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Sunday, April 15, 2012
THEN AND NOW
Two men from the area met different fates after the mammoth ship sank 100 years ago today
One-hundred years ago this morning, people around the world awoke to the news of the sinking of the “unsinkable” Titanic. Only the day before, 29-yearold Reginald Hale was on his way home to Auburn. Hale sailed to England Linda four months earlier to FRANK spend Christmas with his mother and family after his father’s death in November 1911. Originally from Rodney Stoke, Summersetshire, England, Hale immigrated to America in 1905, and settled in Auburn. The young man was hired by what was then known as “The Home for the Friendless, where he ” boarded and worked as a gardener and janitor. Although his family was across the Atlantic, Hale was not without friends in Auburn. He was a member of Auburn’s General Gordon Lodge of the Sons of St. George and St. John’s Episcopal Church. Hale didn’t plan to stay in England until April, and he was expected back at his job at the end of March. However, on Feb. 22, 1912, coal miners in England called a general strike, and the shortage of coal to power ships at sea forced the cancellation of nearly all transatlantic departures that month. On April 4, Reginald Hale sent a telegram to The Home announcing that he was finally able to secure passage back to the United States, and that he would be sailing on the maiden voyage of the White Star Line’s newest luxury liner, the Titanic. Hale purchased a second-class ticket at a cost of £13 and boarded in Southampton on April 10. Meanwhile, in Port Byron, Baptist minister the Rev. Mawbey Collett and his wife, Ann, were anxiously awaiting the arrival of their son Sidney Clarence Stuart Collett. Also natives of England, the Collett family immigrated to North America piecemeal, and Sidney was one of the last family members to make the journey to America. Even for the son of a minister, Sidney Collett was an unusual young man. Born on June 8, 1887, he began preaching in the streets of London at the age of 12, and by the time he left his native land, he had already developed a reputation as a powerful orator. Collett’s journey to America was also delayed by the coal strike, and he was anxious to join his family in Port Byron. Although they did not know each other, Collett, like Hale, sailed on a second-class ticket. Just before the ill-fated ship left Southampton, Collett’s aunt motioned to him from shore, drawing his attention to Miss Marion Wright, a 26-year-old woman travelling alone to New York City to join her fiancé. Collett understood that his aunt was signaling him to look out for the young woman during the voyage. According to Collett, Miss Wright “playfully suggested that in order that (he) might not make love to her, she would invite an” other friend, Miss Kate Buss, age 36, to accompany them. Meeting these two women would prove to be the most important acquaintances of Collett’s life. Although both men held second-class tickets on the Titanic, by all accounts, their accommodations were on par with most other liners’ first-class cabins. The public rooms for secondclass passengers included a large wood-paneled lounge with upholstered mahogany chairs, an oak-paneled smoking room filled
DAVID WILCOX, Lake Life editor Phone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (315) 282-2245 Email . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . @drwilcox
Remembering local passengers on Titanic
Ohio and was the victim of a hazing incident in a dormitory. Perhaps as many as six students held Collett down, while K.P. Pfiffer of Minneapolis painted Collett’s forehead with nitrate of silver. The painful incident caused Collett “extreme agony” and the attending physician noted that the young man would be disfigured for life. Pfiffer was expelled from the university a week after the incident. By 1920, Sidney Collett was living with his parents in Rochester’s 18th Ward, where he was employed as a film examiner for Kodak. He eventually returned to his native England, where he died on May 8, 1941. Auburinan Reginald Hale was not as lucky. Hale perished in the sinking, and his body was recovered during the second day’s search by the Mackay-Bennett. Sidney Wills, the White Star representative in Auburn, travelled to Halifax, Nova Scotia to identify and transport Hale’s remains to his mother in England. Because of Wills’ association with the White Star Lines, he was given permission to enter the makeshift morgue and view Hale’s personal effects. At the time of the sinking, a lifebelt covered Hale’s dark blue suit and black overcoat. He wore a striped shirt, and his pockets contained two letters, trunk keys, a pair of gloves, photographs of two of his sisters, and a small amount of British and American currency. Also recovered was Hale’s unused ticket from New York City to Auburn. According to reports, Hale left a bank account at the Cayuga County Savings Bank containing close to $800. Unfortunately, due to the poor condition of Hale’s body, his remains were buried at sea on April 24, 1912. Today, a plaque at his father’s burial site in England fittingly also memorializes his son.
