Douglas, Mrs. Mahala (née Dutton)
Passenger: 1st Class
25 Jan 1864
Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA
20 Apr 1945
Pasadena, California, USA
Mahala was returning from a three month tour of Europe with her husband Walter Donald Douglas selecting furniture and other pieces for their new home. They boarded with a French maid, Berthe Leroy and became friends with fellow Minnesotan passengers Mrs Nellie Snyder, Mr. William Baird Silvey and his wife Mrs. Alice Silvey and Miss Constance Willard.
She was in her cabin when the they felt the impact. Her husband went to investigate but despite his reassurances that it would be nothing serious she put on warm clothes and while waiting in the corridor she noticed many people wearing life presevers. She collected three of them, handed one to her maid and instructed her to put it on and find a lifeboat. She met her husband on the stairwell and he continued to state that it was not serious. As they waited on the deck he said that if they waitied for a later boat they may be able to stay together.
They watched lifeboat 2 starting to fill , close by stood Major Archibald Butt, Clarence Moore, Edgar Meyer and Arthur Ryerson. She also recalled seeing Luigi Gatti on deck, his high hat on his head, grip in his hand and a steamer rug over his arm, just as if he were waiting on a train, she thought to herself.and it was deicded they had waited long enough and she should board that boat. She reported that the captain ordered a large number of men out of the boat and when she asked her husband to come with her he responded "No, I must be a gentleman." As he turned away she called after him "try and get off with Mr Moore and Major Butt. They will surely make it."
She recalled the time between boarding the boat and the Titanic going down was brief. She helped with the tiller and held a lantern for a time and the boat was the first to be pulled alongside the Carpathia. She excitedly shouted out "The Titanic has gone down with everyone on board...." but was told to "shut up" by Officer Boxhall. Despite this one curt exchange, she was respectful of Boxhall and described him as curteous and correct.
She spoke of the kind and generous treatment aboard the Carpathia but was distressed that, despite numerous trips to the purser's office, her telegram confirming the death of her husband was not sent.
She never remarried and remained close to her French maid Berthe Leroy as she travelled widely, across Europe and Asia as well as America. She passed away in April 1945.
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Primary source : Encyclopaedia Titanica