Did Lowe put a gun to a young boy's head

Lori Dunn

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Mar 8, 2006
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On page 121 of Daniel Allen Butler's "Unsinkable" It says that when Lowe got to boat 14 there was a young boy we got into the boat. Lowe drew out his gun and said, "I'll give you just ten seconds to get back onto that ship before I blow your brains out!" Did Lowe really say that? Or should that conversation be taken with a grain of salt?
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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This is taken from a heavily ghost-written and sensationalised account attributed to passenger Charlotte Collyer. It was published in The Semi-monthly Magazine. The account is not to be trusted. At least part of it is online. Google and ye shall find!
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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It's been discussed at some length here on the board, Lori, and there have been attempts to identify who might have been involved - here are a couple of threads that touch on this matter:

https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/discus/messages/5811/66441.html

https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/discus/messages/5914/80272.html

That an incident of some kind involving Lowe facing off, gun in hand, with a would-be jumper who entered the boat is fairly well established. Collyer's account, however, has been read to indicate that it was a 'young boy' - words she did not use. Some give him a fairly specific age, which is remarkable given that he remains unidentified. Collyer's daughter speaks of him in her accounts as a 'man'. Even the critical Daisy Minahan referred, as most passengers did, to the attempts by 'men' to jump into the boat.
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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In Collyer's account, he's "A young lad, hardly more than a schoolboy, a pink-cheeked lad, almost small enough to be counted as a child." He's small enough to get under the boat's seats. Hence the "young boy".

Collyer could see his pink cheeks in the half-light of the boat deck? Pull the other leg!
 
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Ella Jones

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I read this book and I was thinking the same way,did Officer Lowe really act in a such way towards a young man?
Some say he was only 15 years old,barly old enough to shave never alone being a man.
I guess we have to go by this- Back in that time when the disaster happend what is class as man compared to our days as an 15 year old being class as a child.
 
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Ella Jones

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Yeah I know,I thought it was interesting too,how 15 year old age is class as a man 100 years back while 100 years on,15 year old age is class as a minor child.
 

Mark Baber

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Dec 29, 2000
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That's not quite what I find "interesting" about your message, "Ella," but never mind.
 
Jan 28, 2003
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Perhaps life expectancy has something to do with it?

It's a tricky subject, as the Bible says man's portion is three score years and ten (70), and there are lots of people buried - and subsequently excavated - who were obviously old (and probably rich). On the other hand, it is absolutely true that in the 19th Century, life expectancy - before adulthood - was not too good. If you survived your first few months, you were good for 5. If you survived 5 you were good for 10 maybe. But many children didn't. If you got to your twenties, you were probably able to look forward to a reasonably long life.

So, in the 19th / early 20th centuries, a fifteen-year old would have seemed to be well on the way to manhood and survival. Whereas now we know they will survive, and accord them minor status.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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The U.S. 1917 life expectancy for a male was around 55 years. This is well represented in print, because of the 1918 flu which killed so many people here that the entire average life expectancy dropped by five years!

So, what Lowe ejected from the boat at gunpoint was, in fact, someone in the prime of his life, and approaching early middle age. If the 15 estimate was accurate, chances are good that he had been earning a daily wage since age 8, working an adult job since at least 12, and was 3 years short of marriage. If he was lucky, he had 40 years ahead of him... which, by today's standards, would make him the equivalent of a 36 year old.

Unless, of course, he was traveling in first class, which we know he wasn't. Which is why I get a snicker every time I read Thayer's "Woke the world up with a start" quote.... unless you wre from a VERY limited segment of society, by the age of 17 you had a FAIRLY good grasp of life's insecurities back in 1912.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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In 1912 a 15-year old was not quite a man. If an industry was said to employ 'boys and men' then the 'men' would be those aged 16 and over. But according to law even a 20-year old was still a minor with limited adult rights, whereas nowadays of course an 18-year old is considered to be ready for full adult responsibilities. I hear you laughing, Mon!
 
Jan 28, 2003
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The difference between the classes and life expectancy is quite startling really. Some years ago a church crypt was discovered here in London and the results were amazing. Jumbled up in the crypt, and not at all reverently buried, were lots of skeletons and bodies. They were all old, and bore traces of arthritis etc. They were all rich. They'd paid to be put reverently in the crypt, but whoever was in charge of it didn't sanctify the dead at all.

Probably because most people died comparatively young, and the elderly rich were not considered very worthy. Some got great mausoleums, of course. But most people got nothing except the grief of their relatives, and the strange tombs we visit these days in 19th Centuary cemetaries.

