Wednesday, June 4, 2014

See the only bible saved on the Titanic! On display at Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge.

KNOXVILLE, TN – Rev. Bateman – lived in Knoxville late 1890’s.
His personal bible was on the Titanic with him. He did NOT survive.
Rev. Bateman gave his Bible to his sister-in-law, as she was put in the lifeboat.

By Allison Ensor,
guest writer

This is the story of how a Bible once aboard the Titanic came to be in Putnam County for some thirty-five years before being acquired by a Nashville museum and currently on display at

Although Robert J. Bateman was an Englishman, born in Bristol, England in 1860, he lived in the United States for a number of years, working particularly in Knoxville, Tennessee and in Jacksonville, Florida.  Arriving in Knoxville in the late 1890s, he founded the People’s Tabernacle, a church located in a rough part of town, a mission that ministered to the poor, providing them with shelter, food, and clothing.  He did not remain in Knoxville, however, and by the early twentieth century had moved on to Jacksonville, where he was involved in the Central City Mission, a ministry to those often neglected by the wealthier, more prominent churches.
Photo Credit:

Early in 1912 Bateman was back in England for a couple of months and then booked passage in second class on the Titanic, thinking to return to Jacksonville to continue his work there.  Accompanying him on the trip was his wife’s sister, Ada Ball.  Did Bateman feel some premonition that he might not reach New York?  A postcard he mailed when the ship docked at Queenstown, Ireland, told his nephew:  “Tom, if this ship goes to the bottom, I shall not be there, I shall be up yonder.  Think of it!”  Such thoughts hardly seemed to be in anyone else’s mind, since it was widely believed that the Titanic was unsinkable.

The claim has been made that Bateman conducted the only worship service held aboard
the Titanic, but this is directly contradicted by other accounts.  Some claim that Bateman asked the band to play “Nearer, My God, to Thee” at the service he held.  Other accounts
mention the singing of “Eternal Father, Strong to Save,” with its plea “for those in peril on the sea.”

When the ship hit the iceberg and it became apparent that the Titanic was actually going to sink, Bateman was concerned about his sister-in-law, but it is difficult to say exactly what took place. In one account Bateman had already taken a seat in a lifeboat when he discovered that his sister-in-law was still on the ship.  He hastened to change places with her, fully aware that it would probably mean his own death.  In another version, the one given in Walter Lord’s A Night to Remember, Bateman was never in one of the lifeboats but helped his sister-in-law into one, promising her, “If I don’t meet you again in this world, I will in the next.”   In several accounts he gave her some article of clothing—an overcoat, a scarf, a necktie.   

 Ada Ball may have kept the book for some time but then seems to have passed it on to Bateman’s widow.  It is at this point that a figure familiar to many Putnam Countians enters the story: Harry L. Upperman.  At that time the future president of the Methodist high school called Baxter Seminary was only twenty years old.

During her final illness in Baltimore, Mrs. Bateman gave Upperman the Testament that her husband had carried, presumably on August 15, 1915, since this is the date Upperman recorded, along with this statement of the book’s history:  “To Harry L. Upperman, a gift from Mrs. Bateman as a remembrance of her husband, who got up out of a rowboat as the Titanic was sinking, and gave that seat to his sister [sister-in-law], who he thought was in another boat, but who had really been left on the Titanic.  Mr. Bateman got back on the Titanic and lost his life as the boat sank.” Along the lefthand margin is written the name of the sister-in-law: “Mrs. Ball (Ada).”  Further down the flyleaf is written: “Harry L. Upperman, President, Baxter Seminary, Baxter, Tennessee.”  Dr. Upperman did not come to Baxter until 1923, so obviously this was written later. 

The story of the New Testament, titled The Emphatic Diaglott Containing the Original Greek Text of What Is Commonly Styled The New Testament…with an Interlinerary Word for Word English Translation was told in an article written for the Putnam County Herald by a Cookeville man, Albert Brogdon, and published April 11, 1940.  Apparently Brogdon interviewed Upperman, since he included this statement from him: “The drama, as I see it, was in that man, who in the darkness of the night, knew that if he got back on that boat, he would die.”  Brogdon added that Upperman was to preach in Baltimore on the anniversary of the ship’s sinking and would read his text from the Bible that had been saved from the ship. 
The only bible saved from Titanic - on Display NOW at Titanic Pigeon Forge.

