Chinese Titanic Survivors; Little Known Ferry Disaster

 

Collapsible lifeboat D photographed by passenger on Carpathia on the morning of 15 April 1912.
Public Domain(Wikipedia)

6 Titanic Survivors Who Were Refused Entrance Into the US
History of Yesterday, 30 Sept 2022

Once they had reached the shore of New York on the 18th of April, the six Chinese men were pulled apart from the other survivors and detained based on the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. This act was implemented back in the late 19th century due to the United States wanting to maintain white “racial purity” despite Chinese people within America making up only 0.002% of the whole American population at the time.

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MV Le Joola at Ziguinchor in 1991
Photo: Yamboo via Wikimedia Commons

It Was Worse Than the Titanic. You Likely Haven’t Heard of It
Newser, 2 Oct

As far as maritime disasters go, the Titanic stands alone—at least in our minds, but not in the history books, at least as far as victims go. In a piece for the New York Times, Elian Peltier revisits the Joola, the passenger ferry that departed on a 17-hour journey along Senegal’s coast toward the capital of Dakar on Sept. 26, 2002. It wouldn’t make it. Passengers streamed below deck as rain started that evening. Then the ferry listed toward the left and capsized. There were just 64 survivors among the 1,900 aboard; every baby and toddler perished. (Roughly 1,500 people died on the Titanic.)

Joola Disaster Books

REMEMBERING HISTORY: End Of Warsaw Uprising (2 Oct 1944)

Warsaw, the capital of Poland, destroyed by German Nazis, January 1945.
Public Domain (Wikipedia)

On 2 October 1944 the Warsaw Uprising came to an end with the surrender of surviving Polish rebels to German forces. The uprising began two months earlier when the Red Army was approaching Warsaw. The rebels supported the Polish government-in-exile and hoped to gain control of the city before the Soviets arrived. They did not want the Russians to gain the city and establish a communist regime in Poland.

While the rebels had initial gains, they were poorly supplied. Hitler sent reinforcements and the rebels and German soldiers engaged in brutal street fights. The Red Army did take a suburb of Warsaw but proceeded no further. Stalin ordered the Red Army not to assist the rebels and denied a request to use their airbases to supply the rebels. This would be remembered down the road by the Polish people. Both Churchill and Roosevelt asked for his assistance. Churchill, without Soviet approval, had supplies dropped by the RAF, the South African Air Force, and the Polish Air Force. Stalin finally relented and gave air clearance for the U.S. Army Air Force to make supply drops. However, it was too late by the time the supplies came.

Out of arms, supplies and food, there was no choice. After 63 days, they had no choice but to surrender. In retaliation for this uprising, the remaining population of Warsaw was deported. The Polish people were always meant to be eradicated as were the Jews. Plans had been drawn up before the war to turn Poland into a German colony. Warsaw was to be Germanized. Once the remaining population was deported, German destruction of Warsaw was sped up. They had started after the earlier Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Using flamethrowers and explosives, special teams went to work destroying whole neighborhoods, historical monuments, archives, and any place of interest.

By January 1945, 85% of the buildings in Warsaw were gone. Approximately 25% was done during the Warsaw Uprising. The losses are staggering to consider:

10,455 buildings
923 historical buildings (94% of these were destroyed)
25 churches
14 libraries which includes the National Library
81 schools
64 high schools
The University of Warsaw and Warsaw University of Technology
Of course, prior to these all-Jewish homes, businesses, and synagogues were seized, looted and destroyed as well.

Aftermath

The Soviets took the position that the rebels did not coordinate their plans with them. Of course, the chief reason they did not aid them is that they supported the democratic Polish government-in-exile in London. And Stalin was not interested in supporting them. His goal had been before the war to allow the west to fight themselves to exhaustion allowing for the Soviet Union to expand in their direction. Those that led the uprising and members of the Home Army were persecuted by the Soviets after the war. They were arrested, tried, and deported to Soviet gulags. They had a show trial, not unlike ones during the Great Purge, where confessions were introduced to show they were actually in league with the Germans!

Warsaw Uprising Monument
Source: Dhirad 2004

Fortunately, those captured by the Germans and freed by American-British forces were spared this. Stalin and his propaganda machine twisted the facts to show the failings of the Home Army and the Polish government-in-exile. All criticism of the Red Army and Soviet Union by Polish people were forbidden. All references to the Home Army were censored, all books and movies on the Warsaw Uprising were either banned or edited out the Home Army. When that did not work, they made the Home Army soldiers into heroes that were betrayed by their corrupt officers. This would remain in effect until the 1980’s with the rise of Solidarity that challenged the Soviet backed regime. It was not until 1989 that a monument was built in Poland.

