Emily Mary Anderson was born Emily Mary Pybus in Barton, near Darlington, Yorkshire, England, on the 22nd July 1888, the daughter of Robert and Margaret Elizabeth Pybus (née Mossom). Her father had at various times been employed as a coach driver and gardener. Emily, the youngest of five children, became a drapery shop assistant on leaving school. On 28th June 1911, she arrived in New York on the
S.S. Caronia, having sailed from Liverpool.
She married her fiancée, Rowland Anderson, who was a draughtsman and was also from Darlington, and who had arrived in the United States of America in 1910, within days of her arrival, and they had one daughter, born on 15th June 1912, whom they named Barbara Winnifred. They first settled in Derby, and then New Haven, Connecticut, where Roland found employment with the Winchester Repeating Arms Co..
In the spring of 1915, Emily Anderson decided to return to Darlington to visit her family and her in-laws, who lived at 2, High Terrace, High Nergate, Darlington, and take Barbara with her. At that time she was pregnant with her second child. She is also said to have been suffering from tuberculosis.
She and Barbara joined the Lusitania at Pier 54 in New York harbour on 1st May, as second cabin passengers, before the liner left the North River for the last time and six days later they were both eating lunch when the liner was struck.
In July 1998, Barbara Anderson, (by this time married and named Barbara McDermott) gave an interview which was later broadcast on United States News Channel 8. She stated: -
We just went flying out away from the table and out on the deck and the next thing I knew the first mate picked me up and tossed me into a life boat. My mother jumped and missed and they fished her out of the water.
Having been rescued from the sea and landed at Queenstown, the pair sailed to Liverpool from where they eventually got to their relatives in Darlington where Emily Anderson eventually gave birth to a son, Frank, on 30th September.. Unfortunately, he died on 16th March 1916.
Emily Anderson herself did not outlive him by long as she died in Darlington on 11th March 1917. She was just 28 years.
In 1925, Barbara’s father, as her guardian, was awarded $10,000.00 by the Mixed Claims Commission, on her behalf, for the loss of her mother, and injuries suffered by her in the sinking.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1891 Census of England & Wales, 1901 Census of England & Wales, 1911 Census of England & Wales, Cunard Records, New York Passenger Lists 1820 - 1957, Mixed Claims Commission Docket No. 622, News Channel 8, Northern Echo, Barbara Anderson McDermott, Geoff Chadwick, Graham Maddocks, Geoff Whitfield, Stuart Williamson, Michael Poirier, Jim Kalafus, Cliff Barry, Paul Latimer, Norman Gray.
Copyright © Peter Kelly