Mr. James Aitken

James Aitken Second Cabin Passenger Lost
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Born James Aitken 23 September 1855 Horsburgh Castle Toll, Scotland, United Kingdom
Died 7 May 1915 (age 59) At sea
Age on Lusitania 59
Traveling with - Jarvie Aitken (son) - James Jarvie Aitken, Jr. (grandson) - Chrissie Aitken (daughter)
Body number 14
Interred Common Grave C, Old Church Cemetery, Queenstown (now Cobh), Ireland
Citizenship British (Canada)
Residence Merritt, British Columbia, Canada
Spouse(s) Jesse Jarvie (1879 - 1908, her death)
James Aitken (1855-1915), 59, was the father of Jarvie and Chrissie Aitken, and the grandfather of James Jarvie, Jr. The family was originally traveling aboard Cameronia but was shuffled onto Lusitania.  Chrissie was the only member of their party to survive the Lusitania disaster. James was the fifth child of Alexander Guthrie Aitken and Elizabeth Stark. James was born at Horsburgh Castle Toll, near Innerleithen on 23 September 1855. After leaving Innerleithen school in 1871, he worked in the Innerleithen tweed mills, where he had been promoted to be a pattern weaver by 1881. James married Jessie Jarvie in 1879. They had five children: Alexander born 1880, James Jarvie, born 1883, William born 1887, John born 1890, and Chrissie born 1899. By 1891 James had moved his family to Edinburgh, and he soon found work as a commercial traveller. His entry in the 1901 census describes him as living in Cramond, near Edinburgh and working as a commercial traveler in woollens. Sadly, James’s wife, Jessie Jarvie, died in 1908. In 1912 James decided to leave Scotland. Taking his 13-year-old daughter Chrissie with him, they set out for Canada to join one of his sons James Jarvie. Jarvie and his wife Grace Mackay Taylor and their son James Jarvie, Jr., lived in Merritt, British Columbia. James and Chrissie arrived in Merritt in 1912. Tragically, two years later, in 1914, Jarvie’s wife Grace died. James and Jarvie then decided to return to Scotland bringing with them their remaining family. The Aitken Family bought tickets for the Anchor Liner Cameronia from Chicago, Illinois. The morning the Cameronia was supposed to sail, 1 May 1915, the ship was requisitioned by the British Admiralty.  The Aitken family, along with forty or so others, were transferred to the Lusitania.  On board, James, Jarvie, and Jarvie, Jr. shared an E Deck cabin while Chrissie stayed in the room next to theirs. Chrissie could not find James, Jarvie, or James Jarvie, Jr. after the torpedo struck.  She was the only one of the party that survived. James Aitken’s body was recovered and identified by Wednesday, 12 May by Chrissie.  Per the list of interments, Mr. James Aitken was Body #14, Common Grave C. Contributors: Oliver Russell (great-nephew of Chrissie Aitken) References: Ballard, Dr. Robert D. and Spencer Dunmore.  Exploring the Lusitania.  Warner Books, 1995. Hickey, Des and Gus Smith.  Seven Days to Disaster.  G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1981.

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