Provided by Robert Bracken of Titanic International
Reginald Hale, of Auburn, died when the Titanic sank 100 years Provided by Bain Collection, ago today.
Library of Congress
Auburn Daily Advertiser, Collett said the officer loading the lifeboat then asked him, “Well, what of you, where are you going?” Collett replied that the two young ladies were in his charge, adding that he felt it was his with dark green leather chairs, “duty to take care of them. The ” and a dining room offering food officer told Collett to get into prepared in the same kitchen as the boat, and the lifeboat was the first-class passengers. lowered. Shortly after 11:30 p.m. on The next three days were April 14, 1912, lookout Frederick difficult ones in Port Byron. Fleet spotted an iceberg from Collett’s name did not initially the crow’s nest directly in the appear on the list of those saved path of the ship, and although from the disaster, and even after the crew valiantly tried to port Collett was listed among the around it, Titanic’s starboard survivors, the family could not side collided with the wall of ice be sure. On April 18, a messenger at 11:40 p.m. arrived at the Collett home with In his stateroom, Collett had a telegram addressed to Mawbey just gone to bed when he was Collett reading simply, “Safe. jolted by “two heavy throbs, as ” Carpathia. Sidney. ” if the ship had struck something, Sidney granted his first exrebounded and then hit again. tended interview to The Auburn Collett dressed and went up on Democrat-Argus later that deck, and although he didn’t see month, and on May 5, nearly the iceberg, the officers on hand 2,000 people crowded into Auwere ordering those on deck to burn’s Jefferson Theater to hear “get the ladies. Finding Misses ” his story firsthand. Wright and Buss, Collett helped However, Collett faced yet the women into lifeboat No. 9, another tragedy the followone of the last to leave. Accord- ing year. In 1913, he enrolled at Linda Frank is the Cayuga ing to an interview given to the Denison University in Granville, County historian.
Sidney Collett, of Port Byron, survived when the Titanic sank 100 years ago today. He is pictured aboard the Carpathia, one of the ships that rescued Titanic survivors after the wreck.
Tracing Revolutionary, Dutch ancestors in Albany
Recently personal business would take me to the Capitol in Albany. With the remaining time, I couldn’t resist visiting the surrogate’s court to see if I could find wills for my colonial Dutch ancestors. The city of Albany greeted us Dawn with continual affability. ROE My mission was to research the descendants of Capt. Jacob J. Lansing, who served under Col. Philip P. Schuyler in the American Revolution. I prepared a list for wills and was excited to learn what clues they would reveal. The indexes were very easy to use, but what was missing was the actual probate or surrogate records for those having property but without a will. The staff makes a run twice per day to bring the requested records up from the sub-basement located two floors below. Some of the files did not contain the original will, while most contained only brief heir lists, but it was just enough to make progress. My goal is to establish my descent with a supplemental application with the Owasco chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The trip yielded most of what was needed, but I was still perplexed as to where the surrogate files were located. This was my first experience where search revealed that Albany records have a long history based on periods of Dutch, British or American government. You can find more by visiting www.gaeleire.freeservers.com/ whats_new.html. This website reports that some records are housed with the New York State Archives. I will post updates to my blog as I confirm the location and date ranges for these important research materials. The next stop was the Albany Rural Cemetery in Menands. The cemetery office has wonderful Provided plot diagrams that can often be The Spear plot sits in Albany Rural the only trace for burials having no headstone. That was the Cemetery in Menands, N.Y. case for Elizabeth Spears, who these kinds of records are not died at Cohoes in 1872. Her final available from the court from resting place of her son Ebenezer which they were created. My was found on the plot diagram. She was the grandmother of Elizabeth Spears Traver, of Port Byron, whose maternal ancestors include the Dutch Visscher and Lansing families of Albany. Many prominent Americans can trace their ancestry to the colonial Dutch of New York. The list includes Shirley Temple Black, President Martin Van Buren, governor and Erie Canal Commissioner DeWitt Clinton, and many others. To learn more about America’s Dutch, visit the New Netherland Institute website at www.nnp.org. Dawn Roe is historian for the village of Port Byron and a member of the Owasco chapter Daughters of the American Revolution. She can be reached at 776-8446 or www.portbyronhistory.com.
LOOK BACK AT THE LAKES
April 15, 1927
Deep snowdrifts left by the worst spring blizzard today paralyzed traffic in Wyoming and Colorado and endangered thousands of head of livestock. Scores of persons were marooned in automobiles and buses.
CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS
• Volunteers are needed for trash pickup and brush-clearing on the trails of Montezuma Heritage Park as part of the New York State Canal Clean Sweep from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 21 (sponsored by the Montezuma Historical Society), and from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 29 (sponsored by the Girl Scouts and Cornell Cooperative Extension). The second event also includes a bike safety program for youth. To volunteer for the first event, call 776-4656; for the second, call 283-2393. For more information, visit http://montezumaheritagepark.blogspot.com. • Westminster Manor will celebrate National Volunteer Week from April 15 to 21 at the home, 81 South St., Auburn. The nonprofit independent adult home will also host a volunteer appreciation ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 13, for past and current volunteers at the home, as well as anyone interested in becoming a volunteer. For more information, call 252-0507. • Auburn Community Hospital is looking to fill a few volunteer positions. Volunteers are sought to work in the emergency department mornings, afternoons and evenings on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays; the Fingerlakes Center for Living from 9 a.m. to noon Thursdays and Fridays; and in clerical and computer positions (hours and days are flexible). For more information, call 255-7350. • Chapel House Homeless Shelter seeks volunteers to fill four-hour afternoon or evening shifts on a weekly or monthly basis. Volunteers would answer the phone, take in residents and assist residents with basic needs. Training will be provided. For more information, call 255-2060. • Mercy Health and Rehabilitation Center is seeking volunteers to pick up residents from their rooms and transport them to: occupational therapy from 8:30 a.m. to noon or 1 to 3 p.m.; physical therapy from 9 a.m. to noon or 1 to 4 p.m.; and beauty shop appointments beginning at 9 a.m. Mondays through Fridays. The center also seeks friendly visitors to work with residents at any time during the week, as well as volunteers to assist with recreational activities. For more information, call 253-0351 ext. 310. • The Firemen’s Association of the State of New York will hold National Volunteer Week 2012 recruitment events from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, April 21, and from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 22, at the Owasco Fire Department Station No. 1, 7174 Owasco Road, Auburn. Fire equipment will be displayed, and other activities are planned. • Believers’ Chapel Auburn seeks musicians to volunteer to be part of a growing church plant. For more information, call 730-3974. • Literacy Volunteers of Cayuga County is seeking volunteers to be trained as basic literacy and English as a second language tutors. Participants do not need any teaching experience or fluency in another language. There is an 18-hour tutor training workshop, and an annual commitment of 60 to 75 hours. Participants are asked to meet with their student for at least two hours a week. For more information, call 253-5241. • Northbrook Heights, an assisted living community, seeks volunteers to help with activities and to visit one-one-one with, teach a craft to, read to or spend time entertaining residents. For more information, call 253-2755. • Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes is looking for volunteers to assist staff with answering phones, making copies, filing, cleaning and snow shoveling. Volunteers can work when they’re able. For more information, call Mandy O’Donovan at 253-2222 ext. 101. • The Cayuga County Veterans Van is in need of a volunteer driver to transport veterans seeking medical treatment from the Syracuse Veterans Affairs Medical Center. To donate one day a week of time, call 253-1281 or email email@example.com. ny.us. • The Cayuga/Seneca Community Action Agency seeks volunteers for its Free Clothing Program to help sort donations for sharing with the community. The agency also needs volunteers for its Head Start program. Participants can assist teachers and interact with children by singing, playing a musical instrument, dancing, reading a story or putting to use any other talents that can be shared with children. For more information, call 252-0038. • The SCAT Van service seeks volunteers for the winter months. For more information, call 253-0996. • The Cayuga County Office for the Aging seeks volunteers to deliver lunch meals to homebound seniors in Auburn. Volunteers would work one day a week for an hour and a half. For more information, call 253-1427. • The Finger Lakes SPCA of Central New York is seeking volunteers to assist at one Spay/ Neuter Clinic per month. — From staff reports
April 15, 1952
(Pictured) There was a rush of business at the YMCA Monday afternoon, when Little League aspirants almost swamped the Boy’s Department to register. Harvey K. Griffith, left, boy’s secretary, spent most of the afternoon accepting registrations. In the line are Jimmy Fritz, 118 North St., James Keller, 20 Garrow St., Paul Copley, 15 Grove Ave., Jimmy House, 10 Grove Ave., and Tom Smith, 20 Tuxill Square. — Compiled by Linda Simmons
DESIGNER: DEBORAH H., EXT. 3275
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