Monday, July 19, 2010

Famous Birthdays - The 'Unsinkable Molly Brown' July 18, 1867

The Unsinkable Molly Brown was born as Margaret Tobin on July 18, 1867.  Born to Irish immigrants she came from humble and hardworking beginnings. Margaret had a sibling Daniel who worked in the mines of Leadville Colorado while she worked in a store. She married James J. Brown in 1886 and moved to a neighboring town where they began a soup kitchen for mining families. Mining companies often paid their workers with a special ‘money’ which was only good at the stores owned by the mining companies themselves. The money was of no value anywhere else. Since people has no where else to go the general stores owned by the mining companies were exorbitantly expensive. That meant that mining family were often very poor and living conditions were quite hard. It was around that time that Molly became involved with the women’s suffrage movement.

The Browns were in Egypt in 1912 when they learned that their grandson had taken ill. Margaret booked her voyage on the ill-fated Titanic to return to America. The Titanic struck an iceberg and sank on April 14, 1912. Molly was able to aid fellow passengers and the French Legion of Honour recognized her later for her efforts to save her fellow passengers. She wasn’t only working to save them from the freezing waters but also after they were rescued and safely onboard of the Carpathia. She spoke several languages and thus was able to assist in recording the names and identities of those saved, the ones lost at sea and offer comforting words to those in despair.

Molly Brown was head of the Titanic Survivors' Committee which supported immigrants who had lost everything in the disaster, and helped to get a memorial erected to the Titanic survivors in Washington, DC. She was not allowed to testify in Congressional hearings about the sinking of the Titanic, because she was a woman; in response to this slight she published her account in newspapers.

You can read a lot more in detail about this remarkable lady on the links provided below and other sites on the Internet. Please make sure to have your parents’ permission before you do so.

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