Rhoda Mary Abbott (January 14 th 1873 - February 18 th 1946) was a third class passenger on the RMS Titanic. She was the only female passenger who went down with the sinking of the ship and survived.
Biography[edit | edit source]
She was born in the USA, but she came to England after divorcing with her husband in 1911. After going to England on the Olympic, the Titanic's sister ship, she stayed with her widowed mother. They soon found out that Abbott's two sons became homesick and would have to return to New York. Rhoda's Baptist church provided the third class tickets on the Titanic. At 39 years of age, she boarded the ship in Southampton with her sons.
At the time of the sinking of the Titanic, she was heading home with her two sons Rossmore Edward Abbott and Eugene Joseph Abbott. Right before the Titanic officially sank, Rhoda and her sons jumped from the boat deck. Her grip on her sons released and she frantically tried to find them. When she lost hope, somebody from Collapsible Lifeboat A grabbed her and pulled her aboard. She could not see her sons. Seconds later, boat A was swamped and almost all the passengers were thrown out. Finally, Lifeboat 14 found them and helped them board. There was a lot of room because Lowe had distributed the passengers of his lifeboat to others. All the people who died were immediately thrown off. Soon after that, the people on Lifeboat 14 saw the Carpathia. When they were rescued, Rhoda was put into special care for her leg injuries from the cold sea. She was the only women to physically survive in the icy cold waters after the Titanic sank
Later Life[edit | edit source]
As a result of the sinking of the Titanic, Abbott had respiratory problems, including severe bouts of asthma, for the rest of her life. She was not able to comprehend the loss of her sons, and grieved for months. On 16 December 1912, she married longtime friend George Charles Williams, and the couple settled in Jacksonville, Florida. By 1928, they had returned to England to settle Williams' father's estate in London. Abbott took care of her husband until his death in 1938. For the remainder of her life she tried to immigrate back to America, but was always refused.
Abbott died in London of heart failure as a result of hypertension on 18 February 1946, at the age of 73.
In Popular Culture[edit | edit source]
Rhoda Abbott makes a cameo appearance in James Cameron's 1997 blockbuster Titanic, while Caledon "Cal" Hockley is attempting to board Collapsible A. He gives her the little girl that he used to gain entry into the boat (as the "women and children only" protocol was still being enforced). She's briefly fell to the water but pulled aboard again by Cal and another man.
As she is the only surviving woman in Collapsible A, much like Abbott's actual story of survival. She's later reappears in Carpathia deleted scene, having apparently taken in the little girl (who was presumably orphaned).