“A Good Captain and a Slow Boat”

Jennie Green and the Titanic

Jennie Green and the Titanic

One hundred years ago this month, 33-year-old Jennie Scott Green was headed home to Grayson County.  The daughter of Colonel Lafayette Green, patriarch of a family lumber, milling and farming empire in Falls of Rough, Kentucky, Jennie had spent her inheritance on an extended stay in Europe and was returning home to manage a household for her three bachelor brothers.

Like many trans-Atlantic travelers, Jennie had heard of the magnificent new White Star liner, the Titanic, then offering luxurious and speedy passage from Southampton to New York.  As tempted as she was to join the world’s business and social elite on the great ship’s maiden voyage, Jennie settled for a ticket on the President Lincoln, a smaller craft scheduled to dock several hours ahead of the Titanic.

The President Lincoln followed the same course as the Titanic through the frigid North Atlantic waters, and Jennie and her fellow passengers were awakened for a glimpse of the iceberg that, unbeknownst to them, would doom the “unsinkable” ship following behind.  As the fog closed in, the ship’s band played the rest of the night to soothe the nervous travelers.  They arrived in New York safely, only to be greeted by the dreadful news about the Titanic.  “I’ve always felt our ship might have had the same fate,” Jennie later remarked, “if we hadn’t had a good captain and a slow boat.”

In this centennial year of the Titanic‘s sinking on April 14-15, 1912, learn more about Jennie and her remarkable family by clicking here and here to download finding aids for relevant collections at WKU’s Special Collections Library.

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