The Unsinkable Molly Brown – as related by her great-granddaughter, Helen Benziger


Molly Brown
About Helen Benziger

Helen Benziger is available for events with her per diem of $1,000  per diem plus expenses.

Helen Benziger began talking about her great-grandmother, Margaret “The Unsinkable Molly” Brown in 1999. Her family never spoke of Margaret Brown, and the first time she realized that she was connected to her was while watching the movie, The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

On screen “Molly” was dancing on the bar and throwing her skirts up in wild abandon when her mother leaned over and said, “By the way…that’s your great grandmother.” That was the beginning of Helen’s interest in her great grandmother’s life and all things Titanic. Now, she travels the country talking about Margaret and Titanic.

Like her great-grandmother, Helen is active in many areas. Her passion is fighting homelessness and helping abused dogs. Currently, Helen lives in a log cabin in the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming along with her husband, David, and their three dogs.

Margaret Brown, the infamous Unsinkable Molly Brown depicted on Broadway and motion pictures. “I am a daughter of adventure. This means I never experience a dull moment and must be prepared for any eventuality . . . That’s my arc, as the astrologers would say. It’s a good one, too, for a person who had rather make a snap-out than a fade-out of life.”
The Denver Post | august 1923



An evening of immersion in the facts, fiction, follies and foods of the Titanic

For those who wonder what really happened when the Titanic sank, Ken Rossignol, author of “Titanic 1912,” will provide details at the Hotel Fauchere’s “Titanic Dinner” Sunday, at which food from the galley’s recipes will be served.

The evening of immersion in the facts, fiction, follies and foods of the Titanic is a collaboration between the Pike County Historical Society and the Fauchere.

It will begin at 5:30 p.m. with Rossignol’s presentation at the Emerson House, next to the hotel. The dinner afterward will be in the Delmonico Room of the Fauchere.

Rossignol will expound on who was brave, who was cowardly, who later lied, told the truth, or was befogged. He can explain what made Molly Brown unsinkable and why the ship’s crew lacked binoculars to see the iceberg ahead.

Rossignol, who writes cruise ship thrillers and lectures on cruise ships, may also offer advice on what to do should you find yourself on a sinking ship. One piece of advice he gives is to bring a flashlight. As a ship sinks, electricity is lost and the ship goes dark.

Rossignol started his own weekly newspaper in Maryland, Saint Mary’s Today, when he felt local newspapers were filling pages with fluff while missing important stories, and he did extensive research to find out how 1912 newspapers made big mistakes with the Titanic story. Despite fast-moving information that quickly provided photos of the disaster, the London Daily Mail wrote that “all were saved,” and the Washington Post wrote that 800 had died, though the dead numbered over 1,500.

Rossignol will also highlight what news reports completely missed. He says, for instance, that while the ship was approaching an iceberg, 12 crew members were working around the clock to put out a coal fire that was damaging the ship.

“They should have returned to port when the ship caught fire,” says Rossignol. “It was burning the whole time.”

He points out that, like the Titanic, the World Trade Center was also undermined by heat-damaged metal.

Rossignol also notes that 6,540 people claimed they just missed boarding the Titanic. With such a load, says Rossignol, “The Titanic would have sunk at the dock.”

Rossignol, who has seen the 1997 film “Titanic” 15 times, says he knows all about all five Titanic movies. He has written poems about the disaster and is familiar with many poems written by the public about it.

His own interest began when, at 12, he read Walter Lord’s novel about the Titanic, “A Night to Remember.” And for his habit of writing, he says, “I blame my 10th-grade teacher, Mrs. Weaver, who made us write in our journals for the first 15 minutes of class every day.”

The Hotel Fauchere at 401 Broad Street in Milford, Pennsylvania was founded as a summer hotel in 1852, with its restuarant under the management of Louis Fauchere, who was the master chef of Delmonico's in New York City. It is located within the Milford Historic District.

The Hotel Fauchere at 401 Broad Street in Milford, Pennsylvania was founded as a summer hotel in 1852, with its restuarant under the management of Louis Fauchere, who was the master chef of Delmonico’s in New York City. It is located within the Milford Historic District.

