Mrs. Helga Hirvonen and her two year old daughter Hildur left Dalhsbruk, Finland, along with Helga's brother, Eino Lindquist to travel to Monessen, Pennsylvania. Mrs. Hirvonen's husband Eric, was waiting for their arrival. He had gone to Monessen in the Autumn of 1911, arriving in New York on 3 November onboard the Lusitania.
Helga was born in 1890 in Salo, Finland, her maiden name being Lindquist. Her daughter Hildur had been born on 15 February 1910 in Finland. Her younger brother Eino, was born in 1892. Helga married Mr. Eric Alexander Hirvonen, a small, but handsome man, standing at 5 foot 5 inches tall with brown hair and blue eyes, the same as Helga herself.
The trio boarded the Titanic in Southampton.
Eino saw to it that Helga and Hilda got into the lifeboats.
After the sinking, Helga's husband recieved a wireless message telling him that his wife and baby daughter had been saved from the sinking. Eric, a screw boy a No. 8 mill at the American Sheet & Tin plate plant, rushed to New York to meet them. He had known his wife was coming, but had no idea,until he recieved the message that she had been on the Titanic.
The message from New York stated that his wife and child were in a hospital sufffering from exposure and shock.
The Hirvonens moved to Syracuse, New York a few years later and bought a home in the country near Cato, New York.
Eino, along with Helga's husband Eric, worked at the Halcomb steel plant in Syracuse.Eino later moved to California
On 23 April 1912, the following story appeared in teh Charleroi Mail. I have not corrected any errors.
MRS. Hirvoven Tells Story of Harrowing Scenes in Latest Great Ocean Disaster
SAW BIG STEAMER SINK
Hundreds Leaped into Water when Gigantic steamer went down - Says Ismay Was in Same Boat
Shuddering as she recalled the awful scenes of Monday morning when the fated steamer Titanic sunk with over 1,700 persons off Cape Race, Mrs. Helka Hirvonen, a well educated Finnish woman of Monessen who was the last woman to be placed in the last life boat to leave the side of the big vessel, related her story to a newspaper man at her home at Monessen Monday evening. She told of the disaster from a new point of view. As she mentioned the name of a bride of three months, Mrs. Ellen Ajkarainen, who was parted from her husband when the waves enveloped the costly [?], Mrs. Hirvonen shed tears. Others from Monessen who were saved from drowning were the three months old baby of Mrs. hirvonen, her brother, Einer Lingweist, who was picked up after he had been in the water over six house and Eick Jussila. All belong to well educated and comparitvley well-to-do families. Mrs. Ajkairanen lost all when she lost her husband and was thrown destitute upon the mercy of friends. Mrs. Hirkonen is taking care of ehr temporarily, The entire family of John Panula, the coal centre Finlander was lost, Mrs. Hirkonen says partly because of the womans inability to comprehend orders shouted by the officers to the third cabin passengers.
In her own words, Mrs. Hirvonen told of the disaster. She said: "Most of the third cabin passengers were awakened I guees about Midnight on that last sunday. Grabbing whatever clothing they could they rushed forth. They were met by officers of the ship who said: 'Get back to your places; there's nothing wrong.'
All went back. However, there was considerable excitement. Some time later - I don't know just how lon - it seemed that the big steamer was tilting. Then there was another rush for the promenade deck. The officers couldn't drive us back then. After some time there came a shouted order for the women to come upon another deck. Some of us understood and started.
"There was great confusion and a babble of tounges. Many of the third cabin passengers could not understand English and didnt know what was being shouted to them. The rest of us were too badly frigtened and excited I suppose to help them much, and as a result half of the women and children and a majority of the men did not get away from the steerage at all. One of the last persons I saw before leaving was Mrs. John Paluna. I knew her well. She was so much confused that, poor woman, she hardly knew which way to turn. She was one of the last to come on deck. I presume she was trying to collect her family. None of them escaped. "All this time it seemed to me I could hear a piano playing up on another deck. Finally when I got to the deck I could see people being put in life boats. Two or three men when they found out they couldn't get off the doomed steamer until after the women, robed themselves in womens clothing. I saw a man disappear from my side. A few seconds later he reappeared with a boy whom he had dressed in girls clothing. The boy was saved. I was the last woman to be given a place in the last lifeboat.
I was very carefully picked up because I had my baby with me. Mrs. Ajkarainen was seized by the neck and foot, I believe, and tossed in a life baot. She fainted. Her husband bade her a fond good bye. He intended to get a lifeboat but heroically gave way to others.
"I suppose we had been away from the Titanic 20 minutes when it went down. I saw plainly. When it took its final dive, people were leaping from all sides intot he water. Some of them were saved. When our life boat left the Titanic's side it wasn't long however, until we had picked up enough to completely fill it. My brother was found on a raft after we had been six and a half hours at sea.
"I saw those millionaires on the deck, but I could not distinguish any of them, because they had simply been pointed out to me before and was ntofamiliar with their figures.
They were helping place women in lifeboats. I was in the boat with the managing director of the steamship company, J. Brice Ismay, although at the tiem I didn't knowit.
"The iceberg looked to me to be sort of triangular shaped. It seemed the Titanic was about in the middle of it."
Mrs. Hirvonen and party were met in New York city by Peter Hirvonen, her husband, who is a prosperous tin mill worker. She said that a number had been send to hospital in New York and that she had been there a short time. The Hirvonens and all but one of the party witht hem saved are among the best known Finlanders in Monessen. The bride of three months however was not of Monessen. She was coming from Finland for the first time, intending to locate in Monessen with her husband.
