Titanic – Portland Residents and Friends

The sinking of the Titanic affected families worldwide – here is the impact in Portland, April 1912. More tomorrow on Frank M. Warren and Anna Atkinson Warren, daughter of missionary and educational icon of the Oregon Territory, Rev. George Atkinson…

Morning Oregonian, April 17, 1912


Hope That Herman Klaber and F. M. Warren, Sr., Survived Titanic’s Doom Vanishes

Unless that one slight thread of hope which still holds forth in the breasts of all who had dear ones on board the Titanic develops into reasonable assurances to the contrary, Herman Klaber and F. M. Warren, Sr. the two Portland men among the passengers, will be mourned for dead.

All other Portland people, including Mrs. F. M. Warren, Mrs. James R. Watt and Miss Bertha Watt, her daughter, appear to have been saved. All reports from the rescue ship Carpathia contain the names of these women among the passengers who were saved. Mrs. Luty D. Parrish, mother of James H. Hall, of 412 Morrison Street, also has been rescued, according to latest reports, although no advice has been received as to the fate of Mrs. Mrs. William Shelley, her daughter, who was traveling with her. Hall hopes that the woman reported among the rescued under the name “Mrs. W. M. Spellery,” will prove to be his sister. (Note: Imanita Parrish Shelley is on the final list of survivors.)

ON the CarpathiaContrary to reports received late yesterday afternoon, Mrs. Ellen Becker and three children, of Benton Harbor, Mich., were saved. Mrs. Becker is a sister of Mrs. Waldo Avery, Jr., of 554 Melinda Ave. Wireless messages from the Carpathia last night said that Mrs. Becker and her children were on board that vessel.

Joseph Riesch, of 176 East Forty-fifth Street, who was believed to have been aboard the Titanic, did not sail as intended. A letter received last night by his sister, Miss Frances Riesch, brought the reassuring news that he had changed his mind and that he would not leave England until later in the present month.

“It was almost like receiving a message from the dead,” said Miss Riesch, as she beamed with joy at her home last night, “Joe wrote us a few weeks ago that he would sail on the Titanic, as he wanted to have the novel experience of being a passenger on the first voyage of the largest vessel afloat. I don’t know what made him change his plans, but I’m glad he did, as I know Joe would not have tried to save himself so long as there were women and children on board who could be saved.”

Riesch is a clerk in the haberdashery of C. C. Bradley, on Washington Street. He is 22 years of age and has been touring Europe for the last six weeks. His last written word to his family here was from Brussels in which he expressed his intention of sailing on the Titanic. A card written about the same time said he had not made up his mind on the subject and that he might delay departure for a few weeks.

Four actors at the Orpheum this week are much concerned over the fate of Henry B. Harris, the theatrical magnate who is reported among the missing. They are Miss Katherine Grey, leading woman in the sketch, “Above the Law,” and Bennett Southard, a member of the old Baker Stock Company, of Portland; Menifee Johnstone and Arthur Row, who are supporting her. All four were with Mr. Harris’ company until six weeks ago, when they left to go into vaudeville. They were with Mr. Harris at the dock when he left New York and looked forward with a great deal of pleasure to seeing him again soon after his return. (Theater Manager and First-class passenger Henry Birkhardt Harris, age 45 years 4 months and 14 days, first embarked from Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912. He did not survive and his body was never recovered. His wife, Irene Wallach Harris, did survive, arriving at the Carpathia in Boat D. She died September 2, 1969 at age 93.)

It is virtually certain that Mrs. Warren, Mrs. Watt and Miss Watt have been saved, although Mr. Warren and Mr. Klaber are almost certain to have been lost. Some slight consolation is obtained from their fate by the knowledge that they willingly forfeited their own lives that those of innocent women and children might be saved.

James R. Watt, of 189 East Fourteenth Street, whose wife and daughter, whose wife and daughter, Bertha, were among those rescued by the Carpathia, was overjoyed to learn of their safety yesterday. Reports received the previous evening were discouraging, and Mr. Watt was prepared to believe the worst. “The suspense has been dreadful,” said Mr. Watt. “Now that I know my wife and daughter are safe, I am extremely anxious to hear what their experience was. They expected to reach Portland toward the end of this month, after visits with relatives in New York and Boston. They will now come directly to Portland.”

