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A photo of Shawneene (Jenny) George

Shawneene (Jenny) George 1874 - 1947

Shawneene (Abi-Saab) George of Brookfield Ave, in Masury, Ohio United States was born on March 29, 1874 in Tehoum, North Governorate Lebanon, and died at age 73 years old on April 21, 1947.
Shawneene (Abi-Saab) George
Jenny George
Brookfield Ave, in Masury, Ohio 44438, United States
March 29, 1874
Tehoum, North Governorate, Lebanon
April 21, 1947
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Shawneene (Abi-Saab) George's History: 1874 - 1947

Uncover new discoveries and connections today by sharing about people & moments from yesterday.
  • Introduction

    Shawneene was a Titanic Survivor. She was returning to Youngstown, Ohio from her ancestral home in Lebanon. She was brining three male cousins and her 14 year old niece, Banora Ayoub, to be reunited with her family in Detroit Michigan. While she and Banora survived, all three male cousins died with the ship. Only one of them was recovered floating on the Ocean, Thomas Abi-Saab. Thomas Abi-Saab is buried in the Titanic Cemetery in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
  • 03/29
    1874

    Birthday

    March 29, 1874
    Birthdate
    Tehoum, North Governorate Lebanon
    Birthplace
  • 04/21
    1947

    Death

    April 21, 1947
    Death date
    Unknown
    Cause of death
    Unknown
    Death location
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5 Memories, Stories & Photos about Shawneene

Shawneene (Jenny) George
Shawneene (Jenny) George
Shawneene Portrait taken in the 1940's
Date & Place: in Sharon, Mercer County, Pennsylvania United States
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Shawneene (Jenny) George
Shawneene (Jenny) George
Shawneene (3rd from the right, top row) with family members 1946
Date & Place: at South Irvine Avenue, in Sharon, Mercer County, Pennsylvania 16146, United States
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Shawneene (Jenny) George recalls Titanic Disaster 25 years later
Shawneene (Jenny) George recalls Titanic Disaster 25 years later
This interview was published in the Sharon Herald April 14, 1947 on the 25th anniversary of the date the Titanic struck the iceburg in the North Atlantic Ocean
Date & Place: in Sharon, Mercer County, Pennsylvania United States
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Shawneene (Jenny) George
Shawneene (Jenny) George
Shawneene with cousin's Siltony Khoury, Lulu Saloom, daughter's Rose and Mary and other relatives.
Date & Place: Not specified or unknown.
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Shawneene's Titanic Story - By her daughter Mary George Kerola 02/28/1998
Shawneene Wahabe was born in Thom Lebanon on 03/29/1874 to Thomas George Abi-Saab, and Katoole Deeb. At that time, Lebanon was part of Syria. Shawneene was the youngest of six children. She married George Wahabe, and her oldest sister Dunna had married George Wahabe's brother, Shaheen Wahabe. Since the Wahabe property was in Feghal, Shawneene and her husband lived in Feghal after their marriage, where they had a small farm. Shawneene had three sons Joseph (I 1/04/1889), Thomas (1893), and Albert (1/08/1896), and two daughters Rose (09/06/1901) and Mary (12/25/1904).

Shawneene was born in Thom, Lebanon on Palm Sunday. The word Shawneene in Arabic means Halleluiah and is also the Arabic name for Palm Sunday. Gloria would have been a more literal English translation. She was close to her parents, and when she married into the Wahabe family she moved to Feghal. She and her husband had a farm which they both worked on with some success. She would walk to Thom to visit her mother and father regularly. She was very family oriented and had a tremendous amount of pride and determination.

Shawneene first became interested in coming to America, after she became aware that she was not going get any inheritance from her father. It was the custom at that time that the bride would be given money when she married to buy a home. When Shawneene approached her father Thomas George Abi-Saab, she was told that he had nothing left to give her since she was youngest and there was nothing left to give her. At that time, around 1905, she talked it over with her husband and decided to come to America where “the streets were all paved with gold” and bring back the money to buy a home. At that time, her husband had a farm, and was somewhat successful. He reluctantly agreed to allow Shawneene to go to America, after Shawneene promised to only stay one year, get the money they needed and return.

