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Animals on Board

Discussion in 'Real Dogs' started by Kate Bortner, May 29, 2001.

  1. Kate Bortner

    Kate Bortner Member

    General questions to all:
    I have some nagging questions about the animals (dogs only?) on board.
    1st: Where/What deck was the kennel on?
    2nd: Was it JJAstor who let the dogs out or is that a Titanic myth?
    3rd: Was a woman really found in the recovery clutching a great dane; both dead and frozen. If so, do we know who this woman and dog were?
    4th: Were any of the animals' bodies found during the recovery?

    I appreciate all responses and information. It seems that I keep reading conflicting info and I'm just plain confused. Additionally please forgive me if I'm asking questions that have been covered a hundred times on this site (that seems to be my pattern!)

    And while I have the floor, does anyone know FOR SURE the story of Alice the Allison's governess? I have read that she was involved in the death of her own child before she went to work for the Allison's and have read that just recently information surfaced that there was a name confusion and that that was another woman with a similar name. What's the poop?

    Thanks in advance for all of your brilliance.
    -kate bortner
  2. Phillip Gowan

    Phillip Gowan Senior Member

    I'm not an authority on the dogs--a lady in Ephrata, PA named Marty Crisp probably knows more about that part of the Titanic story than anyone and I think she intends to publish something about them.

    It is only an allegation that JJ Astor let the dogs out. Others think that Robert Williams Daniel did it (including his descendants). Likewise no one knows the real scoop on the Great Dane.

    As for Alice Cleaver, her daughter has written a book which thoroughly exonerates her mother. The child murderer Alice Cleaver was actually confined in an institution at the time of the Titanic sinking and she died of Tuberculosis a few years later (1915). The Titanic Alice Cleaver married and had a family and lived to be in her 90's, dying in 1984. Although she was guiltless insofar as the child murder story goes, that story has taken on a life of its own and will continue to be told far and wide. There is more drama to the story than there is to the real life of the Titanic Alice Cleaver who was a housewife that was never in any legal or moral trouble.

    You can probably still order a copy of the book by Alice Cleaver's daugher online. The Title is "From Workhouse to Prison--to the Titanic??" by Dinah Williams Burnett. It is so well-researched that it answers the questions about the identity of the child murderer once and for all. But sadly, it probably will never have the audience that the original story got.

  3. Kate Bortner

    Kate Bortner Member

    Thank you for you info. I would be very interested in reading Marty Crisp's research about the dogs on board & the book on Alice Cleaver. It seems even the most "noted" historians attribute that death to her. Frustrating.

    Do you know where the dog kennel was located? Which deck? I'm assuming it was aft.

    Again, thank you for responding to my questions. I've read your introduction and I'm honored indeed to have received info from such a well respected contributor. I see you live in Florence, SC. I was not aware that people actually LIVED there? No, that's just a joke. I have a friend who lives there and teaches at Francis Marion (I think that's the name)College. I live in Seattle, but I'm from that part of the world. And speaking of that part of the world, is it Robert Williams Daniel who is buried in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, VA? Maybe that's a question for Michael Findlay, but I just thought I'd throw it out there.
  4. Phillip Gowan

    Phillip Gowan Senior Member

    Thanks Kate,
    Yes, Robert W. Daniel is buried in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond along with other family members.

    Florence is a big boring town but I'm a boring individual so I fit right in! Actually, after dealing with the tourists, bikers, neon, traffic, and hurricanes of Myrtle Beach for 4 years, the quiet of Florence is refreshing--and the cost of living is lower (I can afford to do more Titanic research :)).

    Francis Marion is a nice little college and I use their library for access to microfilm of the New York Times. Who is your friend who works there?

    I have Marty Crisp's e-mail address somewhere-will dig it up and you might want to contact her directly. She loves to discuss the dogs.

    As for the noted historians who misidentified Alice Cleaver, the primary source was in Titanic: An Illustrated History. Don Lynch has a masterpiece there--in my own opinion it is a far better read than A Night To Remember. But the Alice Cleaver story has come back to haunt him--he based his findings on good clues but it was like climbing a ladder and when you get to the last rung you find its the roof of the wrong house. He has been vilified in some instances for the mistake but I don't think it takes much away from the overall efficacy of the book itself.

    I'm not the guy who can tell you the locations of such things as the dog kennel (I pay no attention to those kinds of details)--but I'm sure some of the others on this message board will come forth with that information.

