Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Francis Boies Penrose Story

I would like to introduce you to my Uncle Francis, he was born in Philadelphia, PA in the year 1867 the 5th son of my grandparents. My Uncle had a beautiful talent, he loved to draw. When my grandparents would go on trips without the kids, their nanny would have them write letters to my grandparents. Francis' letter and envelope would have drawings on them. His nickname was Friday.
My Uncle attended Harvard, two things happened to him there. The first was a fellow student with the nickname "piggy" fell in love with him and constantly sent him letters. My grandfather's advice was to burn every letter and discourage "piggy". My grandfather had plans for his brother Boies to become President of the United States and a scandal like this could hurt him. Uncle Francis did as his father said.
The second thing that happened was Francis became very sick, they called it a brain fever(this is what we call meningitis today and a blow to the head can also cause brain fever). He had to leave Harvard in his second year and went back home to Philly, he was eighteen. My grandfather, who was a doctor, had a cure for everything. A change in climate and hard work were his remedies, so when my Uncle Francis was strong enough he was sent to England. My grandmother, who had died in 1881, had family there.
By 1912 my Uncle was 45 years old. He had married and had children, the last one was a newborn. My Uncle got a job on a ship, its name was "Titanic". There were many people on this ship who knew my family well. The only person who did not take this trip was Rockefeller, he was booked to take it but didn't. The richest men in America had a meeting on the fateful night of the Titanic, even the head of the U.S. Treasury was there. They were going to take their money out of America because the government was going to start taxing individuals. A bomb went off in that room killing every person there.
My Uncle knew of the meeting and went to check on everyone. He saw water and dead bodies.
Everyone knows the rest of what happened except what Washington was doing. The bomb was to go off at a certain time, the President had arranged a meeting with my Uncle Boies (who was head of Naval Affairs) during this time. Uncle Boies gets the message the Titanic is in trouble and the President is not going to do anything. Uncle Boies leaves Washington (the President is pissed) and gets his yacht the "Betty". He is able to save my Uncle Francis and a few others.
Fast forward to Washington, my Uncle Francis and the other surviving employees are taken away where they are questioned. My Uncle is tortured, he keeps telling them what he knows and he keeps saying all he wants to do, is go home to his family. I do not know how long they kept him, he had to sign a paper to never talk about what he knew. At one time they were going to blame my Uncle for planting the bomb then they changed their minds. Note: a messenger was sent to Mrs. Astor to make sure that she never mention the meeting.
They released my Uncle Francis, who was tired, in shock and was mentally plus physically drained. He went home to England, when he arrived he discovered his whole family had been murdered even the baby. My Uncle had a complete nervous breakdown.
My family brought him home to Philly where they put him in a mental hospital. There were parts of the Penrose family that would tell people my Uncle was adopted and he was born in New Mexico, that is not true. They did this because people thought it was bad when a member of a family had to be in a mental hospital.
My father brought my Uncle to Colorado Springs in the late 1930's, my uncle's nurse (who had been on the Titanic and rescued also) took care of him till he died in 1947. Mary Marvin stayed on with my family and my mother appointed her to help Fairbanks and Berkey with the book about my Uncle Richard. This book never mentions the Titanic or the letters my Uncle Richard wrote concerning this incident. My dad had wanted them in the book, my mother did not.
My father made my Uncle Francis' life as pleasant as he could and if you look at the picture of him you can see a gentleness about him. So, that's the story about my Uncle from my father and what happened on the Titanic.

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