Shawnenee's daughter Mary was about one year old at that time and was left in Lebanon with Shawneene's husband, her oldest son Joseph, and her son Wahabe (Albert), Shawneene made the trip to America with her second oldest son, Thomas, and her daughter Rose. She felt that Mary was too young to really miss her, and Rose was too attached to her to leave her behind. Her son, Thomas, who was only 13 was already becoming difficult for her husband to handle.

When Shawneene arrived in 1906 she was 32. She first settled in Youngstown at 390 East Federal Street, on Youngstown near East Side. Mary Kerola described this as a Shanty Town, but there were other relatives and Arab speaking immigrants in that are at that time. In fact, Siltony Barkett also lived on East Federal Street at that time. Shawneene supported her family by peddling door to door. She later began getting names of people from the Christ Mission who needed laundry. She would go to the houses of these people and use their washing equipment to do laundry to earn money. According to her daughter Mary, she would also take the family laundry along, and do her own laundry along with the laundry of her customers. Her niece, Siltony also did laundry to help support her family. In 1907, while Shawneene was in Youngstown, her husband died in Lebanon. At that time Mary was only three years old. Her oldest son, Joseph, who was only 18 years old at that time was having difficulty trying to run the farm, while taking care of his three-year-old sister, Mary. Shawneene sent for Mary (now age 3), and Joseph brought her to America in 1907. Meanwhile, Rose, age six, had started school at the Wood Street School in Youngstown. Albert, who was only I I years old, at the time, was left alone in Lebanon. At that time, her son Thomas was also beginning to be a handful for Shawneene, he was 14 years old, and already liked to drink, stay out late, etc. He was also reportedly having a love affair with an older woman who owned her own business, and Shawneene did not approve of the relationship. In addition, Thomas' health had begun to fail, and Shawneene was told by Thomas' physician to send him back to Lebanon where he was more acclimated to the climate. Joseph took Thomas back to Lebanon with him. Shawneene's sister Dunna, who also lived in Feghal, nearby kept an eye on Shawneene's boys and wrote to her frequently. In one correspondence, she reportedly complained that Thomas was getting to be too much of a play and party boy. In one of her letters, she stated that he had stayed out all night dancing until the sweat was pouring out of his shoes. His health was also beginning to fail. In 1910, he became very ill, and Dunna wrote to Shawneene, telling her to hurry back because her son was dying. She left for the trip to Lebanon in the late fall of 1910. At that time, the only means of transportation was by ship, and the journey took about 14 days. When Shawneene left, she did not want to take her two young daughters ages 6 and 9 with her. One of the ladies at the Christ Mission offered to take care of the children while she was gone. Mary and Rose were placed in a home in Canfield, Ohio run by the Christ Mission. Mary described the home as a very big, and beautiful. She and Rose had rooms on the third floor, and she recalled that the woman who cared for them, Ann Metcalf, was very kind and affectionate. Rose, nevertheless, was very despondent. She was refusing to eat, and complained constantly, and cried that she missed her mother. About 10 days before Shawneene arrived, Thomas died (he was 17 years old at the time of his death). Shawneene was grief stricken. She was also concerned that the family homestead in Lebanon was breaking up and wanted to maintain a household there. She decided that it was time that her oldest son, Joseph, got married and started a family. This was in 1911, and Joseph was now 22 years old. She and Dunna decided that Joseph would marry Dunna's daughter, Katoole. According to Shawneene's daughter, Mary, both were in love with someone else. In fact, she stated that Katoole had initially refused to marry Joseph. At one point, Katoole told her mother that she would not marry him, stating that "Just the other day he told me if I was a shoe, he wouldn't put me on." Family pressure prevailed, however, and they were married in 1911.

