WERE THESE PEOPLE ABOARD TITANIC?
Submitted by Thomas E. Golembiewski
The following news items were culled from Chicago newspapers, and concern people who claimed they were passengers, or crew, of the White Star liner Titanic There’s just one problem: none of the names can be found on the usual lists for passengers or crew members of Titanic! They’re listed chronologically.
I cannot find the name “Niket” on any passenger list for Titanic. This couple, George and Mary Niket, can not possibly be Said and Mary Nackid (or Naked, according to the US Report). Mr. and Miss Niket were going to North Dakota; Mr. and Mrs. Nackid were going to Waterbury, Connecticut.
Chicago Daily News, Thursday, April 18, 1912, p. 3, c. 6 (extracted from passenger list):
Survivors From Third Cabin
Additional Names of Rescued Passengers Come Via Portland, Me.
Portland, Me., April 18—Names of third class passengers rescued from the wrecked steamship Titanic by the Carpathia were received by wireless last night. The list as far as it has been received is:
Chicago American, Friday, April 19, 1912, p. 3, c. 2 (names on passenger list):
Chicago American, Saturday, April 20, 1912, p. 1, c. 5:
SURVIVORS HERE TELL OF HORRORS
George and Mary Niket, third cabin passengers on the doomed Titanic, who were rescued from a lifeboat by the Carpathia, reached Chicago to-day on their way to North Dakota. They are the first survivors of the disaster to arrive in this city.
A story every word of which holds tragedy and suffering, was told by George Niket, who is but nineteen years old. His sister, Mary, is eighteen years old.
They were on their way to the bedside of their mother, who is dying at Bismarck, N. D. The White Star Line listened to their plea to be sent on, and they were given first-class passage on the Pennsylvania Railroad.
Niket and his sister showed marks of the terrible strain of the past few days. Both were pale and emaciated.
Youth Tells His Story.
Niket told the story of the disaster and his part in it as follows:
“I was asleep in the single men’s quarters of the third class when I felt a crash. I heard the men moving about and left the room. I met others hurrying on deck.
“Just then a ship’s officer came down to us and said:
“’Put on heavy clothing and come on deck immediately.’ Everyone became frightened and rushed upstairs. At the points of revolvers we were sent down again and told to put on heavy clothing. Then I came on deck.
“The officers and crew were standing at the boats’ stations and I knew something terrible had happened.
“’We have struck an ice berg,’ said one man and an officer told him to keep quiet and not frighten anyone.
Rushes to Aid of Sister
“Then I thought of my sister down with the women. I rushed down the companionway to the women’s quarters. An officer would not allow me to enter.
“’I want to save my sister,’ I shouted at him. I was mad at his interference. Then he told me that women were dressing and that she would soon be on the deck.
“Later she came u p. I stood by and held her hand and she cried. All the women were crying and talking in many languages.
“They were releasing the lifeboats. A large number of men passengers evidently Sicilians, rushed for the lifeboats. The officers and crew drove them back, beating them with their revolvers and threatening to kill them.
Hears Order: “Women First”
“Then the quartermaster stepped forward with a revolver in his hand and said:
“’We are going to lower these boats. The women will go first, then the men. Let everyone keep quiet and cool.
“The men did not rush for the boats then. They made room for the women. I pushed my sister ahead and saw her get into a boat. I kissed her good-by just as the boat swung clear from the deck.
“One woman refused to leave her husband. She had a baby in her arms. An officer took the baby from her and put it in the boat. The husband pointed to the baby and said to the woman: “Go with the child. That’s your place.’ The woman, however, was put in another boat. She later found her child being cared for by a rich woman on the Carpathia.
Allowed to Go With Sister
“After the women were carried off the officer turned to the men and said:
“’All you who have wives in the boats get in this last boat. I walked up and said I had a sister and he said I could go if I could row. I told him I could. He then sent me down to the last boat with in it.
“I found m y sister when I reached the Carpathia.”
