I've been by Ms. Willard's simple house in a nice old section of Riverside, California. Tried to locate her ashes at Evergreen Cemetery, which is only a few blocks down the road from where she lived, but, even with the cemetery director's help, never could find a record of it. Appears her ashes may have been left with relatives.
Thanks for the info about the Great Lakes Connection book. For some reason I never got around to buying it. Now I will. Can I ssume it has some things about the Crosby family also?
Does anyone know if Constance ever had any sort of career? I've always been interested in knowing what sort of life she led, since she's a rather shadowy figure in accounts of the voyage and sinking. And it's always struck me as strange that a 20-year-old girl was travelling alone in 1912. Wouldn't have been considered proper in many quarters. At least I assume she was alone. The only other Duluthans on board were the Silveys, and I've never seen any record of Constance knowing them.
Miss Willard was apparently travelling in the company of the Carter family of Philadelphia. Constance's aunt, anxious that her neice would be returning to Duluth alone, solicited the help of William Carter, who agreed to allow the 20 year old to accompany them on the return journey from London and across the Atlantic. Craig Stringer's excellent CD "Titanic Poeple" provides more detail on this. Strangely, neither Constance of the Carters mentioned eachother in later acounts, although they undoubtedly departed the sinking liner together on boat #4.
Both Constance Willard and Alice Silvey were particularly sparse on meaty details in their brief accounts of the sinking (the ones that I've found, at least). Hence, we have little record of the shipboard actions and movements of these three Duluth residents. However, I would imagine that Constance would have at least recognised the Silveys who were promient in Duluth.
Dear Ben, I have seen the suggestion that Miss Willard left the ship in boat No 4, but her own story certainly doesn't match No 4 at all; from her story it can be assumed that she left in a boat more towards the stern, possibly No 10. But I don't really know. She is indeed rather sparse with details....
>Strangely, neither Constance of the Carters
>mentioned each other in later acounts,
I have an interview with Miss Willard in which she described how Mr. Carter later told her about his own experiences on Collapsible C. (Carter said that Mr. Ismay regretted the presence of the Chinamen on his boat when so many "fine, valuable men" were being left behind.)
Hello again, George. That is exactly the kind of information I wanted; I just can't see her in No 4, and she said in another interview that there were seven men and several children as well as about 20 women, which to me didn't sound much like No 4, particularly when she never mentions crewmen dragged out of the water or tying up with other boats or rescuing men from an overturned collapsible and so on. Thank you!!
By the way, I don't think I have got your e-mail address....???
Interesting. I, too, had originally accepted boat #10 for Miss Willard, that is until the story of the Carter acquaintance surfaced and made me re-think things. However, if there is no account of her presence in boat #4, and perhaps more crucially, there is no mention of the "stepping through the window" incident, then I would agree that boat #10 is a safer option. Like Mrs. Futrelle and Mrs. Holverson, she's a tricky one to assign, boat-wise. I know George had what struck me as very interesting thoughts on the mystery of Mrs. F's boat.
Fascinating insight into Ismay's thoughts during the night on collapsibe C! Carter's another whose accounts of the sinking seem to be harder to locate than most. Seems he really landed Ismay in it, in the same manner in which Charles Stengel didn't help Sir Cosmo's case in boat #1. Interesting stuff.
I have just added the newscutting below to Miss Willards site - I think it came from Mark Baber some time ago here it is along with my printout on her:
WILLARD, Miss Constance. Saved in Lifeboat number 4. London address: C/o White Star Line, 1, Cockspur Street, London, S.W. UK.
Died 25th April 1964, and is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery, Riverside, California.
From Hibbing (Minn.) Daily Tribune, April 23, 1912)
Miss Willard Tells Of Wreck
Girl Well Known Here, Who was on the Titanic has reached St. Paul.
St. Paul, Minn. - April 23 - Miss Constance, the 20-year-old daughter of David Willard, formerly of Duluth, has arrived at the home of her sister, Mrs. Hope McCall, on South Avon street, after the most trying week of her life, since a week ago Sunday night, when the Titanic struck. Except for a little fatigue Miss Willard is entirely well and was able to give a full account of her experience.
Miss Willard said there was no searchlight aboard the Titanic. She overheard a man ask an officer about this lack, the first day out. The officer, whose name she did not know told the man it was intended to have the searchlight installed in New York.
Miss Willard was without any relatives or near friends on the boat, the Carter family, with whom she was travelling, being new acquaintances who had promised her aunt in England to look out for her on the trip over. Her first real breakdown or feeling in any way akin to fear did not come, she said, until after she was aboard the Carpathia.
