TITANIC DISASTER : Oak Park Touched by Greatest Shipwreck

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Oak Park Touched by Greatest Shipwreck

Carelessness on Lake

The Atlantic Wreck of 1873

Oak Park, like hundreds of other communities, was closely connected with the Titanic disaster.

Mr. and Mrs. F. R. Kenyon, who visited in Oak Park at Christmas, and Frederick J. Banfield of England, who visited Edward M. Rowe, assistant superintendent of Oak Leaves composing room, a few weeks ago, were aboard the great vessel. Mrs. Kenyon is a sister of Mrs. George P. Baldwin of 309 Linden. Mr. Baldwin went to New York to meet the survivors and Mrs. Kenyon came ashore safely. Mr. Kenyon has not been heard from since he placed Mrs. Kenyon in the lifeboat. Their home is in New York.

Mr. Banfield accompanied Mrs. Rowe and two small children to England and was returning to America when the ship went down.

“I do not expect to hear from him again,” said Mr. Rowe. “I know he would have waited until the women and children had their chance and then there was none for him.”

An illuminating story of how dangerous lake excursion steamers are was told by Walter Griggs, who is doorkeeper at the Warrington.

“Last summer,” he said, “I was hired as baggagemaster of a big lake steamer. One day the fire alarm sounded and I was told that I was ‘captain of a life boat crew.’ My ‘men’ were bellhops and dishwashers. None of us were seamen or at all familiar with boats. We had drill twice a week, but in an emergency the entire crew would have been of little use.

“I suppose, if fire had started, passengers would have seen me standing at my station at the life boat and depending on me as an ‘old salt,’ or as a seaman knowing his business. But they would have been disappointed. Of course I meant well, but we were not trained for the work.”

Reports from the Titanic are that the big ship was well manned by men to serve food, to sweep floors and wash dishes, but was short in able-bodied and well-trained seamen.

Nels P. Nelson of 837 Clinton, was a passenger on the sailing vessel Atlantic of the White Star line when it went to pieces on the rocks off Nova Scotia in 1873. He was a boy at the time and was one of the few saved. He has traveled this country over and over in the last forty years as a salesman, and in all that time he has met but two persons who were rescued from the Atlantic.

Oak Leaves [Oak Park, Il], Saturday, April 20, 1912, p. 22, c. 1:

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Related Biographies:

Frederick James Banfield
Frederick Roland Kenyon
Marion Estelle Kenyon

Relates to Ship:



Thomas E. Golembiewski


Encyclopedia Titanica (2011) TITANIC DISASTER : Oak Park Touched by Greatest Shipwreck (Oak Leaves, Saturday 20th April 1912, ref: #13428, published 2 August 2011, generated 13th June 2021 11:57:29 AM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-disaster-oak-park-touched-by-greatest-shipwreck.html