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WDAY: The News Leader

Published April 14, 2012, 05:11 PM

Story of Amenia Farmer Lives on after the Titanic Disaster

(WDAY TV) -- It was this night, 100 years ago, the Titanic struck an iceberg in the north Atlantic. The disaster took the lives of more than 15-hundred people including a prominent bonanza farmer from Amenia. H.F. Chaffee's story lives on, now through his grandson.

It was this night, 100 years ago, the Titanic struck an iceberg in the north Atlantic. The disaster took the lives of more than 15-hundred people including a prominent bonanza farmer from Amenia. H.F. Chaffee's story lives on, now through his grandson.

What most people know of the Titanic is from the silver screen or history books, but Mark Chaffee's knowledge stems from family stories.

"it's good to know where your roots are from."

Mark's grandfather, Herbert Fuller Chaffee, perished in the tragedy. Before he died, he made sure his wife, Carrie, was on a life boat.

"All of the men that died on the Titanic were heroes, they had to let women and children go on first and let everyone else fend for themselves."

Mark grew up hearing stories of his grandfather. He now shares those stories with different groups in the community.

"You have a connection to your past."

And that connection spurred a lifelong interest in the Titanic.

"My father's house there was a lot of books about it, so I've been I guess a student about it for years."

He has of course seen the movie.

"I thought the love story was kind of campy."

And understands the world's fascination with the epic tragedy.

"It touched so many lives of several classes."

But Mark is also fascinated with the aftermath of the tragedy... How the sinking of the what was believed to be the unsinkable ship changed society's attitude toward safety.

"Those cries of people in the water that is indicative of the crying out that legislation was needed for the maritime industry."

To this day it's unknown why the Chaffees were on the Titanic. They may have travelled to Europe to buy stain glass windows for a church in Amenia.

Tonight at 7, there will be an ABC special on the Titanic.

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