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Some Interesting People in the Family Tree

Posted by on September 25, 2012

I met a few more interesting cousins this week:

This handsome fellow was Henry Dutton governor of Connecticut in 1854 (Whig Party):

It is amazing how much my Dad looks like Henry Dutton. That’s my dad in the picture below. The adorable blonde-haired little boy is me. 🙂


I also met Mahala Dutton a distant cousin who “…was aboard the Titanic with her husband, Walter Donald Douglas, when it struck an iceberg in the Alantic. Mrs. Douglas survived the disaster, but after depositing his wife in a lifeboat Mr. Douglas stepped back and went down with the Titanic.”

After the disaster Mrs Douglas testified at the American Senate inquiry:

Mrs Walter Donald Douglas (Mahala Dutton), 48, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa and
Deephaven, MN, USA boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg with her husband Mr Walter
Donald Douglas and her French maid Berthe LeRoy. Travelling as first class
passengers, they occupied cabin C-86.

After the collision, as the lifeboats were loaded Mahala begged her husband to come
with her but he refused saying it would make him ‘less than a man.’ or ‘No, I must be a

Mahala and Ms LeRoy escaped the sinking ship in Lifeboat 2. After several hours adrift,
during which Mrs Douglas handled the boats tiller, they drew along side the rescue ship
Carpathia. As they did so Mrs Douglas supposedly screamed.’The ship is gone, All of
them are gone.’ or ‘The Titanic has gone down with everyone on board’ before being
silenced by Fourth Officer Boxhall.

Her testimony of the events of that night:

“We dined in the restaurant, going in about 8 o’clock….As we went to our stateroom…we
both remarked that the boat was going faster than she ever had. The vibration…was very

“The shock of the collision was not great to us; the engines stopped, then went on for a
few moments, then stopped again. We waited some little time, Mr Douglas reassuring
me that there was no danger before going out of the cabin. But later Mr Douglas went
out to see what had happened, and I put on my heavy boots and fur coat to go up on
deck later. I waited in the corridor to see and hear what I could. We received no orders;
no one knocked at our door; we saw no officers nor stewards—no one to give an order
or answer our questions.

“Now people commenced to appear with life preservers, and I heard from some one that
the order had been given to put them on. I took three from our cabin, gave one to the
maid, telling her to get off in the small boat when her turn came.

“Mr Douglas [and I]…went up on the boat deck. Mr Douglas told me if I waited we might
both go together, and we stood there waiting. We heard that the boat was in
communication with three other boats by wireless: we watched the distress rockets sent
off—they rose high in the air and burst.

“No one seemed excited. Finally, as we stood by a collapsible boat lying on the deck and
an emergency boat swinging from the davits was being filled, it was decided I should
go….I asked Mr Douglas to come with me, but he replied, ‘No, I must be a gentleman,”
turning away…

“The rowing was very difficult, for no one knew how….Several times we stopped rowing
to listen for the lapping of the water against the icebergs.

“In an incredibly short space of time, it seemed to me, the boat sank. I heard no
explosion. I watched the boat go down, and the last picture to my mind is the immense
mass of black against the starlit sky, and then—nothingness.”

Mahala continued to life at her mansion by Lake Minnetonka until her death in 1945
aged 81. She, is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, alongside her


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