The Lusitania Resource > People > Second Cabin (Second Class) Passenger List > Mrs. Samuel Elliott Hume (Mary Agnes Elliott)

Mrs. Samuel Elliott Hume (Mary Agnes Elliott)

Mary Hume, 27, was an Irish national, British subject, and naturalized United States citizen aboard the Lusitania when the ship was torpedoed and sunk on 7 May 1915. She was lost in the Lusitania sinking. Mary Agnes Elliott was originally from Belfast, County Antrim, Ireland. She was a relative of Mr. W. S. Patton, 34 Yarrow Street, and a niece of Miss Fleming of Doagh, County Antrim.  She was a dressmaker. Mary emigrated to the United States in 1910 to marry Samuel Elliott Hume, her cousin, also of Ireland. He was an electrical construction foreman. They were married on 23 December 1910, after which Mary became a housewife. They lived in Harrison, New Jersey. Hume became a naturalized United States citizen on 29 April 1915, as did Mary by marriage. Mary was on her way back to Ireland aboard the Lusitania to surprise her friends. Mary was lost in the Lusitania sinking. Her friends only found out that she was aboard when they received a telegram from Samuel asking if Mary was among the saved. The following biography has been adapted from a biography written by Kathy Hume, the granddaughter of Mary Agnes' widower.

Life


Mary Agnes Elliott was born on 25 January 1888 in Doagh, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, to Samuel and Agnes (Fleming) Elliott and was baptized on 7 February 1888 at Kilbride Presbyterian Church in Doagh. Mary Agnes was the youngest of four siblings. Her extended Fleming and Elliott families all had deep roots in the townlands around Doagh. Her paternal grandfather, Samuel Elliott, was a flax buyer for linen mills and owned a jaunting car business in Straypark, and her father worked in various positions in linen mills. The family moved from the rural area in Doagh to the Woodvale section of Belfast City when Mary Agnes was a young girl. She attended school, learned to read and write and was trained as a dressmaker. By the time Mary Agnes was 22 years old, all of her immediate family had died. After her father’s death on 4 September 1910, Mary Agnes finalized plans for marriage to her cousin, Samuel Elliott Hume. He had been born in Holestone near Doagh on 13 March 1888 and was also baptized at Kilbride Presbyterian Church. His mother and Mary Agnes’ father were brother and sister. Samuel Hume, at the age of 19 years, had left from Liverpool on 2 November 1907 on one of the early voyages of the RMS Lusitania and arrived in New York on 8 November 1907. He had found work in electrical construction in Newark, New Jersey and lived in boarding homes in that area. His parents and seven siblings were still living in the Belfast area. A Mrs. Montgomery from Doagh made Mary Agnes’ wedding dress. On 10 December 1910, Mary Agnes sailed from Londonderry, Northern Ireland on the RMS California and arrived in New York, United States of America, on 19 December 1910. On 23 December 1910, Mary Agnes Elliott and Samuel Elliott Hume were married in Kearny, New Jersey by Reverend R.S.Dawson. They lived in the Newark area for the next few years. In 1915, they had word that Samuel Elliott Hume’s mother, Mary Ann Hume, was ill and began to make plans for Mary Agnes to travel back to Belfast to visit and help with her care. On 29 April 1915, Samuel and Mary Agnes Hume became citizens of the United States of America. On 30 April 1915, Mary Agnes Hume was issued a passport and permission to travel by the United States of America Department of State. A second class passage was booked on the Lusitania for departure from New York on May 1,1915. Apparently they decided not to let family or friends know she was coming so it would be a surprise. Three trunks and a suitcase were packed with clothing and personal items.

