United States Senate Inquiry

Day 16

Affidavit of Daisy Minahan

AFFIDAVIT AT REQUEST OF SENATOR SMITH.

STATE OF WISCONSIN, Wood County, as:

Daisy Minahan, being first duly sworn, upon oath deposes and says: I was asleep in stateroom C-78; the crying of a woman in the passageway awakened me. I roused my brother and his wife, and we began at once to dress. No one came to give us warning. We spent five minutes in dressing and went on deck to the port side. The frightful slant of the deck toward the bow of the boat gave us our first thought of danger. An officer came and commanded all women to follow, and he led us to the boat deck on the starboard side. He told us there was no danger, but to get into a lifeboat as a precaution only. After making three attempts to get into boats, we succeeded in getting into lifeboat No. 14. The crowd surging around the boats was getting unruly.

Officers were yelling and cursing at men to stand back and let the women get into the boats. In going from one lifeboat to another we stumbled over huge piles of bread lying on the deck.

When the lifeboat was filled there were no seamen to man it. The officer in command of No.14 called for volunteers in the crowd who could row. Six men offered to go. At times when we were being lowered we were at an angle of 45° and expected to be thrown into the sea. As we reached the level of each deck men jumped into the boat until the officer threatened to shoot the next man who jumped. We landed in the sea and rowed to a safe distance from the sinking ship. The officer counted our number and found us to be 48. The officer commanded everyone to feel in the bottom of the boat for a light. We found none. Nor was there bread or water in the boat. The officer whose name I learned afterwards to be Lowe, was continually making remarks such as, "A good song to sing would be, Throw Out the Life Line," and "I think the best thing for you women to do is to take a nap."

The Titanic was fast sinking. After she went down the cries were horrible. This was at 2:20 a.m. by a man's watch who stood next to me. At this time three other boats and ours kept together by being tied to each other. The cries continued to come over the water. Some of the women implored Officer Lowe, of No.14, to divide his passengers among the three other boats and go back to rescue. His first answer to those requests was, "You ought to be damn glad you are here and have got your own life." After some time he was persuaded to do as he was asked. As I came up to him to be transferred to the other boat he said, "Jump, God damn you, jump." I had showed no hesitancy and was waiting only my turn. He had been so blasphemous during the two hours we were in his boat that the women at my end of the boat all thought he was under the influence of liquor. Then he took all of the men who had rowed No.14, together with the men from the other boats, and went back to the scene of the wreck. We were left with a steward and a stoker to row our boat, which was crowded. The steward did his best, but the stoker refused at first to row, but finally helped two women, who were the only ones pulling on that side. It was just 4 o'clock when we sighted the Carpathia, and we were three hours getting to her. On the Carpathia we were treated with every kindness and given every comfort possible.

A stewardess who had been saved told me that after the Titanic left Southampton that there were a number of carpenters working to put the doors of the air-tight compartments in working order. They had great difficulty in making them respond, and one of them remarked that they would be of little use in case of accident, because it took so long to make them work.

DAISY MINAHAN.

Subscribed and sworn to before me this 13th day of May, 1912.

[SEAL.]

E. C. WITTIG,
Notary Public of Wisconsin.

My commission expires October 10, 1915.

 

 

HON. WM. ALDEN SMITH,
Washington, D. C.

DEAR SIR: I have given you my observations and experiences after the disaster, but want to tell you of what occurred on Sunday night, April 14.

My brother, his wife, and myself went to the cafe for dinner at about 7:15 p.m. (ship's time). When we entered there was a dinner party already dining, consisting of perhaps a dozen men and three women. Capt. Smith was a guest, as also were Mr. and Mrs. Widener, Mr. and Mrs. Blair [Thayer], and Maj. Butt. Capt. Smith was continuously with his party from the time we entered until between 9:25 and 9:45, when he bid the women good night and left. I know this time positively, for at 9:25 my brother suggested my going to bed. We waited for one more piece of the orchestra, and it was between 9:25 and 9:45 (the time we departed), that Capt. Smith left.

Sitting within a few feet of this party were also Sir Cosmo and Lady Duff-Gordon, a Mrs. Meyers, of New York, and Mrs. Smith, of Virginia. Mr. and Mrs. Harris also were dining in the cafe at the same time.

I had read testimony before your committee stating that Capt. Smith had talked to an officer on the bridge from 8:45 to 9:25. This is positively untrue, as he was having coffee with these people during this time. I was seated so close to them that I could hear bits of their conversation.

Yours,

DAISY MINAHAN.