Feeling that she had things settled in Lebanon, and missing her two young daughters, she decided it was time to return to America. This was in the Spring of 1912. By now, Joseph's wife, Katoole was pregnant with her oldest daughter Rose (Amen). Shawneene was able to obtain a ticket on the most magnificent ship every built at that time, the Titanic. She took a ship from Lebanon to Cherbourg where she boarded the ship. The newspaper article from the Sharon Herald indicated that it was in South Hampton, England, but the ships records indicated that Cherbourg, France is where she boarded the ship. RMS Titanic left Berth 44 at the White Star Line dock in Southampton, England at noon on Thursday, April 10, 1912, The Titanic was due to arrive in America on Wednesday April 17, 1912. There were a large number of Arab speaking passengers who also boarded at Cherbourg, France. Three male cousins were also traveling with her Thomas Tannous, Youssouf Gerious, and Dahour Tannous. Shawneene was bringing them to America to get jobs in the local steel mills in Youngstown, Ohio. Just for the record, Shawneene purchased ticket # 2688 for four pounds four shillings. George Joseph purchased ticket #2685 for the same amount. These were third class, or steerage tickets, and in U.S. currency at that time would have cost about $30.00. There were approximately 165 Lebanese, and/or Arab immigrants on the Titanic occupying cabins close together as well as having their own dining room. According to Shawneene, the steerage accommodations were very good, far better than any other accommodations she had had on her previous trips. The Lebanese immigrants passed the time together on the ship, very much enjoying themselves. Shawneene was also to bring a niece of one of her cousin's (Banoura Ayoob) with her to unite her with her relatives in Detroit. Shawneene and Banoura had cabins in the steerage (lowest section of the ship). She was sound asleep when the ship hit the iceberg on Sunday April 14, 1912, at about 11:40 PM. When she opened her cabin door, she saw her cousin Banoura grabbed her as she herself was grabbed by crew members. According to Shawneene were "very finely dressed in their beautiful suits" came down into the steerage department where Shawneene was located and pushed and pulled us up to the deck. " This act of bravery on the part of the first class male passengers had a great impact on Shawneene, and she would later comment on her incredulity that these men not only stood by so that she, a poor immigrant, could get in a lifeboat and be saved, but they actually helped her get out of her steerage compartment, up onto the deck in first class, and into a lifeboat. On her way to the lifeboat, a woman she had met on the Titanic was holding a small child and crying. Her 5 year-old son, Tommy was missing. Up on the deck of the Titanic, there was confusion and chaos everywhere:

" I saw George Joseph, [Gerious Youseff] one of my cousins He pushed me toward one of the lifeboats. Sailors armed with revolvers drove the men away from the boats shouting, "Women and children first! ". Aey shot into the air to frighten the men. Many passengers were overcome with fright. Some were unable to move. Others jumped into the icy water. A woman I had met on the ship held a small child in her arms. Her five year old son, Tommy, was lost. “

"On the boat were many young couples who had been married shortly before the ship sailed. When many of the brides learned that they couldn't take their husbands with them into the lifeboats, they clasped their husbands in close embrace and leaped into the se,-4 preferring to die together than be separated.

"Banoura and I were placed next to the last lifeboat to be lowered from the ship. When the lifeboat was being lowered, Frightened women, fearing it would capsize, jumped from it. A scared young man leaped over the side of the liner and landed in the bottom of the lifeboat. Women shielded him with their night clothing so the sailors would not see him. They would have shot him ".

"After we had pulled about a half-mile away, the sailors stopped rowing. We watched the lights of the big boat with our hearts in our throats. Then we saw it sink.

Dressed only in her nightgown, Shawneene remained in the lifeboat for 6 hours, suffering from exposure to the extremely cold temperature. In the lifeboat, some of the passengers had frozen to death. Some of the women on the lifeboat burned their hats in hopes that a nearby boat would see them. Next to Shawneene in the lifeboat, sobbing hysterically, was the woman who had lost her son Tommy.

