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The Lusitania : Part 7 : Passengers of Distinction

Marie Depage was lost, but her body was found and identified. Her husband traveled over from Belgium, and her body was embalmed and taken to the La Panne hospital, where she was buried.  An interesting aside about Madame Depage, is that on May 8th 1915, a completely believable and lucid survivor account given by this definite victim ran in several newspapers, which highlights one of the pitfalls of newspaper-based research.

The Boston offices of the Cunard Line sent a telegram on May 11th; Ask Dr Houghton, survivor when he last saw Richard Freeman and if Freeman left the steamer uninjured. The same office received a telegram on the 13th stating: Dr Houghton states he and Freeman jumped into the sea together and were separated, Freeman was uninjured then, but regret there is no trace of him. Freeman did not survive the disaster, and his body was not recovered. The “poor fellow” who lost his reason and jumped into the sea was recognized as another first class passenger, George Ley Vernon.

Houghton traveled on to London, where he went to the American Embassy, and then returned to the United States aboard the Cameronia, arriving in New York on June 7th. He never returned to La Panne to help Dr. Depage.

Houghton was eventually awarded $12, 372, 00 in compensation as a result of the disaster.

He went to the Mexican border in 1916, with the Old 69th Regiment of New York, under Colonel William Haskell, and it was also in that year he married Mabel Parsons. The following year his son James Tilley Houghton, Jr., was born.

He immediately returned to the 69th Regiment when the United States entered the war in 1917, and traveled overseas with them in the Rainbow Division. He returned to the United States when the war ended.

Houghton went to the South Sea Islands in 1921, on a treasure hunt. In 1923 Colonel Haskell asked him to join his staff on the Red Cross Relief work in Greece. He worked in a plague-infested area of Macedonia. He was knighted by King George of Greece and received the Order of St George. Houghton relocated to Honduras, in 1924, to take charge of a new hospital at La Ceiba.  He knew that a revolution was under way, but went just the same. He found the hospital woefully inadequate, with only an emergency kit and a few medicines with which to treat and operate upon 450 wounded. He performed several successful operations using only a razor blade.

Houghton chose the wrong side of the revolution. He managed to escape capture by retreating into the forests, and eventually escaped by boat to the safety of Guatemala. Houghton resumed private practice upon his return from Central America, and held an important position within the Travelers Insurance Company. He divorced his first wife, and in 1929 he married Caroline H. Pritchitt. Together they had a son.

Dr. Houghton became seriously ill in early 1931. His family and friends told him that he was suffering from Undulent fever, but in fact he was suffering from streptococcus in the blood stream. He died in New York City on March 25th, 1931, at the age of 45.

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