The "Irma McCall" that is mentioned as Constance Willard's sister is incorrect. In your "Family Information" section you list Constance's sister Irma with a DOB of 1881.
The Irma McCall, who died in Long Beach in 1976 is my cousin and is not a relative of Constance Willard. My cousin Irma Taylor McCall was born in New Berlin, IL in 1899.
Please correct this.
Anne Mac Gregor
I have a particular fascination with the William E. Carters (rather worryingly, I even dreamt of Lucile Carter a couple of nights ago!) and I dimly recall having once read of some sort of connection between them and the enigmatic Miss Willard.
Interestingly, therefore, it was purely by chance that I today stumbled upon some information which sheds light on their relationship. Miss Willard's aunt, referred to in a post above, appears to have been one Mrs F.J. Mackey, whom 'The New York Times' of 16 August, 1900, called 'so prominent in English Society'. Mr Mackey was an expert polo player and was on the American team during a tournament at the ultra-smart Hurlingham Club. Mrs Mackey, too, was acclaimed as 'the best woman four-in-hand' in the country and I conclude that it was these horsey pursuits that brought them into contact with William E. Carter who, as we know, was a polo enthusiast himself and who, together with his elegant wife, attended all the premier equestrian events on both sides of the Atlantic. The Mackeys had a home in Mayfair, 5 Carlos Place (just off one of the most perfectly preserved late Victorian streets in London) and also maintained a country seat, Beauchamp Hall, near Leamington Spa. This was fashionable hunting country - as we know, Billy Carter was riding out with the Melton during the winter season of 1911/12 - and it is probable that he and Lucile were entertained at some point during their stay in England by the Mackeys at Beauchamp, where many house parties took place. In the immediate aftermath of the 'Titanic' disaster, the rather unlikely source of 'The Leamington Spa Advertiser' revealed that Constance Willard had herself visited her uncle and aunt at Beauchamp that same winter - charmingly, she seems to have attended the Warneford Hospital Ball with them, which strikes me as a rather 'parochial' event to be graced by such glamorous Americans! It follows, therefore, that Mrs Mackey thought it natural to place her young and single niece under the care of the Carters for their return trip to the States aboard the 'Titanic' three or four months later.
Interesting, Martin! I knew, from this thread, that the Carters were acquainted with Constance's aunt, but I had no idea the aunt was so well-placed. I had always wondered if the Carters had been cornered into escorting some hayseed across the Atlantic and if they were less than thrilled about it. I wonder how far their 'care' of Miss Willard extended. Did she dine with them? Was she much in their company, or did they merely check to make sure her dining companions, etc were not objectionable?
Needless to say, I don't expect anyone to have the answers.
Yes, I too was slightly surprised to learn that Constance Willard, from a relative backwater like Duluth, had connections with Society high-flyers like the Mackeys and the Carters. Then again, she obviously had SOME reason to be in Europe in the winter of 1911/12 and all the sources seem to agree that she had been visiting her aunt in England. That a provincial paper like the 'Advertiser' should remark on her presence in Leamington around that time seems proof positive that Mrs Mackey was the aunt in question - and my hypothesis that she met the Carters during that hunting season appears to me a very likely scenario.
The escorting of unattached women on ocean voyages was seemingly a very standard practice. The Lamson sisters were all married ladies, and much older than Constance, but Colonel Gracie didn't hesitate to place himself at their collective disposal. And Mrs Candee was positively BEATING off gentlemen who wished to 'protect' her. I see no reason why the Carters wouldn't have been happy to keep an eye on Constance. The responsibility was probably not very great (at least, not until the ship started to sink!), just a case of having acquaintances there for her to call upon, should the need arise. For the sake of propriety, having the Carter connection - however loose it actually was - known among the other passengers might also have served to deter potential predators.
Judging from the small photograph on her ET profile, which I think was taken just after the Great War, Constance looks like a very self-assured (maybe even self-satisfied) young lady, more than capable of taking care of herself. I imagine she was able to keep herself entertained, since first-class was filled with late-teens and twenty-somethings (the honey-mooning Marvins, Snyders, Smiths etc, besides Jack Thayer, Helen Ostby, Georgette Madill and Dorothy Gibson) and she could have mingled freely with any of them. I'd love to know in which boat she made her escape...if she WAS travelling with the Carters, then No. 4 would be the best bet but it seems that Nos. 8 and 10 have also been mooted. Of course, that doesn't mean very much - the Lamson sisters were somehow separated during the sinking, with Mrs Appleton and Mrs Cornell leaving in No. 2 and Mrs Brown, famously, remaining aboard until the very last minute.
Interesting, though, that Constance never married in later life.