Maria Panula and her sons were travelling from their old home in Finland to Coal Center, where Maria's husband, John was waiting for them.
John Panula had not seen his family for two months. He left Finland to go to America to make a home for his family. He was expecting his wife and children to meet him at the end of April, instead he was left broken-hearted.
After hearing of the sinking, John wired the White star Line offices in New York, but the reply was that so far as was known, the whole family had gone down with the ship.
John and Maria Panula had lived in Coal Center, Pennsylvania since about 1903. They had moved back to Finland in 1910. They had a large farm in Finland and owned other properties. After selling the farm for about 30.000 marks, Mr. Panula left, leaving his wife and children to follow him as soon as possible.
According to newspaper reports, Maria and her sons left Finland on 3 April and were in Southampton by the 7 April. She wrote a letter to John, telling him the time they had left Finland, and the time they expected to reach the United States.
The Panula's children were
Ernesti age 16 born America
Jaako aged 14 born America
Juha age 7 born America
Urho age 2 born Yliharma, Vaasa, Finland
Eino age 13 months born Yliharma, Vaasa, Finland
John and Maria had a daughter, Emma but sadly, she drowned while in Finland.
Friends of the Panula's said that Maria was the kind of woman who would not leave the ship unless every one of her children was being taken care of.
The following is a newspaper report from the Charleroi Mail 23 April 1912. I have not corrected errors.
SOBS OUT STORY
Heatbroken Father Tells Painful Tale of Loss of Family
LOST WITH THE TITANIC
"Oh, it is hard," wailed John Panula in broken tones Monday afternoon as he spoke of the terrific Titanic disaster which took his wife and family. "Oh, my baby!" It was just learning to say 'papa' when I left Finland," exclaimed he in hear stricken tones in fairly good English.
Panula, whose home is in coal center was discovered intensely staring at a picture of the Titanic displayed in the store window of C.W Weltner's pharmacy Monday afternoon. With lusterless eyes he turned partly aside when spoken to, asking what was the matter.
Assured of the sympathy of his questioner, he burst fourth into his woeful tale. Probably there is no one suffering greater agony than this stoic Finlander over the loss of his family, when he left about two months ago in Finland.
"I had a goof farm in Finland," he said. "My wife and I had been there about three years, when I started for our former home in American. She to follow later with our children. The last word I had was that she was leaving Finland, and was bringing my niece along, Lanrie Panula. My niece had never been in this country.
And then I got the terrible news.
Here the man was overcome for a moment but continued. "My farm was sold, I guess it was for about $4,000. My wife was bringing $2,000 of this with her. Now everything is gone.
Three of my sons, Ernest, aged 17, John aged 15, and Neil aged 8 were born in this country. Urha, aged three and my baby Rino, aged one year were born abroad. concluding his story, Panula, with a last look at the picture of the ill-fated steamer, started on. From here he went to monessen to visit some friends.
During the recovery process, the body of a child was recovered. The sailors of the Mackay-Bennett, so overcome by the sight of it, decided to pay for its burial. The child, who at the time was said to be about two years old, was buried in fairview cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia. A stone was erected on this spot to the "Unknown child" of the Titanic. This child became a symbol of all the children who were lost when the luxury liner sank.
This biography was submitted by Lilia-Jane 9 June 2006