Sara Elizabeth and John Chapman

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Sheila Pearce

Guest
I have previously used the message board,but have been off line for a few months owing to a house move. Mr John Henry Chapman was my gr.uncle. He & his wife lost their lives on their honeymoon vogage.I have postcards sent from Queenstown to my mother& my aunt, also some of the effects noted in the records. My new e mail address is pearces@onetel.net.uk
 
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Hydie Cheung

Guest
Hello, Sheila. I have read about some stories about your great uncle and aunt. Do you still have the postcards now?

- Hydie
 

George Behe

Member
Dec 11, 1999
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Hi, Sheila!

Nice to see you here again! :)

I'm still plugging away on my project and would like to thank you once again for your kindness and for all the help you've given me in the past.

Take care, my friend.

Sincerely,

George
 

Dennis Smith

Member
Aug 24, 2002
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Hi All,

Did anyone in the UK watch "Country File" on BBC TV on Sunday morning? (Sounds off topic, but it's not). John Craven , the presentor, was in St. Neots in Cornwall and was interviewing a local historian and she took him to the memorial to Sara Elizabeth and John Henry Chapman. She told the story of what happened prior to the sinking. According to her John had left Sara in the UK while he went to the USA or Canada because Saras' mother was ill, anyway Saras mum died and he came back to the UK to take her back accross the pond on the Titanic. Now here is the rub, as the ship was sinking (according to the historian) Sara was taken off in one of the lifeboats and saved, no number for the lifeboat was given. Anyway she supposidly made it to the Carpathia safely but on hearing of her husbands death she threw herself into the sea and drowned.

I've never heard this one before and I don't believe it, but has anyone else heard this story and is there any truth in it what so ever?

Best Wishes and Rgds

Dennis
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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I had the TV on in the background and wasn't paying any attention to the prog until I caught the word 'Titanic', and then of course I started listening! The real story can be found in the recollections of Emily Richards. As a fellow Cornishwoman, she had made friends with the Chapmans and they, along with Emily's family, waited as a group until boat 4 was loading. When it became clear that her husband would have to stay behind, Sara made the decision to stay with him. So there's a kernel of truth in the TV version, but only insofar as Sara chose to die with her husband rather than live without him.
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Dennis Smith

Member
Aug 24, 2002
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Cheers Bob,

That is what I had read had happened, but when you hear a story from a reputed historian it's got to make you think.

Again thanks Bob

Best wishes and Rgds

Dennis
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
>>That is what I had read had happened, but when you hear a story from a reputed historian it's got to make you think.<<

I see it also made you stop and check things out for yourself. Always a wise move as even the very best historians can make a mistake.
 
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My parents and I think They were desendants from us. I think they stayed together too late and were crushed by the funnel when it fell as depicted in ANTR as anyone would know that the Chapmans were portrayed
 
Dec 6, 2000
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Matthew,

Unless they had children before they married it seems unlikely that your family could be descended from John and Sara Chapman. I understand they were on their honeymoon. You might however be related to them through other family members.

Unfortunately the URL links on this web-site are not presently working, so I cannot see who received monies from the MANSION HOUSE TITANIC RELIEF FUND or read the PROBATE REPORT for John's death.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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The honeymoon couple in ANTR (the Clarkes) were 'composite characters', there to represent all of the 2nd Class (and all of the young couples) on board. They weren't intended to represent any particular real people, though Mrs Clarke's refusal to be separated from her husband with the comment "We started out together and we'll finish together" were taken from Lightoller's recollection of an American couple on the boat deck. But even if the Clarkes had been based on the Chapmans, their death scene came from the screenwriter's imagination rather than any factual account of the sinking. No doubt some people were killed by the falling funnel and that might have included the Chapmans, but it's far more likely that they died in the water from exposure, like hundreds of others.
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Mike Poirier

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Dec 31, 2004
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Hello Bob
You wrote, 'American couple.'
I also thought that however, someone pointed out that western, which was the exact word used, meant western England.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Hallo, Michael. Lightoller's words were "evidently from the Western States". Over here we don't have States. We would refer to 'the West country' or perhaps 'the Western Counties'.
 

Mike Poirier

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Dec 31, 2004
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Hello Bob,
Well this theory came from an English researcher who told me said that. Odd that another Englishman would not catch the 'states' thing unless that term sometimes used in certain parts of the country. I have an English friend that uses the word 'lawyer' and another who uses 'soliciter'.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Well, Michael, I can only assure you that we don't have any Western States over here, and I'd be amazed if any English person would assert otherwise. Thanks to Hollywood, the Americanisation of standard English is well advanced, but it's still selective. We haven't yet got round (not gotten round, note
smile.gif
) to calling our pounds dollars or our counties states. Not in the West country nor in any other part of England I have live in over the past nearly 60 years. 'Lawyer', by the way, is as traditional a term here as in the US, but we rarely use the word 'attorney', which I believe has more currency on your side of the Pond.
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Mike Poirier

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Dec 31, 2004
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Hello Bob
Well since one English person says it correct and another English person says it is not correct, I guess it's better to let English people debate the nuances of their dialect. I will say, the word lawyer, was not always common on your side of the pond. Agatha Christie once mentioned that when talking about the denouement of one of her books. I see it is used more frequently now, but apparently it was not always so.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Michael, we're not discussing the nuances of dialect here, but the interpretation of a book written in standard English. During his Gold Rush episode, Lightoller writes of teaming up with a group which included two Americans from the Black Hills. He refers to them as "our Western States men". So we do know that Lightoller used that term to mean just what we would expect it to mean, and was well qualified to recognise the characteristics of Westerners. And he surely recognised them on the boat deck that night.
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Mike Poirier

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Dec 31, 2004
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Hello Bob,
Actually if you throw away dialect and other spurious details- you are working with an account written well over 20 years later. Did he mention this couple in 1912 letters, accounts, or testimony? How can we be sure this was not some flourish he decided to add to the story?
I've read certain things in his book that I don't think happened the way he remembered it. So we should not take every word he writes as fact!

Going back to dialect, since he was exposed to Americans- can you be sure that he did not take to calling certain parts of England- 'Western states'? We just don't know.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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I certainly agree, Michael, that an autobiography can be populated to some extent with composite characters, more representative than real. But I have no doubt whatsoever that Lightoller was describing this particular couple (whether real or imagined) as natives of the American West. Lightoller was a well-travelled man and knew his geography. We know that elsewhere in the same publication he used the term 'Western States' correctly to signify a region of your country. We can be equally certain that he knew that there are no 'Western States' in his own country, either on the ground or in the vocabulary. I can't state my case any plainer, but I see I cannot convince you. Others of course can decide for themselves. I look forward to other discussions in the future but this one, I think, has nowhere else to go in the absence of comment from the researcher you have mentioned - he who favours a couple from the Western States of England.
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Mike Poirier

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Dec 31, 2004
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Yes, I see that you are immovable in your position as well, which is your prerogative.
We just have to accept that dialect is constantly changing and that if the event with the couple did happen, which there is 50-50 possibility that it did not, he was not entirely clear. If you can find exact evidence- than that can put the matter to rest. I think another person from England commented a few years ago on this, and said the may have a been a British couple as well. I am sure it is here somewhere on the board. Goodness knows what thread it is under.