Richard and Sallie Beckwith

Jul 19, 2003
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My great grandmother, who is 92 years old, recounted something to me that regarded a couple with the last name Beckwith. These particular Beckwiths owned property in Ventura County, California and wanted to adopt my grandmother's older brother, although her mother did not give him up for adoption to them. They remained good friends. I had a question (and as there is not much mentioned of the Beckwiths and their lives prior/after the disaster): did Mr and Mrs Beckwith own property in California? Or did Richard have any siblings? I thank anyone with an answer.
 
Jun 18, 2007
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Whilst (does anyone use this word anymore?) reading Pellegrino's "Ghosts of the Titanic", I came across this little bit of text:

"...a leather satchel bearing the initials 'R.L.B.'...

Mr. Tulloch had brought the satchel to the surface, and he wanted to return it to members of the Beckwith family, but the Beckwiths had refused it...

Among the satchel's contents were a pocket watch, an initialed silver jewelry box, a gold-plated stick pin shaped into the Chinese symbol for good health, a pendant inscribed with 'May this be your lucky star,' and a bracelet with the name 'Amy' spelled out in diamond chips.

The Beckwiths protested that there had never been an 'Amy' in their family..."

There's also mention of a sapphire and diamond ring that matches one desrcribed in Charlotte Cardeza's insurance claim.

Pellegrino implies that this is most likely evidence of theft by a crewmember. But what could be the real explanation?
 
May 12, 2005
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Another thought on the theft angle - were the Beckwiths berthed near the Cardezas? Or in fact are any of the other items in the bag similar to ones listed in insurance claims?
 
Jun 18, 2007
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Well, doing a quick check on the site here, the Beckwiths were in D-35, and the Cardeza trio were in B51/53/55, those suites with the private promenade (what you can get for your money, or your husband's...)

Pellegrino (also the name of a rather popular mineral water) suggests that the thief made his way via the Grand Staircase, thus implying that the person did a sort of smash and grab if you will. Interestingly, he also says that in the Beckwith satchel was a silver box marked with the initials "D.G." and states this could only have belonged to the Duff Gordons. What is one to make of that? And where can someone get a copy of the insurance claims filed by passengers? It would be interesting to compare what was in the satchel with what was in the claims.
 
Jul 10, 2005
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If you get a copy of the Eaton and Haas ,"Titanic: Triumph & Tragedy", it lists claims by survivors
and by the families of lost loved ones.


Beverly
 

Ben Holme

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Feb 11, 2001
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Wasn't a fountain pen with initials R.L.B recovered from the wreck site? I thought I saw it in a book.
 
May 12, 2005
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Kritina,

Very interesting theory Mr. P has.

As to his notion that the little silver jewel box w/ the "D.G." initials could only have belonged to the Duff Gordons, I "ha' me doubts" on that. It could have stood for "Dorothy Gibson" for instance.

If it was Lucile's I have to say that our mystery thief didn't get very much BUT the box because by her account she emptied what jewelry she had in her cabin into a bag which she took with her. Unluckily for both her and the alleged robber her most expensive jewels, including the $50,000 pearl necklace she hadn't insured, were all in the purser's safe.

Still, it's fascinating that a thief may have been creeping about sloping decks stealing people's valuables. What nerve, huh? Just goes to show human nature hasn't changed much in nearly 90 years!

Randy
 
Apr 26, 2005
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I have always thought that the bag was that of second purser Reginald L. Barker (R.L.B), thus would explain why there is such a diversity of jewels and valuables in the leather bag. Mr. Barker, realizing the ship was sinking, might have thought that it would be better to take the jewels out of the ship, put them in a bag and take them to a lifeboat. But somewhat an officer must have prevented him from taking a bag aboard a lifeboat, and was forced to leave it somewhere, or throw it in the water...
 

Pat Cook

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Apr 27, 2000
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I have to go with Charles here, if I may jump in here. I have always wondered why Reginald Lamond Barker hasn't been consideed the owner of the satchel. Here's a bit from Beesley, Chapter III:

"Coming upstairs again, I passed the purser's window on F deck and noticed a light inside: when halfway up to E deck, I heard the heavy metallic clang of the safe door, followed by a hasty step retreating along the corridor towards the first-class quarters. I have little doubt it was the purser, who had taken all the valuables from his safe and was transferring them to the charge of the first-class purser, in the hope they might all be saved in one package."

