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Retracing the Steps Of Windsor Locks' Connection To Titanic Tragedy

Irish emigre Jane Carr, who lived in Windsor Locks as a domestic helper, perished on the Titantic during a return trip to the United States.

Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titantic, a group of people visited several sites in Windsor Locks frequented by a former resident who died in the tragedy.

On April 11, 1912, Jane Carr, a third-class ticket in hand, boarded the HMS Titanic in Queenstown, Ireland.

The 45-year-old woman was returning to Windsor Locks to settle some banking affairs, but like more than 1,500 others on board the ill-fated ship, Carr did not reach her destination. Three days into her trip, the Titanic struck an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. By 2:30 a.m. on April 15 the ship had sunk to the bottom of the North Atlantic.

Carr was one of 1,490 people who perished on the ship. Her body was never found.

Local historian Mickey Danyluk and Carr's grandniece, Peg Shaughnessy, led a walking tour of the places Carr visited when she lived in Windsor Locks. Every place they stopped Shaughnessy placed a plot of flowers and a flyer with information about Carr.

She had originally immigrated to America to work as a domestic and cook in Springfield, Mass., and later in Hartford. For a time, she worked for Dr. Sidney R. Burnap, of Windsor Locks.

The tour first stopped at Ashley Homestead, 2 South Center Street, where Frank Ashley, his wife and children lived. They are believed to have employed Jane Carr when she arrived in Windsor Locks in 1887.

The Shaughnessy Homestead, 10 South Center Street, is where John Shaughnessy lived. Carr was frequent visitor to the home and was a friend of Deliah Shaughnessy.

Six Chestnut Street, the O’Leary Homestead, was the home of Michael and Catherine O’Leary. Catherine telegraphed Carr, who had returned to Ireland to care for her nieces and nephews, to settle banking affairs as the Windsor Locks Savings Bank was failing due to embezzlement.

Alfred Woods Converse, Burnap's brother-in-law who was the bank treasurer, town clerk and postmaster, was accused of embezzling some $185,000; he committed suicide when confronted in January 1912.  Catherine O’Leary told Carr about the situation and encouraged her to return to close her account.
Catherine would blame herself for the rest of her life for directing Carr to return to Windsor Locks.

The tour next stopped at St. Mary’s Church, 42 Spring Street, where Carr attended Sunday Mass, holy days and receive sacraments.

, on Main Street, was the tour’s next stop. Carr arrived in Windsor Locks there and left the town from the station, Danyluk said.

The final stop on the tour Saturday was Burnap Mansion, 18 Maple Avenue. The Burnap mansion, now the home of Dennis and Martha Jarvis, was open for tours Saturday. Members of the tour got an early tour of the restored home.

Robin Smith Kollman April 16, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Great story! I can just imagine what it all was like back then. Nice detail and reporting.

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