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A WOMAN TO ADMIRE
Molly is one of my favorite women of history. Tough and unshakable.
'Though I don't know if she actually said it, in the movie version of her
life, I like to quote her comment to the minister during her first party
for Denver's High Society.
"Some folks think God don't answer all their prayers, but that ain't true.
It's jest sometimes He says 'No!'"
Margaret Brown - The "Unsinkable" Survivor
By Christina Lewis
On the morning of April 14, 1912, Margaret Brown woke aboard the
giant cruise ship Titanic, unaware of the danger ahead. She had been
vacationing in Europe with her daughter Helen and decided to return
home early because her grandson was ill. During her vacation
Margaret had gone to a palm reader in Egypt for fun. After studying
her palm the fortuneteller kept repeating, "water, water, water." He
said that he saw a sinking ship surrounded by drowning people.
Margaret paid no attention to his warning and boarded the Titanic on
April 10th. For the first several days the trip was uneventful, but that
would soon change. Although there were warnings of ice, the captain
did not slow the ship down. At 11:40 p.m. a crewmember spotted an
iceberg, but it was too late. The side of the ship scraped against the
iceberg causing severe damage. Three hours later the Titanic sank to
the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. Of the more than 2,200 passengers
on board only 705 survived. The Titanic did not have enough lifeboats
for all the passengers and crew.
Margaret was one of the lucky ones who survived. When they were
rescued by the Carpathia, she worked tirelessly helping the other
survivors by handing out food, drinks and blankets. As the ship
arrived in New York Margaret found herself in the spotlight, everyone
had already heard about her bravery and good deeds.
There are many myths and legends surrounding the "unsinkable Molly
Brown." But the real facts of her life are just as interesting. Margaret
Tobin was born on July 18, 1867 in Hannibal, Missouri. Her parents,
John and Johanna, had both been widowed and each had one daughter
from previous marriages. Along with her two half sisters Margaret
had two brothers and one younger sister. She attended school until she
was thirteen years old and then went to work in a tobacco factory to
help with the family expenses.
When Margaret was nineteen she moved to Leadville, Colorado and
lived with her brother Daniel. She got a job at a dry goods store
sewing carpets and drapes. She hadn't been in Leadville long when
she met James Joseph (J.J.) Brown at a church picnic. He was a
mining engineer and eleven years older than Margaret. They were
married on September 1, 1886 and lived in a two-room cabin in
Stumptown. A year later they moved into a larger house in Leadville.
Their son, Lawrence Palmer, was born on August 30, 1887. And their
second child, Catherine Ellen, called Helen, was born on July 1, 1889.
Margaret became active in the community and charitable causes and
was very outspoken about what she believed in. In 1891 J.J.
purchased stock in a mining company that soon struck gold, and he
suddenly became very rich. They moved to Denver in 1894 and
Margaret didn't waste any time filling her house with expensive
furniture and decorations from around the world. She enjoyed being in
the local spotlight and an important part of Denver society.
Margaret often traveled to Europe to study drama, music, literature and
languages. While Margaret kept herself busy traveling, working for
social causes and contributing to fund-raising projects, J.J. was busy
with his mining investments. The two were growing apart and often
disagreed on important issues. In 1909 Margaret and J.J. separated,
but they never divorced.
Margaret's life changed considerably after the Titanic tragedy in 1912.
She received a lot of publicity for her heroic efforts. She gave her
time and energy helping other passengers who lost far more than she
did. Margaret used the media's interest in her to promote her beliefs in
women's rights. She was also active in politics and in 1914 became the
first woman to run for the U.S. Congress. She lost the campaign but
she never gave up trying.
When World War I broke out Margaret traveled to France and helped
establish a relief station for the soldiers. Her knowledge in French was
put to good use. Margaret and J.J. did not see much of each other
during these years, and J.J. died on September 5, 1922. Although they
could not seem to get along they both cared for and respected each
other. From 1929 to 1932 Margaret spent her time between living in
New York and traveling. She returned to Leadville occasionally to
visit family and friends. On October 26, 1932, at the age of sixty-five,
the "unsinkable Molly Brown" passed away from a stroke.
Margaret Tobin Brown raised herself up from poverty to wealth and
fame. She had the courage to stand up and fight for what she believed
in. She went after her dreams and made every moment of her life
count. She worked hard to make life better for herself, her family, and
thousands of strangers.
Christina Lewis is a freelance writer who lives with her husband and
two daughters in Kansas. She has had several parenting articles
published and writes fiction and non-fiction for children. She has
written three eBooks for children, "100 Cool Sites For Kids,"
"Halloween Tales and Treats" and "Christmas Tales and Treats."
is the owner of two websites for children, http://www.KidsBookshelf.com
and http://www.GreatSitesForKids.com, and a personal website,