully, so they waited on the port side of the boat deck, until the ship suddenly plunged and sank from beneath them.

When the water enveloped them, Orr-Lewis was holding Gwen’s hand, Lady Allan was holding Anna’s, Lady Allan’s maids Annie Walker and Emily Davis were with them, and Frances Stephens was holding onto her grandson John.  Dorothy Braithwaite was somehow separated from them.

Frances Stephens, her grandson, her maid, and her grandson’s nurse did not survive the sinking.  Frances’ body was recovered, #28, the night of 7 May 1915, found wearing the lifebelt Orr-Lewis made sure she had and her usual string of pearls.  Orr-Lewis was the one who identified her body the morning of 8 May in Queenstown, in one of the city’s makeshift morgues.

As baby John was not found with Frances, he somehow must have been swept out of his grandmother’s arms while in the water.

According to family legend, Frances’ oyster pearl necklace was stolen from her body when her body was first recovered, but had been returned the next day.  Evidence of the pearls having been temporarily stolen is slim, although it is probable that valuables had been temporarily stored in a separate, secure location pending identification of the victims.  Frances’ pearls are now in the possession of a relative in England.

Frances Stephens’ body was embalmed and scheduled to be returned to North America, as were many of the bodies of the wealthy.  J. Wedderburn Wilson, her daughter Elizabeth’s husband, went to identify Frances’ body in Queenstown and handled the paperwork for Frances’ body to be transferred to Liverpool.

Hazel Stephens went to Euston Station, London, vainly hoping that her son whose body had not been found had somehow been saved.

A devastated Lieutenant Chattan Stephens, his heart already weakened by endocarditis, died at home in Pine Avenue, Montréal, of the influenza pandemic (Spanish Flu) of 1918 on 16 October 1918.

Hazel married again in 1920 and died in 1961.

Hesperian


After a delay of four months, Frances Stephens’ body would be returned to Canada to be buried with her husband in Mount Royal Cemetery.  Why the delay had taken so long is not known, as the decision to bury Frances with her husband had been made soon after her death.

Frances was placed in a metal casket, boxed in a wooden crate, and booked aboard the Allan Line’s Hesperian to return to Montréal.  Also aboard Hesperian were about 600 passengers, including many wounded Canadian soldiers returning to Canada.  The ship was under the command of Captain William Main and under charter to the Canadian Pacific Line.

At 8:30 p.m. on 4 September 1915, the German submarine U-20 under the command of Kapitanleutnant Walther Schwieger attacked Hesperian 85 miles southwest of Fastnet Rock.  This was the same submarine and commander who sank the Lusitania, the sinking that had claimed Frances’ life. Schwieger fired one torpedo.  Hesperian did not sink immediately and a group of British vessels came to her rescue.

Save for a skeleton crew of the captain and her officers, Hesperian was evacuated. The nighttime evacuation and rescue was orderly and fair in the circumstances, and most boats were manned and lowered safely, except for one port side lifeboat that upset while lowering, killing 32. Survivors reported that there had been no panic aboard the ship.

Captain Main hoped the Hesperian could be towed to Queenstown or to be able to be beached. But on 6 September, some 130 miles west of Fastnet Rock and 37 miles from land, Hesperian sank. In an astounding coincidence, Mrs. Stephens’ casket, presumably still in Hesperian‘s hold, now lies not far from the Lusitania wreck which took her life.

Frances Stephens’ memorial in Montréal’s Mount Royal cemetery commemorates her without her remains.

A marriage from the tragedy


John Harrison Chattan Stephens’ maternal grandparents, thus Hazel Kemp’s parents, were Albert Edward Kemp and Celia Wilson Kemp. Sir Edward and Lady Kemp became quite active in the Lusitania survivors and family association in Canada. In the association’s activities they became friends with Norman Copping and his wife, Virginia Norton Copping. Norman was the son of lost Lusitania passengers George Copping and Emma Black Copping.

Norman Copping died in 1921, and Celia Wilson Kemp died in 1924. After years of working together for the association, Sir Edward Kemp and Virginia Norton Copping developed a bond though the tragedy. Sir Edward Kemp and Virginia Norton Copping married in Toronto, and they had one daughter.

See also


RMS Hesperian

Albert Charles Dunn – also twice torpedoed by Walther Schwieger and the U-20 but twice survived.

Links of interest


Gare Maritime:  Double Jeopardy – Lusitania‘s Unique Victim

Frances Stephens on German Wikipedia


Contributors:
Frances Stephens Ballantyne (granddaughter of Frances Stephens, saloon passenger), Canada
Margaret Ballantyne-Power (great-granddaughter of Frances Stephens, saloon passenger)
Cherie Jones
Senan Molony, Ireland
Michael Poirier, USA
Judith Tavares

References:
Molony, Senan.  “Double Jeopardy – Lusitania‘s Unique Victim.”  Gare Maritime.  Web.  18 June 2011. < http://www.garemaritime.com/features/lusitania_victim/ >

“Frances Stephens.”  Wikipedia: Die freie Enzyklopädie. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 22 July 2004. Web. 28 April 2011. < http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frances_Stephens >

About the Author