Even in horrific events such as the Titanic disaster, amazing stories emerge. Stories of heroics, stories of survival, and even stories of love. There were more than a dozen newly married couples on board the grand ship and many more couples who were impacted by the tragedy. Among those are these touching stories of love.
John and Nelle Snyder, first-class passengers, were saved in Lifeboat 7. It is said that when the first lifeboats were being loaded, one of the members called for the “new grooms and brides” to board first. The Snyders didn’t hesitate. They were some of the first people in the lifeboats because so many passengers were afraid to leave the “big boat.”
Then there is the story of third-class passenger Sarah Roth. Sarah was a 26-year-old tailor from London going to New York to be married to her fiancé, Daniel M. Iles. She was probably the happiest passenger on board when they steamed out of Southampton as she dreamed about marrying the man she loved in the dress she’d so lovingly made. When the ship sank her gown and all of her possessions went down with it. Sarah was married in a dress given to her by the Woman’s Relief Committee just eight days after the ship sank.
Edward and Ethel Bean were second-class passengers. Edward had lived in New York for a time. After waiting several years for his return from America, Ethel finally married Edward when he returned to England. The newlyweds chose Titanic to carry them to their new life together. When the ship starting sinking Edward helped Ethel into Lifeboat 13.
Here is their story from an article “Women Work Hard for Rescued Folk” in the New York Times, Sunday April 21, 1912:
Individuals, as well as organized committees, saw work before them and did it. Mrs. George F. Stott, who lives at the Hotel Chelsea, was energetic in behalf of a destitute couple from the second cabin of the Titanic who wandered into that hotel on the evening the Carpathia came to port. They are Edward Beane of Rochester and his bride from Norwich, England, not the only bridal couple that sailed on the biggest ship afloat, but probably the only newly wedded ones who were not separated for all time by the disaster. All that they had in the world went down with the ship, and they had saved six years for the wedding, which took place in Norwich a month ago.
Beane is a bricklayer, and Ethel, his wife, was maid in a Norwich household. Between them they had stored away $500, and sixty-five wedding presents were lost with the money. Beane stood back at the cry of, “No, only women!” when his bride was placed in one of the lifeboats. But as he stood back manfully he saw that boat pull off and it was only half filled. And he jumped into the sea and swam for that boat, and Ethel Beane’s arms pulled him in.
I love their story, and these real characters showed up in my novel, By the Light of the Silvery Moon. Mr. Bean was one of the few people who survived after being in the water. It’s amazing that the woman he loved pulled him from the freezing waters!
And while all these stories are wonderful, my favorite love story from the Titanic is that of Isidor and Ida Straus. Jewish immigrants, they rose from poverty to fortune in one generation and were the owners of Macy’s Department Store in New York. As a couple they worked together. Ida supporting Isidor in his roles as a business man, Congressman, and philanthropist. Isidor also supported Ida’s efforts in their home and in her own philanthropic activities. Their story of partnership and love is inspiring, but nothing is as inspiring as their deaths.
Married to her husband for 40 years, Ida had a chance to board a lifeboat, but she instead chose to die in the arms of her husband as the RMS Titanic sank. She’s quoted as saying, “Where you go, I go.” Isidor tried to talk her into getting back into the boat, saying “The children, the children!” But her response was, “They will understand.” Isador’s body was recovered, as was his wedding ring, but Ida’s body was never found.
All of these stories are heart-touching and it makes me think of my dear husband, whom I love. I’m thankful that we have today—this moment—together.
Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Tragedy may come at any time. That’s why it’s important to celebrate the love we have—to appreciate it and not take it for granted. Think about these couples as you cuddle up to the one you love tonight, and be thankful that you still have life, and days, to live your love story.
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