Mary Margaret Baldwin was born Mary Margaret McCauley in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the United States of America on the 25th February 1874. Nothing is known of her family or early life except that her mother’s name was Violet, and she had a sister named Elizabeth.
On the 29th May 1897, she married Harry Bradley Baldwin, at St. Mark’s Church, Chicago, Illinois. Her husband was a freight broker and they lived at 11, East 68th Street in New York City, New York State. They had no children.
Her husband decided to travel to Europe in the spring of 1915 on business, and booked saloon passage for them both on the
Lusitania's sailing which was due to leave her berth at Pier 54 in New York harbour, on the morning of 1st May. Joining the vessel in time for the sailing with ticket number 46056, once on board, they were escorted to their room, A22, which was under the personal supervision of First Class Bedroom Steward John Perry, who came from Seaforth on the outskirts of Liverpool.
The liner’s departure was actually delayed until the early afternoon of 1st May because the
Lusitania had to take on board passengers, cargo and some of the crew of the Anchor Lines vessel the
Cameronia. This was because the British Admiralty had requisitioned her for war work as a troop ship.
Six days out of New York she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-20 and as a result of this sinking both Mary and Harry Baldwin were killed. At the time, the liner was only 250 miles from her Liverpool destination and only twelve miles off the coast of southern Ireland.
As neither of the Baldwins’ bodies was recovered and identified afterwards, neither has a known grave. Mary Baldwin was aged 41 years.
In The Tragedy of The Lusitania, published in the United States of America in 1915, its author Captain Frederick D. Ellis, stated: -
The hand of fate seemed to have especially planned the death of Harry B. Baldwin. president of the Austin, Baldwin Co., freight contractors, and his wife, both of whom were among those lost. Four times in the three months preceding the disaster Mr. Baldwin and his wife prepared for a trip to Europe, and on every occasion an unforeseen chance made a postponement of the voyage necessary. Finally, when the Lusitania was announced to sail, Mr. Baldwin and Mrs, Baldwin found no obstacle in their path and sailed to their death. (sic) “Yes, I’ll take a chance,” were the last words of Baldwin, as he left his apartment at No. 11 East Sixty-Eighth Street, when an elevator boy asked if he should risk the voyage.
Bedroom Steward Perry, who had looked after them both in room A22, was also killed as a result of the torpedoing and never returned home to Seaforth.
After the War, the Mixed Claims Commission awarded her mother, Mrs. Violet McCauley the sum of $10,000.00, and her sister, Mrs. Elizabeth M. Parmly, the sum of $1,500.00 as Administratrix of her estate.
U.S. Passport Applications 1795 – 1925, Cunard Records, Mixed Claims Commission Docket No. 421, Deaths at Sea 1871 – 1968, PRO 22/71, PRO BT 100/345, Tragedy of the Lusitania, Graham Maddocks, Geoff Whitfield, Stuart Williamson, Michael Poirier, Jim Kalafus, Cliff Barry, Paul Latimer, Norman Gray.
Copyright © Peter Kelly