In the West, stories of the heroism of the Home Army were told. They were valiant heroes fighting against the Germans. The Soviets were criticized for their non-involvement and that it helped them get rid of partisans that would have opposed them. Despite all the official censorship that existed, many Poles knew what happened and led to growing anti-Soviet sentiment that manifested into the Polish labor movement Solidarity. This peaceful movement in the 1980’s would effect change in Poland and later, as the days of the Soviet Union waned, Poland would gain back the freedom it had lost in 1939.

Sources:

Happy Sunday and Remember the victims of Hurricane Ian

October has finally arrived and autumn is making its appearance. Sadly for those in Florida, they got hit with Hurricane Ian and have suffered some grievous loss of life and damage. It will take a while to rebuild and, if you can, please contribute to a charity that can provide assistance to those in need. Here are some suggestions courtesy of WUSF:

Florida Disaster Fund: This is the state’s official private fund, established to provide financial assistance. To contribute, you can give through the website, by check, or text DISASTER to 20222.

Ian Response Fund: Several organizations across the state — including the Florida Immigration Coalition and Faith in Florida — are combining efforts to assist. According to the fund’s website, the organizations raised more than $2 million through more than 38 organizations to assist the victims of Hurricane Irma in 2017. Donations can be made from the website, including an option to give one time or monthly.

American Red Cross: Those interested can donate through the website, or by phone at 1-800-HELP NOW (1-800-435-7669). Checks can be mailed to:

American Red Cross
PO Box 37839
Boone, Iowa, 50037-0839

Salvation Army: The organization has created a website for donations that can directly assist victims of both Hurricanes Ian and Fiona in Florida and Puerto Rico, including food, shelter, and emotional and spiritual care. One-time donations can be made on the Salvation Army website or by texting STORM to 51555. It also has established mobile feeding units that can prepare around 1,500 meals a day in the affected areas.

Metropolitan Ministries: Through Oct. 2, Metropolitan Ministries is accepting donations of nonperishable food boxes, food donations at locations in Tampa (2002 N. Florida Avenue) and Holiday (3214 US Highway N). The organization is also assisting Chef José Andrés and the World Central Kitchen team, which hopes to prepare 15,000 hot meals and 10,000 cold meals every day using Metropolitan Ministries’ commercial kitchen as its main distribution hub. The organization’s website also has information on how to volunteer, or donate good and money.

Feeding Tampa Bay: Donations can be made through the organization’s website, or by texting FTBFYI to 833-530-3663.

God of hope and mercy, we lift up to you all victims of natural disasters and those responding with assistance and aid. Protect all who are in any form of danger; provide practical help to those in need; strengthen the weary, console the grieving, heal the suffering; and bless those engaged in disaster relief efforts with safety and courage. Help all people of good will respond with compassion and generous hearts. Amen. (Catholic Charities)

Elvis Presley was a great singer who entertained millions with his music. He also sang a lot of Gospel music early in career which is still quite popular. Here is How Great Thou Art from a concert in 1972. Have a great Sunday everyone.

Wreck of SS Mesaba Found

The only picture of the Marconi radio room onboard the Titanic. Harold Bride is seated at his station. Photo was taken by Father Francis Browne, SJ, while aboard Titanic.
Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

The ship that sent the iceberg warning to Titanic has been located according to the BBC. The SS Mesaba was crossing the Atlantic Ocean on April 1912 and sent a wireless message to the Titanic about the ice it had spotted. The warning never reached the bridge. The SS Mesaba was sunk by a German torpedo in World War I and her remains in the Irish Sea were not located until recently. “ Now using state-of-the art multibeam sonar, Bangor University researchers have been able to identify the Mesaba’s wreck and pinpoint her final resting place.”

Source:

Titanic: Ship that sent iceberg warning found in Irish Sea
BBC, 27 Sept 2022


Welcome to October

Photo:David Wagner(publicdomainpictures.net)

October is the 10th month on the Gregorian and Julian calendars. Under the old Roman calendar this was the eighth month and retained its name. October in the Northern Hemisphere begins the full transition to Autumn while in the Southern Hemisphere it is Spring.