Sounds like stuff and nonsense to me. What on earth could we have expected Lowe to do?
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Indeed, Mon. Many females have responsibilities thrust upon them at a very early age whereas, as you well know, very few males short of the grave are quite ready to take on any kind of responsibility. And on the subject of boneyards, do you recall that many years ago Private Eye gleefully drew our attention to a headline in the national Press: "Man found dead in graveyard".
 
Jan 28, 2003
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Yes.

But I suppose boys (and some girls) need to be joyful - climbing crumbling cliffs, wading into deathly sand traps, tottering up huge Lifehouses, and ignoring sea currents. Well done. Even though you could have ended up dead.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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A rather chilling look at the responsibilities shouldered by adults as young as 14 years old, can be found in the victims list of the March 25, 1911, Triangle Fire in NYC. An event which, far more than the Titanic, awoke the U.S. with a start. The factory, which BTW, represented the BEST working conditions in NYC, and not the worst as legend later implied, was one block away from Washington Square and a two minute walk from the fashionable shops along Broadway. Subsequently, a lot of "The best sort of people" were compelled to watch as children working in adult jobs, jumped from the burning ninth floor.

I've isolated the 14-17 year old victims, 29 out of 146, and listed how they died as well, since THAT gives insight into how they fared inside the burning work floor during the four minutes in which it was possible to escape.

Those listed "multiple injuries" were, most likely, those who jumped from the Washington Place windows. These were the first to die, "control jumped," and landed feet first.

Those listed multiple injuries and burns, and fractured skulls, were those who stayed in the factory until the last second. The fire pushed them into the Greene Street windows, and as they began to ignite, they pushed and fell uncontrolled, out of the windows in several large groups. Those who landed first served as cushioning for those who landed on top of them, allowing at least a dozen workers, of all ages, to die in the hospital. Others collapsed a section of sidewalk and set the basement on fire.

Those listed as "burns" either died near the locked Washington Place exit, or hid in the dressing room and tried to outlast the fire.

View Image

(Washington Place on left. Ninth floor, second from top. Most of those who voluntarily jumped, jumped from the three windows closest to the corner. Greene Street on right. Photo taken 4/2008.)


Anna Altman, 16. Fractured skull.
Ignazia Bellota, 16. Burns.
Ida Brodsky, 16. Burns.
Laura Brunette, 17. Multiple injuries.
Francis Caputto, 17. Multiple injuries.
Celia Eisenberg, 17. Fractured skull.
Rebecca Feibisch, 17. Died in hospital of multiple injuries and burns.
Jennie Franco, 17. burns.
Molly Gerstein, 17. Fractured skull.
Celia Gettlin, 17. Fractured skull.
Rachael Grossman, 17. Burns.
Rosie Grosso, 17. Burns.
Tillie Kuppersmith, 16. Multiple injuries and burns.
Sarah Kupla, 16. Died after 5 days in a coma, jumped from ninth floor.
Annie l'Abbatto, 16. Multiple injuries.
Kate Leone, 14. Burns.
Sara Maltese, 14. Burns.
Gaetana Midolo, 16. Burns.
Antonietta Pasqualicca, 16. Multiple injuries.
Israel Rosen, 17. Burns.
Sarah Sabasowitz, 17. Burns.
Augusta Schiffmann, 17. Broken neck.
Rose Shapiro, 17. Burns.
Jennie Stellino, 16. Multiple injuries.
Isabella Tortorella, 17. Burns and a fractured skull. She was one of the workers who collapsed the sidewalk, and was found impacted into the building's furnace pipes. Identifiable only by an "I.T." initial bracelet she wore.
Bessie Viviano, 15. Burns.
Celia Weintraub, 17. Multiple injuries.
Sonia Wisotsky, 17. Burns.
Berta Wandrus, 17. Died in hospital of multiple injuries.

And, as I said, Triangle represented the BEST of all possible working conditions. There were two staircases, three elevators, electric lights, multiple toilets, running water, and full banks of windows along three walls. There were also set wages, salary raises, and a time clock. Parents saved money to buy their children jobs there, to get them out of the true hellhole sweatshops.

That is the world in which Lowe, the alleged 15 year old, and Jack Thayer all coexisted.
 

Matteo Eyre

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Feb 7, 2013
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My money says that this is true as Lowe was totally against men trying to get into the boats and he says he threw some men out, i do believe that this is something the officer would have done if they had caught a person under the seats in the boat but i do not believe that Lowe would have killed a man or young man in front of the women in the boat, i believe that he would have thrown him out with the help of some others
Matteo :)