April  15, 2012

The History Club

Titanic—Carpathia—Bethel, Maine —Violet Campbell


On the trail of Violet Campbell. Today’s centennial observance of the Titanic’s sinking and the Carpathia’s role in rescuing some of the survivors prompted this page.

This story is a memoire of recollections about Violet Campbell who lived in Mayville from at least the early 1940’s until 1966 when she died in December. Her full name we learned at the time of her death was Mrs. Julia Violet Lithgow Campbell.

Mrs. Campbell a.k.a. Old Lady Campbell lived in the house which had once belonged to William Rogers Chapman’s mother, Emily Bishop Chapman Valentine, then his sister and eventually Professor Chapman.  In the early 1940’s my cousins and I often saw Mrs. Campbell puttering around her flowers growing around the house.  At that time Susie Twitchell lived next door where Dana and Barbara Douglass lived later.  Mary Ladd lived in the big farm house across Route 2 (Mayville Road in 2012).  However, Mrs. Campbell is not listed as living in Mayville in the 1920 or the 1930 U. S. Census.

Violet Campbell made an Atlantic crossing on the Carpathia in March 1913.














Randy Bennett found the above Internet item that showed Violet Campbell who was born in Toronto, Canada but a US citizen crossed the Atlantic in 1913 from Liverpool to Boston on the SS Carpathia. Her residence was Bethel, Maine.  She was traveling on a Saloon – First Class booking. She was 30 years old, five feet, five inches tall; had fair complexion, brown hair, brown eyes and was in good health.


We (the Bennetts) always thought that she had a son named Bruce Campbell who sort of looked after her. There is a card on file at the Historical Society  for a Bruce Campbell who died in Detroit in 1961. He was 56 and I think that he was Mrs. Campbell’s son.


I talked with Barbara Douglass about what she might have remembered about Mrs. Campbell’s last days living in the Chapman house.  It turned out that Barbara was with Mrs. Campbell and so was Pearl Tibbetts when Mrs. Campbell died.  Barbara had called Pearl for help. Barbara recalled that Margaret was home on vacation at the time.


By accident I recently discovered Mrs. Campbell’s death reported in the Citizen’s 1966 In Review; she was 83.


One of the other anecdotes that Barbara remembers is that Pearl was helping Margaret learn to drive. One of their driving sessions had the mission of getting Mrs. Campbell to the liquor store in Norway. Apparently Barbara and Mrs. Tibbetts had been doing that mission regularly.


John Brown also had some contacts with Mrs. Campbell; he had gone to Mrs. Campbell’s house with his brother when she had called for carpenter help. John said that the house had had its ups and downs as far as its condition was concerned. He remembered one time seeing where on the second floor in the back (probably by the bathroom) that the ceiling was falling away from its frame and the walls were in bad shape. 


John was pretty sure that Dorothy Fadner had a lot of restoring to do after she bought the property in the 70’s.  John said also that Mrs. Campbell only let a few men who came to work on essential repairs into the main house. We guessed that the reason she always used the Professor’s music room to meet anyone who came to the house was that she did not want visitors to see the condition of the house.


Years after Mrs. Campbell died, around 1970-71, her furniture was sold at auction (in New York) and prior to the auction was displayed on the lawn and driveway of her house. There was a sign at the house which gave details about the auction.


 Barbara remembers that Mrs. Campbell had a beautiful grandfather clock that was part of the auction inventory. There was no hint of gratitude from the Campbell towards anyone locally for looking after Mrs. Campbell and it was, according to Barbara,  pretty difficult to even get a family response when she died.  For years she and Dana had looked after her.


April 17, 2012


Mary L. Ennis pursued the Violet Campbell story with these thrilling results:


“And the rest of the story .. Violet’s name was NOT Julia – it was Jean. Jean V. Lithgow Campbell was born in Toronto, Canada on 4/1/1879 to John Lithgow and Cora E. Park. John was born in Nova Scotia and Cora in Massachusetts. On the 1900 census Jean lived in Providence, RI with her grandmother – along with her mother (who was a widow) and sister Margarite. In 1930 Jean (who was divorced) lived with her mother and sister in Monterey, CA.  Marriage record: Edwin Prall Campbell, son of Henry G and Margaret Campbell, married Jean V. Lithgow on 1/12/1901 in Providence, RI.”



Maybe more will follow.

1981 photo of the Campbell-Fadner house in Mayville.  Gable barely visible in left rear of house holds the entrance to Prof. Chapman’s music room.

Departing Liverpool, England 6 March 1913
Departing Queenstown, Ireland 7 March 1913
Arriving Boston, Massachusetts 17 March 1913



  Campbell, Violet;  30 yrs;  F;  S;  none; Read/Write: Y/Y

       Nationality: USA; Race/People: English

       Last Perm Res Country: USA; City: Bethel

       Nearest Rel: Friend De Francis Montreal, Canada

       Final Dest State: Maine; City: Bethel; Ticket: N;  Passage: Self

       $50 or more: Y; US Before: Y;  How Long: nearly all life

       Where in US before: Bethel Maine; Going to: Home to Bethel, Maine

       Prison/Polygamist/Anarchist/Job Offer N/N/N/N

       Health: Good; Deformed: N;  Hgt: 5 feet, 5 inches

       Complexion: Fair; Hair: Brown; Eyes: Brown; Ident: none

       Country of Birth: Canada; City: Toronto

Shipping crate addressed to Mrs. J. V. Campbell was  still in the “Chapman House” barn as of November 2005—the property is owned by David Murphy in 2012.

PO Box 763

Bethel Maine 04217