Is this a real passenger story or an apocryphal one


Mark Baber

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Dec 29, 2000
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I copied this story a few months back. Since then, I've made a couple of efforts to see if there's any verifiable passenger who matches any of this lady's characteristics, and I haven't found anyone. Am I right in concluding that the lady described in this story was not, in fact, a Titanic passenger?

The New York Times, 8 May 1912

AGED WAIF OF THE TITANIC
---
Finds Shelter and Is Lost After Telling of Lost Sons and Money
---
A Red Cross nurse found an old woman waiting about the White Star Line
offices yesterday, and, learning that she was a survivor of the Titanic
and penniless, took her to the Leo House, a Catholic home at 6 State
Street. The old woman said that she had come from Baden, Germany, and
was on her way to California, where she had a sister.

She said that her two sons were with her on the Titanic, one of them
having some $12,000, all the savings of the family, in a belt around his
waist. When the steamship struck the iceberg the old woman said that
she was put into a lifeboat and that her younger son tried to follow
her. She said he was shot, insisting on it, though stories of shooting aboard the
Titanic have been discredited.

Of her family she alone reached this city, and since then has been
wandering around trying to get to California. The telling of her story
so excited the old woman that she declined supper, but went instead to
the chapel to pray. There she became hysterical and a girl took her
outdoors when she said she needed some fresh air.

Presently the old woman sent the girl back as it was raining, saying
that she felt much better and that she would retuen presently. That was
the last seen of her and at 10 o'clock last night some one at the
home telephoned to Police Headquarters asking that an alarm be sent out
for her.

-30-
 

Mike Herbold

Member
Feb 13, 2001
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Thanks for this, Mark.
I'll have to add it to my California Legends file. There were obviously many personal stories of survivors and fatalities in the news already. This sounds like a few facts from many of them:

Ada Maria Clarke was on her way to California, where she had a sister.

Ernst Gilbert Danbom was on the way to California to start a fruit farm, and had a lot of money on his body when it was found by the Mackay-Bennett.

Mrs. Sebastiano Del Carlo was on her way to California, where she had a sister in Fresno. Her husband died and she was destitute, and couldn't afford the fare to California. She was aided by the staff at St. Vincents, and her plight was featured in the paper.

Baden could be the area of southwestern Germany and Switzerland, and not just the city of Baden-Baden itself, so maybe a news story about a passenger or crew member from that area triggered a bell.
This probably falls in the category similar to orphan trains, but it's interesting checking into the possibility that the story may be true.
 

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