Thursday, April 19, 2012

Final Moments of Roebling and Blackwell Aboard Titanic

Trenton Evening Times, April 19, 1912-

"Trentonians Among Dead; Survivors Retell Horrors of the Awful Disaster: Roebling Said Goodbye to Friends and then Perished with Blackwell, His Companion" [1]

" 'You will be back with us on the ship soon again,' were the last words of Washington A. Roebling, II, so far as Trenton relatives know. In an interview this morning at the Waldorf-Astoria between Miss Caroline Bonnell and Ferdinand W. Roebling, Jr. of this city, Miss Bonnell spoke of Mr. Roebling's cheerful farewell to the women of her party as they were placed in the life boats to leave the ill-fated Titanic." [2]

There is, in the article, debate as to whether Roebling thought the ship would not sink, or whether he attempted to conceal the danger of the situation. Reports of Caroline Bonnell's conversation with Ferdinand Roebling state, "the general impression was that the damage was slight to the Titanic and that the women, placed in the life boats, would soon be picked up again and the Titanic proceed on her way to New York." [3]

Bonnell reported to H.C. Blackwell, brother of Stephen W. Blackwell, that she last saw him in the smoking room as she went to her cabin for a life preserver. Her last sight of Roebling was "smiling as he waved farewell to her and her party." [4]

Caroline Bonnell is listed among survivors aboard the Carpathia along with cousins Mary and Natalie Wick, and aunt Elizabeth 'Lily' Bonnell. The fifth member of their party, George Wick, is listed among those who died at sea. [5]


Caroline Bonnell was 30 years old in April 1912. Bonnell's daughter, Mary Jones Chilcote, now 85, recalled her mother in an article and video clip by the Cleveland Plain Dealer. [7]

[1] [2] [3] [4] "Trentonians Among Dead; Survivors Retell Horrors of the Awful Disaster," Trenton Evening Times, 19 April 1912. Online. GenealogyBank : Accessed 13 Apr 2012.

[5] "UK, RMS Titanic, Deaths at Sea, 1912," Online. Accessed 13 Apr 2012.

[6] "Titanic Survivors, Carpathia Passenger List, 1912," Online. Accessed 13 Apr 2012.

[7] Whitley, Mary Ann. "Titanic 100th Anniversary: Mary Jones Chilcote recalls the tragedy through her mother' scrapbook." Cleveland Plain Dealer, 8 April 2012. Online. Accessed 13 Apr 2012.

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