Mrs. R. L. Rush, of 755 Everett Street, whose brother J. B. Brady, of Pomeroy, Wash. is not included on the list of survivors, received a telegram yesterday from M. H. Houser in New York, which said: “Last news dispels all doubt. Only few men saved on account of scarcity of lifeboats.” In spite of this discouraging dispatch, Mr. Brady’s brother, E. R. Brady of Montesano, Wash., who is in Portland, still has hopes that the missing man may be among the survivors. Mr. Brady is vice-president of the State Bank at Pomeroy, Wash. IN company with his sister, who remained in Berlin. Mr. Brady sailed for Europe last December for a six months’ trip. Visits were made to various points on the Riviera, Palestine, Egypt, France and Germany. Mr. Brady was born in Chehalis County, Washington, and was 40 years of age. He had lived in Pomeroy for the past 25 years. (First-class passenger John Bertram Brady, age 41 years 4 months and 12 days, embarked at Southampton on April 10, 1912. He paid £30 10s for Cabin #A21. His body was never recovered.)

Among those who are thought to have perished is Harry M. Molson, formerly of this city, but more recently of Montreal. Mr. Molson was at one time prominent in local business circles, but left Portland in 1888, since which time he has been connected with the Molson Bank, one of the largest financial institutions in Montreal. Mr. Molson had been spending several months in Europe and was on his homeward voyage when the ship went down. He was 56 years old and unmarried. Old-timers in Portland remember Mr. Molson pleasantly and regarded him as a man of exceptional ability and strict integrity.

Mr. Molson was the oldest son of William Markland Molson and stepson of Mrs. Velina Nesmith Molson, who is a sister of Mrs. Harriet McArthur and an aunt of C. N. and Lewis A. McArthur of this city. His father was at one time quite prominent in local business circles, but retired ten years ago and moved to Montreal, where he and his wife reside at present. Another son, Frederick Molson, also resided in Portland for a number of years and married Miss Katherine Stewart, a member of a pioneer family, but he, too later moved to Montreal, where he has achieved marked success as a business man.

Up to a late hour last night Mr. Molson’s relatives in this city had received no encouraging news.

(First-class passenger Harry Markland Molson, age 55 years 7 months and 6 days, embarked at Southampton on April 10, 1912 and paid £30 10s for cabin #C30. His body was never recovered.)

All officials of the city were invited yesterday to be present at a solemn requiem mass, which will be sung at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception at 15th and Davis Streets at 10 o’clock tomorrow morning, for the repose of the souls of those who lost their lives in the wreck of the steamer Titanic. The mass is held by special order telegraphed from Washington, D. C., by the Most Reverent Archbishop Christie.

“In view of the international disaster that is casting a shadow over all the world today,” said Frank C. Riggs in calling to order the meeting of the Rotary Club yesterday, “I wish to ask Dr. Boyd to offer a prayer for those who were lost in the wreck of the Titanic.” Every head was bowed and solemn silence filled the room, while Dr. Boyd, a member of the club and pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, invoked divine intercession for the lives of those who were passengers upon the ill-fated ship, and rest for the souls of those who have already been lost.

Mr. Warren had cold storage plants at Goble and Astoria, canneries at Cathlamet and Warrendale, and two canneries in Alaska in operation, and, while he had retired from the active management of his business, placing it in charge of his sons, his personality was such, the same as many men of his class, he even desired to watch the details of each venture.

The trip of Mr. and Mrs. Warren to Europe was for recreation for himself and in an effort to improve the health of Mrs. Warren. Recently he wrote that this wife was not improving as he hoped, and would bring her home. This was the last heard, except that they would sail on the Titanic.

