1912 Detroit News report: '1,241 missing, 868 saved from Titanic; hope of more rescues abandoned'

The following stories were originally published in The Detroit News two days after the Titanic sank.




Carpathia, With 868, Will Reach New York Thursday; Further News Expected to Come From Her; 1,241 Missing.


White Star liner Titanic, biggest and most luxurious ship ever built, on her maiden voyage, struck an iceberg 1,030 miles east of New York, at 10:30 Sunday night, and sank in four hours.

1,241 of those on board, probably including practically all of crew, went down with vessel. Prominent men among the missing include John Jacob Astor, Benjamin Guggenheim, George D. Widner, Henry B. Harris, Jacques Futrelle, William Reobling, Isador Straus, Maj. Archibald Butt, and William T. Stead.

868 survivors, mostly women and children, after drifting eight hours in open lifeboats in ice filled sea, picked up by liner Carpathia, which will land them in New York late Thursday night. Among survivors are Mrs. John Jacob Astor, Countess of Rothes, Bruce Ismay, and C. M. Hayes.

Financial loss estimated at $10,000,000 for the vessel, with $7,500,000 insurance, $5,000,000 for cargo and $5,000,000 for jewelry and other personal effects of wealthy passengers.


NEW YORK, April 16. – The official announcement of the White Star line of positive news that there are 868 survivors of the Titanic on board the steamship Carpathia and the fact that only the names of 315 of those saved have been sent in by wireless shows that there are 553 persons rescued from the Titanic whose names have not been received here.


ST JOHNS, N. F., April 16. – All hope that any of the passengers or members of the crew of the Titanic, other than those on the Carpathia, are alive was abandoned this afternoon. All of the steamers which have been cruising in the vicinity of the disaster have continued on their voyages.


NEW YORK, April 16. – Of the 201 first cabin passengers thus far accounted for 132 are women, 63 men and six children. Of the 114 second cabin passengers reported surviving 88 are women, 16 men, and 10 children.


NEW YORK. April 16. – The total loss of life when the giant liner Titanic went to the bottom of the ocean yesterday morning was probably 1,341. The loss is put at $10,000,000 for the vessel and as much more in cargo and jewels and other valuables of the passengers. All hope that the Virginian, of the Allan line, had rescued any of the passengers and was headed for Halifax was ended today when the captain sent the following wireless message to his home office at Montreal:

“Virginian reached Titanic too late. No survivors on board. Proceeding Liverpool.”

A similar message from the Parisian cut off the only remaining hope.

There were 2,219 souls on board the Titanic, including passengers and crew. The Cunard liner Carpathia announced by wireless that she had picked up 868.

Other Liners Dispersed.

The message telling that the Carpathia was bringing in nearly 200 more than was first announced was the day’s only mitigation of the appalling magnitude of the wreck.

The Carpathia, having on board the only survivors accounted for, is coming in slowly to New York. All hope for details of the tragedy and its effects are centered on this ship. She will be in wireless communication with Sable Island tonight, with Nantucket on Thursday and she will reach New York some time Thursday night.

It is at these various stages along the course of the Carpathia that chief dependence is placed for details of the disaster and its survivors.

Big Cities Grief-Stricken.

The other liners which were near the scene of the disaster are now widely scattered and give but little hope of bringing definite information. The Virginian has now resumed her eastern course and is not likely to be heard from until she reaches the other side. The Parisian, which was near the scene, is westward bound to Halifax and should reach there tomorrow. She will be in touch with Sable Island today, and her wireless range of 135 miles should soon clear up any additional information she may have. The Californian, which was reported in the vicinity of the wreck, is westbound to Boston and due there today unless delayed by the events which have just occurred.

The Olympic is eastbound and probably will not have much further detail until she reaches the other side. The Baltic, which also was near the wreck, was scheduled to arrive at Queenstown tomorrow, but will probably be delayed by the help she sought to give the wrecked ship. Other chance steamers may have been near the wreck, but their presense has not yet been reported.

Vice-President Franklin, of the International Mercantile Marine, said this afternoon the company was holding back no information and that the streamship Olympic was now standing off Cape Race relaying the names of the passengers on the Carpathia to the wireless station at Cape Race.