Autumn harvests are underway this month with apples, artichokes, cranberries, pears, and pumpkins becoming widely available in many areas. Pumpkins are important this time of year as decorations and the source for pumpkin pie and delicious roasted pumpkin seeds. Octoberfest is a major event in Munich, Germany but has spread into Europe, the United States and South America. It began in 1810 to honor a Bavarian royal wedding and now is in many places like a carnival with rides, lots of German themed food and of course beer. Beer of all kinds, especially craft beers find their ways to such events to be judged. Oktoberfest usually goes from mid-September to October (it used to end on the first Sunday in October) but it usually goes on later these days. One figure estimates the consumption of beer to be around 1.85 million gallons (7 million liters) of beer. Now that is a lot of beer!

Daylight Savings Time comes to an end in Australia and Europe this month. In the United States, that will occur for the last time on the first Sunday in November. Beginning next spring, the United States will stay on permanent daylight savings time year-round from that time on to avoid the switching back and forth. This was done once before many years ago to conserve energy. It was dropped when parents and others complained that year-round daylight savings time means that in some months, you have darkness when kids are going to school.

Of course, the big event in October is Halloween or more properly All Hallows Eve on October 31. What used to be a day to prepare for the feast of All Saints Day now has morphed into an event primarily for children to put on masks and ask neighbors for a treat. Haunted House exhibits are open, hayrides through a haunted landscape, and of course scary movies to watch. We get the obligatory Halloween themed commercials and lots of scary themed promos. Many parents opt to have simpler old fashioned celebration with friends and children assembling for food, entertainment, and of course hearing very spooky stories.

 

IMM President Home Up For Sale, Titanic Museum Rankings, and Jewish Passengers on Titanic

Front Page, New York Herald, 15 April 1912
Public Domain (U.S. Library of Congress,www.loc.gov)

Clement A. Griscom, founder of the International Mercantile Marine Company, built his estate (called the Dolobran Estate) in 1881 in Haverford, Pennsylvania. The sprawling 17,000 square foot home was his home until he passed away in 1912, several months after Titanic sank. He stepped down as president of IMM in 1904 to become its chairman. The estate is considered masterpiece and was down by well known architect Frank Furness. Built on lush land, this estate no doubt was a respite from the world. With seven bedrooms (and bathrooms to match), a lovely sunroom, kitchenettes for guests, and a swimming pool to enjoy warm summers, it was certainly a place one could simply get lost in. Griscom certainly loved it and now the house is up for sale if you have 3 million dollars to spend for it. It has been renovated, so you do have modern comforts but still retains the look and feel of that time. The slideshow of the estate is worth looking at if nothing else to see how people with lots of money lived back then. When you see some of the tacky estates of the Hollywood celebrities of today reside in, you see back then they knew how to impress without being gaudy.

Titanic Ship Merchant’s Extraordinary $3m Mansion For Sale
MSN, 23 September 2022

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Which Titanic Museum Is The Best? Let’s Compare Them
The Travel, 23 Sep 2022

Before we compare them, it’s important to identify all the Titanic museums in the United States. There are five Titanic museums in the United States. The very fact that we have that number, all telling and retelling the same story, is an indication of how the tragedy is rooted deep in the socio-cultural psyche of the republic. There’s a Titanic museum in Branson, Missouri. Another Titanic museum is in Pigeon Forge, Tennesee. Sin City is also home to a famous Titanic exhibition at the Luxor Hotel & Casino. The fourth Titanic museum is in Orlando, Florida. And then the fifth and last is in Indian Orchard, Massachusetts. Our order here is not chronological. For instance, while the Massachussettes museum comes last in our order, it’s actually the oldest Titanic museum in the United States having been established in 1963. Aside from these, there are other learning centers that have richly documented the story of the Titanic. In this respect, the Maritime Museum at Battleship Cove, previously the Marine Museum at Fall River, is worth a mention.

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Titanic Jewish Experience Offers A Moving Tribute To The Liner’s Jewish History
The Times of Israel, 24 Sep 2022

Through mid-February, visitors to the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge — and its sister Titanic Museum in Branson, Missouri — will also see the Titanic Jewish Experience, a tribute to the ship’s estimated 67 Jewish passengers and two Jewish crew members. “Did you know Titanic had a kosher kitchen and a kosher chef on board?” a sign announces at the entrance to the Titanic Museum.