F. M. Warren was the dominant factor in the fishing interests of the Columbia River for the past 30 years. At every session of the Legislature he was present with a bill to advance the interests of the industry and they were always passed, for the reason that he had canneries both in the upper and lower river and equalized their interests. He was the first to suggest the propagation of salmon artificially for the purpose of stopping the annual depletion of the river, which at the same time would eventually case the contention between the lower and upper river interests. With the laws to carry out his ideas there is no longer any trouble between these interests.

The first cold storage plant on the Columbia River for the handling of salmon was at Goble and erected by Mr. Warren when such business was considered as chimerical. This part of the salmon business is now one of the most valuable industries of the entire Pacific Coast.

Morning Oregonian, April 16, 1912


First direct news that Portland will receive of the fate of the Titanic and the scenes attending her fatal plunge to the bottom of the ocean probably will come from Mrs. James R. Watt and her daughter, Miss Bertha, who are among the rescued passengers and who will come directly to this city after their arrival in New York.

Mrs. Watt and her daughter, originally had intended to visit in Boston, Chicago and other intermediate cities, but Mr. Watt sent a telegram to his wife yesterday in care of a relative at New York advising her to come to Portland as fast as convenient after landing. A message which he received yesterday from a relative at New York reassured him that his wife and daughter are among the rescued passengers on board the Carpathia and that both are well.

George P. Warren and Miss Frances Warren, son and daughter of Mr. and Mrs. F. M. Warren, Sr., who were on board the Titanic when she collided with the iceberg, left yesterday for New York, where they will meet their mother, who is among those on the Carpathia. When they left they still entertained hopes that their father might be among the rescued. It is understood that Mr. Warren carried accident insurance of $50,000.

The wife and daughter of Herman Klaber, the other Portland man who is believed to have perished, are in Sacramento, where Mrs. Klaber’s folds live. They do not expect to come to Portland so long as there is some hope that Mr. Klaber may have been saved. The office of Klaber, Wolf & Netter, hop dealers, in the Worcester building, yesterday failed to receive any additional intelligence.

Other Portland persons who had relatives on the hapless leviathan of the Atlantic are anxiously awaiting the first detailed report from the Carpathia, through which they hope to learn of the fate of their loved ones. The seeming delay of the Carpathia in getting into communication with the world is extremely distressing to those who are expecting personal news from her.

Even the telegraphic reports that may be contained in the newspapers following the arrival of the rescue ship in port will not satisfy those whose dear ones are on board. They must hear the story direct from their own lips. That is the reason that Mr. Watt, who lives at 189 East Fourteenth Street, telegraphed his wife and daughter to change their plans and hasten to Portland instead of visiting in the East, as they first intended.

A requiem high mass will be celebrated this morning at 10 o’clock at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Sixteenth and Davis Streets, in memory of those that lost their lives in the wreck of the steamer Titanic. The city and county officials and the general public have been invited to attend the services. The mass will be celebrated by Rt. Rev. Monsignore Rauw in the absence of Archbishop Christie, who is in the East. Father O’Hara will act as deacon of the mass and Father De Lorimer as sub-deacon. A sermon will be preached by Father McDevitt.

Morning Oregonian, April 21, 1912


All over the city, on public and private buildings, flags were flying at half mast yesterday in honor of those that went down with the Titanic and the British ensign at the consulate sent forth its message of condolence from English residents here.

In many churches today memorial services will be held and in many of them special prayers read on behalf of the victims. Especially will this be the case at the First Congregational Church, out of respect for one of its most honored members, the late Frank M. Warren, both decorations and services being carried out with particular reference to his memory. The pew occupied by the Warrens ever since the church was built, will be covered in purple and green flowers, with a preponderance of azalias. Easter lilies will be massed on the opposite side of the rostrum.

“But for Mr. Warren’s energy an help the members would never have known their present building,” said one of the congregation. “Generosity of the kind that asks no mention of the deed, but rather seeks to hide all knowledge of the giver was one of his many merits, and to all of us, who admired his truly Christian character, his death comes as more than a heavy blow.”

James Laidlaw, British Consul, will conduct a memorial service for those who lost their lives in the wreck of the Titanic. The service will be held tonight at 7:45 o’clock at the Seaman’s Institute, Third and Flanders Streets.


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