1 Apr 2012,
From Akron to Cornwall: Summit County’s Titanic Passengers
These images and information are from a exhibit called “From Akron to Cornwall: Summit County’s Titanic Passengers”
Arthur Wells immigrated to Akron in 1910 from Cornwall, England. He found work, established residence, and two years later sent for his wife and two children. Mother Addie, daughter Joan age 4 (and her doll,) and son Ralph age 2, left for America on April 10, 1912. The ocean liner they traveled on was the pride of the fleet and the newest ship in the White Star Line. It was the Titanic. The voyage was one of the greatest tragedies, and one of the most documented events, of the 20th century. Only 710 of the 2,224 passengers survived the trip.
Little Joan held on to her doll as she was placed in one of the, few too many, lifeboats. She held on to her doll as they were rescued by the Carpathia. And, Joan still had her doll when she, her mother, and brother were reunited with their father who had traveled from Akron to New York City to meet them. Never before did I wish that a doll could talk.
Upon their return to Akron, mother Addie Wells shared this account with the Beacon Journal. “We were all in bed. Joan was asleep, but I was not. When the crash came, I took the children and went on deck. I hadn’t more than got there when someone grabbed me…and hustled me and the children up to the lifeboat…before I knew what was happening, we were in a lifeboat and the boat was going down the side while the men stood back, serious and sober…there were 40 or 50 in one boat and I couldn’t get a chance to sit down, but stood up keeping the babies warm and dry in my skirts.”
In all there were 12 passengers from Cornell, England on the Titanic that were coming to Summit County. All of their very interesting stories have been compiled by Judy James of Special Collections, along with pictures and other stimulating information.
This is a must-see exhibit presented by and at the Special Collections Department of the Akron-Summit County Library. Period clothing and accessories have been loaned to the exhibit by the Summit County Historical Society. Joan’s doll, other Titanic collectables, and informational pieces about Cornwall, and Akron’s Cornish community, have been contributed by Joan Wells Conaway. Mrs. Conaway is the first grandchild of Addie Wells, Joan’s mom.
Thanks again to Judy for compiling the information used here.