    My best,
  5. Kate Bortner

    Kate Bortner Member

    Interesting you should mention the Lynch and the Lord books. Those were the two I was thinking about. (I just finished ANTR yesterday! The first time since about 5th grade--and THAT was mannnnnnny years ago) I was amazed to see Lynch give such details, but I agree, other than that his book is WONDERFUL!!

    I would love to have Marty Crisp's e-mail. You can send it to my e-mail address (KateBort@aol.com) if you don't feel comfortable sending it on this board. I find the Great Dane story morbidly fascinating. If it's true, what a comfort that dog must have been for her in the last few minutes. (maybe I'm just a romantic, but I'd rather see it that way than the other possibilities)

    As far as my friend at Francis Marion College goes, his name is Keith Best and he teaches in the Theatre Department. Do you know many/any of the faculty?

    And by the way, nice metaphor about the ladder and the roof. I taught English for awhile--I appreciate that sort of thing!

  6. Jan C. Nielsen

    Jan C. Nielsen Senior Member

    Marty Crisp contends that the dead woman holding on to the dead dog was Miss Ann Elizabeth Isham, a first class passenger who stayed behind with her dog. Isham was purportedly seen by passengers aboard the S.S. Bremen, on April 20, 1912 --when that ship bypassed the disaster site. However, as discussed in another thread, renown Titanic researcher and author George Behe, who used to post on this board, says that there's no evidence that Miss Isham even had a dog. I've never heard that a woman and large dog were recovered together --only that they were seen by Bremen's passengers.
  7. The woman/dog story goes on and on! Rescuers attending the Lusitania sinking also spotted a woman clasping a shaggy dog which when both were hauled in turned out to be her fur coat which she had somehow managed to keep hold of, a trapped air pocket inside the coat made it take on the appearance of a large brown shaggy dog.
  8. I recall a discussion we had several months ago about the location of the dog kennels. One set of plans I had (I think it was in the box with the PRO records package on the Titanic.) placed them close to the butcher shop, although I could be wrong about this. We also discussed the possibility that they were in the deckhouse below the forth funnel. Really, nobody seems to know with any certainty.

    Michael H. Standart
  9. Mike Herbold

    Mike Herbold Member

    I stumbled across this while looking for something else and thought you'd enjoy it:

    About this time James Clinch Smith, true to form, delivered himself of a final crack. He drily remarked that he supposed they ought to put a life-jacket on the little dog one of the passengers was carrying.

    "The Maiden Voyage" by Geoffrey Marcus, page 150
  10. Kate Bortner

    Kate Bortner Member

    Thanks to everyone for their input. Mike H. I love that quote from Clinch Smith! I've run across anther story of someone who found themselves nose to nose with a bulldog (I think) in the water. I've looked for the story, but I'm just not finding it to recount here.

    At the risk of answering my own questions, I found this info this weekend. According to "1912 Facts About Titanic" by Lee W. Merideth, the dog kennel was located on F Deck (or Middle Deck) in Compartment 10.

    "Compartment 10: boiler casing and fan shaft, dormitories for 6 butchers, 6 bakers, and 3rd Class stewards; bakery; 3rd Class galley (kitchen), pots and pans storage and washing. The dog kennels were also located here."

    AND he goes on the attribute the release of the dogs at the end to JJ Astor.

    "As the boat was rowed away, the passengers could all see John Jacob Astor, the two Thayers, the two Widener men and Arthur Ryerson standing together in a group, waving at the boat, and all deep in their own thoughts. At some point, Colonel Astor went down to F deck aft to where the dog kennels were and let the dogs out. Madeleine Astor would later say that as the ship started to go under, she could see Colonel Astor's Airedale dog "Kitty" running around on the Boat deck."

    I guess the life boat referred to was #4. Does anyone know if I've stumbled onto some answers here or if I've tripped again upon some Myth. (actually, I realize the JJ Astor letting the dogs out part is disputable)

    Phillip, are you still out there? Did you find Ms. Crisp's e-mail address? How's life in Florence today? Finally stopped raining here in Seattle!

    Thanks again everyone for your wisdom, here's another one, completely UNdog related. Anyone have any info on Mrs. Jessie L. Bruce Trout?? I know her Titanic story (2nd class passenger, which lifeboat etc., but what else??) I've just learned that she married a Bortner after her survival. WOW!

    Okay, that's it for today. You people are the best!
  11. Hi Kate, the Eaton and Haas plans in Titanic, Triumph and Tragedy show the kennels as being located exactly where you say they are. The problem is that this was one of the points in controversy when we were discussing this several months ago. (I wish I could find that thread we discussed this in.)

