Ada Mina Campbell, always known as Minnie, was born in Patna, Ayrshire, Scotland, on the 31st August 1885, the daughter of Adam and Jane Campbell (née McConnachie), and the youngest of eight known children. The family home was at Villagehead, Patna, Ayrshire, Scotland, and her father was described as a stationary engine keeper by occupation.
She had been a teacher in Waterside School, Ayr, but suffering from poor health, in early 1913, she decided to go to the United States of America and settle in Dallas, Texas, where her brother, David M. Campbell resided, because she had been advised that the climate there might make some improvement. She boarded the Caledonia in Glasgow on the 18th October 1913, and disembarked in New York on the 26th October on the first part of her journey to Dallas.
By the spring of 1915, her health had, in fact, deteriorated and she decided to return to Patna, where her mother and brother still lived. As a consequence, she booked as a second cabin passenger on the
Lusitania and having left Texas at the end of April, she joined the liner at New York in time for her scheduled 10.00 a.m. sailing on 1st May 1915. This sailing was then delayed until the afternoon as she had to embark passengers, crew and cargo from the Anchor Liner Cameronia, which had been requisitioned by the British Admiralty for war service at the end of April. The
Lusitania finally left port just after mid-day and just six days later, on the afternoon of 7th May; she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine
U-20. At that point, she was twelve miles off the coast of southern Ireland and only 250 miles hours away from her Liverpool destination.
Miss Campbell’s poor health was obviously not a factor in her survival, however; for she was amongst those who were saved, although she did lose all her belongings and money.
After being rescued from the sea and landed at Queenstown, she eventually made it back to her native land.
Fortunately, her family and friends were not worried about her when news of the sinking was made known in Patna, as they thought she was travelling on a different liner at a different time, but they were nevertheless very relieved upon receiving cablegrams sent by her from Queenstown, announcing her survival.
In the summer of 1915, she applied for financial assistance to The Lusitania Relief Fund, which had been set up after the disaster by The Lord Mayor of Liverpool and other worthy dignitaries, to help those survivors and relatives of the dead, who found themselves in difficulties as a result of the sinking. The committee administering the fund awarded her the sum of £5-0s-0d. She was later awarded the sum of £5-0s-0d, from The Mayor of New York’s Fund for The Relief of Lusitania Sufferers, as she had been resident in America.
Minnie met William Little, a miner, who was living near her in Patna, and the couple married on the 14th December 1922 in Patna. Two days later, on the 16th December they embarked on the
Caronia at Liverpool, and disembarked at New York on the 27th December. Their stated destination was Ellettsville, Indiana, where Minnie’s brother, David M. Campbell resided. William Little found work as a labourer in the area, and their first child – a daughter named Margaret Jean, was born in Bloomington, Indiana, on the 22nd May 1923. In November 1923, the family moved to Detroit, Michigan, where William commenced the process for him to become a naturalized U.S. citizen in December 1923.
Their second child – a son named William Boyd was born in Detroit on the 7th December 1924, and William became a naturalized U.S. citizen on the 7th May 1931. By this time he was employed as a truck driver.
The family resided at 19927. Coventry Boulevard, Detroit, and in September 1929, Minnie and her two children travelled to Scotland to visit her relatives. They returned to Detroit in February 1930.
Minnie Little died at her home on the 8th December 1934 from bronchopneumonia. She was aged 49 years. She was buried at White Chapel Memorial Park, Cemetery, Troy, Oakland County, Michigan.
1891 Scotland Census, 1901 Scotland Census, 1930 U.S. Federal Census, New York Passenger Lists 1820 – 1957, UK Incoming Passenger Lists 1878 – 1960, Michigan Federal Naturalization Records 1887 – 1931, Michigan Death Records, 1867 – 1950, Ayr Advertiser, Kilmarnock Standard, Cunard Records, Liverpool Record Office, Graham Maddocks, Geoff Whitfield, Michael Poirier, Jim Kalafus, Cliff Barry, Paul Latimer, Norman Gray.
Copyright © Peter Kelly.