Oops! A belated Happy Birthday from us'n here in Houston (this is what I get for not checking in for a couple of days!) Hope you had a grand day and have many more to come (what're you now, eighty-what?)
Dear all- this is a particularly warming thread for me, as i am at the moment, writing a play, set on the Titanics last night, in which Archibald butt is played by myself. I find it very useful and connecting to be able to get to the character through this information. However, i am still looking. I need information on how Archie butt and his companions acted on the fateful night. please check the thread 'what were these people doing?' once again thank you for this wealth of information.-Markus
'Sorry to be so late to respond to your query on Archie's behavior the night of the sinking. I wish I knew for sure! Rene Harris has him taking a very active involvement in the evacuation of women and children. Others, including Marie Grice Young, a good friend of his, could not corroborate such heroics. I maintain that this was a very exhausted man, anxious as to his role in the imminent fight for the Presidency between Taft and Roosevelt, and being a military man would never presume to usurp authority in barking orders at the lifeboats, etc., as the press irresistably reported.
I guess we'll never know, but I like to think that he and his friends, such as Frank Millet, Clarence Moore and perhaps the Widener men and Thayer senior stuck together at the end and perhaps Archie showed some very private heroics with his friends about which we'll never know.
Thanks for your interest and good luck on your project.
For friends of the Major-he has his own website now which includes family tree, links and photographs. A great deal of new information has recently been discovered, and these pages will be updated accordingly. A companion site for Frank Millet, Archie's traveling companion and friend,is in the works and will be posted soon. http://www.revdma2.com/Archie.html (3 pages) His famous eggnog recipe is on the links page, just in time for the holidays.
I wish to publicly thank my great friend, Shelley Dziedzic, for the beautifully constructed website on Archie Butt. She has spent a lot of time putting it together, adding quite a few things that even I had not seen before. She's been doggedly researching Archie for about a month now, working on Frank Millet, too, and has turned up just about everything on the man one could imagine with the exception of the Millet painting! George, I think she's on the verge of finding it. When she does, I'll ask her to share it with all of us along with a story of her hugely successful research odyssey. She's a born sleuth!
We hope to build on our knowledge and understanding of Archie's life and times in the next few months and plan to share some of our findings on this site. He could well be the most documented and photographed of all Titanic's passengers, as our research is revealing, so how, we have asked, did he become little more than an obscure historical footnote? That man with the funny name.
Others have been adding to our research this past year, notably my new, dear friends George Behe, who recently shared some fascinating, unpublished letters by or about Butt, including the touching letter written to President Taft by Marian Thayer, and Randy Bigham, who tracked down several images I had not seen before and provided other leads as well.
Historical research of any kind is, or should be, a collaborative effort for the best results. This is such an effort, and I look forward to putting together the story of the personality and humanity of this man with the help of these folks and others who might have something to add.
It was with much excitement that I learned this week of the fascinating archival finds on Archie Butt and Frank Millet. Shelley has indeed uncovered a trove of material.
The letters George shared with Doug were also amazing and I must thank him for supplying me with copies of these. The letter from Marian Thayer is a gem, providing extraordinary insight into not only Archie's wonderful character but also her own.
Archie's life is one of many lives lost on Titanic that remain to be fully appreciated. His story and that of Frank Millet are excellent examples of what brilliant minds and hearts were lost in this disaster. These were individuals who helped shape their era, contributing so much to the cultural landscape of that fascinating time. Yet they have been forgotten except for the footnote of their deaths in an epic tragedy. But what about their own epic lives? The world mourned for these major figures in 1912 but in 2003 we don't know them apart from the fact that they were Titanic victims.
I look forward to the books that are waiting to be written on Archie, Frank and so many others who were lost in the sinking - men and women who deserve to be remembered not for the way they died but for their lives of service and commitment to great things.
I'd like to extend my condolences to Doug Willingham, a much-respected member of this message board, who lost his father yesterday. Doug is an old friend of mine and of many others here, so I wanted to remind everybody to keep him in their thoughts and prayers as he lays his dad to rest today.
Doug is a descendant of Major Archibald Willingham Butt and is as true a gentleman as was his famous ancestor. Many will recall Doug as the gracious host of a large social gathering in 2003 at his Texas home, where many Titanic aficionados met and participated in an exhibition and program. Some may recall meeting Doug’s father at that event.
The late Dr. Welborn Kiefer Willingham, 78, was a psychologist, professor, rancher, Air Force veteran and a great dad to a great son. Dr. Willingham is survived by his three children, six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Dear Randy, Darren, Michael, Jason, Joao Carlos and Inger...and those who've contacted me privately,
I am deeply touched by your kind messages of condolence for the loss of my dear father. He was not only my father, but also my best friend and one of my heroes. He was also recently my Best Man, as I was remarried in 2006.
Dad loved and supported my passion for the "Titanic" story and the role played in that story by our cousin, Archie Butt. He helped sponsor the so-called "Titanic Texas Weekend" held here in Salado in 2003, for which I was very grateful.
He had a rich life, full in every way, and he died peacefully in the loving arms of my entire family.
>>He was also recently my Best Man, as I was remarried in 2006.<<
Congrats on getting married, Doug. I know you'll be in for some tough times ahead. There's the matter of settling the affairs of your father's estate and that's not an easy thing to have to deal with when you're grieving. For whatever it's worth, you have friends here.