Harry L. Upperman retired as president of Baxter Seminary in 1957. Soon after that the school was turned over to the county and given the name Upperman High School.  Upperman died in 1984 and is buried in Baxter. The Testament, which had been at Baxter Seminary all those years, was passed on to the Upper Room Museum in Nashville and now the bible is displayed at the Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, Tn.

To purchase tickets to the Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, Tn. Click Here.

Monday, May 12, 2014


Hens and Roosters and Icebergs, Oh My! 
-       By Crewmember Cheri

You’ve probably heard stories about the ten, dear dogs that were on Titanic, but I’ll bet you didn’t know there were chickens on board, too.  They weren’t your ordinary, barnyard birds of course, not on Titanic! These were rare and exotic French roosters and hens, the very symbol of French national pride.

This elegant brood belonged to widow Ella White, 55, and her traveling companion Marie Grice Young, 36.  The two women  purchased the birds while touring the continent with a maid and man servant. They were returning to Ella’s family home, Briarcliff Manor and Farm in New York, where they planned to raise the colorful foul. 
Left to right Marie Young, Ella White and Ella's niece Mrs Harry S. Durand© Michael A. Findlay / Harry Durand Jr., USA

Personality wise, these two women were as different as night and day.  Ella was brash and aggressive, while Marie was soft-spoken and artistic - she was once music instructor to President Theodore Roosevelt’s daughter Ethel.  When Ella injured her ankle, it fell to kind-hearted Marie to look after her and to mind the chickens nesting in the ship’s kennel.

It became a  happy, daily routine for Marie to visit the birds in their “D” deck coop, always accompanied by Titanic’s 26-year-old carpenter, John Hutchinson, who, by the way, also looked after the welfare of Titanic’s ten dogs. Checking on the chicks gave Marie a chance to explore the work-a-day world aboard ship and to report her findings to Ella.

On the night before Titanic struck the iceberg, 2nd Class passenger Nellie Hocking was shocked to hear a cock crowing between sunset and midnight and that, according to folklore, signaled impending disaster.  Well, you know what happened next, but before the sinking Marie had tipped the young Mr. Hutchinson with some gold coins, to which he exclaimed, “It’s such good luck to receive gold on a first voyage.”  Sadly, his luck, along with that of his feathered and furry wards, ran out when Titanic went down.

Marie and Ella, however survived, maintaining their relationship for 30 more years.  When Ella died, Marie inherited the majority of her estate. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Thanks to two Sneaky Sisters!