Lusitania


On the morning of 1 May 1915, Samuel and Mary Agnes traveled from Kearny, New Jersey to New York, Pier 54 where the Cunard ship, RMS Lusitania, was docked. Nothing is known about when they would have heard about the Imperial German Embassy’s newspaper ads, published that day, warning that passengers travelling on ships with the British flag or her allies, in the war zone, were at risk. It is also unknown what they knew about the German submarines patrolling in the waters around Ireland. It is not hard to imagine that Mary Agnes would have been excited for her first trip back to Belfast to see family and friends. In Kearny, they had met Walter and Nettie Mitchell and their infant son Walter who were also traveling second class and the Mitchells agreed to keep an eye out for Mary Agnes who was traveling alone. On 7 May 1915, a torpedo fired by a German U-Boat U-20 hit the Lusitania followed by an explosion and the ship quickly sank off the coast of Ireland. Mary Agnes Elliott Hume was lost and her body never recovered. In the personal family papers of Samuel Elliott Hume are various documents that tell the story of Mary Agnes’ time on the Lusitania; family reactions to hearing she was on the Lusitania; and the eventual legal claims against the German Government by Samuel Elliott Hume for the loss of Mary Agnes and her things. On Sunday, 9 May 1915, Samuel Hume sent a telegram to his father, William Hume, in Belfast that “Mary Agnes was on Lusitania make inquiries.” He also sent a telegram to Mary Agnes’ maternal aunt, Martha Fleming, in Doagh. On 9 May 1915, a telegram was sent to Samuel Hume from Fleming (likely John Fleming, Mary Agnes’ maternal uncle from Doagh) which said “Not on survivors list”. On 12 May 1915, Martha Fleming sent a note to Samuel Hume from Doagh:
My Dear Sam, It is with a very sad and sorrowful heart I have to write to you under these very trying circumstances, words cannot express how I feel for you now having lost your own Dear Wife and my Dear Mary Agnes. I received the sad news at 9:15 on Sunday morning, had 25 minutes to get the car went straight to town as I could do nothing from here in search of some comforting word for you but sorry to say I could find none. I went to Mrs. Patton and Bertie rushed to the office while Mrs. P. and I went to see your Dear Mother with the sad tale. Your Father had just gone to church but I had not to tell her that Mary was on the boat something told her you were both on and she asked me at once was Mary saved, as she knew by me that there was something wrong , it was hard but I told her as best I could little by little, she bore it with Christian patience, and I am glad to say she was a lot better in health and down stairs before this terrible cruel deed happened, Lord knows but what all this is for. We were 3 times at the office on Sunday all in vain, it was a most terrible shock to me and everybody round here- it is a while since their was so many tears shed about Doagh, everyone knew her so well, Johnnie sent word to Queenstown on 10 and prepaid wire back but up to the present no reply, him and I would have gone if we had thought we could get the body but their was some of them buried before we could have been their and their is still some being washed ashore yet and your Dear Father sent her photo to Queenstown for identification, if we could only get her body home or know it was there someone could go for it, it is a dreadful thing it is all bad enough for all of us but it is you I am worried about such a devoted and loving Husband. I never dreamt of her coming at this awful time and Saturday night I made up my mind to write and tell her not to come after I heard what had happened little I thought she was on the ill fated Lusitania. I kept-up as best I could between hope and fear, and I thought their might be some ray of hope, but I am afraid their is none, do your best in Gods name and bear up but I know it is very hard, as I am near frantic myself. Ada cried sore on Sunday morning and Minnie is very ill about her. I intend putting the death in the paper. My greatest trouble is after all that I was not near to help her when help was needed. This is the worst of all my poor Dear Mary Agnes gone, but I know gone to be with Jesus which is far better. I have not seen my Father since. Write me a long letter at once and if there is anything I can do for you, I will only be glad how is it she did not tell me she wanted to give me a surprise and a sad one I got. I can write no more. May God bless and take care of you now try and keep up as best you can and all join in Loving sympathy to you now in your sad bereveament. Your Loving Aunt Martha. Have you any photos of Marys since you were married[?]
On 13 May 1915, a telegram was sent from Queenstown to Samuel’s father, William Hume, in Belfast:
Report no trace Mrs. Hume at present Cunard
On 13 May 1915 a letter was also sent to William Hume in Belfast from The Cunard Steam Ship Company Limited in Queenstown:
We have your letter, and we are sorry that we have had to wire you that we have no trace of Mrs. Hume’s body. We are keeping your letter and description before us, and will communicate with you at once should the body be discovered. Conveying our deep sympathy to her relatives.
On 13 May 1915, a telegram was sent to Samuel Hume from Belfast:
“Friends doing utmost Continuing Fleming”.
On 21 May 1915, Martha Fleming wrote another note to Samuel Hume expressing her grief, and “all round here are in sympathy.” She explained that she and her brother John Fleming had decided not to go to Queenstown as they had heard bodies had been buried on Sunday and Monday; they did not know what Mary Agnes was wearing. “I heard that they took the jewelery of any of the bodies that they got that were not identified." “Did Mary not hear that they had threatened to sink the ship” “Their were 7 more bodies got yesterday. I understand that the photographs of the dead are to be taken so we may have a chance of knowing whether she is buried or not...that is the ones that were not identified.” On 22 May 1915, Samuel Hume was issued a passport to travel to Ireland “to try and recover wife’s body”. On 23 May 1915, the following memorial written by Reverend Robert T. Graham for Mary Agnes Hume was presented at a service of the Knox Presbyterian Church in Kearny, New Jersey:
