The Lusitania Resource > People > Saloon (First Class) Passenger List > Mrs. Thomas David Meldrum Burnside (Josephine Smyth Eaton)

Mrs. Thomas David Meldrum Burnside (Josephine Smyth Eaton)

Josephine Burnside, née Eaton, 49, was the daughter of the founder of Eaton's Department Store.  Josephine, her daughter Iris, and maid Martha Waites were traveling on the Lusitania in May of 1915 to visit relatives in Ireland.  They were at lunch when the ship was torpedoed.  Josephine survived the Lusitania sinking, Iris did not. Josephine was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Eaton.   Her father was the founder of Eaton's Department Store.  She was a cousin of David Barbour, a hardware merchant on Broughshane Street, Ballymena, Co. Antrim, Ireland. Josephine married a Thomas Burnside of Toronto.  Thomas had been an engineer at Ballyclare Paper Mills in Ireland before emigrating to Canada.  He and Josephine had a daughter, Iris, around 1895.  Josephine and Iris were traveling on the Lusitania in May of 1915 to visit relatives in Cullybackey, Ballymena. Josephine Burnside was eating lunch with daughter Iris and friends Frederick McMurtry, George Powell and Walter McLean when the ship was struck.  Her memory was blurry and she lost track of her daughter.  She remembered trying to get into a lifeboat when the ship sank.  Iris did not survive. Eaton's, by 1896 was already a fixture in Canadian society.  Until 1950, Eaton's billed itself as "the largest retail organization in the British Empire."  They also sponsored the Santa Claus parade in Toronto, the largest parade in North America.  Eaton's fell upon hard times in the 1970's and did not recover.  Due to financial difficulties, Eaton's discontinued sponsorship of the Santa Claus parade in 1982 and filed for bankruptcy in 1997. Sears Canada in bought out Eaton's in 1999 and tried to redevelop Eaton's (now eatons, with a lower-case "e") as an upscale version of Sears Canada.  The plan failed and eatons across Canada closed in 2002. Contributors Senan Molony, Ireland Michael Poirier, USA Hildo Thiel, The Netherlands References Irish Post and Weekly Telegraph. 15 May 1915, pg. 11. Molony, Senan.  Lusitania:  An Irish Tragedy.  Mercier Press, 2004.

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