Nicket has been in this country for a number of years. He returned to Europe to get his sister and bring her to her mother.
Chicago Record-Herald, Sunday, April 21, 1912, p. 2, c. 6:
More Reach Chicago
George and Mary Niket, third cabin passengers on the Titanic, who were among those rescued by the Carpathia, yesterday passed through Chicago on their way to Bismarck, N.KD., where their mother is dying. Mr. Niket is 19 years old and his sister, 18, and both were given first-class passage on a Pennsylvania limited by the White Star Line officers.
Mr. Niket tells of being driven back into the men’s quarters of the third class cabin at the point of a revolver. A revolver aimed at him also warned him away when he would have gone to his sister in the women’s compartment. Indeed the sister ramp an and he pushed her into a boat. She did not know that he had been saved until there was a reunion on the Carpathia. Niket says he got a place in a lifeboat because he could row. Niket confirmed the famous “women first” order of the Titanic’s officers.
Chicago Tribune, January 5, 1913, p. 5:
BARONESS, WHO WED AMERICAN WANTS DIVORCE SET ASIDE
Russian Noblewoman, Divorced by Percy Procter of Cincinnati,
Says Titanic Wreck Prevented Contest.
Cincinnati, O., Jan. 4—Annulment of the divorce which was granted Percy Procter, retired Cincinnati capitalist, from Baroness Natalie von Klifus of Russia, here last June was asked in a petition filed in the court here today by attorney representing the baroness.
The petition alleges while she was properly notified as to the beginning of divorce proceedings, she was unable to be present during the proceedings owning to her being a passenger on the ill-fated Titanic.
The petition stated the delay occasioned by the sinking of the ship and the mental as well as physical torture that followed prevented her from even notifying the court until after the divorce had been granted and she therefore asks that it be set aside.
Chicago Tribune, Wednesday, November 5, 1912, p. 10, c. 4 (item):
SURVIVOR OF TITANIC KILLED
Shamokin, Pa., Nov. 4—Martin Moran, a survivor of the Titanic disaster was killed today by a rush of coal at Natalie colliery. He was employed as a sailor on the big liner and when she went down he jumped into the ocean, swam to a boat, and was saved.
Chicago Tribune, Sunday, July 25, 1915, p. 11, c. 4 (item):
TITANIC SEAMAN BLAMES EMPTY BALLAST TANKS
Ocean Survivor, Now on Eastland, Tells of Sinking of Boat
John V. Elbert, a survivor of the Titanic disaster, was employed as gauge man on the Eastland and again escaped with his life. In addition to waking up members of the crew and saving their lives, he guided three dozen persons imprisoned in the aft saloon to safety.
Elbert said that twelve years of experience in the navy had made him an expert swimmer. The Titanic disaster had hardened him to sea tragedies, he said, so that the Eastland accident did not unnerve him. He was in the water forty-six hours when the Titanic was struck by an iceberg before he was picked up by a German tramp steamer . . .
Chicago Tribune, Monday, April 12, 1965, s. 2, p. 12, c. 1 (item):
TITANIC LINER SURVIVOR DIES AT AGE OF 71
Helped Control Panic Aboard Ship
Robert McCann, 71, a quartermaster in 1912 on the ill-fated liner Titanic, died of a heart attack yesterday in his home at 1134 N. Lawler av.
Mr. McCann still had in his possession the log of the Titanic, which sank on its maiden voyage after striking an iceberg in April, 1912. A total of 1,513 persons lost their lives in the sinking.
Stays With Ship
At the time of the sinking, Mr. McCann had the task of keeping panic from spreading among third class and steerage passengers. After all the life boats had gone, Mr. McCann stayed with the liner until he could step off into the water. He was picked up by a passing boat.
Mr. McCann born in London, served on ships from the time he was 12 years old until 1923. He served in the British navy during World War I and participated in the battle of Jutland and the attack on the Dardanelles.
At the time of his death, Mr. McCann was working as an inspector of air line parts.
