The Lusitania : Part 7 : Passengers of Distinction


Charles Harwood Knight
(Nancy Dorney)
Knight Cabins (D-32, Harwood, D-35 Naina)
(Courtesy of Paul Latimer)

Millicent Harwood Hartt, of Dedham, Massachusetts, received a letter posted from aboard the Lusitania by her uncle, Charles Harwood Knight, and aunt, Elaine ‘Naina’ Knight, during the week of May 1, 1915. It was a thank you letter acknowledging the hospitality the Hartts had shown the Knights during their recent visit, and a sentimental keepsake, for the Knights were summering in Paris and would not be seeing Millicent again for some time. Naina had sealed a copy of the First Class passenger list in with the letter, as a souvenir of the voyage they were about to take.

Millicent Hartt, the former Miss Harwood, had been orphaned while in her early teens. Her father died of tuberculosis, and then her mother, who had contracted the disease while caring for Mr. Harwood, died as well. Millicent was sent to live with her only surviving relatives; Charles Knight, known by his middle name of Harwood, and his sister Elaine.

Elaine “Naina” Knight
(Nancy Dorney)

The Knights, both of early middle age (he was 39, she 41 at the time of the disaster) led a genteel life. They were originally from Baltimore, Maryland, but had resided in France for several years, while Harwood studied piano. Harwood gave public recitals, and it is also said that he worked for the piano-manufacturing firm of Sanders and Stayman. Millicent resided with them in until her marriage in 1910, at which point she settled in Massachusetts. She remained in friendly contact with her uncle and aunt although, as the eventual court case pointed out, she received no additional financial support from them after she married.

The Knights returned to the United States, by way of Marseilles, in 1914, and their extended visit ended with a stay at the home of their niece and her husband in Dedham. They boarded the Lusitania intending to return to their Paris flat.

Charles Harwood and Elaine both died aboard the Lusitania. Their bodies were never recovered and no details of their final seven days have eversurfaced; gone without a trace. Millicent Hartt saved their letter, and the passenger list, which remain in the family to this day. She was the sole beneficiary of both estates, and was granted an additional $1750.00 by the Mixed Claims Commission for their lost effects.