'UNSINKABLE' sinks

A replica of the Titanic.

Submitted photo
Daily Iowegian

Semi Weekly Iowegian, Friday, April 19, 1912

MYSTIC MAN LOSES WIFE AND CHILDREN

Frank Lefebvre, of Mystic, has almost given away to despair of ever seeing his wife and four children who were on board the ill fated Titanic.

They were coming from France to join him after separation of a year while he worked hard in the mines to accumulate enough money to pay their passage in the steerage. As soon as he got enough ahead he sent for the oldest son who came over to help him and the two were able to make enough to send for the wife and children about five weeks ago. The happy woman wrote that they would come on the Titanic. Her name appears among those missing. It was hoped something further might be heard of her this morning after the survivors landed, but no word has come and now the sorrowing husband and father has almost given up hope. He and his son work at one of the Lodwick mines.

Semi Weekly Iowegian, Tuesday, April 23, 1912

FRENCH CHILDREN MAYBE ARE HIS

Believing that two unknown French children saved from the Titanic are his, Frank Lefebvre has started from Mystic for New York to identify them. The two little tots are in the hands of Miss Margaret Hays, a survivor of the Titanic, who took them in charge when they were thrown into the life boat in which she was as it pushed off from the doomed ship. It is believed it was the last despairing act of their mother who sought to save her babes when she knew she must go to death herself. They are about 2 and 4 years old. The Chicago Tribune of yesterday printed their pictures. While Mr. Lefebvre has not seen his children for a year since he left France, he believes they are his. A purse, was raised at Mystic so he could go back to see them at the home of Miss Hays, 304 W. 83rd St., New York. The mother and the two other children are believed to have perished.

Interesting stories of rescue and bravery continue to be told by survivors of the awful wreck. The investigation into responsibility by the senate committee continues, it developing that barely half enough life boats were carried because it was felt that the vessel was unsinkable. It is reported that a fire was burning in the coal in the hold from shortly after the ship sailed, which also hastened its speed.

Semi Weekly Iowegian, Tuesday, April 30, 1912

MYSTIC MAN GIVES UP HOPE OF CHILDREN

With the hope gone that the French children rescued from the Titanic and under care in New York might be his, Frank Lefebvre, the Mystic man who started east with hopeful anticipations, has returned without the children. He stopped at Chicago and got into communication with the French consul there, who took up the investigation. Mr. Lefebvre had a picture of his wife and four children taken only the week before she sailed, which she had sent him. This picture was placed in the hands of the consul who sent it to New York to be compared with the children there. It was sent back with the report that no such children were saved. Then Mr. Lefebvre returned to Mystic realizing that hope of ever seeing any of his family of five who were aboard the Titanic was gone. He was very grateful to Mystic people who raised him a purse to go to Chicago to investigate. It is reported that 13 French children were among the saved, some of them in New York hospitals, besides the two in charge of Miss Hays, one of the survivors who took care of them after they were thrown into the lifeboat. She may adopt these two. Yesterdays dispatches report that one of the children is among the 200 bodies recovered floating near the scene of the wreck.

Semi Weekly Iowegian, Tuesday, July 16, 1912

FRENCHMAN HAD TOO MANY WIVES

Frank Lefebvre (sic), the Mystic Frenchman who lost his wife and four children on the Titanic, is now in jail here and with him is the woman he is alleged to have run off with when he came from France to this country. It will be remembered that when the Titanic went down and two French children were saved Mystic people made up a purse to send him to see if they were his. At Chicago, thru the French consul, he learned they were not and returned.

The publicity attached to the Titanic affair, and his application for damages and pay because of the loss, caused investigations which purport to reveal that when he left France a year ago he left with another woman, she having a son, and he bringing a daughter with him, and they passing as one family. Emigrant Inspector Whitfield has been here to interview him and is said to have got his confession. The woman says that he lived with her but three months in this country and then deserted her. She has a husband in France. It is expected that orders will be received to deport the entire quartet to France. In the meantime they are held in jail.

