Duluth Woman Tells Story

Chicago Tribune

. . . Miss Constance Willard of Duluth, Minn., who left the Titanic twenty minutes before the vessel sank, arrived in Chicago during the day over the Lake Shore limited.

"One subject talked of after we were on board the Carpathia," she said, "was the fact the Titanic had no searchlight. The crew said that it had been the intention of the owners to equip the vessel with a searchlight after the arrival in New York,

. . . "When I reached the deck after the collision the crew were getting the boats ready to lower, and many of the women were running about looking for their husbands and children. The women were being placed in the boats, and two men took hold of me and almost pushed me into a boat. I did not appreciate the danger and I struggled until they released me.

"'Do not waste time; let her go if she will not get in,' an officer said. I hurried back to my cabin again and went from cabin to cabin looking for my friends, but could not find them. A little English girl about 15 years old ran up to me and threw her arms about me.

Hurries Aboard a Boat

"'O, I am all alone," she sobbed, "won't you let me go with you?' I then began to realize the real danger and saw that all but two of the boats had been lowered. Some men called to us and we hurried to where they were loading a boat. All the women had been provided with life belts. As the men lifted us into the boat they smiled at us and told us to be brave. The night was cold and the men who were standing about, especially the steerage passengers, looked chilled, but the men who were helping the women into the boats seemed different. Even while they smiled at us great beads of perspiration stood out on their foreheads.

"I never will forget an incident that occurred just as we were about to be lowered into the water. I had just been lifted into the boat and was still standing, when a foreigner rushed up to the side of the vessel and holding out a bundle in his arms cried with tears running down his face:

Begs Her to Take Child

"O, please, kind lady, won't you save my little girl, my baby. For myself it is no difference, but please, please take the little one.' Of course, I took the child. Most women were compelled to stand in the boats because they all wore the life-belts, which made it almost impossible to sit down.

. . . "In our boat there were seven men, about twenty women, and several children. The night was dark. Twenty minutes after leaving the Titanic we heard an explosion and the vessel appeared to split in two and sank. Then a foreign woman in our boat began singing a hymn, and we all joined, although few knew the words. All around us we heard crying and sobbing for perhaps three minutes.

Chicago Tribune, Sunday, April 21, 1912, p. 3, c. 1

Related Biographies:

Constance Willard

Relates to Place:

Duluth, Minnesota, United States

Contributor

Thomas E. Golembiewski

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