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Adella Wotherspoon at 18 months old at the dedication of the memorial to the victims of the General Slocum fire
July 16, 1905

Adella Liebenow Wotherspoon (November 28, 1903 – January 26, 2004) was the youngest and last living survivor of the General Slocum ship disaster of June 15, 1904.

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Birth and siblings

Born Adele Martha Liebenow in Manhattan, she was the daughter of Anna Liebenow (1872-1957) and Paul Liebenow (1871-1910). She was nicknamed Tiby Liebenow. Her siblings Anna C. Liebenow (1901-1904) and Helen Liebenow (1898-1904) died in the fire. Helen's body was never identified and is presumed buried in a mass grave. Two cousins and two aunts also perished in the fire. One of the relatives who died was Martha Liebenow (1875-1904) of 404 5th Street in Manhattan.[1] Adella's family was listed as living at 133 East 125th Street in the official register of General Slocum deaths.

Shortly after the sinking, her parents legally changed her first name to "Adella".

Fire aftermath

After the fire Adella was treated at Lebanon Hospital. At the dedication ceremony, she pulled the rope to release the American flag and unveil the memorial to the fire victims. After her father's death in 1910, Anna moved the family to Watchung, New Jersey. Adella attended Plainfield High School, then studied education at Trenton Normal School, now known as The College of New Jersey. She taught for one year at Cleveland High School in Cranford, New Jersey then taught business administration at Plainfield High School from 1925 until 1961 when she retired. She married James Wotherspoon (1903-1982), but the couple had no children. [2]

Death and burial

Adella Wotherspoon (1903-2004) in 1996

Adella died, aged 100, in 2004 in Roseland, New Jersey and was cremated. She had requested a secular funeral, but this wish was not fulfilled. Her ashes were buried alongside her husband's at the Wilson Memorial Union Church Cemetery in Watchung, New Jersey.

Archive

References

  1. ^ Anna C. Liebenow (1901-1904) birth certificate number "1700"; death certificate number "3323". Helen Liebenow (1898-1904) birth certificate number "32329"; death certificate may not have been issued. Martha Liebenow (1875-1904) death certificate number "3746"
  2. ^ "Adella Wotherspoon, Last Survivor of General Slocum Disaster, Is Dead at 100". The New York Times. January 27, 2004. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9904E1D6153BF937A35751C0A9629C8B63. Retrieved 2008-04-06. "Adella Wotherspoon, the last survivor of the deadliest disaster in New York City history until Sept. 11, 2001 -- the burning and sinking of the steamboat General Slocum in June 1904, died on Jan. 26. She was 100, the youngest Slocum survivor having at last become the oldest. She died at a convalescent home in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, said a close friend, Julia A. Clevett."  

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