Once the lifeboat reached the Carpathia, on Monday morning the passengers were hauled aboard the ship by rope and the children were drawn up in baskets. Several more passengers died on the Carpathia from the exposure to the extreme cold.

"I was moved by the sight of the mother who had lost her son. She cried continually, hugging the smaller child to her breast. Several hours after we had been taken aboard and given clothing, I was coming from my cabin when I saw a nurse carrying a child wrapped in a blanket. She passed close to me, and I recognized the child. It was Tommy! I told the nurse, and she handed the little boy to me. I took him to his grief-stricken mother. The reunion was a sight I will never forget. “

Interestingly, Shawneene also stated that as they watched the Titanic sink, "The swirling water as the ship disappeared sucked with it several lifeboats fined with women and children. " This never happened. There had been some collapsible lifeboats, that some of the men and crew were attempting to place in the water as the ship sank. At least one of these boats was never fully assembled or sunk. It is believed that what Shawneene actually saw was the collapsible lifeboat sinking next to the ship as it sank.

Upon arrival in New York, Shawneene was cared for by the 'Hebrew Sheltering Arms Society'. She was taken to a department store in New York where the survivors were given clothing. Shawneene's three male cousins all went down with the ship. Shawneene boarded a train in New York to return to Youngstown, Ohio on Tuesday April 21, 1912 (nine days after the Titanic had gone down). The train arrived at the Erie Railroad station in Youngstown Ohio at 4:08 PM Tuesday April 21, 1912. She became very emotional at seeing her daughter Rose and ran across Phelps Street flung her arms around Rose and she and a group of Lebanese women who had come to meet her began whaling and beating their chests. She made a claim for $150.00 for her trunk and its contents. Banoura was united with her relatives in Detroit, and eventually moved to Canada.

Shawneene did not talk much about the Titanic, at first, to her children and grandchildren. According to Rose Thomas, her mother had some very intense nightmares during the first few years after the tragedy. She was interviewed by several reporters from different newspapers. When asked, she would relate stories of her experiences.

In 1913, her brother Joseph Abi-Saab Thomas came to America, and settled in Farrell, Pa, Jospeh’s wife and children had all perished in Lebanon. In 1913 her son Albert, who was now 17 years old, also came to America with his cousin Thomas (Abi-Saab) Thomas. Shawneene's brother Joseph Abi-Saab worked as a peddler, peddling goods door to door in Farrell and Sharon. In 1915, her son Joseph who was still living on the family property in Lebanon had a second child, Thomas, named after Joseph’s brother who had died 4 years earlier. The family lived in what Mary Kerola described as a Shanty Town near the trolley tracks that were once called the Sharon Line. The trolley traveled between Youngstown, Ohio and Sharon, Pa. It was frequently used to visit friends and relatives in Sharon. In 1917, her daughter Rose purchased the property on the comer of Ulp Street and Brookfield Ave. in Masury, Ohio. The family moved to Brookfield, Ohio and all lived above the store. Rose married Thomas Abi-Saab Thomas in a civil ceremony on August 18, 1917, in Jamestown, New York. They were remarried at St. Maron's Church on August 30, 1917, and celebrated their anniversary on this date. She was only 16 years old at that time. The original store was opened as a grocery store. Shawneene and her children, Albert, Mary, and Rose, lived above the store and worked in the store, often until extremely late into the evening. With the growing popularity of Ice Cream Cones, Rose became interested and purchased a handheld mold to make the cones (which were made from waffle batter at that time). Rose, her brother Albert, and her husband Thomas would make the cones one at a time placing the mold in a gas stove. They eventually bought some primitive cone machines, and started the George and Thomas Cone Company, which later became Joy Cone.

