The Tragedy of the


Allison Family

     

Hudson Joshua Creighton Allison, wealthy Canadian stockbroker, was born in Chesterville, Ontario, Canada on December 18, 1881, the third child and second son of Jesse Rose Allison and Pheobe Johnson, on their farm on the Finch Road just east of Chesterville, Ontario. Their brick house, built by Tom Forward is still standing.

Slender, saturnine and with a good head for figures, he was instilled with the Protestant work ethic. Nicknamed "Hud", he worked for a time as a clerk in Chester Castleman's General Store in Chesterville, but at the age of 19, his uncle, Frank Johnson, hired him to head the junior division of the brokerage firm in Montreal he had started with John Wilson McConnell, who would later buy the Montreal Star newspaper. The three men were members of Montreal's so called "Methodist Mafia", upstarts in Canadian financial circles. Allison was sent to Buffalo to learn shorthand, worked as an insurance agent for his uncle at Sun Life and New York Life, where in 1905 he was inducted into the $200,000 Club. He was then was sent to Winnipeg where he opened an office.

During his two years in Winnipeg he lived in a house at the corner of Westminster Ave. and Sherbrook Street. There he came to know two other men who would sail on Titanic, Thomson Beattie and Mark Fortune.

By this time Hudson had holdings worth several million dollars in the British Canadian Lumber Co., the Montreal Street Railway, Canadian Tub Works, and was President of British Securities Trust.

In 1907, during one of his frequent train trips back to Montreal he met Bess Waldo Daniels, the young but matronly daughter of an Irish American Milwaukee, Wisconsin factory clerk. They were married against her parents wishes in Milwaukee on his 26th birthday, just after she turned 21.

Bessie had been born on November 14, 1886, the youngest daughter of Arville Daniels and Sarah McCully. She had an older sister, Mabel who had been born three years earlier in 1883. She also had another sister, Myrtle who had been born in 1873 and was a child from Arville's first marriage to Mary Bowden.

Allison's business correspondence on file in the McConnell Papers is filled with fleeting references to his church work; he and his wife were devout Methodists. They taught Sunday school, Bible Classes and Hudson often served as a lay preacher.

In 1911 Hud was also on the Board of Cardiff Colleries and his name appeared that year in the papers when he purchased the finest Holstein-Friesian cow in Canada, named May Echo for the unheard of sum of $1500.

Their daughter, Helen Loraine Allison was born June 5, 1909, and their son, Hudson Trevor, May 7, 1911. The same year, they began the Allison Stock Farm near Winchester, Ontario, and built a new house in Westmount, Quebec.

Bess and Hudson were a very pious couple who were taken up with the Temperance Movement. Militant evangelism was a constant in their lives which were filled with teaching Sunday School, Bible classes, and lay preaching.

In 1911 Hudson started building a new house at 1085 Belmont Avenue in Westmount, and acquired a summer home on Lake St. Louis. Together with his brothers Percy and George, he acquired 100 acres of farmland near Chesterville, his old home, and began the Allison Stock Farm- 50 kilometers southeast of Ottawa. The land was purchased from John Hummel for $15,000 and was adjacent to his family farm. Horses were his greatest pleasure. He built an imposing red brick house and a fine set of barns which he stocked with imported livestock including Hackney ponies and Clydesdales as well as Friesian cows at a cost of over $100,000.

In March of 1912, they sailed to Britain so Hud could attend a director's meeting of the British Canadian Lumber Corporation. They stayed at 152 Abbey Road in London. Baby Trevor was baptized at Epworth on March 29th in a church where John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, had preached. They took a side excursion to the Scottish Highlands, where Hudson bought two dozen Clydesdale and Hackney stallions and mares for the farm. At the same time, they picked up furniture and recruited household staff for their two residences - George Swane was hired as a chauffeur, Mildrid Brown as a cook, Alice Cleaver as a nursemaid for Trevor and Sarah Daniels as a nursemaid for Loraine.

Like many others, the Allisons had altered travel plans to sail back with old friends on Titanic. The Allison's boarded the Titanic at Southampton as first class passengers on Wednesday, April 10, 1912, Ticket No. 113781, 151 16s, Cabin No. C22/26. Mr. & Mrs. Allison were in one suite, Sallie Daniels and Loraine in another and Alice Cleaver and Trevor in the third. The other household servants travelled second class.

