After a rest of nearly 60 years beneath Rome’s sod, an iron coffin containing the body of Dr. J.T. Owens was exhumed Tuesday morning a half century ago by workmen digging a sewer along North Broad Street. This was the second occurrence of this same nature, for three years before while excavations were being made on the same street within a few feet of the very spot, another body was exhumed. Old residents said that during the 1850s a cemetery was located on a tract now traversed by North Broad Street.
The identity of Dr. Owen was established by means of a tarnished silver plate with the inscription of the Latin dates, “Aetat 31, Obit. Oct 2, 1853.” The body was of remarkable preservation. It was of a young man with long black hair and regular features. Through the clouded glass of the casket could be seen the high white standing collar and a flowing black bow tie. Strange to relate the cheeks were tinted with red as if the coloring pigment from the blood had lodged there.
The coffin was of the type long obsolete. Of iron with three silver handles on either side, it was shaped to fit the body, raised at the feet and head and broader in the middle. During the morning hundreds of the curious viewed the gruesome site. City authorities had the coffin interred at the North Rome cemetery that afternoon.
Rome, along with the rest of the world, read with shock of the sinking of the mammoth White Star Line Steamer Titanic, April 15, 1912, bound from Liverpool to New York on her festive maiden voyage.
Traveling at 21 knots per hour in an attempt to smash all speed records, the largest vessel ever built by that time crashed into an iceberg and sank within four hours, carrying with her to the bottom of the sea 1,517 passengers and crew members. Among those believed to be lost were Col. John Jacob Astor, master of scores of millions, Benjamin Guggenheim, of the famous banking family and many other internationally known figures.
The steamship Carpathia rushed to the scene and picked up 707 from lifeboats, most of them women and children,
and brought them to New York. They reported the tragic details of the sinking as they tossed in the water nearby.
“Sinking by the head. Have cleared boats filled with women and children,” was the final message sent by the brave men doomed to die. The survivors in the lifeboats saw the lights of the stricken vessel glimmer to the last, heard her
band playing, saw he doomed hundreds on her deck and heard their groans and cries when the vessel sank.
An immediate congressional investigation of the accident was begun, the first day’s testimony at week’s end bringing the conclusion that the biggest ship built sank in mid-ocean because it was being rushed at nearly top speed and crashed into an iceberg, after warnings had been given; that so few were saved because of the lack of lifeboats to accommodate the passengers, according to the Associated Press reports. Among witnesses was William Marconi, inventor of the wireless.
It was learned that Mrs. A.F. Proctor, of Rome, went to school with the great merchant and statesman, Isador Strauss, one of the victims, when she lived in Talboton, Ga.
It was believed that the chances of opening up Fifth Avenue where the old courthouse had stood were brighter than ever before. The new City Council was in favor of the proposition and all the residents of the section wished the street opened to the river and graded, and they had already raised funds toward the work. … The first baseball game of the season here was a hair-raising 10-inning one in which Rome lost to Anniston. Most businessmen closed down between 3 and 6 o’clock and a huge crowd was on hand. … Terms to govern the sale of the bankrupt Trion Manufacturing Company property were agreed upon at a meeting of creditors held at the Floyd County courthouse.… Many Romans were among the throng hearing Woodrow Wilson speak in Atlanta.
Miss Madge Pollock was complimented by being named one of the 10 sponsors for the cadets of the Georgia Military Academy going to West Point, when they would accompany Governor Joseph Brown as his escort. … Miss Mildred Moultrie was appointed maid of honor to the queen of the Confederate Veterans’ reunion in Macon. … J.N. King, who had headed the Manufacturers and Merchants Association since its birth six years before, was reelected president. … There was an onion famine in Rome. The supply of dry onions was exhausted and green ones were late reaching the market. … Dr. R.M. Harbin had gone to Augusta to attend the convention of the Medical Association of Georgia. He was first vice-president. … W.H. Collins had bought a Hudson. …