Kornelia Andrews


Kornelia Theodosia Andrews was born in New York on 12 August 1848. She was the daughter of Robert Emmet Andrews, a lawyer and Matilda Fonda. She was sister to Mary, Robert, Matilda, Roberta and Anna Andrews.

Kornelia lived in Hudson, New York. She boarded the Titanic with her sister, Anna Hogeboom and niece, Gretchen Longley.

After the sinking, Kornelia gave her account of the disaster to newspapers:

"Sailor Lit Cigarette, Threw

Match Among Women, Saying,

"We're Going to Hell Anyway"

April 20.—Mrs Cornelia Andrews of Hudson, :

N Y, who was saved from the catastrophe of the Titanic, charged some

of the men passengers of cowardice by pretending" to he able to handle

oars and thus get Into lifeboats.

'"When we finally did get into the boat." said Mrs Andrews, "we

found that these miserable men companions could not row at all. One

o£ thom was a Chinese, another was an American. Neither one of them

had ever seen an oar before. Finally I had to take an oar and help

propel the boat.

"Alongside of us was a sailor, who lighted a ciggarette and threw the

match carlessly, among us women. Several, women in the boat screamed,

fearing that they would be set on fire. The sailor contemptuously

retorted: 'We're all going to hell anyway;.. and 'We might as well be

burned now as then.'

"We were almost helpless and the words of that sailor added to the horror."

Miss Andrews, with her sister, Mrs. John C. Hogeboom. also of

Hudson, are staying here with relatives."

Kornelia also wrote a letter to a relative while onboard the Carpathia. It was printed in the Newark Advocate on 20 April 1912:

"My Dear: You have seen everything by this time in the papers, but I want you to have a single word from me about our terrible experience, now when I have a moment.

Oh, my dear, may you never have to pass through such frightful hours. It was at 12 midnight when the crash came and we were all in bed. I rushed to my door and saw the ice crystals all over, they having come in through the porthole next to mine and I knew then that it was an iceberg, but they told us immediately that there was no danger and of course it never entered our heads for one moment that a magnificent ship like the Titanic could sink, so we foolishly all went back to bed without a fear, After a while we heard a commotion in the corridor and went out to inquire, and then they told us to put on life preservers and come out in five minutes. That was every moment we had to get ready. Gretchen put on stockings and slippers and not a single article of underclothing, but a cloth skirt and waist, and we had little more, but we put on our fur coats. I did not wait to even put on a hat, but i did rescue three hair pins, and we went upstairs, not even then frightened. We finally got in the fourth boat. There was no panic, but no discipline. We had one sailoe, and then any man who could row was allowed to get in and so a Chinese and an Armenian got in, saying they could row, but they could not, so Gretchen assisted the sailor on one side and two or three women on the other, until her hands were frozen stiff. We pulled away from the ship so that we would not be drawn in with the suction should the ship go down. All women and children in the boats, and these ignorant men put in our boats while those splendid Americans stood and were not allowed to come with us.

Oh, it would have broken your heart to have seen them standing there so bravely and waving farewell to their wives and daughters. It would have made you so proud of your countrymen.

There was Mr. Thayer, president of the Pennsylvania railroad. Mr. John Jacob Astor, having to wave farewell to his beautiful wife, Major Butt and hundreds of others, who probably knew there was no hope for them. We have never seen them since. We rowed off a ways amd in less that an hour there was a mightly explosion. The boilers had exploded and the ship was broken right in two and the then, my dear the screams and the shreiks as 1000 of the steerage went down, and I suppose, the crew and officers and all the Americans. All my life I will hear those shreiks. We were in the safety boat next morning and all that saved us was the calmness and beauty of the night. About dawn a wind came up and great waves commenced to appear, and then we almost despaired. The one man who could row was almost exhausted, and Gretchen stuck to it until her strength was gone. Then, as it seemed, a hundred miles away, we saw a ship, the Carpathia and it commenced to pick up boats as soon as it could, but this was only dawn and it was not until 9 or 9:30 o'clock that we were pulled up over the sides on a rope ladder. But such sights and sounds! The boat next to us put alos of their passengers in our lifeboat and then they picked up 17 out of the water. Two died almost immediately and one went mad. A little dead baby floated past us. Two boats of women and children capsizef and were lost. No one could rescue them.

And all this my dear, was most wickedly criminal...We were in a sea of ice, some of the fields over a mile long and no one, apparently, was watching for them. We cannot hear that anyone saw this ice until the collison, and the night was clear and cold. The captain had attended a dinner given for him and perhaps one officer was on the bridge but we were going too fast to stop suddenly, and there was no one to command the boats.

Here on the Carpathis we see all the time such sad things. Nearly every other woman is weeping for husband or son, and it is all past description. They are kind, so kind.

I have had three staterooms offered me, but there are others who need them much more, and so we slept on the floor in the library with 20 or 30 others, babies crying because both parents were lost, and others because their mother's were gone..

And to think it was all so unnecessary. No lifeboats for half the passengers. Every passenger will unite with me in this fearful condition of things. of course, we are so thankful for our escapre, but the sorrow everywhere saddens you, so you can think of nothing else. We carried everything we possessed with us, so we haven't a stitch or anything to crawl into when we get home. And we had bought beautiful furs and each two or three dresses. But we don't think of that - that all amounts to nothing. One lady gave me a handkerchief, and oh, what a joy to have one. A man, a Mr. Mauro, gave me a tooth brush. He had bought ten to take to Italy. He has a beautiful villa out of Genoa, and is most charming. Another lady gave me some hairpins, and Gretchen found an old school friend with some clothes and a hat, so you see, they are all most kind. I do not believe I can ever write again all these things, and I shall not be in Hudson for a week or two. I must buy a few things to wear. Haven't even a pair of shoes, and if they had only notified us in time, I could at least have saved a few things to wear. If we had known when the crash came that there was danger, we could at least have dressed properly, but we were not notified until the last moment. The thing for which the line should be censured the most is, of course that only one-third of the passengers had any arrangements made for their safety; only 22 boats and sixty could not have taken in more than two-thirds. Is that not a perfect crime.We did not have enough clothing, by half to keep us warm, for it was so bitterly cold. The icebergs all around made the water and air intensely cold, and those long, long hours of agony, nearly 10 hours in mid-ocean, women crying all around because they felt so sure their husbands and brothers would not be saved. One woman had two little ones. Her husband and three others were not with us and we have never heard of them. Of course we are hoping some may be picked up by other steamers, but we cannot tell. I wonder, can you read this? All my glasses are gone. I had three pairs and i cannot see without them, And now, I could not tell you in weeks the sad, sad, stories around us.

Mrs. Astor is, they say, very calm but does not leave her stateroom. One of the officers gave his up to her. Good-Bye. We hope to land tomorrow.

Kornelia Andrews died on 4 December 1913 aged 65.

Sources and References

  • The Newark Advocate
  • International Genealogical Index

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