Quote by Eva Hart - Titanic survivor
Captain Roswell H. Macy, a former Nantucket whaling captain, founded R.H. Macy Company in the days before the Civil War. Isidor Straus, along with his dad and his brother, were originally involved in the sale of china, crockery, tableware, linens, textiles and dry goods. They rented space in Captain Macy's store to sell their wares. Captain Macy eventually died, leaving the store to his son and daughter. The daughter and her husband were both involved in the day to day operation of the store, but the son, R.H. Macy, Jr. was a drunkard and a spendthrift, and proceeded to run the store into the ground. The Strauses saw what Junior was doing to the company, got their financing together, and were able to buy him out, as well as the rest of the Macys who were involved in the family business. The Strauses further thought it was good business sense to continue the name of the store as R.H. Macy Co., and that's why it's still called Macy's.
The couple had been married for 41 years at the time of the disaster. They raised six children together, and were almost inseparable. On the rare occasion that they were apart, they wrote each other every day. They even celebrated their birthdays on the same day, although they were well apart from one another.
During the sinking, Titanic's officers pleaded with the 63 year old Ida to board a lifeboat and escape the disaster, but she repeatedly refused to leave her husband. Instead, she placed her maid in a lifeboat, taking her fur coat off and handing it to the maid while saying, "I won't need this anymore". At one point, she was convinced to enter one of the last two lifeboats, but jumped out as her husband walked away to rejoin him.
When last seen by witnesses, they were standing on deck, holding each other in a tight embrace.
Their funeral drew some 6,000 mourners at Carnegie Hall.
A monument to them still stands in a Bronx cemetery, it's inscription reads:
John B. Thayer, III was born on April 21, 1862, There were plans to celebrate his 50th birthday after the Thayer's arrival in New York. John B. Thayer III didn't make it, but his son and wife both survived.
The following article is from the Philadelphia Press, Sunday, April 21, 1912:
WAS TO CELEBRATE BIRTHDAY
Had he lived, John B. Thayer, one of the heroes of the Titanic disaster, would have celebrated today the fiftieth anniversary of his birth.
He, his family and his social and business associates had looked forward with pleasurable anticipation to his attainment of the half-century mark. An athlete, devoted to home and family, moderate in his tastes, of exceptional ability and remarkable initiative, he was generally regarded as one who had already become on of the greatest powers for the industrial development of this city.
Grateful passengers have told how Mr. Thayer awakened them in their berths and insisted upon their preparing to leave the ship. His cheery, stalwart presence was everywhere in those last moments. Death found him steady, ready and manfully doing his best for others. These things will be remembered today by those who he saved and by thousands of others to whom his memory will be an inspiration.
SKETCH OF MR. THAYER
Mr. Thayer was born in this city. After leaving the University of Pennsylvania in 1881, he entered the service of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company as clerk in the Empire Line office, in which position he served about eighteen months, when he was transferred to the general freight department, serving two years in the bureau of claims and eighteen months in the rate department. Upon the reorganization of the freight department, with J.S. Wilson as general freight traffic agent, Mr. Thayer was appointed chief clerk, which position he held three years, when he was appointed freight solicitor, United Railroads of New Jersey division.
In February, 1889, Mr. Thayer left the service of the company to engage in private business. He returned to the company on May 1, 1892, as division freight agent of the Northern Central Railway, with headquarters at Baltimore. On December 1, 1894, he was promoted to the position of assistant general freight agent, with headquarters at Philadelphia; on March 10, 1897, general freight agent in charge of through traffic, and on May 1, 1899, general freight agent of the company, and also of the Northern Central Railway, Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad, and West Jersey and Seashore Railroad Companies.
On June 1, 1903, Mr. Thayer was made fifth vice-president in charge of traffic. On October 10, 1905, upon a change in the organization of the company, he became fourth vice-president; on March 24, 1909, he was advanced to third vice-president, and on March 3, 1911, he was made second vice-president.
Mr. Thayer was a director of the Long Island Railroad Company and various subsidiary companies.
(Read about survivors Mrs. Marian Thayer and young Jack Thayer on the SURVIVORS PAGE.
Benjamin Guggenheim best epitomized this chivalry, class, bravery, and dignity when he showed up on that tilting deck, in the freezing night air, with his valet, the both of them having just dressed in their best suits, and amidst all that confusion and terror, stated, "We have dressed in our best, and are prepared to go down like gentlemen."
Benjamin Guggenheim was a well known millionaire industrialist, father of three, and notorious playboy. Travelling with his latest mistress, the French singer Leontine Aubart, Guggenheim, 47 at the time, was the epitome of a first class passenger.
Often spending months abroad while managing various investments, Guggenheim lived an unbelievably lavish lifestyle. Most of his money had come from his iron baron father, Meyer Guggenheim. Benjamin never showed the monetary prowse that had made such a giant out of his father. He squandered over 8 million dollars on bad investments, and left his three children with only $450,000 each (not exactly small change in 1912, but a tiny fraction of the original fortune).
As the ship sank, he and his valet returned their lifebelts to a steward and retired to Guggenheim's luxurious cabin, where they donned formal evening attire.
Reappearing on deck, Guggenheim stated, "We've dressed in our best, and are prepared to go down like gentlemen."
He later asked a steward to "Tell my wife in New York I did my best in doing my duty."
Reportedly, after seeing to the safe departure of his mistress and her maid in a lifeboat, Guggenheim and his valet sat in chairs on the tilting deck, sipping brandy and smoking cigars as the ship sank.
From the New York Times Saturday April 20, 1912
Philadelphia, PA, April 19 - In describing her experiences in the sinking of the Titanic Mrs. George D. Widener, whose son and husband, a wealthy financier of this city, were drowned, said that she had seen Capt. Smith of the liner jump from the bridge into the sea and that a moment previous she had seen another officer turn a revolver upon himself and send a bullet into his brain."
"Mr. Widener and I had retired to our cabin for the night," she said, "when the shock of crashing into the iceberg occured. We though little of it and did not leave our cabin. We must have remained there an hour before becoming fearful."
HELP TO CALM PANIC
"Then Mr. Widener went to our son Harry's room and brought him to our cabin. A short time later Harry went to the deck and hurried back and told us that we must go on deck. Mr. Widener and Harry a few mintues later went on deck and aided the officers who were then having trouble with those in the steerage. That was the last I saw of my husband or son."
"I went on deck and was put into a life boat. As the boat pulled away from the Titanic I saw one of the officers shoot himself in the head and a few minutes later saw Capt. Smith jump from the bridge into the sea."
WHOLE FAMILY OVERCOME
Mrs. Widener is at her home at Elkins Park, PA, near here. The entire Widener family which is among the most prominent in Philadelphia's financial and social circles is overcome by the disaster. The family has received messages of sympathy from all parts of the world.
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