Sweet, gentle spirit, thine was a soul serene, Gliding through life with soft and pensive air, Adorned with queenly grace and meekness true, Among the fairest thou wast also fair. Beauty and virtue blended in thy lovely life, Calm as a Summer’s eve when hushed is every sound. Amid the pastures green thou hadst been led; The Shepherd’s care thy faithful trust had found. Thy path across the trackless watery waste Led thee in blindness to an evil hour, When hope and expectation touched the zenith line, Then came the cruel shock, the foeman’s boasted power. With us thou art no more, O Woman good and true, Thy days like shadows chasing o’er the grassy lee, Came to an end, untimely ruthless cruel death, Has laid thy sainted form beneath the angry sea. No soft and tender hand thine eyelids’ closed in death, No ministry of comfort, none to hear thy cry, Spoke to thy sinking life in that dread scene, Alone with God, ‘tis gain with Him to die. No costly shroud, or casket soft and rare, Nor lily of the valley on thy mound of sleep, No dust to dust by heaven’s decree was spoke, Alone with Him Who Israel still doth keep. The night winds sighing o’er the wide expanse, And breakers moaning, struggling on to reach the shore, The sea bird’s flight and melancholy cry, Shall weep for thee a requiem evermore. Life’s stormy sea was all too quickly crossed, God’s haven reached while yet the tide was high, Master of wind and wave our tossing bark still guide, Until we reach in peace our home beyond the sky.
On 27 May 1915, Nettie Mitchell (Mrs. Walter Mitchell), who survived the Lusitania tragedy, wrote a note to Samuel Hume from Belfast.
I have been watching the papers anxiously to see if there was any word of even your dear wife’s body being found. I am sorry to say I never saw anything and if such is the case that she has been lost. I really don’t know how to begin Mr. Hume to write of what I know of your wife. First in the short time I knew your wife I thought very highly indeed of her and we were real good friends and had many heart to heart chats on board and dear Walter did everything in his power to make the journey pleasant for her. He hired two deck chairs for us and whenever Mrs. H. was not in her cabin she was with us (which was most of the time). Mrs. H. and I used to sit on the chairs and Walter would take baby around in his carriage, then Mrs. H. used to take baby around and I also used to leave Mrs. H. and Walter together so you see we had a real happy time together and Mrs. Hume was so fond of our little angel, she used to say “I don’t know how I will ever part with him”. She told me she had written you a long letter telling you also about how good Baby Mitchell was but like everything else, the mails went to the bottom I am afraid. Your wife and I were together not five minutes before the boat was torpedoed. We had been sitting together after lunch on deck chatting and I had to go and see if baby was still asleep in his cabin so Mrs. H. said she was going to her cabin also to try to have her packing fixed up for that night as we had got notice from the captain to have all stateroom baggage ready for removal at 9 p.m. Friday. Walter and Mrs. H. and I went down together and when Mrs. H. was leaving us she (said) “Goodbye this is the way I go I will see you later” and I never saw her again, she just had about time to get to her cabin, I would be afraid she didn’t have time to get up on deck.” … “We just got to our cabin saw baby was asleep and as we knew he couldn’t sleep much longer we didn’t go to leave him but spoke to a stewardess who was sitting on a camp stool just opposite our cabin. She was congratulating us on having such a good baby and had just finished when the torpedo struck. I dashed into the cabin and lifted my angel baby and Walter turned back for baby’s little coat and cap which he never got on and by this time the boat was listing so badly we could hardly get up and then the lifeboat we got into was leaking so badly it soon filled and the boat overturned. I had baby in my arms and when we got up out of water we were clinging to the upturned boat, it overturned again and we were under again. The last I remember a lady was holding baby and Walter and I were together in the sea clinging to the boat and I never again saw either of my darlings alive. Walter’s dead body was recovered but baby’s was not.
In early June 1915, Samuel Hume sailed from New York and arrived in Liverpool England on 13 June 1915. Most likely he visited the Cunard Steam Ship Company Main Office on Water Street in Liverpool before taking a boat over to Belfast. On 14 June 1915, The General Manager’s Office for the Cunard Steam Ship Company Limited in Liverpool wrote a letter to S.E. Hume that
In accordance with your request, we beg to confirm that Mrs. Mary A. Hume was a 2nd Cabin passenger on board the ill-fated “Lusitania”, which sailed from New York May 1st. It is with deep regret that we have to inform you her name does not appear amongst the list of survivors, nor have her remains yet been recovered. Yours faithfully, THE CUNARD STEAM SHIP COMPANY LTD.
Samuel Hume stayed in Ireland for two months. While there he corresponded with and had at least one visit with Nettie Mitchell. They exchanged photos of their loved ones. Samuel Hume also met his future wife Mary Agnes Harper Seaton who lived in Greencastle. He traveled around Northern Ireland to see family members in Belfast, Doagh, Ballynure, Whitehouse, and Sion Mills, and gathered family photos. He left Northern Ireland with no recovery of Mary Agnes’ body. He sailed from Liverpool on 25 August 1915 and arrived in New York on 4 September 1915. On 18 October 1915, Nettie Mitchell wrote Samuel Hume and shared “The Burial Board in Queenstown refused flatly to allow Baby’s body to be exhumed so of course we could do nothing.” There was another note from Nettie Mitchell, on 22 February 1916 where she reported she was in her seventh week of nursing training in Dublin.

