Amelia Mayo Bessette

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Amelia Mayo Bessette

Also Known As: "Nellie"
Birthplace: Orwille, Addison, Vermont
Death: July 23, 1944 (71)
Whiting, Addison County, Vermont, USA
Place of Burial: Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Cornwall, Addison County, Vermont, USA
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Joseph Bessette and Sophronia Bessette
Sister of Oliver E. Bessette

Occupation: Personal Maid
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Amelia Mayo Bessette

Miss Amelia "Nellie" M. Bessette [1], 35, boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg as maid to Mrs J. Stuart White. They travelled on the same ticket (No. PC 17760). Mrs White and Miss Bessette were rescued on lifeboat 8.

Notes 1. Some lists give her name as "Bissetti".

2. She was listed as a U.S. Citizen.


  • Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
  • List or Manifest of Alien Passengers for the United States Immigration Officer At Port Of Arrival (Date: 18th-19th June 1912, Ship: Carpathia) - National Archives, NWCTB 85 T715 Vol 4183


  • Hermann Söldner, Germany

Travelling Companions (on same ticket)

  • Mr Sante Righini
  • Mrs Ella White
  • Miss Marie Grice Young
  • Residence: 1900 - Whiting town, Addison, Vermont, United States
  • Residence: 1920 - Whiting, Addison, Vermont, United States

Titanic Survivor.

Amelia Nellie Mayo Bessette was born in Orwell,Vermont. She boarded the RMS Titanic at Cherbourg as maid to Mrs J. Stuart White. They travelled on the same ticket (No. PC 17760). Mrs White and Miss Bessette were rescued on lifeboat 8. She died in Whiting, Vermont, at age 71.

Nellie Mayo Bessette (January 22nd, 1880 - July 23rd, 1944) was a personal maid for the wealthy widow Ella Holmes White. She survived the sinking.

Her father was Joseph Besset and her mother was Sophriona died on January 22nd, 1880 at the age of 28 (her father never remarried) her younger brother Oliver Mayo Besset died on March 7 1888 at the age of 11. Before the Titanic she worked as a nurse for a wealth family in New York. her employer was Hubert William Denton and his family included Hubert's wife Delia and their sons; Thaddeus Abram, Irving Linus, Claude Almer, Sherwood Hubert and Kenneth Joseph. The 1910 census shows Nellie working in Lakewood, New Jersey.

She boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg with Ticket 17760 (which she bought for £63 7s 2d), along with Ms. Ella White (employer), Sante Righini (the Whites manservent) and Marie Grice Young (a friend of Ms.White).

Being a maid, little is known about her actions on the maiden voyage.

She survived the disaster on Lifeboat 8.

Nellie and her father continue to live with the Deaton's though it is not known how long after the disaster she worked for Ms. White.

Following the death of Hubert Denton in the 1920s her father continued to live with his son Sherwood Denton in the family home and she later worked as a hotel housekeeper. Her father died on 16 September 1924. She died as a result of spinal cancer on July 23rd, 1944, aged 71, and is buried with her parents and younger brother at Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Cornwall, Vermont.

Notes: 1. Some lists give her name as "Bissetti". 2. She was listed as a U.S. Citizen.

BOAT NO. 8 *

British Report (p. 38) puts this boat second on port side at 1.10. Notwithstanding Seaman Fleet's testimony (Am. Inq., p. 363), I think she must have preceded No. 6.

No male passengers in this boat.

Passengers: Mrs. Bucknell and her maid (Al- bina Bazzani) ; Miss Cherry, Mrs. Kenyon, Miss Leader, Mrs. Pears, Mrs. Penasco and her maid (Mile. Olivia) ; Countess Rothes and her maid (Miss Maloney) ; Mrs. Swift, Mrs. Taussig, Miss Taussig, Mrs. White and her maid (Amelia Bessetti) ; Mrs. Wick, Miss Wick, Miss Young and Mrs. Straus' maid (Ellen Bird).

Women : 24.

Said good-bye to wives and sank with the ship: Messrs. Kenyon, Pears, Penasco, Taussig and Wick.

Crew: Seaman T. Jones, Stewards Crawford and Hart, and a cook.

Total: 2S.


T. Jones, seaman (Am. Inq., p. 570). The captain asked me if the plug was in the boat and I answered, 'Tes, sir. All right," he said, "any more ladles?" He shouted twice again, "Any more ladies?"