Not quite the 'smoking gun' but certainly an indication that Barker was removing all the valuables and, just a guess, a satchel would be ideal for transporting them.

Thought I'd drop this in.

Best regards,
Cook
 

Pat Cook

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Apr 27, 2000
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Glad to be of some help. What I can't figure out is why the satchel was immediately 'assigned' to Beckwith when Barker would be a much more logical candidate?

Or am I missing something here?

Best regards,
Cook
 
May 12, 2005
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Cook & Charles,

I was only saying it was interesting theory. Believe me guys, I wouldn't stake much money on any of Pellegrino's claims! I believe he is a very inventive writer, to say the least, and I am.

I just wanted to give credit where credit's due - the robber angle IS a pretty good story.

Cook you are right about Beesley. His account may be less exciting but more believable by far.

As to why Beckwith was assigned ownership you must know the answer to that but are too gentlemanly to say. There is none except the obvious - shoddy research by a bunch of scavengers out for bucks and soundbites.

Randy
 
Jun 18, 2007
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It's really simple, Beckwith was a first class passenger, Barker was one of the crew. Too many researchers get hung up on the passengers to the exclusion of the crew sometimes (like the passengers would've put up with moving coal about for a millisecond...)
 
Dec 6, 2000
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The first 'assignment' of the satchel (at least, the first I'm aware of) to Beckwith was on the TV show "Live from the Titanic" with Telly Savalas.

I had a number of my Titanic books with me while watching the show. I remember them mentioning the RLB monogram, and how they were going to 'run it thru their computers' to find out whose it was. Given the kinds of things in the bag, I guessed first class and came up with Beckwith from the ANTR list faster than their computer did!

I have to admit, the Barker id makes more sense than Beckwith.
 
Jan 29, 2001
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My two sense worth, as I too am one of the few :)
who own "Return to the Titanic" live from Paris France, 1987.

The aforementioned satchel were the entrusted responsibility of the 2nd class purser...Reginald L. Barker (RLB) who BTW, in the frantic moment may have slipped his monogramed fountain pen amongst the satchels contents for safe keeping.

I feel that the sentimental jewels previously entrusted to Mr. Barker alone...attest to the satchels orgin...2nd class!

( An aside..."Return to the Titanic" was the one and only time that, we, and myself particularly overwhelmed... were treated to the *unveiling* of the portside bow 18" letters...
T I T A N I C

Michael Cundiff
U.S.A.

USA
 

Pat Cook

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Apr 27, 2000
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Tickled, as always, to hear from you, Randy! You're right, it IS a good story!

I agree, Kritina, there DOES seem to be emphasis to attributing items to the passengers instead of the crew.

Michael, I wonder if Barker may have had a check list with all the valuables? That might explain his pen in the satchel.

Not surprised, Bill, that you were faster than the computers!

Just for the tally books, where IS the satchel now? R M S Titanic, Inc has it, I suppose, in a touring exhibit? Or do I have the wrong name?

Best regards,
Cook

ps. And thanks, Charles!
 

Dave Hudson

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Apr 15, 2011
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Hello!
I am new to the board and would like to express my appriciation for such a quality webite. I have some information, however, that may be helpful in this debate. I read in a book that it was not a fountain pen, but a gold telescopic pencil (mechanical)that was inscribed "RLB XMAS 1908". Is this the pen you guys are talking about? Or is it a completely different iten belonging to this mystery person? Also, I'm leaning toward the 2nd Class Purser idea. It is much more likely to be him, and I agree that the contents of the satchel are more mundane than the pickings of a 1st Class stateroom. If this thief was looting Lady Duff Gordon's room, I'm guessing that the contents of that satchel would be somewhat more glitery. Also, after browsing through the passenger list, I found a certain Amy F. Jacobsohn travelling Second Class with her husband Sydney. Perhaps she was the wearer of the mysterious "Amy" bracelet. I just thought that this might be helpful in the search for the satchel owner, or lack thereof.
 
Jul 21, 2008
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Hey everyone,

I'm certain most of you have the excellent "Titanic: An Illustrated History" book. On page 106 there is a terrific photo of Richard and Sallie Beckwith, apparently on deck. Would anyone care to upload this, hopefully to be included on both of their bios on this site?

Thanks,
Marshall