A Village Trust Mini Biography – Dollina Margaret Ford (1891- 1912)

Dollina Margaret Ford (1891- 1912)
When the Titanic passenger liner sank in the North Atlantic Ocean on April
15, 1912, after hitting an iceberg on the maiden voyage, there were a number
of Sussex people on board.
Dollina Margaret Ford was born to on the 13th of June 1891 in Hadlow Down
to Margaret and Edward Ford. Her father registered her birth on the 29th of
July. She was the couple’s first child and was Baptised at the Parish Church of St. Mark the Evangelist on the 23rd of August 1891. Dollina was named after a maternal aunt.
Her parents were married in St. Mark’s Hadlow Down, on 17th. of June 1890
a year before Dollina was born. Edward Ford was a farm worker originally from Fletching, Sussex and his wife was born Margaret Ann Watson in Bracadale on the Isle of Skye in the Inner Hebrides in 1857. The Dollins had four other children Frances Mary (b. 1893), Edward Watson (b. 1895) who was a blacksmith,  William Neal Thomas (b. 1897) who was a messenger and Robina Maggie (b. 1904). In the Titanic passenger list Dollina is listed as “Daisy” Ford.
Dollina boarded the Titanic at Southampton as a third-class passenger, together with her mother and siblings. All were lost in the disaster. Their bodies, if recovered, were never identified.
Dollina first appears on the 1901 census living in the hamlet of Mark Cross in Rotherfield. She attended Rotherfield Council School where she was enrolled in the main school on 1 May 1899. She received a certificate for good attendance whilst at the school and achieved the six Standards required by the Education Board before leaving after May 1906. Her family are still
recorded as being in the same locale by in the 1911 census.
Dollina was an unmarried parlour maid to a wealthy family, the Hulberts, at Gillhams Birch in Rotherfield. All her siblings apart from Robina were working and living away from the family house. Her father was reported to have abandoned the family leaving her mother to eke out an existence as a poultry farmer Dollina’s eldest sister   Frances had emigrated to America in 1911 and was working as a domestic servant on Long Island.  Her tales of her new life so impressed her mother and family back home that they decided to join her and settle in America. Travelling with them was her aunt Eliza Johnston her husband Andrew Emslie Johnston and their two children William Andrew and Catherine Nellie. Also in the   party was a family friend, Phoebe Alice Harknett.  The Fords bought ticket W./C. 6608 which cost £34 7s 6d and boarded the Titanic at Southampton as
third-class passengers. They were destined for New London, Connecticut where her uncle Thomas Watson lived. Her aunt had been so impressed by
Frances’ stories that she had planned to visit America much sooner, but the coal strike in England had troubled that and they couldn’t take a trip on The Philadelphia, so instead they waited for the Ford family in order to go on the ill-fated voyage together in 1912.
Her father Edward later filed a claim for the loss of his family and was awarded five shillings per week.
What became of him is not known but it is possible he remained in Rotherfield and died in 1933.