Let me tell you about two very sneaky sisters that were on the Titanic: Miss Margaret Jane Murphy, known as "Mary" or "Maggie and Sister Miss Catherine "Kate" Murphy, from Aghnacliffe, Co Longford, Ireland.  
Maggie was 25 years old and Kate only 19 years old. Both were ready for a change. Life had been rough since their father died when they were young. Their mother was often sick, which left the oldest brother to take care of them and he was very protective. 
Kate and Maggie begged their brother to let them go to America. They received letters from other siblings who had already left Ireland and now lived in the Land of Opportunity and were enjoying its riches. However, Big Brother would not permit it.
Ladies in Edwardian Style Clothing
There were 2 young boys who lived next door to Kate and Maggie, otherwise known as the Kiernans, who began courting them. These 2 young men ages, 25 and 22 years old were planning to go to America on the Titanic.  The Kiernans, bought third class tickets for themselves on the Titanic and secretly bought tickets for Kate and Maggie as well.
One day in April 1912, the sneaky sisters told their brother that they were going to Queenstown to wish the Kiernans farewell. Instead, Kate and Maggie were actually planning to travel with the Kiernans to America. Can you just see these two women trying to hide their luggage and their excitement from their brother and trying not to get caught?!
Perhaps the girls thought it would be safer to travel with these young men to look after them in case they needed protection? Maybe it was a premonition, because protection is exactly what they needed!   
The first four days at sea, Kate and Maggie enjoyed 3rd class parties and dining. However, on Sunday night, April 14th, the sisters were woken by the passengers in the next cabin and were told to hurry to the deck for further instruction. The sisters began to panic as they were held back by crew at the gates to the upper level.   Was this karma punishing them for disobeying their older brother?  Was it to be the end of them for their sneaky deeds?   I am sure there were a few prayers maybe a plea for forgiveness and a hope that God would give them a second chance.  Then they heard a strong voice of James Farrell yelling,  "Great God, man! Open the gate and let the girls through!" The crewman complied. Kate and Maggie scurried through the hallways and found their way to a lifeboat right before it hurled into the sea.
Titanic and Olympic - Sister Ships
The sights and sounds that they experienced during the next hours became a frequent nightmare.  They worried that the Kiernans had been left aboard the sinking ship. They saw many struggling in the waters to survive. They heard cries for help in the dark and finally the seas became silent and Titanic was gone. 
 Help was on the way. The Carpathia heard the distress signals, and made the journey to come to their rescue. These two sisters were given a second chance. 
The following is an article from the New York Times on Sunday 21st April 1912.  It is an interview with Mr. Thomas Joseph McCormack’s sister Catherin Evers tells about her brother’s experience on Titanic.
"When he saw the condition of the ship he put on a lifebelt and leaped overboard. He tried to get into one lifeboat which was only partly filled and the sailors beat him off with their oars. He tried to enter another partly filled boat and was again beaten off, being partly stunned this time.”
Then two young women in the boat, Kate and Mary Murphy, reached into the water and grasped him. They pleaded with the sailors that there was plenty of room in the boat, and at last got him aboard."
What you don’t know is that accompanying Thomas Joseph McCormack age 19, were his two cousins, Philip and John Kiernan. Tom McCormack survived the sinking, but lost his two cousins.
After their arrival in New York, the sisters were sent to St. Vincent's Hospital for recuperation. Their family already living in America came to get them.  Kate and Maggie were very sad to find out that the Kiernans had died on the ship, as well as James Farrell, the man who had saved them. The sisters then had to write back to Ireland to let their poor mother know they where safe.

Written by : Cheri Winger 
1st Class Maid, Titanic Museum Attraction
Branson, Mo.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Fighting Irish

March is here and the whole month is a celebration of the Irish Heritage that runs throughout the world.  If you don’t have an Irish bloodline, it doesn’t matter! You can still celebrate with the rest of us that do.  The Irish are a proud people that have had struggles in their past, but always digs a little deeper and come through their difficulties.   

When we think of the fighting Irish, most of us think of the 1909 Notre Dame-Michigan Game where a teammate yelled, “What’s the matter with you guys?  You’re all Irish and you’re not fighting worth a lick!”  Notre Dame came back to win the game! The Irish are born with determination. A reporter overheard the remark and reported the game as a victory for the “Fighting Irish!”                
With determination and pride, the Irish Built Titanic. The Irish were also part of the crew and represented a lot of the passengers on board.  So, to talk of Titanic, one can not help but speak of someone that was Irish.  I could tell you story after story of some of them, so when asked to write about an Irish passenger, it was very hard to choose which one.


I personally love to dress up as one of my favorite passengers,

“Miss Bridget Delia Mc Dermott” of the Addergoole fourteen.  Bridget had great determination to retrieve her hat after being in a lifeboat.  During the sinking, this Irish lady, who was in her third class cabin when Titanic hit the iceberg, returned to the decks only to see all the  lifeboats already being lowered into the water. As is typical of a "Fighting Irish", Bridget jumped fifteen feet off the side of the ship and landed in lifeboat number thirteen.   

Titanic Crew Member Cheri dressed as Miss Bridget Delia Mc Dermott


Even though Bridget's story is one of my favorite, I have instead chosen to tell you about a couple of sisters and a brother that were greatly loved.  Like most siblings growing up, the McCoy sisters bickered and argued amongst themselves, but were close siblings. It reminds me of my family. As my brothers and I began aging, we would ask each other, "Remember when we were young, and we ....?" The McCoy sisters of Ireland also had a memory that they will never forget.  


Two sisters Agnes and Alice came to take their twenty four year old brother Bernard back to America.  Like most Irish families of that day, the family sent their children to the new land for a better future.  Part of the family was in American and each time they saved up additional money, they would come back for additional family members.   


