George D. Wick (1854 – 1912)

George was born June 24, 1854 in Youngstown and became a dominant figure in the Mahoning Valley industrial, financial, and commercial development. He and James A. Campbell (See the Oct. 2004 Riverside Review) resigned from the Republic Iron and Steel Company in 1900 and formed their own steel mill, the Youngstown Iron Sheet and Tube Company. George Wick played an active role in starting this local steel company in Campbell and served as its first president but after suffering health problems he was forced to take a leave of absence.
He and members of his family were touring Europe in 1912 and had planned to return to Youngstown by booking passage on the Titanic, leaving Southampton, England, on its maiden voyage. This is the story of what happened to 57 year-old George Wick; his wife, Mary; his 31 year-old daughter, Natalie Wick; and two daughters of cousins, Miss Caroline Bonnell and Miss Elizabeth Bonnell of Birkdale, England, on the night the Titanic struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic exactly 95 years ago this past April 14
When the collision occurred at 11:40 PM, George and Mary Wick were asleep in their stateroom. From the noise they thought a boiler had exploded. Natalie Wick and Caroline Bonnell rushed to the Wick’s stateroom to tell them that a crew member was advising everyone to put on their life jackets. "Why, that's nonsense, girls," George said, "This boat is all right. She's going along finely. She just got a glancing blow, I guess." The young women then left and moments later the Wicks were told to go to the A deck. There they met up with Elizabeth Bonnell, Natalie, and Caroline. The four women only had time to put on shoes and a coat over their nightgowns.
The night was bright and starlit and the sea was calm. They could see the crowds of passengers falling down the stairways, while the officers sought to reassure them of their safety. They did not think the boat was going to sink. However, the Titanic kept settling lower and lower. Then word came that the engine room was flooded.
The four women were directed to the second lifeboat being let down. Their boat contained 20 women, two sailors to do the rowing, and a steward. It could have held more. Mr. Wick stood at the rail as his wife and daughter were helped into the lifeboat and lowered over the side. He waved his hand as the party left the Titanic. The last they saw of George Wick as the Titanic slid beneath the waves was his standing on the deck waving a farewell.
For several hours the lifeboats from the Titanic circled the area looking for survivors, but only a few were to be found swimming in the ocean and of those picked up, many soon died from exposure to the freezing waters. Then at 4:10 AM on April 15
th the steamship, Carpathia, arrived to rescue the cold, wet and hysterical women. By 8:30 AM it was determined that it was hopeless in finding any more of missing 1500 passengers and crew and the Carpathia steamed from the disaster area and headed for Halifax, Nova Scotia with only 705 survivors.
A family member traveled to Halifax, hoping to identify George Wick’s body, but it was never recovered. A memorial service was held in Youngstown on April 24, 1912 and later a granite tombstone was erected over an empty grave in Youngstown’s Oak Hill Cemetery with the words, “Whose life was sacrificed on the Steamship Titanic.”

Editor’s Comments: Miss Caroline Bonnell wrote for the United Press a lengthy article of her experiences aboard the Titanic, of the terrible suffering in the life-boats, and of her rescue by the Carpathia after the tragic sinking. Here are some excerpts from her article.


NEW YORK, April 19------"Well, thank goodness, Nathalie, we are going to see our iceberg at last.” That---that single, foolish little sentence---was the one thing, of all things, that I said to my cousin as the great, beautiful Titanic was shivering beneath her death blow. And yet it was the most natural remark in the world for me to make that Sunday midnight at the very minute when the hand of death began pulling down its terrible cargo of souls. For though, the world has not come to realize it, that was a hidden hand---a hand so hidden that none of us suspected, for an instant, how strong and how cruel it was until less than two hours afterward, it gave a quick, final jerk, and the titan of vessel sank beneath the swells.
My cousin, Nathalie Wick, and I, were lying in our berths half asleep when the blow came. It was terrific. For a second the whole boat just stood stock still in its swift tracks and then it gave a great shiver all through. After that, everything was dead quiet for a minute…..
We had just decided to go back to bed when an officer came up to us and to another group of people who had gotten up to find out what was the matter. “Go below and put on your life belts,” he said. "You may need them later." We went down at once and told my aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. George Wick….
After we had been on the top deck for a while, considerably more than at hour, I should say, the women were told to stand in a group by themselves and to be ready to get into the lifeboats. The men drew back and the women stood at the railing. There was very little discipline. In fact, there was practically none. People had to be begged to get into the lifeboats. No one thought the Titanic was going to sink, and passengers did not feel like trusting themselves to tiny open rowboats when they were aboard the biggest liner in the world. At least, they so argued with the officers…..
We watched the other boats being lowered as we got under way. And then, in a few minutes, we noticed that the Titanic began to list more heavily. After a while, when we were considerable distance away, a whole deck of lights, the lowest deck, was suddenly snuffed out. At the same time the mast lights dropped a little farther down in the star-pointed sky. After this the tragedy moved with a relentless swiftness. Deck by deck we watched the lights go out, as the boat dropped lower and lower into the sea. At last but four rows of lights were left. Then the water reached the port holes, and as it rushed in here, there was one great explosion, and another, and then the ship left the horizon unbroken. And those that were in the lifeboats which were close to the vessel say that the orchestra played till the very last, and that the men went down into the sea singing "Nearer, My God, To Thee."….
For nearly eight hours, these sixteen boat loads of hysterical, cold, wet, hungry women and men were at the mercy of the elements. During the darkness it was bad enough, but the dawn brought a fresh danger. It disclosed the fact that we were beset by vast fields of ice and icebergs. Those looming mountains of glassy ice were everywhere. We were almost afraid to move and to add to our distress a stiff breeze was springing up, churning the sea into a nasty choppiness….
And then somebody looked back, and there---there was a big searchlight burning on the prow of a great liner. That light was the most beautiful sight I shall ever see. Distress was turned to hope as we put directly about and rowed hard for an hour toward the vessel. At the end of that time we were alongside of the Carpathia. The lifeboat was bobbing up and down on the waves and it was pretty hard to stand up in it long enough to climb out, but you can wager we all did it. As soon as we got on deck, we were rolled in blankets and given brandy and water. And nothing have I ever tasted was quite so good as that brandy and water….

Aboard the Carpathia everything was confusion. Women were torn with grief, the worst kind of grief---the grief of uncertainty. “Oh, if I only knew whether my husband has been saved or not," was the all-night cry of more than one sorrow-stricken wife….