If you go

What: Titanic lecture, dinner will follow in the Delmonico Room of Hotel Fauchere.

When: 5:30 p.m. Sunday, April 27, 2104

Where: Emerson House, 401 Broad St., Milford.

Cost for lecture and dinner: $75, tax and gratuity included ($10 donated to the Pike County Historical Society)

Cost, lecture only. (If seating is available): $20

Dinner reservations: 570-409-1212

Lecture reservations: 570-296-8126

William Thomas Stead went down with the ship, Journalist and EditorFrom Pike County Courier

MILFORD — Ken Rossignol is a writer who has led a very interesting life. From reporting hard news, getting confessions from criminals, and speaking out on an unfair court system; to writing murder-mystery novels and poetry, Ken has ran the gamut of topics and genres. Rossignol has also written three books in which he explores different subject matters regarding the RMS Titanic, the famed luxury liner which met its demise due to an iceberg back in 1912. We’ve all seen the movie.

We’ve all heard the Celine Dion song, ad nauseum, but did you know the New York Times received hundreds of poems about the sinking of the Titanic daily in the days following the sinking or that there were 3,500 pounds of tomatoes aboard and 75,000 pounds of fresh meat?

In the book “Titanic 1912” Rossignol examines the facts and non facts which were printed about the great ship, its passengers, crew, and all things titanic, about the Titanic, which appeared as news in papers around the globe. Sometimes guilty of just reading the headlines, Ken found that if you read the whole story, many were contrary in fact and even dead wrong, in some cases.

Ken will share his insights and musings regarding the HMS Titanic and its fateful trip on April 27 in connection with a very special “Titanic Dinner” hosted by the Hotel Fauchere in cooperation with the Columns Museum.

A presentation by Rossignol will be held at the Emerson House, located next to the Hotel Fauchere, beginning at 5:30 p.m., followed by a dinner in the Hotel’s Delmonico Room which will consist of courses prepared on the Titanic, with Hotel Chef’s using original recipes from the ship’s various dining salons and it’s a la carte offerings in the ships “The Ritz” restaurant.

The cost for the dinner and lecture is $75, tax and gratuity included, with $10 of each sale being donated to the Pike County Historical Society. The lecture begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Emerson House. Dinner will then follow in the Delmonico Room of the Hotel.

Tickets to just the lecture will be made available, if there is seating available, for $20 on a first come, first serve basis. For dinner reservations call Hillary at the Hotel Fauchere at 570-409-1212. For lecture reservations call Lori at 570-296-8126. –

From Times-Herald Record: Learn about how a fire was burning out of control on the Titanic

Descendants: The offspring of the unstopable captain of the Carpathia meet the great-grandaughter of the Unsinkable Molly Brown

Rostron and Brown descendants
Descendants Margaret & Janet Rostron, great granddaughters of Captain Arthur Henry Rostron presenting Helen Benziger with the loving cup her great grandmother, Margaret Brown presented to their great grandfather who was the captain of the Carpathia…the ship which raced to the rescue of the survivors of Titanic.

Curator trashes authenticity of Wallace Hartley violin; biggest hoax since Hitler diaries?

violin Metro UK
From Lancashire Telegraph

March 16, 2013 — THE CURATOR of the Titanic in Lancashire Museum has rubbished claims that Wallace Hartley’s violin has been found.

Titanic auctioneers Henry Aldridge and Son claim a violin played by Colne bandmaster Wallace Hartley on board the fatal ship is to go on display in Belfast at the end of the month.

The instrument was discovered in an attic in 2006 and tests carried out by scientists are said to have verified it was Wallace’s violin.

Andrew Aldridge, of Henry Aldridge and Son, said: “When we first saw the violin we had to keep a lid on our excitement because it was almost as if it was too good to be true.

“The silver fish plate on the violin along with the other items it was with, such as the leather case with Hartley’s initials on, his jewellery and covering letter to the owner’s late mother, suggested it was either authentic or an extremely elaborate hoax up there with the Hitler Diaries.

‘We knew we would have to look into it and it couldn’t be rushed. Everything needed to be researched properly and the correct experts had to be commissioned.

