Mary Davison Godwin: Bedford, Ohio's Titanic Survivor

Ralph DiMatteo History

Mary Davison Godwin Titanic Survivor

A little while back we wrote a post on all of Cleveland’s connections to the Titanic sinking, but we came across a little bit more about one Mary Davison Godwin from Bedford and we felt compelled to share.

Mary Davison Godwin was born in England, but her family settled in Bedford, Ohio, where she met a Mister Thomas Henry (who went by Harry to most that knew him) Davison.

In 1902, the couple married and stayed in the Bedford area to be near her family. However, work became difficult to find for Harry and the two headed off to England where a living was easier to come by.

But Mary missed her family terribly, so being the good and loving husband that he was, Harry purchased two tickets on a different ship home, but upon learning about the Titanic’s maiden voyage across the Atlantic, Mary pleaded with Harry to exchange their tickets for passage on the Titanic as third-class passengers, which on most ships amounted to second-class because Titanic was such a grand ship of her time. Harry dutifully complied with his wife’s wishes, and the two of them set sail on the grandest adventure of their lives on what was supposed to be a trip home to Bedford and family.

Jarred awake when Titanic hit the iceberg, they quickly rushed to the deck to see what the situation was and learned it was indeed dire, with women and children being loaded into the lifeboats first. 

Harry and Mary quickly realized two serious problems: There were not enough lifeboats, and not enough life jackets for everyone onboard. Mary recalled fondly later in life that as she was being loaded into lifeboat #16, she looked back to see her selfless husband Harry handing his life jacket to another terrified passenger.

Sadly, Harry was one of the 1,500 passengers that died on that April 15th, 1912 morning, as Titanic made its way to the ocean floor of the Atlantic.

Mary was one of the lucky souls rescued by the RMS Carpathia and brought to New York. She lived in Bedford until 1939, passing away at the age of 61. She never forgave herself for pleading with her husband to exchange tickets so they could be part of Titanic’s historic maiden voyage. She also regretted simply not staying with him when the outcome of the grand ship was inevitable.

Godwin remains in Bedford to this day as she rests in Bedford Cemetery.

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