Life after Mary


On 21 May 1917, Samuel Hume enlisted as a Private in the Engineer Section of the Enlisted Reserve Corps of the Army of the United States. He was called into active service on 2 June 1917 and told to report to Pennsylvania Station in New York City at 9:45 A.M. on that date. He served in France and England from 14 July 1917 to 27 April 1919, and was honorably discharged on 6 May 1919 at the rank of Corporal. On 19 August 1919, Samuel Hume completed the application for claims against the German Government for the loss of his wife, Mary Agnes Hume and her possessions. On 28 June 1923, Jeanette Elizabeth Mary Watters (formerly Mrs. Walter Mitchell) completed a legal affidavit regarding her firsthand knowledge of where Mary Agnes Hume was when the torpedo hit the RMS Lusitania and had this sent by her attorney to Samuel Hume in the United States. Because Mary Agnes was an American citizen at the time of her death, claims were handled by the Mixed Claims Commission under the United States Department of State. Other documents were compiled and submitted. In Samuel's case against Germany in the Mixed Claims Commission, he was awarded $8,000.00 for the loss of his wife and an additional $1,341.00 for personal effects lost in the Lusitania disaster. On 14 May 1928, thirteen years after the sinking of the RMS Lusitania, Samuel Hume was sent two checks for the awards of the Mixed Claims Commission plus interest, $9,794.59 for the loss of Mary Agnes Hume and $2218.43 for her possessions. All of his documents, photographs and scant possessions from Mary Agnes were carefully packed away in a suitcase which stayed with him. On noon of Sunday, 1 May 1938, Samuel Hume wrote these thoughts – “It is now 23 years since you sailed away on that beautiful May day. Fate decreed that you would never come back to me. The years have passed but your memory still lives. Perhaps God, in his goodness did not want you to live these fateful years, years of strife on every land, war, famine and upheavals-years of suffering and want. Why you were taken I can only say or think “Thy will be done”. Yes, two years after you left, I sailed for France (1917) returned in 1919. No No No Glory in war.” Samuel Elliott Hume continued his career in electrical construction. He married Mary Agnes Harper Seaton on 21 October 1919, after bringing her over from Ireland. They had one son, Samuel Elliott Hume, two grandchildren and two great grandsons. After the death of his second wife, Samuel Hume traveled back to Northern Ireland, married for a third time, and ultimately moved to Portrush, Northern Ireland in 1953. He died on 13 February 1961 while on a visit to the United States, having brought his suitcase with the papers about Mary Agnes Elliott Hume with him to pass on to his son.

