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.

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