HUDSON COUNTY SURVIVORS TELL OF SEA TRAGEDY

Jersey Journal

Union Hill Governess Gives Graphic Recital of Scenes After Giant Ship
Hit Iceberg and Went Down---Praises Bravery of Men
Passengers---Complains of Treatment on Carpathia

BAYONNE YOUTH SAYS HE WAS DRIVEN AWAY FROM LIFEBOATS

Several Hudson County people are among the survivors of the ill-fated
Titanic. To-day they told stories of the awful disaster and related
their personal experiences in which they were literally snatched out of
the jaws of death. Some had escapes from watery graves that were little
short of miraculous. All have gone through an ordeal which will be a
livid [sic] memory throughout their lives and their prayers of
thanksgiving for their own good fortune are mingled with supplications
for their fellow travelers who went down with the ship.

So far as can be learned, two Hudson County residents perished. One is
the Hoboken boy for whom hope was given up on Thursday. The other lived
in Jersey City, and with him died his younger brother, whom he was
bringing over to live in the New World.

In many of the churches throughout the county to-morrow services will be
held in connection with the tragedy. They will be in the nature of
memorials. There will be special sermons on the wreck of the Titanic
and prayers will be offered up for both the lost and the saved.

JERSEY CITY MAN AND BROTHER PERISH

John Kieran, who boarded with James Tierney at Grove and Second streets
perished, along with his brother Phillip, in the wreck of the Titanic.
John was 23 years old and was employed as a bartender at 268 Varick
Street. He was a citizen of the United States. He had saved up some
money and made up his mind about six months ago to go back to his native
town, Foster, County Longford, Ireland, to visit his parents. His rosy
description of the new world caused his brother Phillip to develop a
longing to come to this country with him, and the father and mother
reluctantly consented to their youngest son's departure from the old
home. Phillip was scarcely 19 years old when he sailed with his brother
for New York.

Phillip Keleher, of Grand and Henderson streets, uncle of the young men,
was on hand Thursday night, hoping against hope that his nephews might
be among the saved. He left uncomforted and the revised list of the
survivors of the wreck and those who went down with it finally convinced
him that both young men had perished. They were cousins of Thomas
McCormack, of Bayonne, who was among the rescued.

In addition to their parents the Kiernan boys are survived by their
sisters, Annie, Mary, Katherine, Margaret and Bridget.

RESCUED UNION HILL GIRL'S STORY

Read Miss Dowdell's story...

EXPERIENCES OF A YOUNG ENGLISHMAN

Thomas Pehcy [sic] Oxenham, 22 years old, of Pondersent, England, was
also a passenger on the Titanic. He was on his way to the home of his
brother Charles Oxenham of 966 Tonnele Avenue, New Durham. He was one
of those who survived. Just how he happened to be rescued is not yet
clear in his mind. A chum who was with him, Walter Harris, who was
married secretly in England over a year ago, and who leaves a wife and a
young son on the other side of the ocean, was lost. He was with Oxenham
up to the time the latter was pushed into a boat, but that was the last
seen of him.

Oxenham was dressed only in his underclothing when he got into the
lifeboat and when he was taken aboard the Carpathia. At the home of his
brother last night he refused to discuss at length what happened.

"My mind is in a sort of daze," he said. "It all seems like a nightmare
to me --- like some dream that I had, and to say it is only five days
since the ship went down seems impossible. It feels more like an age
has elapsed.

"Both Harris and I were second cabin passengers. I was aroused from my
sleep by one of the stewards and told to hurry on deck. This I did
after awakening Harris. We got up to the boat deck somehow and then I
forget what happened. I remember being in the boat. The rest of the
story has been printed better than I could describe it. Anyway, I don't
want to talk. I need a long rest, and I am not going to say anything
more until I have recovered from the shock and exposure."

At this point, Oxenham's brother declared that he thought the reporter
had better not question the young man at further length. He became
intemperate in refusing further answers by his brother.

At the door he said in reply to questions that he did not believe the
young man's mind had been affected to any extent by the disaster and
that he had not yet called in a doctor.

"All he needs is a good rest," the brother said, "and I am going to
insist that he gets a rest. I won't even let members of my own family
talk to him about the horror. I brought him here this morning from New
York. He had no clothes in which he could travel even from New York
here, and I had to get him some before he could leave the ship."

Asked if any of the officials of the White Star Line had tried to induce
his brother to not talk about the disaster and if he had been promised
any compensation for the belongings he lost, Charles Oxenham refused to
discuss the matter any further and would neither affirm nor deny that
the steamship officials had "seen" the young man.

BAYONNE YOUTH'S REMARKABLE ESCAPE

Thomas McCormack, 19 years old, of 39 West Twentieth Street, Bayonne,
one of the survivors of the Titanic, had a thrilling escape from death,
according to the stories he related to his sister, Catherine, and
brother-in-law, Bernard Evers, yesterday at St. Vincent's Hospital,
Eleventh Street and Seventh Avenue, New York, where he is confined owing
to exposure. His relatives in Bayonne located him yesterday and were
overjoyed that he survived. He will, it was said to-day, be able to
return to Bayonne within a few days. He was up and around the hospital
yesterday and apparently on the road to speedy recovery.