    The problem with this location is that having the kennels next to the butcher shop raised some serious health and sanitation issues. Bluntly, the pooches may not wait to go to the poop deck to, well, poop!

    The kennels might have been moved elsewhere at a late enough stage that this may not be reflected in any deck plans still extant. Little modifications like that happen on ships all the time. Any way you look at it, there's a question mark hanging over this one. My bet is that it's not going to go away either. (Shrug)

    Michael H. Standart
  12. Kate Bortner

    Kate Bortner Member

    You're probably right. The poop issue is most assuredly something to consider. I've looked for other threads pertaining to this issue, and though I know they're here SOMEWHERE, I'm having no luck finding them. Soooooo I appreciate your indulgence with my questions and quasi-info. :-> My main Titanic interest has always been the passengers and crew but for some reason, these days I'm fixated on the fate of the dogs.
    Thanks again for the info.
  13. The bulldog experience was Norris Williams running into dog Gamon De Pycombe (LOVE that name. And I (I was also under the impression that Gamon belonged to Williams not H.Harris, anybody?)
    I was wondering which pets did survive. I am only aware of Sun Yat Sen which was Henry Harper's dog, did any others make it?
  14. Kyrila Scully

    Kyrila Scully Member

    I believe Margaret Hays' dog also survived, but as I am not home at the moment, I can neither tell you the name or the breed.
  15. Ben Holme

    Ben Holme Member


    Mrs. Martin (Elizabeth) Rothschild escaped with her Pomeranian aboard boat #6. Her husband wasn't as fortunate. She kicked up quite a fuss when her boat finally reached the Carpathia - she refused to ascend the rope ladder without the pet in her arms.

    Kyrila - I believe Margaret Hays' dog was also a Pomeranian.

  16. Kyrila Scully

    Kyrila Scully Member

    Hi, Ben, you're right about Margaret Hays' dog being a pomeranian. I remembered right after I posted. I wasn't aware of Mrs. Rothschild's dog surviving, though. Thanks for the info.

  17. To all,

    Margaret Hays saved her beloved Pomeranian named "Lady." After their rescue, Miss Hays and her companion were inseparable - the dog even accompanied Miss Hays (later Mrs. Easton) to the New York opera. The dog would fit comfortably into her purse and went unnoticed. "Lady" died in 1921, and believe it or not, was cremated and was interred in a pet cemetery in upstate New York. Margaret Hays' daughter Peggy finally found the lost photograph of "Lady" in 1997.

    I don't know for sure what became of Henry Sleeper Harper's dog, nor Elizabeth Rothschild's Pomeranian. It has been reported that Mrs. Rothschild's companion was killed by another dog shortly after their rescue at her summer home in New Jersey. There are so many conflicting stories about the incident that it is impossible to determine for sure. One descendent believes the dog was killed by a streetcar.

    A photo of Henry Sleeper Harper's dog survives but we have no clue what became of lucky Sun Yat-sen.

    Hope this helps....

    Mike Findlay
  18. Ok, so if I am understanding this conversation correctly, there were 2 Pomerainians that survived right? 2 that were snuck onto the lifeboats???
    Was it Ms Hays that disguised her dog as a baby?

    Thank you for clearing it up for me. My mind is in a fog at 12:20am.

  19. Mike Herbold

    Mike Herbold Member

    According to Charles Pellegrino's new book "Ghosts of the Titanic", the third one was Sun Yat-Sen, the Pekinese owned by Henry Harper.

    Stephen: For the record, I think we finally concluded awhile back that the correct spelling for the dog you mentioned was Gamin (as opposed to Gamon) de Pycombe.
  20. Ben Holme

    Ben Holme Member


    On the subject of the passengers' canine companions, it appears that either Elizabeth Rothschild or Helen Bishop (or both), were somewhat unpopular with at least one fellow passenger, namely Francis Millet.

    In his letter from Queenstown, he noted:

    "...and a number of obnoxious, ostentatious American women, the scourge of any place they infest and worse on shipboard than anywhere. Many of them carry tiny dogs and lead husbands around like pet lambs. I tell you, when she starts out the American woman is a buster. She should be put in a harem and kept there".

    I don't know enough about the individual personalities to suggest who he might have been referring to. I know that Gilbert Miligan Tucker may have spent most of the voyage chasing Margaret Hays like a "pet lamb".

    Any thoughts?