Prominent Men Missing.

London, Paris and New York are grief-stricken, and overwhelmed by the news of the disaster. Tearful crowds of relatives and friends of passengers on board the Titanic thronged the steamship offices in all three cities, waiting hour after hour for news that more often than not when it does come, means bereavement and sorrow. People in Paris and London went to bed last night in the belief that all the passengers on board the Titanic had been saved; this morning brought them the appalling truth.

Of the survivors on board the Carpathia by far the largest number are women and children. Of the 201 first cabin passengers thus far accounted for 132 are women, 63 men and six children. Of the 114 second cabin passengers reported surviving 88 are women, 16 men and 10 children.

Many men of great prominence and importance are among the missing. No word has been received of Col. John Jacob Astor; his wife of a few months, formerly Miss Madeleine Force, however, has been saved. Alfred G. Vanderbilt was not on board the Titanic as first reported; he is in London. Isidor Straus, the New York millionaire, merchant and philanthropist who was on board, has not been reported among the survivors.

Maj. Archibald Butt, President Taft’s aide, is still unaccounted for, as are many other persons of international importance. J. Bruce Ismay, president of the International Merchant Marine, owners of the White Star line, is safe, however, as is his wife.

Captain Believed Lost.

Capt. E. J. Smith, commander of the Titanic, probably went down with his vessel without once being able to communicate direct with the agents of his line. Aside from the “S.O.S.” sent by his wireless operator, not one word from him was received up to the time the Titanic sank bow foremost into the ocean. The presumption is that he met death at his post as a gallant skipper should.

That he and his crew enforced rigidly the unwritten law of the sea – women and children first – is plainly indicated by the preponderance of women among the partial list of survivors that the wireless has given.

Although rated as one of the most able commanders since the advent of the modern steamship, Capt. Smith’s career had been recently marred with ill-luck. He was in command of the Titanic’s sister ship Olympic when that vessel was in collision with the British cruiser Hawks. Exonerated of all blame for this occurance, he was placed in charge of the Titanic only to graze disaster when his new charge fouled the streamship New York in the Solent after leaving Southampton on her maiden voyage, which has ended so disastrously. He had been in the line’s employ for more than 30 years and his first important command was the Majestic.

Some of Crew Saved.

Although 868 souls are reported to be on the Carpathia, it is apparent that all of them are not passengers, for it was necessary for members of the Titanic’s crew to man the lifeboats which set out from the sinking liner. How many of the crew were assigned to each boat is a matter of conjecture. While the names of the survivors are largely of saloon passengers, the rule “women first” should apply equally to the second cabin and steerage and may have cost the lives of many prominent men above decks. It is natural that the names of the more obscure survivors would be slower in reaching land.

False news and false hopes and an international belief that the palatial Titanic was unsinkable, followed the slowly unfolding accounts of her loss without precedent yesterday. Eager crowds in a dozen cities in the United States besieged bulletin boards when it became known that the giant liner had really sunk with terrible loss of life, and in New York City hysterical men and women crowded into the White Star line offices seeking news of relatives.

Vincent Taylor, Col. Astor’s son, spent the entire night waiting for some wireless news of his father, alternately visiting the White Star line headquarters and the newspaper offices.

Prove Danger of Ice.

The speed at which the Titanic was traveling when she shattered herself against the iceberg will perhaps not be known until the first of her survivors reach port. Whatever her rate of progress, however, shipbuilders here and abroad now admit that, while the modern steamship may defy wind and weather, ice and fog remain an ever-president element of danger. No ship, they point out, no matter how staunchly built, nor how many water-tight bulkheads protect her, may plunge headlong against a wall of ice without grave results. The general opinion is that the Titanic’s equipment was put to an extraordinary test which no vessel could have withstood.

“Under ordinary circumstances, these water-tight compartments will preserve a ship from sinking,” said A.L. Hopkins, vice-president of the Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., in New York, “but smashing into an iceberg could produce shattering effects that would render a ship helpless beyond the protection of any designs yet known. In fore and aft collisions where the compartments are punctured, the lowering of either end of the ship produces an increased strain on the other compartments.”

