Encyclopedia Titanica


Former Kenosha Woman Who Was on the Titanic Arrives in Racine

Kenosha Telegraph-Courier

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Former Kenosha Woman Who Was on the Titanic Arrives in Racine


Tells Story of Awful Wreck


Praises Heroism of Her Husband and Brother-in-Law Whom She Left

On the Deck of the Sinking Ship When She Was taken Off in a Life Boat


Mrs. Jennie Hanson, formerly of Kenosha, one of the passengers on board the ill fated steamer “Titanic” reached her home in Racine on Wednesday after having been cared for at a hospital in New York following her rescue from the wrecked steamer. Mrs. Hanson has as yet no positive knowledge of the fate of her husband, Peter Hanson, the former Kenosha barber or his brother, Henry Hanson, who had sailed with them and both of whom are supposed to have been lost. On her way to Racine Mrs. Hanson was joined by several relatives from Kenosha and she is now being tenderly cared for by her brothers and sisters. She is a nervous wreck as a result of the disaster. Her own story of the sinking of the steamer is as follows:

“The first intimation I had that something was wrong was when the engines stopped. We did not notice scarcely any jar when the ship struck the iceberg, but after being on board for several days one gets so used to the pounding of the gigantic engines that when they are stopped it is immediately noticeable.

We were in bed, but I rushed to the stateroom door and said to Peter, ‘something has happened, come on and get up right away,’ but Peter told me that it was something of no importance. I opened the door and asked some one, but they only told me to get back into bed. I went back, but I heard the steerage passengers coming upstairs and I looked out again. I saw the cabin stewards with life belts on and people rushing around. I asked again what the trouble was and an officer yelled to me to get a life belt on and get out on deck. Then I told Peter and with Henry we jumped into our clothes and got belts on.

By this time I knew that something awful had happened, and I heard shots fired, but whether they were to scare the panic stricken steerage people or for distress signals I could not tell. We got out on deck and as the stairs leading to the boat deck were crowded with passengers, we had to climb up on an iron ladder on the outside of the ship.

I stood there with Peter and Henry and when an officer told me to get into a life boat, I was willing but when they wouldn’t let Peter go with me I just hung on to him and begged and begged them to let me stay too. An officer grabbed hold of me as I kissed Peter, and threw me into a life boat and I got an awful bump on the head that stunned me for a long while. There were forty women in the little craft and it was crowded. As we were lowered to the water, some one threw a baby over the deck, but instead of it going into the life boat, it hit the water and was drowned. Peter threw me my pony coat and I caught it all right.

Saw Friends On Boat

As we pulled away from the sinking Titanic I could see Peter and Henry standing on the upper deck just where they were when we parted. It was the most pathetic sight I ever hope to witness, as the boat broke in two, with the people on board shouting and crying while the band played ‘Nearer My God to Thee.’

The night was the most beautiful of the whole trip. The sea was calm and the only bad feature was the cold, due to the fact that we were so near icebergs. We could see the ship sinking and sinking, as it was a fine night. The lights, every one on the ship, were burning until the explosion occurred, and I watched until I saw the last porthole go under.

It Split Amidships

We had difficulty in getting the life boat off the ship, owing to the fact that the Titanic had already split amidships. There were three oarsmen in the boat, but there was not food nor water, nor blue light, three things every life boat is supposed to be equipped with. There was only one boat in the whole bunch that had a blue light and we were forced to burn handkerchiefs and clothing all night so that any rescue ship might sight us.

It was 12:15 at night when we got into the boat and we had rowed a mile when the Titanic went all the way under. The sun rise was beyond description and it was daylight when we sighted the Carpathia coming toward us. The Carpathia was forced to anchor two miles from where we were because of the icebergs and we had to row over to her.

In Open for Hours

It ws 12:15 when we got into the life boat and it was 7:15in the morning when we were hoisted on board the Carpathia in a sort of a swing. We were all so nearly frozen and dazed that they had to tie us into the swing. All the time we were in the life boat the best oarsman of the three sat in my lap, it was so crowded I was paralyzed but ai was afraid to move for fear he would give out and if he quit rowing we would have been lost.

I think I have gone through enough on this rip to make me death proof. I remember well how I buckled on Peter’s and Henry’s life belts, and how, besides holding the oarsman on my lap, IO also held a little baby, whose mother and father were lost, most of the time we were in the life boat.

Refuse Drowning Man

It was pitiful how we had to refuse to take drowning women and men into the boat, but we couldn’t because it was so crowded. We would see them in the water, trying to swim and crying and begging, but they had to drown.

I did not see Major Butt or Mr. Astor on the Titanic, but I saw Mrs. Astor and a lot of other notable people who were saved, after we reached the Carpathia. We were all together and it was just like one big family party.”

Kenosha Telegraph-Courier, May 2, 1912, p. 6, c. 5:



Thomas E. Golembiewski


Encyclopedia Titanica (2009) MRS. HANSON IS HOME (Kenosha Telegraph-Courier, Thursday 2nd May 1912, ref: #10079, published 25 May 2009, generated 16th October 2021 03:08:15 AM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/former-kenosha-woman-who-was-on-the-titanic-arrives-in-racine.html