‘We have spent the last seven years gathering the evidence together and have now reached the stage where we can say that beyond reasonable doubt this was Wallace Hartley’s violin on the Titanic.

“We now know that minutes before the end he placed his beloved violin in this hard-wearing travelling case.

“The bag rested on top of his lifejacket and would have largely been kept out of the water. A letter from his mother was found in his breast pocket and that suffered hardly any water damage.”

But Nigel Hampson, curator of the Colne museum, said: “The historical record does not show that Wallace was recovered with his violin strapped to his body – it actually proves the opposite.

“The inventory of items recovered on Wallace’s body makes no mention whatsoever of a violin or music case or anything similar being found with him.

“We are supposed to believe that when the ship sinks and everyone, the band included, are fighting for their lives, Wallace is more concerned with the fate of his instrument than his life?

We are also supposed to believe that the violin survives almost two weeks in the sea and emerges intact?

“The local press in Colne make no mention of his violin whatsoever. If Wallace had indeed been recovered with his violin after the disaster, they would have been all over the story and given it massive coverage.

“This violin clearly is a Wallace Hartley instrument, but to claim that it is the violin that he had with him on the Titanic is preposterous and is not backed up by the historical record.”

A number of items of Hartley’s jewellery will be sold at auction in Devizes on April 20. ….MORE

Heroes of Titanic: Maj. Archibald Butt

Heroes of the Titanic - Major Archibald Butt, Chief of Staff to the President of the United States assisted women into lifeboats and then stood back to go down with the ship.

Heroes of the Titanic – Major Archibald Butt, Chief of Staff to the President of the United States assisted women into lifeboats and then stood back to go down with the ship.

This inscription is on a memorial plague in the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.:

Butt plaque at National Cathedral

Washington Times

Tuesday 16 April 1912

Major Archibald de Grafenreid Willingham Butt, who was on the Titanic, was returning to Washington on sick leave, and expected to resume his duties as military aide to President Taft at once.
Suffering from that mild poisoning which follows an unending series of dinners and late hours occasioned by his official duties, Major Butt was granted sick leave February 29.
The following day he went to New York, sailing for Naples. He was presented to the Pope, bearing to him an autograph letter from President Taft.
He afterward visited Paris, being credited there with making a search for the last word in state etiquette so that innovations might be made at the White House.
It was stated that Major Butt intended to make White House etiquette the model for the world. Before his departure abroad the engagement of Major Butt to Miss Dorothy Williams, daughter of Col. and Mrs. John R. Williams, U. S. A., was rumored.
Major Butt denied the rumor, though saying it was hardly necessary as “Miss Williams is already denying it.”
Major Butt was forty-five years old September 23, 1911. He did not appear to be so old. He was one of the most widely traveled men in the army.
Was a Reporter
As a young man he was a student at the University of the South, at Sewanee, Tenn., and decided upon journalism as profession. He came to Washington as correspondent for a syndicate of Southern newspapers.
When Gen. Matt. Ransom was sent to Mexico as ambassador, Archie Butt was selected to go with him. Returning from Mexico the young newspaper man and budding diplomat entered the Spanish-American war, saw three years’ service in the Philippines and at the close of the war returned to Washington as depot quartermaster here.
During his service here Captain Butt, as his title was then, attracted the attention of Colonel Roosevelt.
The colonel, then President, appointed Captain Butt his military aide.
Beginning at that time Major Butt entered upon a new career as a globe trotter. With President Roosevelt he traveled 20,000 miles or more.
Since President Taft has been in the White House Major Butt has traveled 50,000 miles or more, including his last trip abroad.
On Sick Leave Major Butt’s trip abroad was induced primarily by ill health. Like many bachelors in the Capital, his digestion gave way before the onslaught of dinners and his duties as aide to the President were arduous.
When he last appeared at the White House he said he was not feeling well and his sallow complexion fully indicated illness. He was given indefinite sick leave, but said that he expected to be gone not longer than forty days. He then planned to take a fifteen-day boat to Naples and to take a slow boat back in order to got the benefit of the sea air.
Major Butt’s acquaintance with President Taft went back to the Philippine experience. There the young officer had succeeded in making an efficient force out of 1,500 or more natives.
This was remarkable, but an even more startling feat was the transportation of a shipload of mules from San Francisco to the islands without losing a single animal.
While in the tropics Major Butt wrote a treatise on tropical diseases of animals. Famous for the hospitality dispersed at his bachelor apartments, 2000 G Street, Major Butt was equally well known among his friends for his hobbies. Chief among them was dogs. Pointers he owned in numbers and some of them were the best bred.

