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Local History: Locals Lost on the Titanic, While Others Perished or Witnessed Tragedy

The Titanic sank in April of 1912.

 

As the world looks back a hundred years to the April 1912 sinking of RMS Titanic, local communities can note survivors, victims, and even passengers on the Carpathia. Some 10 New Jersey residents, including some from the Oranges, were on the ill-fated ship, while a local family traveled on the Carpathia, which came to the Titanic's aid.

At noon on April 10, 1912, the Titanic set sail from Southampton, England. Her first port of call was Cherbourg, France, followed by a stop in Ireland. On the night of April 14 into April 15, the ship collided with an iceberg. Within ten minutes, the ship's five watertight compartments were taking on water. By midnight, the crew was advised to prepare lifeboats and muster passengers.

The Titanic's passengers were divided into three classes. Those travelling in first class, the wealthiest passengers on board included businessmen, politicians, high-ranking military personnel, industrialists, bankers and professional athletes. Second class passengers were middle class travellers. Third class, or steerage, passengers were primarily immigrants moving to Canada and the United States.

By 1:30 a.m., a crewman radioed to nearby ships, "We are sinking fast, and cannot last much longer." Meanwhile, the Carpathia, en route to the Mediterranean, rushed to the Titanic's aid. Two local passengers — the only known New Jersey residents on the ship — were Mr. and Mrs. William J. Hiss of East Orange.

The Titanic also carried residents of East Orange, Elmer Zebley Taylor and his wife Juliet Cummings Taylor, and William Anderson Walker. First class passengers, all, Walker did not survive and was presumed buried at sea. The Taylors did survive, leaving the ship in Lifeboat 5, the fifth to leave the sinking ship.

Mr. and Mrs. C. E. Henry Stengel of Newark were also saved, picked up by the Carpathia after hours afloat in lifeboats. Stengel, owner of a leather company, told his story to the Newark Star. Mrs. Stengel was loaded into a lifeboat shortly after the crash; Mr. Stengel followed in another boat, which held only five passengers, before the couple were reunited on the Carpathia.

"As I sit here now," recalled Stengel, "I can still hear the wailing and moaning of the 1,550 or more persons who jumped into the sea after the four explosions that took place on the Titanic."

"I cannot repeat too often that we thought the ship absolutely unsinkable. When we struck the iceberg the portholes were open and some of the ice jammed through into the stateroom."

 

Other New Jersey residents on the Titanic's passenger lists include the following. If you know anything about them, please tell us in the comments:

Stephen Blackwell, Trenton

Elizabeth Burns, Newark

Arthur Keefe, East Rahway

John S. March, Newark, US mail superintendent

Washington Roebling, Trenton

Frank Stanley, Mr. Roebling's chauffeur

W. A. Walker, East Orange

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