All Things Victorian

All Things Victorian
Victoriana Lady Lisa

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Woman's Mother Was A Survivor On The Titanic

Woman's Mother Thelma Thomas Was A Survivor On The Titanic

Victoriana Lady Lisa Lewis and Mae Thomas
(Photo by John Thomas Grant)

Today John and I had the unique privilege of meeting and interviewing a darling lady named Mae Thomas whose mother, Thelma, was on the Titanic. Thelma was with her brother Charles, and her 3 month old son Assad, when the ship went down.  Mae tells the story from her mother's experience as she remembers it, The family was traveling from Harden, Lebanon where Charles was to join the family business in America. Thelma & the baby were sent to accompany Charles back since the men in the states could not leave the business for such a length of time.

Thelma was on the Titanic with her brother Charles & son Assad.

The night of the sinking Charles, who heard the thud when they hit the iceberg, quickly went to Thelma's room and told her to get warm clothes on and to wrap the baby up warmly. "Something is wrong and we are needed on deck," he told her. When they got to the deck, people were everywhere and life boats were being filled. One of the men in charge tried to put Thelma on a life boat but she was hysterical and did not want to leave her brother. It was very confusing & frightening since she did not speak English. Charles translated that she must go without him. She still refused. In the chaos someone put her in the life boat and lowered it before she could get baby Assad from her brother! She was nearly out of her mind crying for him and her brother, what a terrifying ordeal it must have been for her.

Luckily Charles entrusted the baby to a lady in another life boat who promised to take care of the baby until he could be reunited with his mother. Sadly, Charles Thomas did not survive and his body was never found.

Thelma's brother Charles Thomas perished on the ill fated Titanic

There was a man in Thelma's life boat dressed as a woman. At first the women in the boat were appalled. They were all in a state of shock and could not row away from the sinking ship fast enough, however, the man rowed them to safety and saved them from being pulled under when the ship went completely under the water. After that they were thankful that he had been in their lifeboat. Thelma was in a state of severe shock and spent several weeks in the hospital in NY.

Once she was stable she was reunited with Assad, he was still wrapped in the same blanket from that fateful night. Thelma was also reunited with her husband Alexander, who had stayed behind to mind the business. They went on to have a total of 10 children, three are still alive today. Mae, one of the three, loves to talk about her mother's experience. She said her mother never went near another body of water in her life, not even a lake.

Victoriana Lady Lisa at the Titanic Exhibition, Times Square NYC in antique 1912 fashions.

 This and other fascinating stories will be told at upcoming Titanic events at the Stegmaier Mansion B&B.
The first three Titanic events are booked solid so more dates have been added by the Passion Projects-

Sunday June 19, 2011 from 2-4 pm The Last Luncheon On The Titanic will be held. Hosted by Victoriana Lady Lisa Lewis and featuring the exact menu from the ship, prepared on site by gold medal award winning chef Jody Klocko, formerly of Godiva Chocolates.

The Last Dinner On The Titanic last weekend was a sell out and a smashing success!! By popular demand we will be adding more dinner dates as well. Events are by reservation only and sell out fast.

Please call Lisa Lewis at 570-290-2679 or 570-655-8392 for more information. Reservations are on a first come first serve basis. You can also send an e-mail at

Some of Victoriana Lady's artifacts include two books printed in 1912 with actual survivor's stories, plus-


  1. I wished I lived close enough to attend. Sounds fun.

  2. That sounds so neat. My nephew, who is now 24 did a school project on the Titanic when he was in third grade. Ever since, he has been fascinated with the history of all things Titanic. I was fortunate enough to get Milvina Dean's autograph for him as a graduation gift shortly before she passed away. I wish he wasn't in Houson, he would love this!

  3. Thanks Candi for sharing your great story. :)