Theories of Disaster.

Granting that only the forward bulkhead of the Titanic had been crumpled by the impact with the iceberg, Mr. Hopkins was inclined to think that the relative buoyancy of the remaining compartments would have been sufficient to save the vessel. Inasmuch as he was not familiar with the relative division of the Titanic’s compartments, he could not estimate how many compartments must have given away under the impact of the collision.

Robert Stocker, naval constructor, of the Brooklyn navy yard said:

“In the case of the Titanic I am inclined to think that her sinking was due to the effect of grounding rather than to the impact of collision. Frequently a ship strikes what is known as a ‘pinnacle rock’, ripping open her keel. The iceberg against which the Titanic smashed her bow may have had some such submerged projection which did additional damage to the keel. If the forward bulkheads of the vessel had held after the impact which smashed the bow, it certainly seems that the relative buoyancy of the remaining compartments would have been sufficient to keep the ship afloat. I am compelled to believe that a great many of her compartments must have been punctured or sprung.

She Probably Crumpled.

Lewis Nixon, the eminent naval architect, is inclined to think the Titanic was either traveling at full speed or perhaps crashed into a berg so tremendous that there was practically no give.

“If the Titanic his one of those great ice masses,” said Mr. Nixon, “it is likely that she struck one that had no more ‘give’ than a rock. Under these circumstances, something had to give way, and as the iceberg did not, the great ship had to crumple up. It is conceivable that an impact of this sort might have buckled her longitudinal plates from end to end, shearing off and starting rivets and opening up the water-tight compartments through out the length of the vessel.”

For many years steamship men have asserted that the safest place to be is on a well-equipped ocean liner. In proportion to the number carried, the statistics show there is less loss of life and less chance of injury on board a modern liner than there is in any other means of transportation. Fleets come and go from New York and other ports with the regularity of the tides, and those carrying mails maintain a schedule which almost equals in punctuality that of railway mail trains.

Trans-Atlantic steamers travel in well-defined routes, known as “steamship lanes”, the westbound and the eastbound. This reduces to a minimum the chances of collision with one another. But icebergs and derelicts have no respect for these rules and float into the paths or wallow across them to be a dire menance in time of fog or very thick weather. There is no way to give warning until too late. Out of a smother of a fog a pallid shape may be glimpsed over the bows to be followed a half-minute later by the crash of the ship against the mass of ice.

The collision of the Titanic with an iceberg is believed here to have been a head-on crash that occurred while the liner was proceeding at little less than her best speed. She was a day ahead of her schedule and it is considered probable that an attempt to make a record-breaking voyage was the hope of her crew when she entered the ice field.

The collision occurred in latitude 41.46 north and longitude 40.14 west, 1,150 miles east of New York and 450 miles south of Cape Race, the most westerly point of Newfoundland.

Detroit families Titanic victims; some heard from

Grief-Stricken Relatives Hurry to News Office to Wait for Word From Iceberg Disaster



Mrs. Fred Quick and her two daughters, 334 Brooklyn Avenue.

George F. Eitenmiller, 29 Webb Avenue.

Alfred Rush, brother Charles Rush, 24 Hobson Avenue.

Frank Goldsmith, wife and child, relatives of Henry Brown, 115 Butternut Street.

When the liner Carpathia docks in New York Friday morning and restores to friends and relatives 868 survivors of the wrecked Titanic, Fred C. Quick, a Detroit man living at 334 Brooklyn avenue, will be reunited to his wife and two little girls. He has not seen them in three and a half years. They were passengers on the Titanic, but were picked up by the Carpathia in lifeboats.

A reporter for The News called at Mr. Quick’s home this morning and found him with his plans for the family reunion much upset. The last word he had received from the wreck was early last evening, when dispatches said that all on board the giant ship had been rescued. His original intentions had been to leave last night for New York to meet the Titanic, but the uncertainty that attended the work of rescue and the conflict in early reports had left the husband and father with plans disarranged. Mr. Quick was not aware of the fact that not all had been saved until informed by the reporter. He did not know that the big liner had gone to the bottom. When he was told of the later dispatches the semblance of control which the man had exercised showed signs of passing.

