Titanic Sinking - Swept from Raft


Swept from Raft to Which His Son Managed to Cling.

The manner in which John B. Thayer, Second Vice President of the Pennsylvania Railroad, met his death along with eighteen or twenty other men was described last night by Mrs. W. C. Stephenson of Haverford, Penn., one of the survivors. Thayer, his son, John B. Thayer, Jr., and the score of other men, she said, refused to enter a lifeboat, choosing instead to take their chances on a crude raft. They had scarcely jumped to the raft when a huge wave struck it, splitting it in two parts. Mr. Thayer, Sr., was thrown into the water and disappeared. His son managed to scramble back on the raft, and was rescued by one of the lifeboats.

Mrs. Stephenson said that Mrs. John B. Thayer was in the same lifeboat with her and saw her husband go to his death. Others in the lifeboat, she said, were Mrs. John Jacob Astor and Mrs. George D. Widener of Philadelphia.

"Mr. Thayer," said Mrs. Stephenson, "was one of the bravest men I ever saw. Immediately after we felt the shock of the collision he bent every effort to comfort and console the women and to see that they got safely into the lifeboats. He refused to give a thought to his own safety until he had done all that mortal man could do for us."

The New York Times, New York, NY 19 Apr 1912


Died Ere News of Wife's Death Came

FRANKLIN, Penn., April 19.---Frank Karnes, an oil well driller in Burmah, whose wife went down with the Titanic, never knew of his wife's fate. A cablegram received to-day said that Karnes had died yesterday of smallpox after an illness of a few days. Karnes and his wife had been living in Burmah the past few years and the wife was on her way to her former home here.

The New York Times, New York, NY 20 Apr 1912