Semi Weekly Iowegian, Tuesday, July 30, 1912

LEFEBVRE AND WOMAN AND HER CHILD BEING TAKEN BACK TO NEW YORK TO SAIL FOR FRANCE

Appanoose County saw the last of Frank Lefebvre (sic), the woman with whom he eloped from France, and one child of each Saturday when they were started to New York in charge of a government official and Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Baker who went along to assist in looking after them. Mrs. Baker is a native of France and can speak their language. A pathetic part of the affair is that Lefebvre (sic) had with him here two sons, and when the order came for their deportation there was but one son mentioned, which left a 15 year old boy here alone. He is being cared for at the jail. It is expected that the order will be rectified and he will later be sent to join his father and brother.

He was reluctant about parting with his father and brother, but seemed to realize the situation and kept up his courage. The man and woman are being sent back because they had no legal entry to this country, being elopers, and having a wife and husband in France. She had a little girl with her, and he took back a little boy with him.

An older son of his is said to live in Illinois.

Centerville Daily Citizen, Saturday evening, July 13, 1912

FRANK LEFEBVRE BEREAVED MINER CALLED ELOPER

In Appanoose County’s foreign colony there lurks, in all probability, many a romance and as romances go, frequently there are sombre sides to them. The Citizen’s readers will recall having read some time ago of the loss of the wife and four children of Frank Lefebvre (sic), of Mystic, in the Titanic disaster.

The beautiful romance has been spoiled somewhat by the investigation of the Titanic Relief society and the U.S. Immigration Bureau.

It develops through that source that Lefebvre when he left Labin, France March 10, 1911, eloped with Mrs. Martha Dupont nee Amant who deserted her husband to come to this country with Lefebvre. In a confession secured by Emigrant inspector, S.L. Whitfield, the woman declares that she paid the passage of herself and her son, Anselm, and also those of Lefebvre and his daughter, Leo, and that the party traveled as one family, Lefebvre giving the woman says that after living with Lefebvre for three months as his wife he turned her adrift, her money being all gone except 60 cents.

Lefebvre, Mrs. Dupont, and the children were taken into custody and are being kept by Sheriff Dowis at the county jail while Inspector Whitfield has forwarded the papers in the case to Washington, D.C., and it is expected that the man and woman and minor children will be deported. Inspector Whitfield has been in this vicinity several days making investigations, and Mrs. C.A. Baker, of this city, has been acting as interpreter.

It seems that Lefebvre applied to the Red  Cross society for aid, and had also expected to get some money as damages from the steamship company. Mrs. Newcomb, in charge of the relief work, wrote to the city officials of Mystic to find out about the truth of Lefebvre’s claims and in this way it was learned that he had lived with another woman, his case was then turned over to the Federal authorities. Inspector Whitfield said that so far as learned Lefebvre had actually sent for his family, it being represented that the man borrowed $100 for that purpose.

The woman’s husband is still in the old country.

Centerville Daily Citizen, Wednesday evening, July 17, 1912

FEDERAL WARRANT FOR MYSTIC COUPLE

A federal warrant to hold the Mystic couple, Frank Lefebvre and Mary Dupont and children pending a hearing on charges looking toward their deportation to France, their native country, has been received by Sheriff Dowis.

The warrant alleges that the persons named are in the excluded class of immigrants because the man brought the woman to this country for an immoral purpose and that the woman and children are likely to become public charges. Benj. C. Cable acting secretary of Commerce and Labor, issues the warrant to James R. Dunn, inspector at large, St. Louis, and it is forwarded here by Inspector H.L. Whitfield who investigated the case. It states that the defendants may be released on $1,000 bond and the children on parole to responsible parties pending a hearing to be given them later. The boy, Ansolm, has already been paroled to a countryman at Mystic.

It will be remembered that Lefebvre is the French miner that lost his wife and four children in the Titanic disaster.

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