Builds Model Ships
Altho retired from the sea, Mr. McCann could never forget his attachment for ships. As a hobby, he made ship models which were purchased by museums and celebrities. His last model was that of a four-masted barque which was 8½-feet long and 53 inches high.
Mr. McCann is survived by his widow, Marguerite; two step-daughters, Mrs. Alice von Neumann and Mrs. Frances Weber; and three sisters.
Arrangements for private services will be made later.
Chicago Daily News, Monday, April 12, 1965, p. 48, c. 7 (item):
R. G. McCANN RITES TUESDAY, TITANIC SURVIVOR
Private services for Robert G. McCann, 71, a former British seaman and a survivor of the Titanic disaster, will be held Tuesday in the John Carroll Sons Funeral Home, 25 E. Erie.
Mr. McCann, died Sunday in his home at 1134 N. Lawler. For the past 12 years, he had been a parts inspector at the F. W. Stewart Co.
He was born in London, England, and became a seaman with the British Merchant Marine. On April 14, 1912, he was quartermaster on the Titanic, when it struck an iceberg and sank.
Survivors include his wife, Marguerite; two stepdaughters, Mrs. Alice von Neumann and Mrs. Frances Weber; five grandsons, and three sisters.
They all may very well have been aboard the doomed liner, Titanic, however, I cannot find their names on any list of crewmen or passengers for that ship. And did Mr. McCann, no matter what ship he may, or may not, have been on, have in his possession the “presumed” lost log of the RMS Titanic?
This one is of much more recent vintage. The name given is Caroline Stanko (or Karolina Stanko), coming from Poland to Chicago. Just one problem---no such name appears upon the passenger lists for Titanic. Oddly, there were two male passengers with similar names: Jovan (or Ivan) Stankovic, from Croatia to New York City, and one Stanko Lyntakoff, from Bulgaria to, of all places, Coon Rapids, Iowa.---both 3rd cabin. Sadly, both men went down with the ship (this, of course, would rule out any sort of gender reassignment surgery as the possible answer). Perhaps this woman was using an assumed name? Maybe she was disguised as a boy (before the fact)? Or in her fantasy land she was aboard?
Chicago Tribune, Thursday, April 3, 1975, s. 7, p. 8, c. 1:
TERROR STILL VIVID
By Jeff Lyon
Goldfish cruise impassively among the plastic palm trees and ceramic spires on the bottom of Caroline Horvath’s little fish tank. With slight effort of imagination, you can visualize some city beneath the sea in there.
The vision is about as close as Mrs. Horvath cares to get to the underwater world. Water in quantity bothers her. She refuses to set foot on a boat; she gets dizzy when she goes near Lake Michigan. In fact, she lives as far from the lake as is possible while remaining in Chicago.
She has her reasons—1,513 of them.
That is the number of her fellow passengers who perished on April 15, 1912,m, when the unsinkable White Star liner Titanic went down.
Mrs. Horvath, now 83, can still recall the experience of 63 years ago in considerable detail. A caldron of steamy, fragrant cabbage soup was aboil in the kitchen at 3416 N. Opal Av. last week as she opened her memory for an interview.
She was Caroline Stanko in those days, a dark, full-faced beauty from a village in Poland. She had lived for time in Germany but longed to join her sister in a far-off city called Chicago.
A priest arranged for her passage to the United Stated, obtaining her passport and paying her steerage fare. She set out by train from Cracow, aiming for Southampton, England, where the great ocean liners were berthed.
With her were a neighbor girl from her home village and a woman cousin taking her three children to California where her husband awaited.
“I was supposed to go on another ship,” Mrs. Horvath recalled, fidgeting absently with the hem of her pink apron. “But it left before we could get on board. It left us right on the pier.”
Undaunt4ed, the travelers were able to book passage on the Titanic, which loomed nearby. Tho they didn’t know it, the sleek giant was the newest entrant in the trans-Atlantic sweepstakes, the most highly touted vessel in history, with the possible exception of Noah’s ark.
