Miss Alice Farnam Leader
Miss Alice Farnam Leader, a New York physician, escaped from the Titanic on the same boat which carried the Countess Rothes. “The Countess is an excellent oarswoman,” said Doctor Leader, “and thoroughly at home on the water. She practically took command of our boat when it was found that the seaman who had been placed at the oars could not row. Several of the women took their place with the Countess at the oars and rowed in turns, while the weak and unskilled stewards sat quietly at one end of the boat.”
Mrs Emma Eliza Bucknell
Mrs William Bucknell’s account of the part women played in the rowing is as follows :
“There were thirty-five people in the boat in which the captain placed me. Three of these were ordinary seamen, supposed to manage the boat and a steward.
One of these men seemed to think that we should not go away from the sinking ship until it could be known whether the other boats would accomodate the rest of the women. He seemed to think more could be crowded into ours, if necessary.
‘I would rather go back and go down with the ship than leave under these circumstances,’ he cried.
The captain shouted to him to obey orders and to pull for a little light that could just be discerned miles in the distance. I do not know what this little light was. It may have been a passing fishing vessel, which, of course, could not know our predicament. Anyway, we never reached it.
We rowed all night, I took an oar and sat beside Countess de Rothes. Her maid had an oar and so did mine. The air was freezing cold and it was not long before the only man that appeared to know anything about rowing commenced to complain that his hands were freezing. A woman back of him handed him a shawl from around her shoulders.
As we rowed we looked back at the lights of the Titanic. There was not a sound from her, only the lights began to get lower and lower and then finally she sank. Then we heard a muffled explosion and a dull roar caused by the great suction of water.
There was not a drop of water on our boat. The last-minute before our boat was launched Captain Smith threw aboard a bag of bread. I took the precaution of a good drink of water before we started, so I suffered little from thirst.”