Titanic Sinking - Identifying the Orphans


Waifs Rescued by Miss Hays Believed to be Children of "Mr. Hoffman."

While Cables Are Busy Trying to Discover Secret, Youngsters Are Enjoying a Life of Luxury.

No one appeared yesterday who could identify the two children saved from the Titanic by Miss Margaret Hays of 304 West Eighty-third Street, daughter of Charles M. Hays, who was lost, but R. D. Neill, New York agent for the Children's Aid Society, said late in the afternoon that he was reasonably sure their father was a Mr. Hoffman, who lost his life in the disaster.

On the only passenger list Mr. Neill has been able to obtain there appears among the second cabin passengers the entry: "Mr. Hoffman and two children." Mr. Neill hopes that the original list, which probably will be received here to-morrow, will give further information, and solve the question of the identity of the little ones.

Miss Hays and others traveling first cabin, who were rescued, are also sure that they saw the two children on several occasion before the Titanic struck the iceberg playing among the second cabin passengers. The youngsters were always accompanied by the man, who it is now believed was Hoffman, and it was his devotion to them that attracted their attention.

The children speak French, and obviously are of foreign birth, but Mr. Neill said yesterday that the was not sure as to what nationality they belong. He would not be surprised, he said, if it turns out that they are of Polish birth.

Mr. Neill recalled the story yesterday told by some of the rescued passengers that, in the midst of the excitement, a man ran up to one of the lifeboats, and started to lift two children into it. He was warned that there was no room for him. He replied that he did not wan to go, but begged that the children be taken along. This man was Mr. Hoffman, Mr. Neill believes.

The children, whose given names are supposed to be Lola and Louis, are still at the home of Frank K. Hays, where they were taken by Miss Hays. They seem not the least homesick, and are having the time of their lives, for the family lives in a fine, big house not far from Riverside Drive, and every comfort and luxury is being provided for them.

Every effort has been made to get the children to talk of themselves and their parents, but their answer to all questions is a babble of almost unintelligible French. Much of their time yesterday was spent in an effort to describe to Miss Hays all about animals they found in a picture book. Not a mention have they made of their father.

While the children are enjoying themselves a great commotion has been raised in an effort to learn their origin. Etienne Lanel, French Consul General in New York, had called, and, with the authorization of the French Government, he is sending cablegrams and making a search which extends across the ocean. Scotland Yard has also been notified and asked to do its part.

Frank Hays said yesterday that the children would be provided with a home for several days by him unless they are claimed. The family does not consider adopting the youngsters, he said, but they will not want for a home, because more than a score of men and women, all apparently well-to-do, have called or written, offering to take charge of the babies. He called them babies, he said, because the eldest could hardly be more than 3 or 3½ years old.

Offers to adopt the children have also been made by persons who called at the offices of the Children's Aid Society, but in most instances the applicant has not been willing to take both, and Mr. Neill says, even if they are not claimed by relatives, he will never agree to the children being parted. "That would only make their case a more pitiable one." he said.

For the present, until something definite is established, the children will be left with Miss Hays. Mr. Neill said yesterday that he did not believe they could be in better hands. The youngsters, apparently, are satisfied with this arrangement. Yesterday they were taken for a drive on Riverside Drive, and everything is being done to divert their minds from the terrible experience through which they have passed.

The New York Times, New York, NY 22 Apr 1912