 

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First Sunday in Autumn

Autumn Landscape
Charles Rondeau (publicdomainpictures.net)

Summer is gone and Autumn has officially begun here in the northern hemisphere.  The hot breath of summer is still blazing in many places though. Once again Death Valley topped out on Saturday at 107?F (41? C) with a low of 20?F (-6? C) at both Bodie, CA and near Mackay, ID.

Bodie is today a ghost town but started in 1859 as a mining camp. The discovery of gold would lead to a boom in 1876 and by 1879 its population was somewhere between 7,000-10,000. The boom lasted until around 1880. Then the discovery of gold elsewhere began drawing people away. The mines kept producing gold and a smaller community thrived in the town for many years. Most who stayed did so because they wanted to settle down. By 1910 the population was 698. The city newspaper folded in 1912. The Standard Consolidation Mine was closed in 1913, was bought up and reopened and for a while made some profit. It was not enough to stop the decline though. In 1917 the Bodie Railway stopped running and the last mine closed in 1942. The 1920 census showed a population of 120. People would still live there until after the end of WW II, but it was mostly a ghost town. In 1961 Bodie was declared a National Historic Landmark and the following year the Bodie State Historic Park was created. Today you can visit the once boom town and see, from the existing and surviving buildings, what it was like back in the late 19th century to live in a Gold Rush boom town.

With October coming up soon, Halloween decorations are appearing along with the usual Halloween themed commercials on television. With the fall harvest comes the change in produce. More apples appear since they are harvested in late summer and early fall. Artichokes, cranberries, pears, and pumpkins are also available during this time. In areas with lots of wineries, grapes are harvested for both wine and table use. No more grapes from Chile!

Photo:David Wagner(publicdomainpictures.net)

Although Covid restrictions have eased, supply issues and higher costs means a lot of Halloween candy and other items are more expensive this year than before. This may lead families doing simpler Halloween activities. There was something to be said about dunking for apples, caramel covered apples, roasting pumpkin seeds and making lots of popcorn. And with a lot of cleverness, you can make easy decorations without having to buy them at the store. Many people are relearning how their great-grandparents got through the Great Depression by keeping costs low and at the same time keeping their families fed.

Happy Sunday Everyone!

Friday Titanic News

 

Titanic Wreck Bow
Image: Public Domain (NOAA-http://www.gc.noaa.gov/images/gcil/ATT00561.jpg)

Hey Kids, Want to Visit the Titanic? Only $250,000
Explorers Web, 11 Sep 2022

If you’ve never seen the Titanic in person, you’re not alone. But you can become part of that small coterie soon. As part of a trip with OceanGate Expeditions, you can visit the wreck of the Titanic next year alongside a crew of dive experts, scientists, and filmmakers. The caveat: it costs a quarter of a million dollars. Still, the experience promises to be a singular one. Scuttled under about 4,000m of North Atlantic Ocean water, the RMS Titanic rests about 600km off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. The ship sank in 1912, taking about 1,500 souls with it. Divers first found its wreckage in 1985. Tour visitors are called “mission specialists”. That could register as amusing but actually, the company requires its clients to train for some mission-specific tasks while at sea. Submersible navigation, piloting, tracking, communications, maintenance, and operations all make the checklist. Mission specialists make one submersible dive during the voyage and assist on the surface when other teams dive. There’s room for six such positions on the mission, the brochure adds.

You can view details and download a brochure by going to https://oceangateexpeditions.com/titanic.

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Woman Who Completed Lifelong Dream To Explore Titanic Says She ‘Lost It’ Afterwards
Independent, 12 Sep 2022
(Paid access required to view full article.)

Renata Rojas had been obsessed with the Titanic for more than half of her life when she looked out the window of a submersible, 4,000 metres under the North Atlantic, and saw the doomed ship’s spectre appear hauntingly from the depths. She thought she’d cry – but she was far too busy.

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Morgan Robertson
circa 1890-1900, self-portrait
Public Domain (Wikimedia Commons)

The Man Who Predicted the Sinking of the Titanic
History of Yesterday, 15 Sep 2022

Robertson’s novella draws many similarities between the fictional SS Titan and the RMS Titanic. The book mentions the ship’s perceived “unsinkable” attribute that many assigned to it due to the advanced technology used to construct it, an attribute shared by the RMS Titanic. It is also predicted that because of this perceived attribute, less-than-usual safety precautions were taken when equipping the ship with safety equipment, mainly manifesting through the lack of lifeboats.

