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Jackson Family Members aboard the doomed S.S. Vestris

The following item is a letter to a Jackson family member who was receiving condolences for the loss of family members Ernest Alonzo Jackson, wife and young son.

Pointe a Pierre, 20th December 1928

Mr. Judson Jackson,

Box 104, Knoxville. Tennessee, U.S.A.

Dear Mr. Jackson,

Permit me first to express to you all my heartfelt sympathy. I recollect having seen your brother Cary during the whole of Sunday and to have spoken a few words to him. I do not remember having seen your father and mother that day; apparently they kept to their cabin, or to the social hall.

I can vividly recall the picture of your parents and Cary sitting in the Smoking room on Monday morning. They were very quiet and composed. We even conversed on some trifling matters in the early morning hours. When it became certain that we would have to take to the boats, your mother sent Cary down to the cabin to fetch some of her things, which he brought up in a small hand-bag. After that both your father and Cary did splendid work in collecting life-belts from the cabins, which they distributed among those people, who were too frightened to get them themselves. When everybody in the smoke room had their life belts, your father started praying in a a low, but firm voice, comforting so the little group, which by now was augmented by some coloured women and children from the second and third class. I then left the smoke room, but I recollect having seen your mother embark in a lifeboat, either No. 6 or No. 8, on the port side. I do not remember having seen your father. When I embarked into life boat No. 10, there were about 4 or 5 passengers' still on deck (port-side), amongst them Cary. He was the last in a line which was slowly moving along the railing towards-the place where we had to get on to the rope ladder. He never embarked in our boat, however. Whether he realized himself that boat- No. 10 was already overloaded and tried to get across to the starboard boats, or whether he was ordered to do so, nobody will ever know.

I have told you what little I know, because, in your great grief, it may mean a little consolation to you to hear how splendidly your parents and Cary behaved in the face of disaster, and how they were bent on service to their fellow passengers to the last moment. Personally I was particularly struck by the heroism of Cary. I shall never forget him, and am proud to have known him.

Yours sincerely

E. Lehner

{Envelope postmarked with Trinidad & Tobago stamp}


This letter contributed and copyright by a descendant of this Jackson couple from family files.

For more information on this disaster, visit the Jackson Vestris Papers at http://patriot.net/~eastlnd2/rj/vestris/jpvi.htm and The Vestris Disaster at http://www.bluestarline.org/lamports/vestris.html

Linked toI162; I182; I96; I324; I323; I325; I326; I511

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