William Joseph Douton was a Second Class passenger of the Titanic. He died in the sinking.
He was the son of William Douton (b. 1835), a carpenter, and Ann Eliza Goulter (1839 - 1868). His father hailed from Plymouth, Devon whilst his mother was from Portsmouth and they were married in Portsea on November 29th, 1855. He had one brother, John (b. 1858), who was born in Jersey.
William first appears on the 1861 census living with his mother and brother (his father was absent) at 26 Grosvenor Street, Portsea, the home of his widowed maternal grandmother and his aunts and uncles. His mother died before the end of the decade in 1868, aged 29, and William and his brother later moved to Guernsey. They were shown on the 1871 census living with a cousin, Henry Coggen, and his wife at Salt Farm (?) in St. Sampsons.
William was married around 1880 to Emily S. Le Monnier II (b. 1862 in St. Sampsons) and they appeared together on the 1881 census living at Courtil Au Feves, St Michael in the Vale, Guernsey and he was described as a stone dresser. They later had two children, Emelene (b. 1883) and Wilhelmina "Wilma" (b. 1884) before emigrating to the USA around 1887 and settling in Holley, New York where another daughter, Florence (1889-1894), was born. The family appeared on the 1892 and 1905 census living in Murray Township.
William had been one of a party of eleven visiting the Channel Islands. The group included his goddaughter Lillian Bentham, Peter and Lillian Renouf, Clifford and Ernest Jefferys, Albert Denbuoy and Emily Rugg. Laurence Gavey may have been one of the two others.
He boarded the Titanic at Southampton as a Second Class passenger, together with Peter Daniel McKane (joint ticket number 38403 which cost £26). He gave his last address as the home of a Mrs. Cornaille near Vale Church in Guernsey.
William was lost in the sinking, but his young charge Lillian Bentham and several other of his party were saved. His body, if recovered, was never identified. His widow went to Manhattan awaiting arrival of the RMS Carpathia and when she met Lillian off the ship her first words were, "Where's William?"
A memorial stone dedicated to he and Peter McKane was erected in Hillside Cemetery, Orleans, New York by the Independent Order of Old Fellows, of which he was a member:
ERECTED IN MEMORY OF WM DOUGHTON & PETER MCKAIN LOST AT SEA WITH S.S. TITANIC APR. 14. 1912 BY HOLLEY LODGE 42 I.O.O.F.
His widow Emily was later remarried twice and moved to Niagara, New York. Her second husband, Charles Benjamin Hyde (b. 1850) was a paper manufacturer who died in 1917. Her third marriage was to Italian-born Angelo F. Biondi (b. circa 1863), but she died only months after that marriage in Monroe, New York.
Both William's surviving daughters were later married and raised families: Emelene was married to a Charles Cooper and raised four children before her death in Brockport, New York in 1972, and Wilma, becoming Mrs. Henry Epke, had two children before her death in 1980 in Monroe.