According to the story he related to Miss McCormack and Evers, he had
retired in his stateroom in the second cabin when the crash came.
Scantily attired, he rushed to the deck as the ship started to settle.
All was confusion, but he managed to secure a life preserver which he
straped [sic] securely about himself.

Officers of the ship were holding back the men on the boat with some difficulty and
on several occasions backed up their orders with threats to shoot any
man who sought to crowd out a woman from the life boats, which were
hurriedly manned.

JUMPED INTO THE SEA

When McCormack saw that he would be unable to get a seat in one of the
life boats he did not hesitate but sprang from the decks of the Titanic
into the ocean. The water, he said, was comparatively smooth at the
time but cold, and he had considerable trouble keeping above the water.
The monster ship was settling badly as he started to swim toward a life
boat a short distance away.

McCormack is a good swimmer and a strong athletic young fellow. As he
neared the life boat which was moving slowly, he declares he was warned
off by sailors who were in the boat.

WAS DRIVEN AWAY FROM LIFEBOATS

Realizing that it was his only chance of saving himself he seized the
side of the boat only to be repeatedly beaten off by sailors. Blow
after blow were showered on his hands, arms and body from their oars by
the sailors and finally he was obliged to release his hold.

Another life boat came along a few minutes afterward and McCormack,
according to his story, repeated his attempt, this time successfully, to
get aboard. There were several vacant seats in the boat and he was
determined, he declared, to get into the boat. He was beaten again by
the sailors but kept his hold on the boat and finally managed to crawl
into the boat. He was almost exhausted by his fight and suffered from
the blows which had been showered on him. The life boat he was in was
picked up about two hours afterward by the Carpathia and he was
furnished with clothing and given medical attention.

SUCTION TERRIFIC

The suction of the Titanic, he declared, was terrific as she sank with
her many occupants.

When the Carpathia reached New York McCormack was among those who were
removed to hospitals in the metropolis. His sister and brother-in-law
had some trouble in finding out what had become of him, but after a long
wait managed to learn to what hospital he had been taken.

REJOICING AT BAYONNE HOME

There was a scene of rejoicing at the home of his sister and
brother-in-law, Bernard and Mrs. Evers, in West Twentieth Street, last
night. Friends of McCormack who called were informed, amid tears and
smiles, that he was among those who had survived, and would be back in
Bayonne within a few days.

McCormack had been in Ireland for six months, visiting his birthplace
and seeing relatives and friends. Mrs. Evers said last night that she
would go to New York to-day and see her brother. Evers declared that he
had had but a few hours' sleep since the Carpathia docked in New York.
He retired last night about 8:30 o'clock. He accompanied his wife to
New York to-day to visit his brother-in-law.

Hope for the return of his brother, Leonard, who went to his death at
the bottom of the Atlantic in the Titanic disaster, has been completely
abandoned by John Moore, who resides in a little apartment at 519 Willow
Street, Hoboken, with his life [sic].

It has been a gruesome experience for the couple. They were both much
attached to the boy, who was 19 and just graduated from school. As they
sat last night, wan and haggard from their hopeless vigil, tears came to
their eyes.

It was hard for John to speak of the matter. He had been to the pier
and waited through the long hours Thursday night during which the
survivors grimly wended their way down the gangplank of the Cunarder
Carpathia, and when the last of them had left the vessel he returned to
his home heavy of heart, finding it difficult to realize the extent of
the horrible disaster. He and the lost brother had been inseparable
since childhood.

"I suppose it is the will of God," he said philosophically to-day, "and
we have to accept it as best we can. He was a good fellow."

Fears are entertained that Miss Kitty Cohn of 554 Avenue C, Bayonne, is
one of the passengers who perished in the wreck of the Titanic. A name
somewhat similar to her's [sic] appears among the list of the drowned,
but her sister, Mrs. Kampton, with whom she lived at the above address,
is hopeful that she may have taken passage on another steamer. Miss
Cohn left London after visiting her sister, Mrs. Edith Blott, about ten
days ago for Liverpool, to board a steamer for New York, but it is not
known for a certainty that she engaged passage on the Titanic. She had
been in England about a year.

[Note: Ms. Cohen was not, in fact, on Titanic. MAB]

Related Biographies:

Elizabeth Dowdell
Walter Harris
John Joseph Kiernan
Philip Kiernan
Virginia Ethel Martin
Thomas Joseph McCormack
Leonard Charles Moore
Percy Thomas Oxenham

Acknowledgements

Mark Baber

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    Citation

    Copyright © 1996-2019 Encyclopedia Titanica (www.encyclopedia-titanica.org) and third parties (ref: #10059, published 24 April 2009, generated 25th April 2019 08:17:15 AM)
    URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/hudson-county-survivors-tell-of-sea-tragedy-10059.html