April 15, 1912: Duluthian William Silvey goes down with the Titanic

On this day in 1912, Duluthian William Silvey, went down with the Titanic after it hit an iceberg in the North Sea. He and his wife Alice had spent the previous winter in Europe and booked return passage on the maiden voyage of the Titanic. On that fateful night William Silvey put his wife in a lifeboat and promised her he would get in another, but he never did. Alice Silvey recalled the night for the Duluth News Tribune upon her return to Duluth. The Silveys had retired before the ship struck the iceberg, and Alice Silvey noted that “The sea was as smooth as glass, the stars shining and a more beautiful evening could not be imagined.” She went on to explain that: “My husband and I had retired but were not yet asleep, when we felt the jar of the collision. We did not feel it much but those on other parts of the ship say it was tremendous. I’d heard a commotion on deck and got up and dressed. When we arrived on deck we learned the cause and then went back and put on warmer clothing. When we returned the sailors were getting out the boats and Mr. Silvey placed me in one of them and said that he would follow in one of the other boats.” Alice Silvey told the News Tribune’s Mary McFadden that “there was no excitement in her husband’s voice, only a characteristic recognition of the necessity for obedience, and he sent her into the boat with a hurried caress and a feeling on her part that he would follow. Then, it may be believed, Mr. Silvey turned as calmly and helped other women to the boats.” Read more about Mr. Silvey and his landmark Providence Building, which still stands in Duluth, here.

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