On the last night of their lives, Hudson and Bess Allison sat down to dinner with Toronto millionaire Major Peuchen and Harry Molson, and Bess brought Loraine briefly into the Jacobean dining room so she could see how pretty it was.

When the Titanic hit the iceberg, Alice Cleaver took Trevor and left with him in lifeboat 11. Bess Allison was put in lifeboat 6 with Loraine, but refused to leave the ship without her baby. She dragged Loraine out of the boat and started searching for Alice and Trevor.

When the Allisons realized that Alice Cleaver and baby Trevor were unaccounted for, they resolved that they would not leave the Titanic until after Trevor was found, nor would they be parted from little Loraine. they were last seen standing together on the promenade deck. They never found the baby, the rest of the family never made it to another lifeboat. They refused to leave the sinking ship without their baby, not knowing that his nursemaid had already gotten the boy safely away in a lifeboat. By the time they found out, there were no lifeboats left.

Trevor Allison survived the sinking (lifeboat 11) and was picked up by the Carpathia, disembarking at New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912.

Bess, Hudson and Loraine perished in the disaster. Loraine Allison was the only child in first and second class to die (53 of 76 children in third-class perished). Her body was never found. Only Hudson Allison's body was recovered (#135) by the Mackay-Bennett. He was wearing a leather coat, blue suit, and a grey silk scarf. In his pocket were $143 in Canadian currency, 15 pounds in gold , $35 in pound notes, $100 in traveller's cheques, and $4.40 in loose change. His body was the first to be shipped from Halifax.

When the Titanic sank, Hudson Joshua Creighton Allison was aged 30 years 4 months and 6 days. Bessie Waldo Allison was aged 25 years 5 months and 1 day. Hudson Trevor Allison was aged 11 months and 8 days. Their last residence was 464 Rosyln Avenue, Westmount, in Montreal, Qubc Canada.

The remains of Hudson Allison were laid to rest in the family plot at Maple Ridge Cemetery, Chesterville Ontario Canada.

One month after the funeral, Hud's brother Percy recieved an unexpected delivery: the horses that Allison had shipped by tramp steamer from Scotland had arrived safely.

Hudson Allison left no will, so his brothers Percy and George were left to fight over the estate. Percy and George jointly acquired the farm and estate, valued at three million dollars. Brother Percy lived on the farm for a number of years, then the farm was sold to Charles Doering in 1920 for $40,000. It was bought by James Popham in 1946, by Paul Monast in 1954 and Jan & Stan Vanden Bosch in 1965. A portion of the original barns remain the same but the main dairy barn had to be replaced after a 1972 tornado damaged the entire structure.

Today the Vanden Bosch family keeps the farmhouse which Hud built for Bess - the home with the room upstairs where Little Loraine would never spend a night. In the kitchen is a lovely bowl which belonged to Bess. A photograph of the prize Hackney stallion hangs on the wall in the kitchen. In the little town of Chesterville, the museum proudly displays photographs of their native son, and the Methodist Church which Hud helped to build continues to tell the story and point with pride to the memorial plaque left in memory of the Allisons.

Hud's son, Trevor, the only survivor of the family, died tragically of ptomaine poisoning while on holiday in Maine on August 7, 1929. He was a handsome boy and only 18 years old. He is buried by his father in Maple Ridge Cemetery in Chesterville, Ontario Canada.

What Happened to Alice?

Miss Alice Catherine Cleaver was born on Friday 5th July 1889.

When the Titanic sank, Alice was 22 years old.

Her last residence was in London England, and her occupation was listed as Nursemaid to Master Hudson Trevor Allison.

She had boarded the Titanic as a 1st Class passenger at Southampton on Wednesday April 10, 1912 , Ticket No. 113781.

She survived the sinking (lifeboat 11 with Trevor) and was picked up by the Carpathia disembarking at New York City on Thursday, April 18, 1912

She died November 1, 1984 from a Cerebral Vascular Accident (Stroke).

The Allisons figure prominently in
Danielle Steel's 1991 best selling novel, No Greater Love.


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