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Dear America Wiki

"I don't like the way I am. I don't like waking up in the night, afraid, but I can't even remember what was going on in my dream. I don't like the feeling of being outside myself. I'm talking to Phoebe or Mother or Asquith and all of a sudden I'm in some other corner of the room looking at myself."
—Dorothy Wilton[4]

Dorothy Pauline Wilton (born c. 1900) was the only daughter of Stanley and Esme, and the younger sister of Charles Wilton. She lived in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she attended Halifax Ladies' College. In early 1912, Dorothy went to visit her grandparents in England. On the way home, she survived the sinking of the RMS Titanic.


Early life[]

Dorothy was born around 1900[1] to Stanley and Esme Wilton. She had one older brother named Charles, who later moved to New York City. She grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia and went to school at Halifax Ladies' College.


In February 1912, Dorothy left Canada to visit her grandparents, Augusta and Henry Wilton, in England. Miss Pugh, who worked at the same bank as Dorothy's father, accompanied her on the journey. Dorothy spent much of the voyage being seasick. She stayed for two months at her grandparents home, "Mill House," located in Lewisham. There she also spent time with their housekeeper, Mrs. Hawkins, and her children, Millie and Owen. In April, Dorothy's grandfather brought her to Miss Pugh in London for the return trip home. Despite disliking her, Dorothy had resolved to be cordial with Miss Pugh. Her "good intentions," however, did not last for very long after Miss Pugh made a pointed comment.

Dorothy and Miss Pugh boarded the RMS Titanic in Southampton. They were assigned second-class accommodations on D deck. Dorothy instantly liked their stewardess, Beryl Cope. Later, she befriended a girl her age named, Marjorie. They spent a lot of time together exploring the ship. On their final night on the ship, Dorothy and Miss Pugh had a disagreement during dinner. Before going to bed, Dorothy threw Miss Pugh's possessions all about the cabin, after arguing with her. Some hours later, Dorothy was woken up by Beryl who accompanied her to a lifeboat, while Miss Pugh was being "dithery." Dorothy, at first, did not realize that the Titanic was sinking. They were later rescued by the Carpathia.

After a few days on the Carpathia, the ship arrived in New York. Dorothy was greeted by Charles, who subsequently brought her home to Halifax. Now back home, Dorothy was greatly affected by her new status as "Titanic survivor." She was later suspended from school after slapping Irene Rudge, who had provoked her. Her teacher, Miss Caughey gave her a diary to write about her experiences. Dorothy was hesitant to write about the Titanic but eventually did so, revealing that she felt responsible for Miss Pugh's death since she had thrown her things about. Later, her parents invited Beryl for a visit. She explained that she had cleaned the cabin. Dorothy realized that Miss Pugh's death was not her fault.

December 1912[]

In December 1912, Dorothy and her parents received a letter from Charles, revealing that he was coming home for the holidays with his fiancée Naomi Livingston. She looked forward to the visit, despite her mother redoing the entire house in the meantime. Dorothy became upset when her mother attempted to change the wallpaper in her room. Her father stepped in and they were able to reach a compromise. A few days later, Charles and Naomi finally arrived. The family did holiday activities together over the next several days. Later, Dorothy spent some time alone with Charles and Naomi, who brought up the Titanic. Dorothy felt comfortable talking about it with her since she "already [felt] like family."

Later life[]

Five years after the Titanic, Dorothy was in her final year at school when she was injured slightly during the Halifax Explosion. Her school was turned into a hospital and Dorothy aided in the relief work. After graduation, she went on to university but dropped out to pursue working at a newspaper. Over time, Dorothy was allowed into "the old boy's club" and ended up being nicknamed "Our Woman in Ottawa." Dorothy declined all interviews and reunions about the Titanic, wanting to put the incident behind her. she liked the 1955 novel A Night to Remember and its film adaptation "well enough." However, at age ninety-seven, Dorothy refused to see the movie Titanic with her great-granddaughter.

Personality and traits[]

Dorothy was a typical twelve-year-old who enjoyed reading books. She often questioned why adults were the way they were. Dorothy was also characterized as cheeky or "saucy." She often asked rhetorical questions or made comments, despite her mother's reprimands. Dorothy had a small temper, though she was not aware of it until interacting with Miss Pugh. For example, on the Titanic, Miss Pugh made her mad enough for her to throw her things around the cabin. Dorothy later felt responsible for Miss Pugh's death because of this incident. She felt a lot of guilt about surviving the sinking of the Titanic.

Family tree[]

The Wilton Family Tree
Henry Wilton
Augusta Wilton
Mrs. Mackenzie
Stanley Wilton
Esme Wilton
Naomi Livingston
(b. 1892)
Charles Wilton
(b. 1889)
Dorothy Wilton
(b. 1900)

  • Hazel and Leslie are Dorothy's aunt and uncle but their exact relation to Esme and Stanley are unknown.
  • Naomi and Charles were engaged in December 1912 and presumably went on to marry.

Behind the scenes[]



See also[]

Dear Canada characters
Main characters

Hélène St. Onge | Sophie Loveridge | Angélique Richard | Geneviève Aubuchon | Mary MacDonald
Susanna Merritt | Isobel Scott | Arabella Stevenson | Johanna Leary | Jenna Sinclair | Harriet Palmer
Julia May Jackson | Rosie Dunn | Kathleen "Kate" Cameron | Josephine Bouvier | Flora Rutherford
Tryphena "Triffie" Winsor | Victoria Cope | Abby Roberts | Dorothy Wilton | Anya Soloniuk | Eliza Bates
Charlotte Blackburn | Fiona Macgregor | Chin Mei-ling | Ivy Weatherall | Sally Cohen | Noreen Robertson
Charlotte Twiss | Mary Kobayashi | Devorah Bernstein | Rose Rabinowitz | Violet Pesheens

Supporting characters

Marianna Wilson | Jane Browning

Lists of characters by book

Alone in an Untamed Land | Winter of Peril | Banished from Our Home | The Death of My Country
With Nothing But Our Courage | Whispers of War | Footsteps in the Snow | A Rebel's Daughter
A Sea of Sorrows | Where the River Takes Me | A Trail of Broken Dreams | A Desperate Road to Freedom
A Country of Our Own | A Ribbon of Shining Steel | Blood Upon Our Land | Days of Toil and Tears
Flame and Ashes | Orphan at My Door | All Fall Down | That Fatal Night | Prisoners in the Promised Land
Brothers Far from Home | No Safe Harbour | If I Die Before I Wake | An Ocean Apart
A Prairie as Wide as the Sea | Not a Nickel to Spare | To Stand On My Own | Exiles from the War
Turned Away | Torn Apart | Pieces of the Past | These Are My Words