Miss Evans Gave Up Place in Boat That a Mother Could Live
Mrs Brown of Acton Tells of Her Rescue Due to Other's Sacrifice
Saved through the heroic generosity of a young and beautiful New York
girl, whose act cost the heroine her life, Mrs J. M. Brown of Acton, a
survivor of the lost Titanic arrived at her home yesterday afternoon,
having come through from New York on the Bay State express, which
arrived in Boston at 3 p.m.
Mrs Brown is much improved in health and spirits since she landed from
the Cunard rescuing ship Carpathia in New York last Thursday night, but
she is still much depressed, and so appreciated the act which permitted
her becoming a survivor that she can scarcely bear to speak of the
She was accompanied from New York by her sons, who had gone there to
meet her at the time the Carpathia reached her dock. Before she left
New York she granted an interview to a Globe representative, who spoke with
her at the home of her sister, Mrs Robert Cornell.
Miss Edith Evans Heroine
Miss Edith Evans of New York, the young and handsome girl who gave up
her life that Mrs Brown might be saved, was a niece of the first wife of
Pedro de Florez of Paris and the second wife of that gentleman is a
sister of Mrs Brown.
A cultured woman, widely read and one who has traveled far, Mrs Brown
found words inadequate to express her praise of the conduct of the men
on the short-lived Titanic. Tears came to her eyes and her gentle voice
shook with emotion as she told of the conduct of the noble Miss Evans,
whose example further illustrates the fact that not all the courage and
coolness in those trying hours was shown by the men on the sinking
The heroic young woman gave Mrs Brown precedence in getting into the
last boat to leave the steamship, simply because she knew Mrs Brown was
a mother. When Mrs Brown had been dropped into the lifeboat the little
craft was immediately cast off and the Massachusetts woman called to her
friend to follow her, but called in vain.
Felt Titanic Was Safest
Seated on a lounge in the Cornell house and surrounded by members of the
family, Mrs Brown told the story of her experience in a low, even voice,
now and then choked by emotion, as she vividly recalled the terrible
scenes of the terrible night.
"So far I have been trying to forget and I have not yet read any of the
accounts of the sinking of the Titanic.
"With my two sisters, Mrs Appleton (the wife of E. D. Appleton, the
publisher) and Mrs Robert C. Cornell, I went abroad about a month ago
because of the death of another sister, Lady Drummond, in Paris. On our
return we booked passage on the Titanic as we all felt she was the
biggest and safest ship in the world. On the homeward bound trip with
us was my friend Miss Evans, who apparently died with so many other
brave persons that night."
"Up to the night of the shipwreck our voyage was the usual one at this
season of the year. Last Sunday afternoon we all understood that the
steamship had been notified of the neighborhood of icebergs, but as her
speed did not seem to be reduced I personally felt it must be all right
and that there was little to fear.
"I was just retiring that night when we struck the iceberg. There was
no sharp collision such as one might have expected under the
circumstances, but rather a long shuddering and a grinding and scraping
that all in my stateroom plainly felt. But there was no shock such as
would throw one forward or down even had one been standing.
Capt Smith Looked Pale but Calm
"Our stateroom was on the 'A' deck, there being only another deck above
that, I believe. We were startled and we all put on some light
clothing, and I threw my fur coat over me.
"We could hear others leaving their staterooms and asking what was the
trouble, but there seemed to be some little excitement, owing to the
fact that the engines had stopped, it was not vey great. We made our
way to the deck and soon learned that we had struck an iceberg. Then
the word came that they were trying to ascertain our damage.
"It was some little time after midnight that Capt Smith, followed by
John Jacob Astor, went rapidly along our deck. As he passed, Capt
Smith was quite pale and I have since had a feeling that he realized the
extent of our danger even at that time. But he seemed perfectly calm
and his voice was quite natural as he ordered all on deck to put on
lifebelts. His steady, quiet tones were reassuring. When I came to put
on my lifebelt I found I could not get it over my fur coat, so I took
the coat off and had only a light, thin coat to wear during the rest of
First Boat Had Few in It
"Then we saw the men lowering away the lifeboats and the women were
ordered into them. There was much excitement and considerable pushing
and crowding, so that my two sisters became separated from Miss Evans
and myself. My two sisters were placed in the first boat to be lowered,
but I was pushed away from it, and the boat was let down into the water
when it was rally only half loaded, so anxious did they seem to get it
"Boatload after boatload, mostly of women, were sent away from the ship.
You know the crowd about the rails was such that I was never near the
earlier boats to leave. When what I believe was the last lifeboat to
cast off from the foundering Titanic was lowered the monster steamship
was very low in the ocean---how low we didn't realize until we were in
the small boat.
Miss Evans Repelled Rescuers
"I do not know just what time it could have been when some of the men
called to Miss Evans and me to get into the boat. Three or four men
seized Miss Evans and started to lift her over the rail which came to
our chests, but she repelled them and cried out for them to put me into
the boat first, as I had children."
Here Mrs Brown's eyes filled with tears.
"Well, those men took her at her word and put her down on the deck," she
continued after a short pause. "They seized hold of me and then let me
drop into the boat. I called to Miss Evans to follow me, but I did not
hear her answer, and almost at the same time the men in the boat cast
her adrift from the steamship, and I could hear those on the Titanic
ordering all on the "A" deck to go to the opposite side and take the
boat being lowered there.