Eino Lindquist also gave a thrilling account:
"I was a passenger int he third cabin and had been in my bed about two hours when my roommate and I were awakened by people running on the deck. We hurriedly dressed in warm clothing and headed for the deck.
Sailors were lowering lifeboats, filled with women. Men were put into the middle and at each end to row.
My friend, Jussila was called to help row one of theboats and I was left alone on the deck. Not realizing the danger I was in at the time, I wandered around for about half an hour and came upon Mr. Hakkarainen who had just put his bride of three months into one of the boats.
Launch Last Boat
Together we watched until the last boat was launced and saw many of the men who were left on boars make an effort to find a place, but they were clubbed away by the sailors and some fell to a watery grave.
It was not long after the last boat was launched that we began to look around for escape when suddenly with a deafening roar the boilers exploded, the ship gave one final heave and sank slowly.
Many of the men were crying pitifully and the wild chant of their wails could be heard above the lashings of the sea and grinding crunch of the already splintering hull.
The band was not playing, as reports claimed, but I did hear pianos in the first and second cabins.
The waves washed Mr. Hadkarainen and I into the ocean and his last words were "Good Bye."
Being a fairly good swimmer, I was able to reach the last lifeboat which was about 200 yeards from where the ship went down and was pulled aboard.
We were picked up by the Carpathia about four hours later."
In May 1912, Eino Lindquist was involved in a fight. apparently there had been some kind of misunderstanding with another man, and Eino had proceeded to chastise him. Friends of both men intervened but another free for all started. Eino managed to give the man a severe beating before dissappearing.
Helga Hirvonen travelled back to Finland several times after the sinking, she went back in 1915 for a visit, arriving home on 4 December 1915 onboard the "Frederik VIII" Her daughter Hildur accompanied her mother. Her destination was 464 Motheral Avenue. Monessen., Pennsylvania
By the 1920 census, the family are living at 7633 Roslyn Street, Pennsylvania.
In 1924 she again visited Finland, this time arriving back onboard the "Stockholm" on Oct 22, 1924. By this time, she gave her address as 139 Hayden Avenue, Syracuse, New York
Hildur Hirvonen attended and graduated from the Poster Junior high school and Central City Business Institute in Syracuse. She never married or had children.
Helga Hirvonen died 1961
Hildur E Hirvonen died 13 April 1956
Eino Lindquist died ?
This biography was written by Lilia-Jayne
* Eric Hirvonen had been born on 18 May 1886 in Finland. He died in March 1964.
Obituary for Miss. Hildur E. Hirvonen the Syracuse Herald, 14 April 1956
SURVIVOR OF THE TITANIC DIES
Miss Hildur E Hirvonen, of the town of Victory, who was one of the survivors of the Titanic disaster, died yesterday in her home. Mrs. Hirvonen was born Feb 15 1910 in Finland, coming to this country at the age of two with her mother, who was also a survivor of the disaster.
She was a graduate of the Poster Junior high school and Central City Business Institute in Syracuse. Surviving are her mother and father, Eric and Hilga Hirvonen, and several aunts and cousins.
Services will be at 2 pm tomorrow from the Millard Mott & Sons Funeral Chapel in Cato.
The Rev. Dwight Hill, pastor of Victory Presbyterian church will officate. Burial will be in Union Hill Cemetery in Cato
Obitury for Mrs. Helga Hirvonen. The Post Standard, 19 May 1961
Mrs. Hirvonen, One of Titanic's Survivors, Dies
Mrs. Helga E. Hirvonen, a survivor of the Titanic disaster of 1912, died yesterday in her Cato home after a long illness. Mrs. Hirvonen and her 2 year old daughter, sailed to America on the Titanic. Both were recued after the stricken ship hit an iceberg in a fog. Mrs. Hirvonen is believed to have been the last survivor. The disaster took the lives of 1,517 persons, less that 700 were saved.
Her daughter, Miss Hildur E. Hirvonen died in 1956.
A native of Finland, Mrs. Hirvonen lived in Cato 25 years. She lived in Syracuse several years before moving to Cato.
She is survived by her husband, Eric Hirvonen; a brother Martin Lindquist of Windsor, Ont., Canada, and a sister, Lydia of Finland.
Services will be at 2p.m tomorrow at the Millard Mott Funeral Home in Cato. The Rev. Dwight Hill will officiate. Burial will be in union Hill Cemertery. Friends may call from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m today at the funeral home.
Obituary for Eric Hirvonen The Post Standard, 19 March 1964
Eric A Hirvonen
Serivces for Eric A. Hirvonen, 77, formerley of Pople Road, Victory, whose death Tuesday was ruled as suicede, will be at 2 p.m. Friday at Jewell Funeral Home, Cato. the Rev. Oscar J. Jelsma officiating. Burial will be in Cato Union Hill Cemetery.
Born in Finland, Mr. Hirvonen immigrated in 1911, and lived in syracuse until moving to victory in 1936. He was formerly employed by sanderson-Halcomb Steel Works.
Mr. Hirvonen's late wife Higa and his late daughter Hildur were among the few survivors of the sinking of the Titanic, which struck andiceberg in the mid-atlantic in April 1912. The two women were coming to join Mr. Hirvonen here.
Surviving Mr. Hirvonen is a niece, Mrs. Alta Larson of Buffalo.
Friend may call 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Thurday.
TIANIC: Women and Children First, Judith B. Geller PSL ISBN: 1 85260 594 4
The Syracuse Herald, 14 April 1956
New York Evening Journal April 1912
1920 United States Census