Titanic reaction

News stunned Southwest Colorado a century ago

In this April 10, 1912, file photo, the liner Titanic leaves Southampton, England on her maiden voyage. Enlarge photo

Associated Press file

In this April 10, 1912, file photo, the liner Titanic leaves Southampton, England on her maiden voyage.




These headlines greeted Southwest Coloradans when they read that the “unsinkable” RMS Titanic had struck an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. April 14, 1912 and sunk within a few hours.

They were stunned and shocked as they read the following stories.

Mancos Times-Tribune April 19, 1912

“The most disastrous wreck in the history of navigation occurred at about 2:15 o'clock last Sunday morning when the White Star Liner Titanic, with 2,100 passenger and crew on board, ran foul of an iceberg 1,284 miles east of Sandy Hook and sank before help could reach her from any quarter.

“No certain information as to the number of people saved and the number lost is at hand at the time of going to press but something like 675 persons are reported saved, which leaves about 1,300 that must be lost. The Titanic was the largest and finest ocean liner afloat and was on its first voyage when the accident occurred. HHH

Telluride Journal April 18, 1912

“Only 705 survivors of the Titanic disaster are aboard the Carpathia according to a wireless dispatch. Vice President Franklin, of the White Star Company, denies most emphatically that H. J. P. Morgan, Jr. suppressed the news of the sinking of the Titanic until after the stock market had closed on Monday evening and further stated that the officials of the White Star did not know until Monday night at 6:30 that the Titanic had sunk.

“Montreal — A wireless dispatch received here has it that White Star officials knew on Monday morning, when they issued reassuring bulletins that the Titanic was still afloat that she was being towed into port and all of the passengers were saved, that the Titanic had sunk with more than half the passengers and crew.”

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Weekly Ignacio Chieftain April 23, 1912

“New York, April 16 – Between 1,200 and 1,300 persons, passengers and crew perished yesterday when the “unsinkable Titanic” the ten-million-dollar White Star liner, went to the bottom of the sea.

“It is reported the steamers in answer to the Titanic's wireless shrieks for help of “Hurry, hurry, hurry!” rushed to her aid. This means the wreck is the greatest maritime disaster of modern times.

“There is little hope that the report is not true. Of the 2,000 souls aboard the once mighty ship about 866 were saved and are in route to Boston or New York.

“The Titanic, most luxurious, most vaunted as the safest steamer that ever sailed the seas, collided with an iceberg.”

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Ouray Herald April 19, 1912

“Denver, Colo., 2 p.m., April 19, 1912 – The latest reports of the sinking of the White Star liner Titanic, received this morning, are as follows:

“Major Archibald Butt, President Taft's aid, shot several men attempting to take the women's seats in the life boats.

“While the ship was sinking, the vessel's band played ‘Nearer My God to Thee.'

“The Carpathia brought 300 dead bodies with the survivors.

“It was reported that the accident was due to the Titanic trying to break the speed record for trans-Atlantic by order of the White Star Company.”

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Since that tragic April morning interest in the doomed ship has never faded, particularly now that the centennial of the sinking is at hand.

Duane Smith is a Fort Lewis College history professor. Reach him at 247-2589.