Heartrending appeals for information concerning the dead or rescued from the Titanic poured into the Chicago offices of the White Stair line, throughout the day.
Men, Women and children telephoned the offices at LaSalle and Washington streets and two clerks were kept busy answering the calls.
Most of the inquirers met with disappointment as the local officials had received no word from New York since 9 o’clock Tuesday evening. That message stated simply that every effort was being made by the wireless operators to obtain definite news and details from the steamer Olympic, reported to be in communication width the Carpathia.
F. C. Brown, western passenger agent for the White Star line, said: “We are absolutely unable to relieve the anxiety of the friends and relatives of those who were on board the Titanic.
Seeks Definite News in Vain
“I have made every possible effort to obtain definite news. The eastern offices wired me they would keep me informed, but I have not heard a word since 9 o’clock last evening.”
While Mr. Brown was talking the telephone rang for the hundredth time. One of the clerks answered. It was a long distance call. On the other end was a woman whose sobbing could be heard distinctly, although she was speaking from the Milwaukee office of the long distance telephone company.
“Can’t you please give us some information,” pleaded the woman, “Our hearts are aching and we don’t know what to do or where to turn.”
It was difficult to hear the woman distinctly, but the clerk was informed that she was a member of the family of E. G. Crosby, president of the Crosby Transportation company, operating a line of boats between Milwaukee, Wis., and Grand Haven, Mich., and Chicago. Crosby’s home is in Milwaukee.
“Of we don’t hear something definite about Mr. Crosby very soon I don’t know what we shall do,” said the speaker.
Father Lost, Son Seriously Ill
“Mr. Crosby’s son, Fred Crosby, who lives here in Milwaukee, is deathly sick at his home. The news that his father probably has been lost is a terrible shock to him. He is constantly asking for news and when we are unable to give it he becomes worse. We fear that he may worry himself to death.”
The clerk who answered the call assured the woman that everything possible was being done to obtain definite news as to the survivors and those lost, and that as soon as it was received it would be transmitted to Milwaukee and to the Crosby home.
Long-distance calls were received also from St. Charles, Ill., where Oscar W. Johnson anxiously awaited news concerning his wife, two children and her two sisters, who were passengers on the Titanic.
Almost every thirty minutes friends of the distracted husband and father communicated with the local office of the steamship line and sought information. Officials here said they feared Johnson would become insane if his anxiety was not relieved soon.
Telegrams and telephone messages also were received from as far as Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Chicago Daily Journal, Wednesday, April 17, 1912, p. 3, c. 4
Related Biographies:Edward Gifford Crosby
Aliina Vilhelmina Johnson
Harold Theodor Johnson