'It was all over in an instant'
Clarence Moore stood on deck with his friend, Archibald Butt, military aide to President William Howard Taft, helping women and children into lifeboats.
Knowing that Moore was an oarsman, Butt tried to persuade Moore to man the oars of one of the last lifeboats.
"No major, I'll stay and take my chances with you. Let the women go," Moore said to his companion, as recounted by Robert Williams Daniel, a Philadelphia banker who survived the disaster.
According to some reports, Moore and Butt apparently jumped when the boilers of the Titanic burst.
As for Daniel, he said he jumped from one of the top decks. "About me were others in the water. My bathrobe floated away, and it was icily cold. I struck out at once. I turned my head, and my first glance took in the people swarming on the Titanic's deck. Hundreds were standing there helpless to ward off approaching death.
"I saw Captain Smith on the bridge. My eyes seemingly clung to him. The deck from which I had leapt was immersed. The water had risen slowly, and was now to the floor of the bridge. Then it was to Captain Smith's waist. I saw him no more. He died a hero.
". . . It was all over in an instant. The Titanic's stern rose completely out of the water and went up 30, 40, 60 feet into the air. Then, with her body slanting at an angle of 45 degrees, slowly the Titanic slipped out of sight."
Daniel was one of only 13 people helped into lifeboats out of the ocean. Hundreds more died of cardiac arrest or hypothermia in the freezing water.
'Nearer My God To Thee'
On lifeboat No. 6, there were only 24 people in a boat that was supposed to hold 50. "During the night they looked for water and crackers and a compass, but they found none that night," Eloise Smith wrote.
"We were some distance away when the Titanic went down. We watched with sorrow, and heard the many cries for help and pitied the captain because we knew he would have to stay with the ship."
It was bitterly cold in the lifeboat, but Eloise didn't mind as she kept looking for her husband, believing he had made it into another lifeboat. Some of the icebergs on the horizon appeared as tall as mountains.
"The night was beautiful; everything seemed to be with us in that respect, and a very calm sea."
Another passenger in lifeboat No. 6 was Margaret Brown, who later was immortalized as "the unsinkable Molly Brown" in a Broadway musical and movie.
Eloise thought it was about 5 or 5:30 a.m. when they saw the steam liner Carpathia. A seaman in the lifeboat, whom Eloise described as lazy, uncouth and a thorough coward, suggested they drift and let the ship pick them up.
"However, the women refused, and rowed toward it."
Eloise also unleashed her contempt on White Star Line's Ismay in her statement in the U.S. Senate inquiry. Her remarks made headlines in May 1912.
"I know of many women who slept on the floor in the smoking room while Mr. Ismay occupied the best room on the Carpathia . . . with every attention and a sign on the door 'Please do not knock.'"
Aboard the Carpathia, Eloise tried on Monday morning, April 15, to send a "marconigram" -- an early form of telegram -- to her friends. It didn't go through.
Three days later, though, the Gazette reported that the congressman's daughter was on board the Carpathia in serious condition, and no hope was entertained for either Lucien Smith or Clarence Moore.
In Washington, the Times wrote that Clarence Moore's young wife, "who is prostrated," wanted to send out a steamer to help in the search, but friends convinced her otherwise. She was left with three young sons and two stepchildren.
Eloise Smith returned by train to her parents' home in Huntington. Later accounts said throngs gathered at the C&O station to look at her.
On May 12, in the same church where she was married, "Eloise led an overflow crowd in a tearful memorial service for Lucien Smith. Among the hymns played at the service was 'Nearer My God To Thee,' which scores of survivors, Eloise included, said was played by the Titanic's orchestra during the ship's final hours," the Huntington Quarterly wrote in a 1997 story.
Sometime in the next few months, she must have realized she was pregnant. Lucien P. Smith Jr. was born on Nov. 29, 1912, in Cincinnati.
"We used to say that Eloise was probably the only woman in the world who, in just a year's time, made her debut, got engaged, married, survived the Titanic, became a widow and then a mother," a relative was quoted in a Richmond newspaper story.
Eloise back in the news
In fall 1914, Eloise once again made The New York Times and other newspapers when her marriage was announced to a fellow Titanic survivor -- Robert Daniel, the Philadelphia banker who was pulled from the sea onto Lifeboat No. 3.
They met aboard the Carpathia. A Richmond newspaper account, no doubt romanticized, said "Daniel left the ship carrying in his arms Mrs. Smith, handing the nearly faint woman to her congressman father."
There was no woman in his arms when Daniel was interviewed by a Worchester Telegram reporter as the Carpathia docked in New York City on April 18. Daniel "was smooth shaven and looked in good shape" when he gave the reporter a brief recap of his survival "before a surge of the crowd swept him away from me."
Their marriage announcement came as a surprise, because it was made two months after the August wedding and few knew they were engaged. Shortly after their marriage, Daniel left for England on urgent business and apparently had difficulty getting home because of the start of World War I that same month.
The Huntington Quarterly article theorized that the engagement was kept secret because Congressman Hughes wasn't happy that Daniel "came a-courting" two months after the birth of his grandson. He wanted the engagement kept secret because Eloise had sued to get her son his share of his father's estate.
Lucien Smith didn't have an estate. His income was merely $500 a year allowance from his family. The lawsuit was dropped.
'She died of a broken heart'
If Eloise's life were a movie, it would have ended with her marriage to Daniel and credits would have begun to roll.
Her life wasn't that tidy. She and Daniel divorced in 1923. She married again, twice. One husband, Lewis Cort, died. She divorced her fourth husband, C.S. Wright, who was West Virginia's state auditor. She became active in Republican politics and talked about writing a book about the Titanic.
In 1940, she was 47 and living at 1140 Fifth Ave. in Huntington when she died unexpectedly in a Cincinnati hospital, where she was taken for a relatively minor complaint. She had taken back the name of Smith.
Robert Daniel also died in 1940, at 56. He had married three more times and was living on his historic estate Brandon-on-the James in Richmond when he died of cirrhosis of the liver.
As for Clarence Moore's wife, Mabelle, The New York Times described her as "the wealthiest widow in Washington" when she remarried in 1915.
When she died in 1933, recently divorced at age 55, the Times wrote that she entertained extensively in New York and in Scotland, where she had a long lease of Blair Castle.
"In 1925 she changed her English home to Crichel in Dorsetshire, the beautiful estate of Lord Alingon. One of the features of Crichel is its 'white farm,' on which all the animals are white, horses, cows, several zebus and a deer -- at least the farm was so populated a few years ago," noted the Times.
In 1997, the Richmond Times-Dispatch interviewed the granddaughter of Eloise and Lucien Smith. Cathy Gay said her father never talked about what happened on the Titanic.
"It's such a tragic love story when you think about the life they had ahead of them that was lost. It's so sad. Our grandmother loved and missed her beloved, heroic Lucien until the day she died.
"My sister Betsy and I think that she never completely recovered emotionally from Lucien's death or from witnessing the tragic deaths of the other 1,522 people on that ship. We believe she died at the age of 46 of a broken heart."
Reach Rosalie Earle at ea...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5115.