I pulled for the light, but I found that I could not get to it; so I stood by for a while. I wanted to return to the ship, but the ladies were frightened. In all, I had thirty-five ladies and three stewards, Crawford, Hart and another. There were no men who offered to get in the boat. I did not see any children, and very few women when we left the ship. There was one old lady there and an old gentleman, her husband. She wanted him to enter the boat with her but he backed away. She never said anything; if she did, we could not hear it, because the steam was blowing so and making such a noise.*

Senator Newlands : Can you give me the names of any passengers on this boat?

Witness : One lady — she had a lot to say and I put her to steering the boat.

Senator Newlands: What was her name?

Witness: Lady Rothes; she was a countess, or something.

A. Crawford, steward (Am. Inq., pp. in, 827, 842).

By the testimony of the witness and Steward Crawford it appears that Mr. and Mrs. Straus approached this boat and their maid got in, but Mr. Straus would not follow his wife and she refused to leave him. After we struck I went out and saw the iceberg, a large black object, much higher than B Deck, passing along the starboard side. We filled No. 8 with women. Captain Smith and a steward lowered the forward falls. Captain Smith told me to get in. He gave orders to row for the light and to land the people there and come back to the ship. The Countess Rothes was at the tiller all night. There were two lights not further than ten miles — stationary masthead lights. Everybody saw them — all the ladies in the boat. They asked if we were drawing nearer to the steamer, but we could not seem to make any headway, and near daybreak we saw another steamer coming up, which proved to be the Carpathia, and then we turned around and came back. We were the furthest boat away. I am sure it was a steamer, because a sailing vessel would not have had two masthead lights.

Mrs. J. Stuart White (Am. Inq., p. 1008). Senator Smith: Did you see anything after the accident bearing on the discipline of the officers or crew, or their conduct which you desire to speak of?

Mrs. White : Before we cut loose from the ship these stewards took out cigarettes and lighted them. On an occasion Hke that! That is one thing I saw. All of these men escaped under the pretence of being oarsmen. The man who rowed near me took his oar and rowed all over the boat in every direction. . I said to him: *'Why don't you put the oar in the oarlock?" He said: "Do you put it in that hole?" I said: "Certainly." He said: "I never had an oar in my hand before." I spoke to the other man and he said: "I have never had an oar in my hand before, but I think I can row." These were the men we were put to sea with, that night — with all those magnificent fellows left on board who would have been such a protection to us — those were the kind of men with whom we were put to sea that night! There were twenty-two women and four men in my boat. None of the men seemed to understand the management of a boat except one who was at the end of our boat and gave the orders. The officer who put us in the boat gave strict orders to make for the light opposite, land passengers and then get back just as soon as possible. That was the light everybody saw in the distance. I saw it distinctly. It was ten miles away, but we rowed, and rowed, and rowed, and then we all decided that it was impossible for us to get to it, and the thing to do was to go back and see what we could do for the others. We had only twenty-two in our boat. We turned and went back and lingered around for a long time. We could not locate the other boats except by hearing them. The only way to look was by my electric light. I had an electric cane with an electric light in it. The lamp in the boat was worth absolutely nothing. There was no excitement whatever on the ship. Nobody seemed frightened. Nobody was panic-stricken. There was a lot of pathos when husbands and wives kissed each other good-bye.

We were the second boat (No. 8) that got away from the ship and we saw nothing that happened after that. We were not near enough. We heard the yells of the passengers as they went down, but we saw none of the harrowing part of it. The women in our boat all rowed — every one of them. Miss Young rowed every minute. The men (the stewards) did not know the first thing about it and could not row. Mrs. Swift rowed all the way to the Carpathia. Countess Rothes stood at the tiller. Where would we have been if it had not been for the women, with such men as were put in charge of the boat? Our head seaman was giving orders and these men knew noth- ing about a boat. They would say: "If you don't stop talking through that hole in your face there will be one less in the boat.'* We were in the hands of men of that kind. I settled two or three fights between them and quieted them down. Imagine getting right out there and taking out a pipe and smoking it, which was most dangerous. We had woollen rugs all around us. There was another thing which I thought a disgraceful point. The men were asked when they got in if they could row. Imagine asking men who are sup- posed to be at the head of lifeboats if they can row!

Senator Smith : There were no male passengers in your boat?

Mrs. White: Not one. I never saw a finer body of men in my life than the men passengers on this ship — athletes and men of sense — and if they had been permitted to enter these lifeboats with their families, the boats would have been properly manned and many more lives saved, instead of allowing stewards to get in the boats and save their lives under the pretence that they could row when they knew nothing about it.

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Amelia Mayo Bessette's Timeline

October 7, 1872
Orwille, Addison, Vermont
July 23, 1944
Age 71
Whiting, Addison County, Vermont, USA
Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Cornwall, Addison County, Vermont, USA