Join Kyrila Scully for a Titanic talk at three locations in Orlando, Florida

Kyrila Scully appears in period costume to delight audiences.

Kyrila Scully appears in period costume to delight audiences.

I’ll be speaking at the Orange County Libraries (Orlando, FL) at three Branches.
Downtown Branch, Saturday, April 19 at  11:00 a.m.
Dr. Phillips (Southwest) Branch, Sat. April 26th at 2:30 p.m.
Hunter’s Creek (South Creek) Branch, Sat. May 31 at 2:00 p.m.
Kyrila Scully will also be speaking at the Breakfast for the  Rotary Club of Lake Buena Vista, FL at the Wyndham Resort in Downtown Disney on June 5th.

If you want to book a lecture, tea party or banquet, please contact Titanic Speakers Bureau for more information.

Kyrilla Scully loves to bring Molly Brown to life for audiences.

Kyrila Scully loves to bring Molly Brown to life for audiences.

Did the iceberg “hit the Titanic”?

The iceberg which may have sunk the Titanic. Which hit which?

The iceberg which may have sunk the Titanic. Which hit which?

There are many theories being put forward over the past few years as to why there were so many icebergs in the North Atlantic that fateful April night in 1912 when the Titanic collided with one and sank. While the information ranges from assertions by modern scientists and researchers that there were more icebergs due to a really cold winter and spring, the article below which was published in LIVE SCIENCE proclaims that 1912 was an average busy season for bergs.  The article goes on to say that the iceberg “hit the Titanic”. As there was no known type of motorized or sail propulsion for the iceberg to guide or power itself and plenty of evidence to show that the Titanic had multiple engines working hard to push the ship along at about 21 knots with a crew on duty in the bridge to steer the ship, it was the Titanic that “hit” the iceberg and caused the disaster.  Had the lookout been doubled, had the lookouts had the use of binoculars and missed the iceberg, it is clear from the history of the White Star line that the luxury liner would have arrived in New York.
News articles which proclaim the iceberg “hit the Titanic” are equivalent with reports in the news that say that a train hit a man or a train hit a truck.  Unless a train had been shown to have jumped off its tracks and raced through a field, down a highway and stalked a truck and collided with it, usually the train is where it is supposed to be and the truck generally is either parked on the tracks, drives around crossing gates or otherwise runs into and strikes the train. The responsibility for discerning the true facts of any story, including the story of the Titanic, rest with the reader.  Therefore, with the wonderful methods of learning now available through the internet, keep on digging into the story and if you wish to believe the romance and fiction, then by all means suspend disbelief and enjoy. If you wish to learn the truth, keep digging from multiple sources.  — Ken Rossignol

From Live Science: Old Coast Guard records are throwing cold water on a long-standing explanation for the loss of the Titanic: the suggestion that the fateful journey took place in waters bristling with icebergs, making 1912 an unlucky year to sail the North Atlantic.

Instead, more than a century of Atlantic iceberg counts reveals 1912 was an average year for dangerous floating ice. The findings also contradict a popular notion that the Jakobshavn Isbrae glacier on Greenland’s west coast birthed the Titanic’s deadly ‘berg. Instead, a computer model suggests that one of the glaciers at Greenland’s southern tip released the iceberg that hit the Titanic on April 14, 1912, drowning more than 1,500 people in the frigid ocean.