On Titanic, you can image how the girls enjoyed seeing Bernard ’s amazement

of everything new and exciting.  That excitement changed to panic that Sunday

Night when Titanic struck the iceberg and each third class passenger struggled to make his way out.  When the McCoy sisters found their brother that night, whose cabin was far from theirs, they pushed through gates, stewards, and crew to the boat deck with hard determination.  But when the crew told Bernard that he couldn't get into a lifeboat, the McCoy sisters fell silent. Their hearts stopped as the crew pulled them into a lifeboat, leaving Bernard behind. Will this be the end of Bernard ?  


Robert L. Bracken wrote a lovely piece on this family and I would like to use parts of his story for my article. The following is a direct quote from his writings:


"Agnes McCoy later gave an account to the New York Herald. She said - Both my sister and I wanted to remain on shipboard when they would not allow poor Bernard to come into the lifeboat with us. He told us to go ahead, but we thought that if one was going to drown, we might as well all go down. We were literally thrown into the lifeboat and while we fought and cried, it was lowered over the side. The boat bobbed around in the water for some time before the men got at the oars, and the first thing I knew, I saw a form whirl through the air and splash into the water near our boat. When the form came up, I recognized it as Bernard. I cited to my sister, who was nearer to him than I, to help him. The poor boy took hold of the side of the boat and I staggered to his rescue. Several persons pushed me back and I saw a seaman strike Bernard's hands with an oar. Then he tried to beat him off by striking him on the head and shoulders. It was more than I could stand, and calling for Alice, I made for the seaman. With more strength than I thought I ever possessed, I threw the man to the bottom of the boat and held him there fast. Yes, maybe I did hit him once or twice, but I think I was justified under the circumstances. In the meantime, Alice helped the poor boy over the side and lifted him to safety. I think everyone on board the lifeboat was highly elated and perfectly satisfied that our brother was safe with us. We need him here with us as any two sisters do.”


A victory for the “ Fighting Irish!”  It isn’t really the victory in the fight itself, but for the determination to overcome under any circumstances.   And that is something to really celebrate!  




Titanic Crew Member Cheri




Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Spring Forward

Crew Member Cheri
     On March 9th, in America we set our clocks forward.  But it is also the time to change that battery in your smoke detector.  As a crew member aboard Titanic, I found out that Titanic had a unique fire detection system, like a Victorian Smoke detector!    Near the bridge was a sort of headquarter fire station with a fireman on duty 24 hours a day, never moving more than 6 feet away from his post.  

There was a tube-like system of little tubes that all came to this main position with an airtight glass case that contained a small filament of foil inside.  A suction system drew air from the little tubes making the filament vibrate.   The small tubes ran all through the ship from other stations.   The main fireman would watch the glass tube to see if the suction was working with the movement of the foil inside the glass tube. If a small ball of smoke looking like a gray wool ball appeared in the tube, it was an alarm that warned the fireman on duty.   He would immediately call on one of the 50 telephones on the ship to a deck hand on that level, to check that area and phone back with the result; like a dispatch of sorts.  Fire hoses and hydrants were placed in key areas.   I found this quite interesting to know that safety was thought of, in case of a fire.   
So as we spring forward in time to 2014, review your own fire safety in your homes. Make sure you have placed fire hydrants in key areas, you have the local fire station phone number in your cell phone, and batteries changed in your smoke detectors! And if you are part of the Titanic crew, lookout for icebergs!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Little Moments at the Titanic Museum Attraction

One of the pleasures of working at the Titanic Museum Attraction in Branson, Mo is meeting some really super families.   I remember back in May of 2013, it was close to closing time when a nice family came in with three kids.  The oldest child was around the age of 14,  maybe 15 years old. He had such a tremendous interest in Titanic that I was drawn to him.   He was very knowledgeable and truly interested in everything.  I had to chuckle when he got upset to find out that someone was building a Titanic II before he could. 
He said some day he hoped to work in our museum.  I told him to keep learning about Titanic and come back when he got older to apply for a job.  He was the nicest and most polite boy full of hope and looking forward to a bright future.   These little moments brighten my day. On another day, a sweet little lady from Canada came in and just had to have her picture taken with me.  She was a hoot, so fun and loving.  We have people come in from all over the world and no matter what background or age they come from, they come to the museum to share a moment.  You share a special moment in time for a time long ago.  I want to say thank you for sharing a love that we here at the museum have.  A love and passion for more than just a ship, but for a love of the life of our guests, just like you.  Thank you! Continue to make our day!  
First Class Maid Cheri