Related pages


Mary Hume at the Mixed Claims Commission
Contributors: Kathleen Hume (granddaughter of Samuel Elliot Hume) Senan Molony, Ireland References: Docket No. 494. Mixed Claims Commission, page 423. "A Pathetic Case." Irish Post and Weekly Telegraph, 15 May 1915, page 11. Molony, Senan. Lusitania: An Irish Tragedy, Mercier Press, 2004. page 40. Certificate of Birth and Baptism for Mary Agnes Elliott by Robert Allison, Minister of Kilbride Presbyterian Church, dated December 5, 1910 Family Record Sheets for Births and Deaths of Immediate Family Members of Mary Agnes Elliott 1901 and 1911 Irish Census from The National Archives of Ireland website Will of Samuel Elliott (died April 19, 1892), probated February 12, 1894 – Wills Calendar on PRONI website Family History Charts written by Samuel Elliott Hume Certified Birth Registration for Samuel Elliott Hume Passenger Manifests from RMS Lusitania from Ellis Island website Interview of Belle and Agnes Perry on September 20, 1980 by Kathleen Hume in Portrush, Northern Ireland. The Perry sisters had been friends of Samuel Hume and had driven him to visit Holestone and Doagh around 1955 and met with Mrs. Montgomery with him. Passenger List for SS California from New York Passenger Lists from Ancestry.com Certificate of Marriage from Bureau of Vital Statistics of State of New Jersey Marriage Certificate signed by Reverend R.S.Dawson Certificate of Naturalization to the The United States of America (Petition Volume 36, Number 8095) for Samuel Elliott Hume, certified April 29, 1915. Passport for Mary Agnes Hume issued April 30, 1915 (No. 56030) Two telegrams dated May 9, 1915 Two telegrams dated May 13, 1915 Letters from Cunard Steam Ship Company Limited, dated May 13, 1915 and June 14, 1915 Two Notes from Martha Fleming to Samuel Hume, dated May 12, 1915 and May 21, 1915 Passport for Samuel Elliott Hume issued May 22, 1915 from the United States of America Church Program from Knox Presbyterian Church, Kearny, New Jersey, for May 23, 1915 Eight Notes from Nettie Mitchell (aka Nettie Watters) written on May 27, 1915; June 18, 1915; July 14, 1915; July 21, 1915; August 7, 1915; October 18, 1915 (with enclosed photo of Walter Mitchell and infant son); February 22, 1916; and June 29, 1923 Photograph of Nettie, Walter and Baby from Walter Studio, 605 Broad Street, Newark, New Jersey Passenger List for Philadelphia for arrival June 13, 1915 in Liverpool – UK Incoming Passenger Lists from Ancestry.com website Passenger List for Saxonia for arrival September 4, 1915 in New York – New York Passenger Lists from Ancestry.com website Enlistment and Honorable Discharge documents for Samuel Hume from the United States Army Set of legal documents for the claims against the German Government including application, letters, statements and affidavits as well as pamphlets Marriage Certificate for Samuel Elliott Hume and Mary Agnes Harper Seaton Thoughts written by Samuel Hume on May 1, 1938 Death Certificate for Samuel Elliott Hume

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