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No News of Major Butt: 1912

No News of Major Butt: 1912

Washington, D.C. -- news of the Titanic and possible survivors. "After midnight April 17, 1912, and still selling extras, 12th Street near G. There were many of these groups of young newsboys selling very late these nights. Youngest boy in the group is Israel Spril (9 years old), 314 I Street N.W.; Harry Shapiro (11 years old), 95 L Street N.W.; Eugene Butler, 310 (rear) 13th Street N.W. The rest were a little older." Photo and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine. View full size.


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Major Butt Boards Titanic

I wrote a long bit about Archibald Butt. Take a look at it as it has some history on him as well as the story why he went off to Europe.

Two heroes

From the April 12, 1912 Washington Post:

Clarence Moore died beyond a doubt at the side of his friend and fellow-hero, Major Archibald Butt. They remained together while lowering woman and children into the lifeboats, and jumped at the eleventh hour when the boilers of the giant ship bursted.

Repeatedly, Moore refused to take a place in one of the boats, the survivors who saw him say. His friend, Butt, knew that he was an oarsman, in fact, he realized that Clarence Moore could do most anything any true sportsman could, so he requested Moore to man an oar in one of the last lifeboats to leave the ship.

“No, major, I’ll stay and take my chances with you; let the women go,” Moore said to his companion according to Robert William Daniels, one of the survivors, who is stopping at the New Willard. “And he evidently stuck with Butt until death took them both,” said Mr. Daniels. “The two men jumped at the eleventh hour and were lost.”

No News of Major Butt: 1912

This is Joe Manning, of the Lewis Hine Project. The little boy in the middle was Israel April (not Spril). I tracked down and interviewed his daughter several years ago and posted a very nice story about "Izzy" and his family. You can see the story at this link:

Loss of Butt Painful

The story as it originally appeared in The Denver Post, April 16, 1912.
Archibald C. Butt’s Fate Sad News to President’s Staff

Washington, April 16.–News of the Titanic disaster spread sorrow over official Washington. The report is especially distressing on account of the fate of Maj. Archibald C. Butt, the president’s military aide, who was aboard the vessel returning from Europe.

Major Butt’s trip to Europe was partly an official mission in that he bore a message to the pope from President Taft thanking his holiness for creating three American cardinals.

Found online about Butt: Archibald Butt was an Army officer who so impressed President Theodore Roosevelt, he was appointed his military aide. After Roosevelt helped Secretary of War William Howard Taft to victory in the 1908 presidential election, Capt. Butt was retained as military aide, and in 1911, was promoted to major. Maj. Butt was close to and deeply loyal to both presidents, but they had a falling-out several months into the Taft administration. Mr. Roosevelt decided to challenge President Taft for the 1912 Republican nomination. To say the least, Maj. Butt was a little stressed out about the situation and went to Europe for a reprieve. He booked passage home on the Titanic. According to many survivors, Maj. Butt bravely helped load lifeboats as the ship sank below the waves. He was last seen playing cards in the first class smoking room once the lifeboats had gone, and his body was not recovered.

About 1,500 people turned out for a memorial service for Maj. Butt in his hometown of Augusta, Ga. President Taft delivered an emotional eulogy.

Major Butt

I hear he was a rather cheeky fellow.

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