William Ernest Carter

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William Ernest Carter

Birthdate: (64)
Birthplace: Paris, Paris, Île-de-France, France
Death: March 20, 1940 (64)
Florida, USA
Place of Burial: mausoleum at West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.
Immediate Family:

Son of William Thornton Carter and Cornelia Miranda Carter
Ex-husband of Lucille Carter
Father of William Thornton Carter, II and Lucille Polk Reeves
Brother of Helen Redington Leidy; Grace Alice Carter and Alice Dickerman

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About William Ernest Carter



  • Name: Mr William Ernest Carter
  • Born: Saturday 19th June 1875
  • Age: 36 years
  • Last Residence: in Philadelphia Pennsylvania United States
  • 1st Class passenger
  • First Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
  • Ticket No. 113760 , £120
  • Cabin No.: B96/98
  • Rescued (boat C)
  • Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
  • Died: Wednesday 20th March 1940

Mr William Ernest Carter, 36, was born on 19 June 1875.

A resident of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, Mr Carter boarded the Titanic at Southampton as a first class passenger together with his wife Lucile Carter and their children Lucile and William. They held ticket no. 113760 (£120) and occupied cabins B-96 and 98. Also travelling were Mrs Carter's maid Auguste Serreplan, Mr Carter's manservant Alexander Cairns and, travelling in second class, Carter's chauffeur Charles Aldworth.

Lying in the forward hold of the Titanic, and listed on the cargo manifest, was Carter's 25 horsepower Renault automobile. It is listed as a case so perhaps the car was not fully assembled. He also brought with him two dogs. He would later claim $5000 for the car and $100 and $200 for the dogs.

On the night of 14 April the Carters joined an exclusive dinner party held in honour of Captain Smith in the à la carte restaurant. The host was George Widener and the party was attended by many notable first class passengers. Later, after the ladies had retired and Captain Smith had departed for the bridge, the men chatted and played cards in the smoking room.

After the collision the Carters joined some of the other prominent first class passengers as they waited for the boats to be prepared for lowering.

When William Carter had seen his family safely into lifeboat 4 he joined Harry Widener and advised him to try for a boat before they were all gone. But Harry replied that he would rather take a chance and stick with the ship.

Widener might well have taken Carter's advice, for he lost his life while Mr Carter was eventually able to escape. At around 2 a.m. he was standing near the officer's quarters. Collapsibles A and B remained lashed to the roof but boats C and D had been freed and were being loaded. At one point a group of men desperately tried to rush boat C. Purser Herbert McElroy fired his pistol and the culprits were removed. Loading with women and children progressed but eventually no more could be found and as the boat was released for lowering Carter and another man stepped in. The other passenger was Joseph Bruce Ismay.

William Carter arrived at the Carpathia ahead of his family and waited on the deck straining to see boat 4 which held his wife and two children. When it finally arrived William did not recognize his son under a big ladies hat and called out for him, according to some sources John Jacob Astor had placed the hat on the boy and explained that he was now a girl and should be allowed into the boat, other sources suggest, the more likely scenario that it was his mother in response to Chief Second Steward George Dodd's order that no more boys were to enter lifeboat 4.

Mr Carter died in Florida on 20 March 1940. He was buried in a huge mausoleum at West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.


  • Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
  • John P. Eaton & Charles A. Haas (1994) Titanic: Triumph & Tragedy, 2nd ed. Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1 85260 493 X
  • Walter Lord (1976) A Night to Remember. London, Penguin. ISBN 0 14 004757 3
  • Don Lynch & Ken Marschall (1992) Titanic: An Illustrated History. London, Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 0 340 56271 4


  • Phillip Gowan, USA
  • Hermann Söldner, Germany
  • Craig Stringer, UK
  • Alan Tucker, UK
  • Geoff Whitfield, UK

Travelling Companions (on same ticket)

  • Mrs Lucile Carter
  • Miss Lucile Polk Carter
  • Master William Thornton II Carter
view all

William Ernest Carter's Timeline

June 19, 1875
Paris, Paris, Île-de-France, France
October 20, 1897
Age 22
Bryn Mawr, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, United States
September 14, 1900
Age 25
Narragansett, Washington County, Rhode Island, United States
March 20, 1940
Age 64
Florida, USA
mausoleum at West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.