Mr. Henry Adams

Henry Adams Saloon Passenger Lost
Henry Adams image: Fred T. Adams Collection
Born 13 May 1856 Tenby, Wales, United Kingdom
Died 7 May 1915 (age 58) At sea
Age on Lusitania 58
Ticket number 1298
Cabin number B 27
Lifeboat Collapsible
Body number 237
Occupation Businessman/Manager
Citizenship British
Spouse(s) - Mary Ann "Pollie" Lloyd (1886 - 1913, her death) - Annie Elizabeth Macnutt (1915, his death)
Henry Adams (1856 - 1915), 59, of Tenby, England was a London merchant. He was traveling aboard Lusitania with his wife Annie Adams.  Henry and Annie had entered a port side lifeboat during the sinking that was not lowered when the ship sank from under them. Annie survived the sinking, Henry did not.


Henry Adams was born in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, South Wales on 13 May 1856, the son of William and Susan Adams. William Adams was a butcher, and the family resided over his butcher shop at 10. High St., Tenby. Henry did not follow the family business but became a commercial traveler. He eventually became a tea merchant and a director of The Mazawattee Tea Company Limited, of Tower Hill, London, where he had made his home in Regent's Park. On 9 November 1886, he married Mary Ann Lloyd, who was also from Pembrokeshire. She was also called “Pollie”. Little is known about her or their marriage; however, it is known that the couple had no children and on 30 December 1913, Pollie died at Gower House, Tenby, which was the home of Henry’s sister, Mrs. Ben White. She was buried on 2 January 1914 in St. Mary's Cemetery in Tenby. Henry travelled to the United States of America on a regular basis from 1907, residing for part of each year in Boston, Massachusetts, and Chicago, Illinois. He was the manager of the American branch of the Mazawattee Tea Company Limited by this time, thus the reasons for dividing his time between London and the United States. While he was in the United States, it would seem that Pollie divided her time between London and Tenby and did not accompany him overseas. On 5 April 1915, Henry married United States citizen Annie Elizabeth Macnutt in Washington, D.C.. Having decided to bring her to Tenby to meet his family, he booked passage for them both as saloon passengers on the Lusitania. Henry and Annie had been married for four weeks when they sailed on Lusitania to return to England.  Henry had been reluctant to travel on the Lusitania but Annie, a  "confirmed Cunarder," had convinced him to do so.


Consequently, at the end of April 1915, the couple left Boston and arrived at the Cunard berth at Pier 54 in New York City on the morning of 1 May. Lusitania was scheduled to leave New York at 10.00 a.m. on 1 May 1915. He himself had been back in Tenby the previous August. Their ticket on Lusitania was number 1298, and they were allocated room B-27 . This room was the personal responsibility of First Class Bedroom Steward James Holden, who came from Liverpool. The liner’s departure  was delayed until the early afternoon because she had to embark cargo crew and passengers from the Anchor Liner Cameronia, which the British Admiralty had requisitioned for use as a troop ship at the end of April. From Annie's own account of the voyage, as published in The Tragedy of the Lusitania, written by Captain Frederick D. Ellis and published not long after the sinking.
“My husband and I were married in Washington on April 5," she said. "We were coming to London to make it our home. He did not wish to sail on the Lusitania because of the threats of the German Embassy, but some of my relatives are Cunard officials and I have always been a confirmed Cunarder, so I insisted on the Lusitania. On the night before we were torpedoed, something prompted my husband to try on the lifebelts. We got them down from the top of the wardrobe, and after putting them on, left them under the berths. When the shock came we were both in the writing room on the top deck. I knew the ship was doomed, but my husband was just as sure she could not sink. However, we went down to the stateroom, got our life-belts and ran back to the top deck, preservers in hand. The ship was listing so that it was very difficult to walk. On two occasions while ascending the stairs my husband was struck and knocked down. On deck he wanted to stand and listen, but I kept in the lead and helped him climb the sloping deck and reach the rail on the higher side. Here we saw a boat ready to be lowered. Some one shouted, 'Women first,' but I refused to get in, insisting on staying with my husband. He seemed dazed and almost unconscious. I put a life preserver on him and then put on my own. In the meantime the captain had ordered the boats not to be lowered. A bosun, standing beside me on the deck, said, 'We're resting on the bottom. We cannot sink.' This statement calmed most of those about us. My husband sat down on a collapsible boat. He seemed unable to stand. There we remained for several minutes, holding on to the rail in order to keep from sliding down the inclined deck. Suddenly I saw a great wave come over the bow and instantly my husband and all of us were engulfed.”
The two were separated by the water. The Tuesday, 11 May 1915 survivors list says they both survived, but the list is in error. Henry did not survive the sinking, although Annie did.


His body was not recovered immediately after the sinking, but on Saturday 22nd May, the Royal Naval tender H.M.S. Elf discovered it in the sea in Dingle Bay, County Kerry, on the south west coast of Ireland - about 100 miles from where the Lusitania had sunk. It was landed at Queenstown on Monday 24th May and was positively identified in one of the temporary mortuaries there, by letters on it and by a distinctive gold watch with a platinum chain - and given the reference number 237. The body was embalmed there and then put in a lead shell within an oak coffin before being placed on board the steamer S.S. Cygnet bound for Fishguard, in Pembrokeshire. From there, it was sent to Tenby for burial. Henry's body arrived in Tenby on Wednesday, 26 May and was taken to Gower House, in Tudor Square.  From there on Thursday, 27 May 1915, it was taken to Tenby (St. Mary’s) Cemetery, where it was buried in the presence of his widow, at 3 o’clock, under a special coroner’s warrant.  He was buried alongside his first wife, Pollie.  In the burial register, the column headed Abode states simply:
A victim of the Torpedoing of the S.S. Lusitania by a German Submarine on the 7th day of May 1915 off the Old Head of Kinsale.
The property recovered from his body was later sent on 17 June 1915, to his widow Annie, care of a Mr. G.H. Champion, of Winchester House, Old Broad Street, London E.C., who was presumably a solicitor.  Cunard had already recorded it as:
Property.  Gents gold watch Elgin (Peacock) No. 6086982.  Platinum (or silver) chain, silver match box, bunch of keys, 2 pocket books containing newspaper cuttings  and addresses, 1 cent, spectacles in case, toothpick (silver) Kohinoor pencil, plain gold wedding ring, bottle opener, penknife, 2 handkerchiefs bearing name “H .Adams” on one corner, 1 pair gold and pearl cuff links, receipt for subscription for £6. 5. to National Liberal Club, London.  Torn portion of an envelope contain name of deceased.
When Henry Adams’ will was proven on 3 August 1915, his money and effects amounted to £764-15s-3d, (£764. 76p.), which he left to his wife, Annie Elizabeth Adams.


The following images have been generously provided by Fred T. Adams (great-grandnephew of Henry Adams) and researcher Les Nixon. Contributors Fred T. Adams (great-grandnephew of Henry Adams) Les Nixon Peter Kelly, Ireland Michael Poirier, USA Judith Tavares References Preston, Diana.  Lusitania:  An Epic Tragedy.  Berkley Books, 2002.

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