Editor’s Note
The book, Futility or Wreck of the Titan, is actually a good read. The article accurately relates the similarities, but the fictional Titan was different and hits the iceberg dead on. Robertson always denied his book was inspired by anything supernatural. The version of the book I have also includes one or two other stories. One is about an attack on the United States by Japan long before it happened! Back in the time he wrote it, Japan had emerged as a major power and was flexing its military muscle (such as defeating the Russians and taking Port Arthur from them). So a lot of people were worried about a Japanese attack on the US (I know because I read a lot of letters written by people back prior to World War I about their concerns). Robertson took what he knew about ships and crafted a clever story about a big new ship that suffers catastrophically on its maiden voyage with a shocking loss of life. The book would likely have been forgotten had not Titanic occurred making it a prescient book. It does beg the question-if he saw it as a real possibility how come the people who built and ran the ship didn’t? Like the question as why every culture has a version of meatballs, you may bang your head fruitlessly against the wall on this one.

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Padlock on gate
George Hodan
publicdomainpibtures.net

Titanic True Story: Were Third-Class Passengers Locked Behind Gates?
Screen Rant, 18 Sep 2022

As seen in Cameron’s movie, there were clear separations between first, second, and third-class passengers on the Titanic, and they had designated areas where they could walk around freely. In accordance with US immigration law, the Titanic had to have gates between the ship’s decks in order to avoid the spread of diseases, but these weren’t used in cruel ways as seen in the movie. Third-class passengers were in the bowels of the ship and thus didn’t have direct access to lifeboats, but they weren’t purposely kept behind gates to avoid getting to the lifeboats, and third-class stewards were reportedly instructed to have passengers put on their lifebelts and go to the deck, but many refused.

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With autumn now officially here, it is time for the pumpkin! Here are some helpful tips from the Muppet Labs on carving your pumpkin.

 

Shop for everything Halloween at the Halloween Store!

Lewis & Clark Return From Epic Expedition (23 Sep 1806)

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
Public Domain (Wikipedia)
On 23 September 1806, and amid much public excitement, the expedition of William Clark and Meriweather Lewis returned to St. Louis, Missouri. They were the first to record an overland journey from the Mississippi River to the Pacific coast and back. They had set out two years ago and came back with a wealth of knowledge about the territory of the newly purchased Louisiana Purchase. Under President Jefferson, the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory in 1803 for a price of 3 cents per acre for some 828,000 square miles of land. It is considered one of the best land deals ever. Jefferson commissioned the expedition of Lewis and Clarke to explore this territory and report back what they found. The expedition left in May 1804 with about four dozen men and equipment. Traveling up the Missouri River in six canoes and two longboats they would winter in Dakota before crossing into Montana where they saw the Rocky Mountains for the first time. They would meet the Shoshone Indians on the other side of the Continental Divide, who would sell them horses. The journeyed through the Bitterroot Mountains, down the rapids of the Clearwater and Snake rivers, until they reached the Columbia River and to the sea. They arrived at the Pacific Ocean on 8 November 1805 and were the first European explorers to do this overland from the east. The paused for the winter and then made their journey back to St. Louis in the spring. The journals that were kept noted longitude and latitude with detailed notes on soil, climate, animals, plants, and native peoples. They identified new plants and animals (the grizzly bear for one). They also named geographic locations after themselves, loved ones, friends and even their dog. They experienced a variety of diseases and injuries during their journey but only one person perished. Their expedition is considered one of the most consequential and remarkable in U.S. history. Their travels in Oregon would lead the U.S. to able claim territorial rights later. Sources:  

Autumn Equinox Today

There are two equinoxes in the year, Autumn (September) and Spring (March). When these equinoxes occur the sun is directly on the equator, and the length of day and night is almost equal. In the Northern hemisphere, the September Equinox heralds autumn but the opposite below the equator where it heralds the beginning of spring.  Go here to see the time it begins in your area.

Solstices and Equinoxes
Image: NASA

Photo:David Wagner(publicdomainpictures.net)

For those of us in the North, it means a transition from summer to winter.  During this period  days start getting shorter and nights longer. Depending on where you live, you will likely have moderate warm days followed by long and cooler nights. Harvests of many crops often take place during the fall and in the old days you would make preparations to store food for the winter. Harvest festivals are very popular and in particular Halloween. Pumpkins begin appearing along with all kinds of Halloween decor culminating, of course, in All Hallows Eve (Halloween) on October 31.

Shop for all things Halloween at the Halloween Store

Titanic, historic ship, and general history news.