The Collyers: An Idaho Dream Unfulfilled

Harvey, Charlotte, and their daughter Marjorie, (or Madge, as she was sometimes called), were finally going to America!

Payette, Idaho, America, to be exact. Land of potatoes, lush green farms, fresh clean air, and full of opportunity for anyone lucky enough to end up there. These were descriptions made by friends of the Collyers who'd already immigrated there. Come join us they'd said!

Charlotte, (or Lottie-as her husband called her), had developed some breathing problems, her lungs becoming "weak". Harvey thought it would help Lottie immensely to be able to breathe in all that clean Idaho air. So he'd sold his grocery store in Bishopstoke, England. The money earmarked for travel expenses, and to start a new life on the fruit farm he intended to purchase when they got there.

Their fellow villagers and church parishoners in Bishopstoke had really sent them off to Idaho with a musical fanfare! Lottie thought it was abit much, seeing as how they were leaving everything and everyone they knew. To her, it almost seemed a better time to mourn a little.

They boarded Titanic at Southampton, England with 2nd class tickets in hand and Harvey's jacket pocket stuffed full of their precious cash for their intended future. Their bank clerk had tried to convince Harvey a bank note would be more secure than carrying around all that money. But Harvey-determined to secure his family's future on his own, thought having cash would be the better way to go.

The night of the sinking Charlotte felt the ship shudder or shake, as if picked up by a giant hand, then a dead quiet stop. Harvey thought he'd better go find out what was going on, returning with a look of fear and concern on his face.

They grabbed a blanket off the bed and wrapped up Madge, forgetting to take her most favorite dolly, and off they went. Winding their way through all those long hallways, finally reaching the boat deck, not really knowing what to do. Charlotte stood by Harvey's side knowing she couldn't get into a lifeboat without him. Suddenly a seaman grabbed Madge, throwing her into a lifeboat! In all that commotion-he grabbed Lottie next, and into lifeboat #14 she went! Harvey frantically shouting "GO LOTTIE GO-BE BRAVE!" I'll find another boat!

After falling into the boat she caught her hair in an oarlock (ripping out a chunk of it)- she and Madge spent the rest of the night drifting in the The Collyers: An Idaho Dream Unfulfilledcold dark sea til finally being rescued the next morning by the Carpathia-along with 703 other passengers of the sunken Titanic.

Reaching New York, Charlotte was still hanging on to a deep hope that her beloved Harvey would be found, rescued by some other ship. Finally, after a week of silence, she realized Harvey was never coming home, and had gone down with the ship.

Charlotte and Madge stayed in New York for a short time, recuperating from their ordeal, taken in by a doctors' family. Charlotte even gave an interview entitled "How I was saved from the Titanic" to a local magazine-earning some much needed money. All their earthly belongings, including Harvey's precious pocket full of cash, and their future, were gone. They were basically destitute with no means of support.

It has been stated that the women who ended up in America without any money and no way to sustain themselves were sent back to England. But the Red Cross, as well as some friends, supplied her with the means to travel outwest to Idaho. Hoping to fulfill Harvey's dream in Idaho, Charlotte and Madge did travel to Idaho, but only stayed a very short time, finding Harvey's absence just too much to bear.

They returned to England-Charlotte eventually remarried-thinking she and Madge would finally be happy again. But even that was not to be. For the rest of her life she heard the word's shouted that horrible nite by Titanic's seaman, "WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST!!" "WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST!!" in her memory. She died within two years of returning to England, (in 1914), of tuberculosis. Madge went to live with an uncle in East Horsley, England. She married Roy Dutton in the 1920's, and had a child. Life was good again-until the child died unexpectantly and she never had another. Madge suffered yet another loss when Roy died at age 41. Again, alone in life she lived another 20 years supporting herself as a receptionist in a doctor's office. In 1963, at the age of 57, she died of a stroke. Brave Idahoans they would've been.

Have a website comment?