"I had not seen any boat being prepared there, and I thin the order was
given to keep persons away from the rail so that they would not leap
into our boat and swamp us. As it was, young Mr Thayer leaped from the
deck just after we had pulled away, and the men in our boat managed to
pull him into our craft.
Never Saw Brave Girl Again
"I have never seen Miss Evans since that awful moment when she bade the
men to put me in the boat before her. If there was another boat for her
it must have been lost in being launched, if it ever got into the water
at all. It does not seem to me there was time to clear away another
boat, even if there was one to lower away.
"When our boat pulled away from the side of the Titanic she was so far
down that the water was running over the forward portion of the "A" deck
and the musicians were playing a hymn with the water almost up to their
knees. I don't suppose those brave players could know the value of
their music. There were just those two decks out of the water, and the
men in our boat realized at once that they would have to hasten to pull
far enough away to get outside the awful suction that would follow her
"Our boat was very poorly manned and equipped. One of the men of the
crew was evidently a cook or something, as he had on a white cap and
jacket and was a very small, slight little fellow, who seemed hardly
strong enough to handle the oar. But they slowly managed to get the
lifeboat moving away from the ship. It was terrible as we were pulled
away to see the numbers of men plunging headforemost from the sinking
decks of the Titanic into the freezing water. The cries of some of them
will always ring in my ears and nothing can efface the memory of those
moments while I live.
"Even at the time we pulled away the doomed sea queen's lights were
burning on the decks visible above water. I do not know how that could
be, but it was so, for I was keenly alive to all that was going on, and
I am sure of that fact.
"Moreover, I doubt if there was ever a finer exhibition of unflinching
courage shown by such a large number of men as was witnessed on the
sinking decks of that great vessel.
Woman Taught Men to Row
"As soon as we had gotten away a short distance it was apparent that the
crew in our boat knew almost nothing about managing it. The little cook
I have told you of could scarcely swing the oar, and seeing this a
stewardess, whose name I do not know, placed her hands over the small
ones of the sailor cook and tugged away at the oar with him.
"That stewardess did know how to row and she instructed the other man in
the boat how to handle their oars.
"She said that helping to row kept away the cold, so I also took hold of
an oar and assisted in my feeble way, just to keep warm," added Mrs
"We had not been away from the Titanic's side more than 15 minutes," she
went on, "when the end came for the steamship. From the way she sank I
feel positive she was practically broken in two. Her bow went under
first and she seemed to settle. Then we heard tile most awful roaring
and rumbling that seemed as if it must be heard over the ocean for
miles. Next the stern of the once magnificent vessel reared high in the
air and seemed to stand upright in the water for some time before it
went down with a long slanting plunge. Dark as it was at the time we
were near enough to sec every feature of the ending of the great vessel.
Found Capsized Lifeboat
"You can imagine the feelings of those in the boats as they watched the
steamship that had stood between them and the ocean for so many days,
the wonderful triumph of the shipbuilder's art in which each passenger
had taken almost a personal pride, disappear into the ocean and to know
that with it must be going down hundreds of brave men.
"We had rowed only a comparatively short distance from the Titanic when
those in the front of the boat called out to the rowers that they could
see some kind of a dark mass in the water ahead of us.
"Presently some of the persons in the boat said they thought they could
see shapes moving and others believed they heard calls. So we stopped
rowing and listened and soon distinctly heard cries for assistance. We
rowed in that direction and soon came up with the dark mass that had
been interesting us.
"It was a floating capsized lifeboat from the Titanic, with about 30 men
clinging to its sides. Our boat was already considered to be loaded to
its capacity, but we felt that we could take a few more persons in it..
Hung Over Gunwales
"The men in our boat called to the others to say that we could take only
a few of them. They understood and we took on board eight or nine of
those poor fellows. One of the men we thus rescued proved to be the
fourth or fifth officer of the Titanic. It was a relief to have some one
in real authority in the boat.
"By this time we must have had as many as 60 persons in our lifeboat.
We were shoved along the sides of the boat so that some of us were
hanging over the gunwales, and it was fearfully cramping. Afterward we
met other boats not so filled as ours and told them of the men clinging
to the overturned lifeboat. I understand that every person from that
capsized boat was saved.
"It seemed a long time before we got the many boats from the ship
together. To keep them from becoming separated they tied one boat to
that next ahead of it and so kept all close for a long while, but later
in some way our boat became detached from the rest. It was very dark and
cold and the ice was all about us, but we had so much excitement and so
much to think of that we did not feel the cold as we might have.
No Food or Water in Lifeboat
"I do not know just what time it was that the Carpathia came to our aid.
Ours was the last lifeboat to be hoisted up, as we had been the last to
leave the sinking vessel, and ours was the most overcrowded boat of the
entire flotilla. When I reached the deck of the Carpathia it was to find
that both of my sisters had been on the Canard ship for more than an
"From what I saw and heard it seems that the lifeboat could not have
been properly equipped. They claimed that in one boat there were only
three oars and in ours there was neither food nor water and not even a
When asked if she had heard any shots on the Titanic as she was leaving
the vessel, Mrs Brown said "I heard nothing of the kind. When were
leaving the steamship, an officer did display a revolver and threatened
to shoot anybody who dared to try to leap into our boat. He did fire one
shot into the air to back up what he said. But there was no actual
shooting then or at any other time that I know anything about."
Related Biographies:Charlotte Appleton
John Jacob Astor
Caroline Lane Brown
Malvina Helen Cornell
Edith Corse Evans
Edward John Smith
John Borland jr Thayer