“You say that a thousand or more went down with the ship? That’s fearful.”

Separated Three Years.

A few minutes later Mr. Quick stood at the desk of the telegraph editors in The News office scanning rapidly the long revised list of the rescued. His eyes ran down the copy paper and his hands clenched convulsively. He saw with relief, “Mrs. Fred C. Quick, Phyllis Quick, Winifred Quick.”

“I haven’t seen them in more than three years,” he said. “I’m going to New York,” and with this he walked out of the office.

Mr. Quick is a plasterer, and has been working in Detroit for several months. He became well known among the English colony here last fall by his playing on St. George’s soccer foot ball team, and it is likely that he will be made manager of that organization next season.

“I’ve been pretty much of a globetrotter,” Mr. Quick said to The News, “but I liked it here in Detroit, and some time ago wrote for my wife to bring our children over here and we would make this our home. I told her to take the first ship. I had a letter from her that she would sail from Southampton the 10th, and that she would be aboard the Titanic. So I laid off work yesterday, intending to leave last night for New York. I did not know anything of the wreck until one of the men, knowing that my wife and children were on the liner, rushed up to me last night and told me about it. I called up the office here of the White Star line, and they told me every one had been saved. I got all the papers and read about the wreck, and supposed that my wife and the children were all right. It was news to me this morning that anyone had been drowned, or that the ship had sunk. My wife left England in great spirits, as I had a letter from my mother that said she was glad we were all going to be together again. It must have been an awful experience for a woman with two children to be on a ship and have it hit an iceberg like the Titanic did, and in the middle of the night. My wife is not much used to traveling, either. This is the longest journey she ever took.”

Mr. and Mrs. Quick have been married 10 years. She is an English woman, 32 years old. Winifred is eight and Phyllis four. Mrs. Quick’s mother lives in England and her brother is a member of the Royal Horse artillery in the English army. Neither Mr. Quick, who is English, nor his wife has any relatives in America. He has been in Africa, France, Germany and other countries, coming to Detroit from Canada, where he had worked in Toronto, Winnipeg and elsewhere.

He’s Happy Anyway

“If I had known that this trip was the maiden voyage of the Titanic,” said Mr. Quick this morning, “I would have asked my wife to take another liner. I have been about a bit and I do not like the idea of traveling on a ship that is just starting out. The Titanic, I’ll wager, was making 28 knots an hour. It’s too fast, especially off Newfoundland, because there are always big icebergs loose there. They float always three-quarters submerged and at night, even with a searchlight playing out ahead, it is not safe to run a ship at the speed the Titanic was making. But they wanted a record. I suppose it strikes me that the company should convey its passengers to their destinations without further cost to them. I don’t know whether my wife had insured her luggage or not but of course all that’s gone. And probably all her jewelry is gone with it. But that’s secondary. It is good to know that they are among the rescued.”

“All I Can Do Is to Hope,” Says Father of Eitenmiller

Still hoping against hope that his son, George F. Eitemiller, would turn up among the saved passengers of the sunken Titanic, George M. Eitemiller, the father, remained at his home, 16 Columbia Street East, today, awaiting more detailed news of the disaster.

“All I can do is to hope,” said the father, in a broken voice, “but from what I know of the boy he would be the last to leave, especially where it was a question of saving the women and children. I fear the news that he is among the lost is true, but still I am hoping that something will turn up to make me happy. They sailed on the 10th, and he would arrive here about the end of the week, if he were among the rescued.”

Mr. Eitemiller received the first news of the disaster yesterday at the Postal Telegraph Co., where he is employed as an operator. All day long he ticked off messages that meant hope and life and death to someone else. Well along in the afternoon when he was sending a wire about a load of coal word came that all had been saved and he smiled though his hand wavered. But as the night wore on, one disquieting report came after another and then the terrible news that more than a thousand had been lost, his son among them. The father broke down under the blow, the second one in two years, for it was at that time that his wife died. His son was left as his one remaining treasure.