Titanic Sinking - More Survivor Stories, part 2
Saw Astor Kiss Wife Good-Bye.
Lady Duff Gordon, after having gone up to her room with her husband, was quoted in the lobby as having explained to some one as she entered the hotel:
"The boat struck on the side on which we were sleeping. After we had hurried on deck I saw Mr. Astor kiss his wife good-bye."
J. Bruce Ismay had been expected to arrive at the Ritz, Manager Keller having stated before the Carpathia arrived that he expected to bring Mr. Ismay did not arrive at the hotel with the rest of the survivors, and Mr. Keller, who arrived later than the other guests, said that he had not seen him at the pier and did not know where he was.
Washington, Dodge City Assessor of San Francisco, with his wife and son, Washington, Jr., 4 years old, went to the Victoria, he said:
"We sailed on the Olympic several weeks ago and were returning on the Titanic. It was exactly 11:40 o'clock, and everybody mostly was asleep when the crash came. I was in my berth. We were all thrown out of the berths. The night was fine, and there was no fog. The boat seemed to strike head on and toward the starboard side.
"The compartments filled immediately with water, and the lower decks were covered with water and floating ice. For a little while the ship's officers had the situation pretty well in hand, but when the water and floating ice began to cover the lower decks there was a wild panic.
"Everybody seemed to be panic-stricken, and there was a rush for the boats. I heard a lot of shots, but I do not know where they came from. In fact, it was not until later on the Carpathia that I recalled the shots. When I saw that the shop was sinking I ran back to my cabin, where I had left my wife and child, but to my horror, they were gone. I saw hundreds of people running about, but I did not see my family. I searched all over for them, but could not find them. I was on Deck A, and they were getting ready to lower a lifeboat. They called for women to fill three seats left, but there were no more women on that deck. Then a man shoved me into the boat and I gave my wife and son up for lost.
"I did not know my wife and son had been rescued until we met on board the Carpathia. I cannot describe our meeting."
Survivors at the Waldorf.
At the Waldorf's a silent crowd watched the arrival of the first party of survivors who had made reservations at this hotel. They were Mrs. George D. Wick and daughter, Natalie, of Youngstown, Ohio; Miss Elizabeth Bonnell of Youngstown, Ohio. The Wicks and Bonnells are related. The four women wore raincoats and had heavy veils over their faces. They went to their rooms upon arriving. The husband of Mrs. Wick was lost.
Mrs. William Bucknell of Philadelphia and Saranac Lake and her maid went to the Murray Hill Hotel, where they were attended by Mrs. Bucknell's son, Dr. Howard Bucknell, who had come from his home in Atlanta, Ga., to meet his mother.
The following survivors arrived at the Hotel Astor: W. J. Hawksford, London, England; Mrs. W. E. Minnehan and daughter, Daisy, of Fond Du Lac, Wis.; W. E. Minnehan, husband of Mrs. Minnehan, was among those who were lost.
J. W. Allison, a cousin of H. J. Allison, who with his wife and two children were passengers on the Titanic, arrived at the Manhattan Hotel shortly after the Carpathia docked. With J. W. Allison was the only member of the family to survive, the youngest child, Travers, 11 months old, who was in charge of a nurse and became separated from the rest of the family on the Titanic it was composed of H. J. Allison, his wife Ressie, a daughter, Lorraine, and the baby, Travers, the only one rescued. Traveling with the family were two nurses and one maid. H. B. Steffanson, a first-cabin survivor, went to the Hotel Gotham, but would not be interviewed.
Mrs. A. T. Compton and Miss Sara Compton of Lakewood, N. J., went to the Murray Hill Hotel. They were saved, but the brother of Miss Compton, Alexander T. Compton, went down with the vessel. They are in the care of their physician, Dr. C. L. Lindley of Lakewood, at the hotel, and the doctor said they are too weak and grief stricken to permit of their being interviewed.
All available rooms at the Hotel Albert, University Place and Eleventh Street, have been thrown open to survivors of the Titanic. Manager Heath of the hotel notified the officials of the Cunard Line to this effect at the pier.
Women Rowed in Lifeboat.
Mrs. F. Joel Swift, who went to the home of her sister at 3 East Sixty-first Street, said that she was taken off the Titanic in the second lifeboat, in which there were twenty-four persons including one sailor and three stewards. She said that it was bitter cold, and that the women kept their blood in circulation by taking turns in assisting the men in rowing the boat.
"It was 11:45 P. M. by my watch," said Mrs. Swift, "when the ship struck the iceberg. I did not feel much shock. It sounded like a crash of glass. The ship seemed to strike the berg a glancing blow, and the pieces of ice came through the port holes into the cabins. No one seemed to think the danger was very great, and the stewards came around and said there was no danger. Some of the passengers went back to bed. I did, too, but five minutes later, when the engines stopped, I became nervous and got up and dressed.
"It was thirty or forty minutes before we realized our danger. When the terrible moment came the men acted like heroes. They gave way for us and assisted the women and children to places in the lifeboats while the stewards went around handing out and adjusting life belts on the women. When our boat was lowered we were instructed to steer for the light of a fishing vessel. We missed it, however. It was 2:20 A. M., according to my watch when the Titanic went down. We were about a mile away at the time. One of the ship's officers since told me that the Titanic broke in two before she went down."
Seventy in One Boat.
Philip E. Mock, one of the survivors of the Titanic, was one of a party of seventy crowded into the eleventh lifeboat. He was accompanied by his sister, who was also saved. Mr. Mock gave out some details of the disaster last night at the Hotel Belmont. He said:
"The order on the starboard side of the big Titanic during that critical time when the lifeboats were being lowered was excellent. In fact, too much cannot be said for the heroism of those men who parted with wives, daughters, sometimes mothers, and waited themselves for whatever fate might have in store. Every man of those who remained died game. I have heard that revolvers were drawn during the dropping of the lifeboats on the port side, but on the starboard side, where I was, everything was in perfect order.
"John Jacob Astor was in a position to take a place in the first of the lifeboats to be lowered had he chosen to do so. There were only twenty-three in the boat at the time when Mr. Astor, who was standing beside his bride, was offered the place, but he declined. There seemed to be a general feeling against getting into the lifeboats at that time. Many did not seem to think that the big Titanic was doomed, and it was only natural that they should think twice before embarking in one of the boats, to be lowered seventy feet to the waters. How much room remained in that boat when Col. Astor declined to take his place may be imagined when I tell you that there were seventy in the boat into which I was placed with my sister.
The New York Times, New York, NY 19 Apr 1912