October 2, 2013

The Ship Finance Headed To The Panama Canal

My visit to the Titanic museum, you can read that post here, jarred my memory about our family history written by my Aunt Rosie, and a sinking ship that had family members aboard.

Here is the story of Kitty and Minie written by my Aunt Rosie. . .

Aunt Minnie, who was really baptized Mary, had a great desire to join "The Little Sisters of the Poor," and would have except for her sister Kitty.
When Aunt Kitty married Uncle Tom, they set up housekeeping in Toledo, not far from Grandmother's boarding house. That left Grandma short handed. So Minnie felt she had to stay on.
Aunt Kitty began her family right away and had a child as soon as possible after each. This left her not very well and quite worn out.
After the third child, Minnie decided it was her duty to help Kitty, which she did for the rest of her life. Kitty ended up with five living children Francis, Margaret, Mary, Alice, and Catherine, along with two children who did not survive.
After the French had given up the Panama Canal project, the United States took it over. A call went out for trained mechanics. The pay was good, plus fringe benefits, like free passage back to the States for two months of the year with pay.
Tom decided he would go to the canal and work in the machine shop. He was readily accepted and was soon on his way. This left Kitty and Minnie to carry on alone.
Life in the zone was very bleak at that time. Men were dying every day with the fever. There were coffins lined up against the side of the shops. The doctors went on rounds two or three times a day issuing quinine.
A postcard sent to family back in Toledo, Ohio
 Permission was granted, and Kitty saw it as her duty to join Tom, and began selling her household goods and packing what she could to take with her 
They went by train to New York and boarded an old freighter called "The Finance." I do not recall whether it was spring or autumn, but I think it was autumn. 
Tomorrows post will continue the story of Minnie and Kitty's journey to the Panama Canal.