On March 19, 1922, Shawneene’s grandson, George, was born to her son Joseph and daughter-in-law Katoole. Katoole died in childbirth, and it was believed that she was pregnant with twins. At that time, children were born at home with the assistance of a midwife, who may not have realized that Katoole was pregnant with twins. According to Shawneene's daughter, Mary (Kerola), the Sheick (he was equivalent to a mayor or district justice) of Feghal did not like Joseph and did not believe that his wife died of natural causes. He was also a cousin to Shawneene and Joseph's wife, Katoole. He accused Joseph of poisoning his wife. It is not certain, but he may have also been trying to stop Joseph from leaving Lebanon and coming to America. Several people were questioned, and is soon became obvious that Joseph's wife, Katoole had died in childbirth. At that time, he decided to join his family in America. He decided to meet his sister in Cuba, pose as her husband, and gain access to this county. At that time, there were quotas that limited the number of immigrants from each county, and there were also exceedingly long waiting lists. They were detained in Cuba for several months. They even had adoption papers drawn up in Cuba indicating that Joseph's children, Rose, Thomas, and George, were adopted by them. The adoption papers were written in Spanish, however, and when presented at the immigration office, the U.S. Immigration officers could not read them. They eventually gained access to America in 1924 and lived in the same home above the store on Ulp Street and Brookfield Ave. in Masury, Ohio. ( for more details, a transcript of the investigation of by the U. S. immigration office is also included in this book).

Joseph lived with his children in the same family home above the George and Thomas Cone Co. in Masury, Ohio. Like all the rest of the family he worked in the Cone factory, and the business continued to grow. Another relative from Youngstown, George Ghranamey Ferris, had also started a cone business in Youngstown, but was not nearly as successful. He was also reported to be very jealous of Albert. After an argument with (Wahabe) Albert George, George Ferris and his brother reported Albert's brother Joseph George to the U.S. Immigration office as an illegal alien. Joseph was forced to flee the county to avoid deportation. Due to a quota on immigration, Joseph was forced to stay in Lebanon until 193 8, when he was legally able to gain reentry to the United States. He had been in Lebanon for about 12 years on a waiting list. I-Es children were cared for primarily by Shawneene, and his sister Rose. His children were grown when he returned. Rose was 26, Thomas was 22, and George was 16, when they saw their father again.

In 1927 Shawneene's daughter Mary married Joseph Kerola. At that time, Joseph lived with his family in Boston, and on a trip with her family to Boston, Mary and Joe spent some time together at Cape Cod. Joe proposed, and Mary accepted. After the marriage Mary and Joe lived for a time above the store. Joe worked in the Ice Cream Cone factory, as needed by all the family members. He also started a Cone business in Buffalo, NY. According to George George, one of the salespeople had kept money that he had collected on behalf of the business, which eventually forced it to close. The accounts were turned over to the George and Thomas Cone company. He and Mary also for a time operated a potato chip business, which they eventually sold. Joe eventually started working as a truck driver. He later borrowed some money from relatives and expanded by buying additional trucks. He became very successful in the trucking business establishing P I & I Trucking, which is currently run by his grandson also named Joe Kerola.

In 1934 Albert purchased a duplex located at 893 South Irvine Ave, in Sharon, Pa. The home was originally purchased by the business (George and Thomas Cone, Co.). At that time, Mary Kerola was renting the other half of this duplex. In the Spring of l935, Albert married Zarife Basile. At that time, she was 21 years old, and had not been in America very long. Albert was 39 years old at the time of his marriage to Zarife. In 1937, when the partnership between Albert and his sister Rose was dissolved, Rose Thomas purchased a home at 801 South Irvine Ave, and Joe and Mary Kerola lived in the 3rd floor apartment of that home for a short time.
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Shawneene Abi-Saab's Family Tree & Friends

Shawneene Abi-Saab's Family Tree

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Friendships

Shawneene's Friends

Lulu Saloom
Family, friend, or fan, this family history biography is for you to remember Lulu Saloom.
Siltony Khoury
Siltona (Khoury) Barkett was born on January 1, 1886 at Thoum Lebanon, and died at age 64 years old in August 1950 in Youngstown, Mahoning County, Ohio United States.
Friends of Shawneene Friends can be as close as family. Add Shawneene's family friends, and her friends from childhood through adulthood.
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