Few events from history grip us like the sinking of the Titanic. Now, on the centennial of her falling to the ocean floor--along with over 1500 men, women and children--we pause once again to remember the grandiose ship they claimed was impossible to sink…yet did.
An iceberg sent her to the Atlantic floor april 14th, 1912...but even 100 years of books and research--not to mention a high-grossing film--couldn't take away the want of identifying with the tragedy.
So we began to wonder…is there a Kentucky connection?
We went to work on this in the newsroom and, with some online research and a few well placed emails, we yielded some fascinating results...
We discovered that three of the survivors were native to the Bluegrass.
Charles Hallace Romaine was born 1866 in Georgetown, Kentucky and grew up in Kentucky and Ohio. A first class passenger on Titanic, Romaine was among a group of cardsharks that swindled other rich travelers aboard. He was even known to use fake names when he ran the tables. He survived the sinking of Titanic only to be killed 10 years later…hit by a car while crossing a New York City street.
Lucinda Parrish and her daughter Imanita Parrish Shelley were second-class ticket-holders. Lucinda was born in Lexington in 1842, making her the oldest person aboard the doomed ship.
"Social climbers", "complainers", and "generally obnioxious" were the descriptions given to the mother-daughter duo by their fellow passengers on Titanic. Lucinda and Imanita found seats in lifeboat number 12 and survived, though Lucinda was injured when a man jumped into the boat on her leg and foot. They made a new home for themselves in Montana and later, Hawaii. Lucinda later passed in 1930.
There was another Kentuckian aboard the Titanic...unfortunately, he didn't make it. Dr. Ernest Moraweck, a Louisville native and well known ear, nose and throat specialist, was returning home to Kentucky from a trip to Germany to inspect some property he inherited. His body was never recovered.
But the Titanic lives on! Today theres an attraction in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee to take in, a 3D film to cry at (again), and artifacts snatched up from the ocean floor that you can buy--all ways to relate to the disaster.
But for Kentuckians, we now know we had kin from the commonwealth aboard Titanic, that those three lived to tell the tale, and that we'll always have that small tie to the "ship of dreams".
So we hope you think of Lucinda, Imanita, Dr. Moraweck, and Charles the next time you think about Titanic...and the Kentucky connection will live on.