Helen Bishop - Titanic First Class Passenger
Mrs Helen Walton Bishop was a 19 year old, American, first class passenger travelling aboard Titanic with her recently married husband, Dickinson Bishop. They boarded Titanic at Cherbourg, France to make the journey home from their honeymoon, which they had spent in Europe and North Africa. On board Titanic they shared cabin B49.
Helen Bishop, who was the daughter of Gerald Walton, a successful business man, was born on 19th May 1892 in Sturgis, Michigan.
In Sturgis on 7th November 1911, she married a 24 year old Dickinson Bishop, a wealthy widower. For their honeymoon Mr & Mrs Bishop sailed aboard RMS Adriatic, to spend time in Europe and North Africa.
When it was time to return to their home in Dowagiac, Michigan, they booked passage on the maiden voyage of Titanic. They made their way to Cherbourg, and boarded Titanic on Wednsday10th April 1912. By the time they boarded Titanic Helen had become pregnant.
At 11.40pm on 14th April 1912, as Helen was sleeping in her cabin, Titanic collided with the Iceberg. She was soon woken up by her husband, who told her that the ship had struck something.
After dressing, Helen and her husband made their way up on deck to investigate; finding nothing but the intense cold, and being reassured by a steward, who told them that the ship had stuck ice and there was no danger, they returned to their cabin.
Not too long after, Albert Stewart, a first class passenger, knocked on their door to advise them to dress and leave their cabin. After comfortably dressing, they joined a group of passengers on A deck.
Dickinson went back to his to his cabin to collect some clothing for Helen. While he was there, Helen said that Colonel John Jacob Astor had seen Captain Smith walking down the stairs and had gone over to talk to him. When Colonel Astor returned, he told the group, including his wife, that they should put on their lifebelts. Helen then returned to her cabin to tell her husband and collect her own lifebelt.
After leaving their cabin for the last time, they made their way to the starboard Boat Deck. Noticing that there were very few passengers around, they then made their way to the port side, were they found even less before moving back to the starboard side.
After waiting on the starboard side for at least around 5 minutes, Both Dickinson and Helen were told to board lifeboat 7, the very first lifeboat to leave the sinking ship. Their lifeboat was safely rescued by Carpathia shortly after 5am later in the morning.
On Tuesday 30th April 1912, Helen along with her husband gave evidence at the American Titanic Inquiry.
On Sunday 8th December 1912, Helen gave birth to their baby son, Randall Walton Bishop. Sadly he died on 10th December. Just two days after he was born.
Tragically while the couple were returning from a dance, in a car on 5th November 1914, the car hit a tree and Helen was thrown 25 feet from the car, fracturing her skull. Her injuries were so bad that, the next day, the New York Times reported that she was dying. Her husband only suffered minor injuries.
Fortunately Helen did survive. She had a steel plate placed in her skull and recovered. Though, it is said that the accident changed her mentally. In January 1916, Helen and Dickinson divorced.
While staying with a friend in Danville, Illinois, Helen became ill, and just days later on 15th March 1916, she died at the home of her friend. Her parents had arrived the previous day to be with their daughter. She was aged just 23.
The cause of her death was determined on her death certificate to be Jacksonian Epilepsy. It has been said that her death was the result of her slipping on a rug. Presumably, indirectly at least, she died as a result of her previous accident in 1914.
She was buried at Oaklawn Cemetery, Sturgis, Michigan. She is buried with her son, Randall Walton Bishop.