Sunday, April 22, 2012

From 1912: Thomas Hocking Finds Brother's Family Did Not Accompany Him

The following is an extract of article published 100 years ago today, appearing on Monday, April 22nd, 1912 in the Hartford Courant. This article was on page 12 of the paper, the image is from the front page of the same paper.

Thomas Hocking of No. 98 Liberty Street, this city, who lost a brother, George Hocking, in the wreck of the Titanic, had a peculiar experience in connection with the tragedy. He went to New York to meet the wife and two children of his brother, who, the wireless messages said, had been saved. He met the Carpathia and found a Mrs. Hocking and two children were among the survivors, but they were people he had never seen before. Mrs. Hocking told him that she embarked, accompanied by her brother-in-law, also named George Hocking, and that he was among the lost. The Middletown man's brother, who also went down with the ship, was unaccompanied, having decided at the last minute to leave his family at home. He assisted the other Hocking family in escaping from the doomed ship. The local man felt the shock of his brother's death keenly, but was glad to hear that his family were not with him when the tragedy occurred.
Cassandra Day, in Middletown Patch, provides more details on the life of Hocking and his brother.

There seems to be some confusion about Hocking's first name. The above Hartford Courant article is the only one to refer to the Titanic passenger as "George Hocking", all other sources (including Encyclopedia Titanica) refer to the man heading to our city as Samuel James Metcalfe Hocking.

It appears that The Courant got some of the details, including the name, confused. According to Encyclopedia Titanica, a Richard George Hocking was traveling with his sister (not sister-in-law), their brother-in-law, and two of their nephews. George was a baker from Cornwall, England, traveling to Akron, Ohio.

The brother of our city's Thomas Hocking was a confectioner from Devon, England. Whatever his first name was, Hocking's last letter to his wife Ada, was mailed from the Titanic’s last port of call, Queenstown, Ireland. In the letter, he encourages her to write to him at 98 Liberty Street, and closes his letter, "Everybody tells me I shall not regret the step I have taken, so buck up and we shan't be long.”

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