12 July 2016

Georgia and the Titanic

By F.G.O. Stuart (1843-1923) [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsA few Georgia connections to the sinking of the Titanic.

Jacques Futrelle, the famous novelist, who lost his life on board the ill-fated Titanic, on the night of April 16, 1912, was a native of Pike [County, Georgia], in which county his early life was spent.  Mr. Futrelle accompanied by his wife was on his return voyage to America, after a season spent in European travel.  The Titanic was the greatest vessel afloat.  She was making her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York, and some of the foremost men of the world were on board, including multi-millionaires, philanthropists, and men of letters.  Something like 1,600 lives were lost.  In many respects, it was the most colossal disaster in the annals of the sea, but one in which the chivalry of brave men shone resplendent.  With the most engaging gallantry, they complied with the unwritten law of the great deep – "women and children first"; and while the heroic musicians, with death staring them in the face, played "Nearer My God to Thee," the vessel sank to rise no more.  Isidor Straus, the New York millionaire and philanthropist, a former Georgian, was among the number; and his wife, refusing to be torn from his side, went down to her watery grave, locked in his arms.  It was one of the ironies of fate that while the body of Mr. Straus was afterwards found by the rescue boats among the wreckage, to be splendidly entombed in New York, that of his wife lay entangled in a shroud of sea-weeds in the mid-Atlantic.  Nothing in the life of John Jacob Astor became him like the manner in which he met death.  The maid-servant who accompanied Mrs. Astor was gallantly assisted by him to one of the life-boats, while the man of uncounted millions became a bedfellow of the humblest steerage passenger on a sandy couch, far beneath the waves of the ocean.  It is said that one of his last acts was to smuggle a little boy into a place of safety, by putting a girl's bonnet on his head of golden hair.  Archibald Butt, the chief of President Taft's military staff, en route home from an official visit to the Pope of Rome, was among the number who perished at sea, though the peculiar nature of his errand, if pleaded, might have saved him.  The tribute which his tragic death drew from Mr. Taft was well deserved:  "He died, I am sure, like a soldier and a gentleman." He too was a Georgian.  But no one on board met death more gallantly than did brave Jack Futrelle.  Coaxing his wife to enter a life-boat, with the lover's plea that he was not in any danger and that he expected to rejoin her in a few moments, he went to his grave waving her a fond adieu – "it will be only for a little while dearest, au revoir." No purer pearl of chivalry ever sank to rest amid the pearls of the sea.  In the hearts of Georgians his memory will always be green.  [Georgia's Landmarks, Memorials, and Legends by Lucian Lamar Knight.  Pub. 1913, pgs 855-856.]

Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
17 April 1912 – pg. 2 [Online at GenealogyBank.]

MACON INTERESTED IN TWO OF THE TITANIC'S VICTIMS

Major Archibald Butt and Jacques Futrelle Both Known Here, Where They Had Relatives and Friends – Mr. and Mrs. Luther Williams Did Not Sail on Ship.

Macon, like all the rest of the world, is appalled by the horror of the sinking of the big ship Titanic Monday, and, added to her sympathy for the thousands who had loved ones aboard the ill-fated vessel, is a sense of personal loss in the deaths of two men whom she had known intimately in the days before they won notional [sic] renown – Maj. Archibald Butt and Jacques Futrelle, who are supposed to have perished when the levithian [sic] went to the bottom.

Major Butt, whose home was in Augusta, was a reporter for The Telegraph a score of years ago and is well and affectionately remembered by many citizens here today.  During his residence in Washington as aide to the president, he and Maj. Blanton Winship, himself a Macon man and a brother of Emory Winship of this city, occupied the same house.  Maj. Butt's rise in the world was watched with the keenest interest by his friends and acquaintances here, and his untimely taking off is genuinely regretted by them.

Jacques, of "Jack", Futrelle, as he was known to his friends, was also well liked by many Macon people who knew him personally and by many others who knew him through his charming short stories in the magazines.  Futrelle began his career as an author in Atlanta, where he served for years as a newspaper writer.  He was a native of Barnesville.  His mother resided here for a time, and left Macon to make her home in Atlanta only a few months ago.  John A. Futrelle, a cousin, resides at 1711 Fourth street.  The gifted writer spent several days in Macon last summer.

The name of Mrs. Futrelle, who was with her husband on board the Titanic when the big ship struck the iceburg, appears among the list of the rescued.  She, who is an author herself, and her husband had gone abroad to collect material for new stories.  Mrs. Futrelle is a daughter of Mrs. D. G. Peel, of Atlanta.

Mr. and Mrs. Luther Williams, of this city, read of the disaster with an interest all their own, as they had planned to go abroad on the Titanic at her next sailing.  It was reported yesterday that they were aboard the liner when she sank, but Mr. Williams very cheerfully denied the rumor when asked for particulars by a representative of The Telegraph.

Augusta Chronicle (Georgia)
30 July 1912 – pg. 6 [Online at GenealogyBank.]

DEATH OF MRS. FUTRELLE

Had Never Recovered from Shock of "Jack" Frutrelle's [sic] Death.

Special to The Chronicle.
Dublin, Ga., July 29. – Word was received here this afternoon of the death at Adrian Sunday morning of Mrs. W. H. Futrelle, mother of Jacques Futrelle, the Georgia author, who lost his life in the Titanic disaster.

Mrs. Futrelle had been in bad health for several months and was sick before the wreck of the Titanic and the drowning of her son.  She had gradually grown weaker since then, and friends have seen for some days that the end was near.

She was 65 years of age and had been a resident of Emanuel County, near Adrian, for about two years, moving there with her husband from Butts County.  Only one of her children, Mr. W. M. Futrelle, was with her when she died.

The remains of Mrs. Futrelle were buried at Poplar Springs Baptist Church, in Johnson County, Sunday afternoon.  She was a member of the Baptist denomination and leaves many friends in the neighborhood, where she resided, besides her husband and two children, a son and a daughter.  The death of Mrs. Futrelle will be a blow to her husband, who is, himself, old and feeble in health.

Jack and his mother are both memorialized at Poplar Springs Church Cemetery.

Columbus Ledger (Georgia)
29 April 1912 – pg. 4 [Online at GenealogyBank.]

THE LATE MR. STRAUS.

Announcement of the recovery of the body of Isidor Straus at the scene of the Titanic disaster, was read with pleasure  by the hundreds of friends of the millionaire-merchant in this section, where Straus formerly resided, all being gratified to know that the body is to be laid to rest on native soil.

Commenting on the tragic death of Mr. Straus and his wife, the New Orleans States says in part

"The death of Isidor Straus and his devoted wife who refused to leave him when the Titanic was known to be sinking, has a special interest to the south.

"Isidor Straus was a Georgian.  His parents, born in Bavaria, emigrated to the United States, and settled in Talbotton, Georgia.  Isidor Straus grew up in Georgia and after the civil war went to New York, followed later by his two brothers, Oscar and Nathan, now among the leading business men of the nation.

"Before he was of age Isidor Straus was sent to France as a Confederate agent and accomplished his mission with credit.

"Among many other activities he had served in Congress with distinction.  He is best known as a business man and philanthropist, along with his two brothers.

"In his home life Mr. Straus was a most devoted husband, and the refusal of his wife to leave him when the fatal hour arrived, is the greatest possible proof of their mutual devotion."

The recovered body of Isidor Straus finally rests at Woodlawn Cemetery in Bronx, New York.

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