Titanic Survivor, Rhoda Mary Abbott.
Her two sons, Rossmore and Eugene perished.
TITANIC SURVIVOR, RHODA ABBOTT
She initially bought tickets on the Philadelphia but was pleasantly surprised when, due to the English coal strike, her ticket was changed to the glamorous RMS Titanic. It was shortly after midnight on April 15, 1912, when the steerage passengers were herded upwards, where only women and children were allowed to proceed to the stern boat deck. Abbott and her sons waited at the second-class saloon area. There, her son Rossmore is said to have knelt in prayer asking that his mother's life be spared even if he and his brother were not saved. Mrs. Abbott was offered a lifeboat seat, but she declined it because at least one of her sons, and possibly both, at ages 13 and 16, would be considered men, not children.
At around 2:15 am she was swept into the ocean as the ship sank further into the water. In the dark, freezing waters, Abbott lost hold of her sons and never saw them again. Hope for her own survival was minimal when she was snatched out of the water, and placed in the waterlogged Collapsible Boat A. With water up to their knees, approximately twenty survivors fought for their lives against the lethal cold; only thirteen of these survived the night. Just before dawn, these few survivors were transferred to Lifeboat 15 by Officer Lowe. Unconscious and in poor condition, Rhoda Abbott was brought onboard Carpathia. She was the only woman to survive plunging into the icy waters, and then plucked out.
With the help of the Salvation Army and friends from her church in Providence, Abbott slowly recovered from her terrible frostbite, hampered breathing, and devastating loss of her sons. Rossmore’s body was recovered by the Mackay-Bennett and buried at sea; Eugene’s body was not recovered. She received funds from the Women’s Relief Committee and the Titanic Relief Fund.
BRONZE BUST OF EUGENE ABBOTT
As sculptors in bronze, we are very honoured to be the 'temporary caretakers' of this fine bronze bust of Rhoda Mary Abbott's youngest son, Eugene. She continued to refer to Eugene as "my baby" for years after his death on Titanic. The work by "W.F." is extremely lifelike, considering the challenge of working only from photographs. It was exhibited at the Royal Academy circa 1914. If anyone knows the artist's full name, please contact us. We have it on a pyramid-shaped, Carrara marble pedestal. The wooden panel behind it is from sister ship RMS Olympic. It is flanked by our Dining Saloon caryatids.