Chicago Evening Post


Nephew of E. N. Kimball of Chicago Pictures Fear of Seventy-Five Foot Drop From the Titanic

Trusted To Safety on Ship

Immigrants’ Protective Body Begins Inquiry Into Treatment of Steerage

Aliens in the Rush

            The dread of being lowered a sheer seventy-feet in a frail lifeboat in mid-Atlantic at night, the need for some better way of launching lifeboats than that now employed and the unshakable confidence of many passengers and many of the vessel’s crew that the Titanic could not sink, were described vividly today in the story of rescue told by E. N. Kimball of Boston, nephew of C. P. Kimball, the Chicago carriage man, who received a descriptive letter picturing the shipwreck today.

            At the same time the Immigrants’ Protective League opened its investigation of the manner in which steerage passengers were treated in the rush to escape from the wreck. Karl Midtszo, a Norwegian survivor of the third-class passengers, was interviewed by Miss Irene Nelson at the home of his uncle, Anton Lund, 3263 Fullerton avenue, but merely reiterated the account of the implicit confidence held by nearly all the passengers of the Titanic’s ability to weather all accidents.

Little Panic on the Ship

            There was little panic or wild fear after the Titanic struck, according to Mr. Kimball’s experience, an account of which he dictated at the suggestion of C. C. Conway, his partner. The main difficulty was to induce the passengers to leave the apparent safety of the liner’s broad decks for the uncertainty of a lifeboat. Mr. Kimball himself, after loading all the women then on deck into a lifeboat, was pushed over the side into the boat by one of the officers as the craft was being lowered to the water.

            “On Sunday evening,” said Mr. Kimball, in describing his experiences, “I had just gone down from the smoking-room to my stateroom and removed my coat and was standing in the middle of the room when the ship struck the iceberg. It seemed to me like scraping and tearing, more than a shock. It was on the starboard side of the ship under our room, and the ice came in our port hole.

            “After assuring Mrs. Kimball that it was simply an iceberg and that was probably had scraped it, and as the ship did not seem to slacken her speed, I stepped in the companionway and spoke to some friends who were located in the same section.

Passengers Assured of Safety

            “I then went on deck to see whether I could see the iceberg; there were very few people out around the ship, and the stewards and officers were assuring everybody that everything was all right and advising all to return to bed, which many of them probably did.

            “I came back to our stateroom, which was near the stairway which went down to the deck below to the squash courts and mailroom. At that time I saw a mail clerk go down the stairs, and when he came up he had one mail bag in his hands and was wet to the knees. I asked him about how bad it was. He seemed very serious and said it was pretty bad and that he would advise the women to dress, as they might have to go on deck, and it would be cold. 

            “We instructed the other women in our party to dress and everyone else in our corridor, including a number of women who were traveling alone. Mrs. Kimball already had started dressing, and I told her to dress warmly, as we probably would be on deck for some time. I put on a sweater and a heavy ulster.”

Crowd Puts on Life Belts

            “We than started out, feeling that everything was all right. After we had gone a few steps a young lady of our party came back from the upper deck and we asked her what was going on up there. She said the order had been given to put on the life belts. We returned to our staterooms, which were only a few feet away, got our life belts and notified all the women in the corridor to do the same and come with us. None of us knew how to put on the belts, but I saw an officer in the companionway and he showed us how to put them on, telling us that there was no danger and that everything would be all right.

            “When we arrived upon the deck only a few people were there. As it was about seventy-five feet from the boat deck to the water, the officers were having great difficulty in getting the people to go into the lifeboats, assuring them at the same time that it would not be a long while before they probably would be back on the big boat. The first boat that went was not more than two-thirds full, and the officers said we would have to do something to get the people started.”

Related Biographies:

Edwin Nelson Jr. Kimball
Karl Albert Midtsjø

Relates to Place:

Chicago, Illinois, United States


Thomas E. Golembiewski


Encyclopedia Titanica (2007) DREAD OF LIFEBOATS BY PASSENGERS TOLD (Chicago Evening Post, Tuesday 23rd April 1912, ref: #5492, published 2 March 2007, generated 16th April 2021 01:07:05 AM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/dread-lifeboats-passengers-told.html