COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (WKTV) - It is nearly impossible to find someone who is not familiar with the story of Titanic and its ill-fated voyage 100 years ago, but a lesser known story is that of the Ryerson family of Cooperstown.
Cooperstown-resident Arthur Ryerson and his family boarded Titanic in an emergency trip to rush home to America, when they learned of their eldest son's sudden death. The family was vacationing in Europe.
The tragedy of their son's death was just the beginning, as their trip home for his funeral would turn into tragedy itself. Titanic hit an iceberg and sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
The woman-and-children only rule would determine the fate of the Ryerson family. Arthur's wife and children would survive on lifeboats, but the patriarch of the family would go down with the ship.
Ryerson's body was never identified, if even recovered. Today, a memorial sits in Lakewood Cemetery in Cooperstown that honors his heroic actions the night Titanic sunk.
Historians say that Ryerson's son was not allowed on the lifeboats with his mother, until Arthur insisted that the son stay with her.
The Ryerson family story is represented by Hyde Hall in Cooperstown. Emily Ryerson would live at this estate with her husband as an adult. The national landmark is preparing a Titanic exhibit, scheduled to open in June, according to executive director Jonathan Maney.
The New York State Historical Association’s Research Library also opened of a new display case exhibit commemorating the sinking of Titanic and its Cooperstown connection,
The exhibit was created by Cooperstown Graduate Program student Emily Lange.
The library’s hours are 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Saturday hours are 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is free.