I examined the role that Connecticut played in the Sinking of the Lusitania on May 7th, 1915, the tragedy that is widely perceived to have persuaded the USA into entering WWI. While there is little information connected to Suffield during this event, the state of Connecticut does have a rich history with this famous sinking. Aboard the Lusitania there were 1,960 passengers, and out of that group, twenty of the residents were from Connecticut. Among those twenty Connecticut residents involved in the Lusitania sinking, two of them are nationally perceived as heroes for saving ten percent of around seven hundred survivors. Elizabeth Duckwork, a weaver from Taftville, assisted in the rescue of forty passengers, and James Ham Brooks, a salesman in a Bridgeport manufacturing company, helped save 33 people. Another Connecticut survivor aboard the Lusitania was Theodate Pope, a Farmington citizen, who went abroad the Lusitania in hopes of reaching Liverpool to continue her research of “spiritualism”. Pope traveled with her colleague, Edward Friend, a philosopher who graduated from Harvard University. Pope survived the tragedy by clinging to the oar of a lifeboat for three long hours in the freezing waters in the Irish Sea [a true Titanic story!]. Edward Friend jumped off the side of the Lusitania before Pope did and was never seen again after the sinking. Pope is known for being the first female architect in Connecticut and for her architectural structures spread out around New York and Connecticut. Impressively enough, Pope created and founded Avon Old Farms, a single-sex boarding school in Avon, CT. Pope died at the age of forty-six in her home in Farmington, CT, which is now a museum dedicated to Theodate Pope herself. It would be very interesting to visit the museum in Farmington in order to learn a little more about a local survivor.
This source comes directly from the Hartford Courant and it is an article in remembrance of “The Sinking of The Lusitania” on its 100 year anniversary.