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Tacoma Woman was on the Titanic

Mrs G. Kincaid recalls terrible Ship tragedy of 17 years ago

Tacoma Sunday Ledger

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Tacoma Woman was on the Titanic

Mrs G Kincaid recalls terrible Ship tragedy of 17 years ago

April 14 is a date which will always live in the memory of Mrs G Kincaid, 1405 South 5th Street, Tacoma. Not because it is her birthday [sic] and that of her 13 year old son, but because of the horrors she experienced 17 years ago on that date when the steamer Titanic struck an iceberg on her maiden voyage from Southampton and sank with the loss of 1517 persons.

Yesterday in her home Mrs Kincaid told of the happenings. The night of April 14, 1912, when as a girl of 18 who could not speak English she saw unfold for her eyes tragedies which most people do not face in a lifetime.

"Even now at night sometimes I still dream of the sinking of the ship. I always have such a hard time getting off the liner too,” she said.

“I wasn't frightened until after we had been taken aboard the Carpathia – then the things that I saw made impressions on me which I can never forget. From the time the Titanic struck the ice until I got into a life boat – it was the third from the last to be launched – I wasn't afraid.

"You see, I was only 18 years old and couldn't speak English so I hardly knew what it was all about until we were going away from the sinking liner."

Climbed emergency ladder

Mrs Kincaid smiled as she told how she climbed up a small emergency ladder from 3d [sic] third class accommodations to the top deck.

"I thought that the boat couldn't sink into the water as far as this upper deck. There was another girl climbing ahead of me. We passed a window and we looked in. I'll never forget the view of that deserted banquet table – the silver – it was very beautiful to me. The other girl wanted to kick the window out and go in, but I told her they might make us pay for the broken window."

Mrs Kincaid, who at the time of the disaster was Miss Anna Sjöblom, was being sent by her mother from Finland to her father and brother who were working in logging camps near Olympia. She had planned to sail on the Philadelphia, but because of a Seamen’s strike [sic, coalstrike] she sailed on the Titanic instead.

"I was in bed when I felt the boat lurch at about 10:45 p.m. I didn't become alarmed because I thought that they had just stopped the boat quickly for some reason.

"Pretty soon a gentleman came into my statement and got the lifebelts out. He put one on a woman friend of his and handed me one. Then they started climbing to the top deck. I stayed in my cabin until 1 a.m. I was seasick."

It had been a gay night board Mrs Kincaid said, with a big party in the first class saloon and a dance in the third class quarters.

"There was a lot of confusion with people running around, some crying, some swearing and others playing. A man friend of mine came up to me and fastened my lifebelt. He said he was going back to his cabin and go to bed because he would rather die there."

Mrs Kincaid then told how she she stood by the rail on the top deck watching people get into the lifeboats but being ill she didn't care whether she got into one or not.

"The boat was listing heavily in the bow. Someone gave me a push towards a boat and I got in. I saw a young boy climb into a lifeboat but he was thrown onto the deck by an officer. He tried another and the same thing happened. Then he got into a third and when they tried to force him out he drew a gun and stayed."

"Our boat was swung over the side," Mrs Kincaid continued, "and we were almost to the water when another came down and was only several feet above us when men cut the ropes which held our boat and we got away before being crushed.

"The sea was calm but with the usual swells and it was awfully cold. Before the lights went out on the Titanic I got a view of the iceberg which we had struck.

"Screams – I have never heard such screams. They came from the hundreds of people who were floating about us. They were piercing. I had been brought up to believe in a hell after death but now I think I was through a hell that night.

"We could see the Titanic with her nose down every time we came up on a swell. Then we would go down and she was lost to sight."

Asked about the band playing aboard the sinking liner, Mrs Kincaid said:
"yes, the band was playing, but I don't know that it was “Nearer my God to Thee,” until I read it in the papers. You see I was awfully green.

"Soon there came the noise of an explosion and for a minute there was a silence which was terrifying. Then the screaming started again in the darkness now." It was 1:45 when the Titanic took her plunge and the small boats made their way in the darkness until morning when the Carpathia was sighted at 5 am. There were 60 people in the boat in which Mrs Kincaid was riding.

"I recall one terrible experience in that little boat," she said. "There was a Swedish gentleman whose wife died in our boat. They lifted her overboard but her husband held onto her arms and dragged her along. His hair went white and he aged years in those few hours. He went insane and died about the Carpathia.

"Nothing has ever looked so good to me as the lights of the Carpathia. We saw them at about 5 am and meet her at 8. A storm came up at 9 am so it was lucky that we reached her when we did."

It was after boarding the Carpathia that the tragedy hit the Tacoma woman with full force, she said. There were mothers with their children searching for fathers who had drowned. Persons were dying and others were going insane as a result of the terrible things they had seen.

"I believe I am the only person in Tacoma who was aboard the Titanic. It is not a nice experience to recall but one which is difficult to forget. Yes, April 14 is quite an anniversary day for me."

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Encyclopedia Titanica (2021) Tacoma Woman was on the Titanic (Tacoma Sunday Ledger, Sunday 14th April 1929, ref: #436, published 12 April 2021, generated 1st June 2023 12:52:17 AM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/tacoma-woman-was-on-the-titanic-436.html