The Titanic was to be, her owners proclaimed, the queen of the sea, a floating pleasure dome in which passengers could indulge in their whims while speeding at 22 knots between England and New York.
They would do so like human chrysalises, secure within the Titanic’s impenetrable steel cocoon, the owners proudly claimed.
“We were out for two and a half days or so,” Mrs. Horvath recalled. “Everyone was so happy. They sang and they danced.”
She remembers only the steerage and tourist-class areas, where she and others slept in bunks, wandered about the decks, “and took our meals in the kitchen.”
They were far removed from the better accommodations, where some of the world’s richest people slept in lavish staterooms and dined in sumptuous halls, surrounded by gilt and glass, silver and glittering gems.
“I remember I had gone to sleep after supper,” Mrs. Horvath said. In the other bed was her neighbor.
“I felt a jerk. It woke me up. Then everybody was hollering, ‘Something happened to the boat!’”
The Titanic, steaming confidently thru the clear, chill air and calm sea, had come upon the knife-sharp edge of an iceberg, which slit her underbelly. The jolt was barely felt in the upper decks but below, where Mrs. Horvath was, water was quickly collecting.
“A sailor yelled, ‘Everybody up, but stay where you are. We’ll tell you where to go,’” she remembered.
The next moments come hazily to her. She remembers forming a line for the lifeboats at the direction of ship’s officers trying to avert panic.
“All they told us was the boat hit the ice. We had no time to look back and see what was going on. But I could feel the sinking already. I was scared, you bet”
Mrs. Horvath was one of the lucky 711 women and children to make it into the lifeboats. The others, mostly men, were forced to remain on the doomed deck because the Titanic did not carry enough boats.
“We were packed like sardines in that boat. You couldn’t turn around,” Mrs. Horvath said. “But I could see the boat sinking. I saw the people on the railing. There wasn’t enough room for them, there were so many people on that boat My God!
“They were screaming,” she remembered, “Screaming and screaming.”:
With a roar to wake the Titans of the heavens, the 45,000-ton Titanic tipped bow-first into the water and hung there, then slid forever into the sea. But Mrs. Horvath’s lifeboat was safe.
She remembers the craft bobbin about for 24 hours, the passengers without food and water, bereft of possessions and loved one.
“I don’t know what had happened to my cousin or her children,” she said. “I never saw them again. My neighbor didn’t even make it out to the deck. She died right there inside, of a heart attack. I guess.”
In the lifeboat, she recalled, no one spoke except when someone said, “I wish I had a glass of water,” and a man replied, “There’s water aplenty there but it’s all salty.”
“Everyone was sad,” she said. “They weren’t crying, tho.
They looked down at their feet, waiting for a boat to come. They said a boat would come. We all just prayed.”
Finally, the rescue vessel came and the survivors were taken to New York. From there, Mrs. Horvath came to Chicago, where in due course she found work, married Stephen Horvath of Hungary, and had seven children and 16 grandchildren.
No matter how many years pass, they can’t wipe away her memories of that April night. Now and then the movie version of the disaster is on TV and she watches.
“It always scares me,” she said.
Chicago Tribune, Saturday, August 20, 1988, s. 1, p. 8, c. 5:
Mass for Caroline Horvath, 97, who survived the sinking of the Titanic while immigrating to the United States in 1912, will be said at 9:30 am Monday in St. Francis Borgia Catholic Church, 8033 W. Addison St. Mrs. Horvath, a Northwest Side resident, died Thursday in Elmhurst Memorial Hospital. She was born Caroline Stanko in Poland and was about 20 when she decided to join a sister in Chicago. She had been booked as a steerage passenger on the Titanic, when it sank on the night of April 15, 1912. She is survived by 5 sons, Martin, Steven, Joseph, John and Michael, 2 daughters, Sophie Hanssen and Mary Powers; 16 grandchildren; 27 great-grandchildren; and 13 great-great-grandchildren.
She was buried at St. Joseph cemetery.
Again, nothing further can be found on this woman, or any links to Titanic.