“I think the question of whether this was an unusual year has been laid to rest,” said Grant Bigg, an environmental scientist at the University of Sheffield and lead study author, adding, “1912 is not an exceptional year.”  READ MORE

Titanic dinner with author of ‘Titanic 1912’

Ken Titanic graphicFrom The River Reporter, Milford, Penn. April 16, 2014 —

MILFORD, PA — The Pike County Historical Society will host an evening in honor of the Titanic on Sunday, April 27. The Hotel Fauchere will host a dinner in the Delmonico Room. In addition to being the largest liner ever built, when the Titanic set sail it also hosted the most advanced culinary facilities of any ship of its time. The chefs for this Titanic-inspired dinner will recreate dishes enjoyed by the passengers in the first-, second- and third-class dining saloons of the big ship. Each course will be introduced with a discussion of the culinary history of the Titanic.

The speaker, Ken Rossignol, will present his program at 5:30 at The Emerson House, located next door to the hotel. Writing true crime, maritime history and cruise thrillers occupies most of Rossignol’s time. As a maritime history speaker, Rossignol enjoys meeting audiences around the world and discussing the original news stories of the sinking of the Titanic and other maritime history topics.

Luxury liner attire ca. 1912 is encouraged. The cost is $75 per person and tax and gratuity are included; beverages at additional charge. Ten dollars of each fee will be donated back to the Pike County Historical Society. Call for reservations, space is limited, 570/409-1212, ext. 150 or, email

Titanic Survivor Leah Rosen Aks

The Sinking of The Titanic by Bruce M. Caplan

The Sinking of The Titanic by Bruce M. Caplan

   By Bruce M. Caplan

There were literally thousands of fascinating stories  that took place on the Titanic in 1912.  One of the most unique is that of  Leah Rosen Aks.  She was 18 years old and traveling with her ten month old  baby “Filly” (Phillip).  After the collision with the iceberg at  twenty minutes to midnight on April 14th Leah and her infant son  were escorted from third class up to the boat deck.

Leah Rosen Aks and her baby Phillip

Leah Rosen Aks and her baby Phillip

It was a frigid night and when Mrs. John Jacob Astor saw  the shivering baby, she removed her shawl and covered the  child.  Moments later Filly was yanked from Leah’s arms and thrown  into a lifeboat.  Leah screamed and yelled, but there was too much  pandemonium for anyone to listen.

In a daze, moments later Leah entered lifeboat 13 and for  hours she worried if her baby was safe.    When she was rescued and on the Carpathia, she searched everywhere  for Filly.  Suddenly she saw a lady holding Filly in her arms.   She rushed up to the woman, and was shocked when the lady holding her child  said that it was her baby and not Leah’s.

Soon Captain Rostron of the Carpathia was forced to play  the role of King Solomon.  He asked Leah and the other woman if there  was anything unusal about the child. The woman holding Filly was silent,  but Leah pointed out that Filly had a unique birthmark on his back.   Captain Rostron verified this and then took Filly from the woman and handed  the crying child back to Leah.

Leah vowed to name her next child after the Carpathia, because  the rescue by Captain Rostron and his crew had given her a new life.  She  passed away in 1967 and Phillip died in  1991.

The Ironies of April 15th


A promotional poster for Bruce Caplan's appearance in San Diego

A promotional poster for Bruce Caplan’s appearance in San Diego

The Ironies of the Titanic
Bruce M.  Caplan

 There’s an old saying that  there’s two things you can’t escape and that’s “death and taxes.”  On the terribly cold night of April  14th 1912, the Titanic newly crowned Empress of the Seas, met her  Waterloo.  At 11:40 in the evening the giant  vessel slammed into an iceberg and less than three hours later on the morning of  April 15th, she was at the bottom of the  sea.

 Prior to the collision the  mood of most on board was idyllic.   However, the many millionaires were probably cursing the fact that our  government was attempting to levy an annual income tax.  Word was that the tax would only apply  to the rich and regardless it would never be more than 2% of anyone’s annual  income.

 Less than a year after the  vanishing of the Titanic in February of 1913, the 16th Amendment to  the US Constitution was ratified and Federal Income Tax became  legal.

 Originally the annual date  to file was not in April, but eventually it became April 15—-the same date on  the calendar that the great ship sank. Isn’t it ironic that our government  picked the same date on the calendar that the Titanic sank, to make so many of  our wallets sink?