Margaret Brown

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Margaret Brown (née Tobin) (July 18, 1867 – October 26, 1932), more widely known as Maggie Brown, Molly Brown, and The Unsinkable Molly Brown, was an American socialite, philanthropist, and activist who became famous in the 1912 sinking of the RMS Titanic, after getting lifeboat 6 to return to look for survivors.[1] She became known after her death as "The Unsinkable Molly Brown", although she was not called Molly during her life. Her friends called her Maggie.


Early life

Born Margaret Tobin in Hannibal, Missouri, one of four children born to Irish immigrants John Tobin (1820–1899) and Johanna Collins (1825–1905). Her siblings were Daniel (born 1863), William (born 1869), and Helen (born 1871). Added to these, Margaret had two half-sisters: Catherine Bridget Tobin, by her father's first marriage, and Mary Ann Collins, by her mother's first marriage. Both her mother and father had been widowed young.

At age 18, Margaret moved to Leadville, Colorado with her sister, and got a job in a department store. It was here she met and married James Joseph Brown (1854–1922), simply known as J.J., an enterprising, self-educated man. His parents, too, had emigrated from Ireland.[2] Brown had always planned to marry a rich man but she married J.J. for love. She said, "I wanted a rich man, but I loved Jim Brown. I thought about how I wanted comfort for my father and how I had determined to stay single until a man presented himself who could give to the tired old man the things I longed for him. Jim was as poor as we were, and had no better chance in life. I struggled hard with myself in those days. I loved Jim, but he was poor. Finally, I decided that I'd be better off with a poor man whom I loved than with a wealthy one whose money had attracted me. So I married Jim Brown."[citation needed] Margaret and J.J. were married in Leadville's Annunciation Church on September 1, 1886. The Browns had two children:

  • Lawrence Palmer Brown ("Larry"), was born on August 30, 1887 in Hannibal, Missouri. He married Eileen Elizabeth Horton (1890–1985) on January 1, 1911 in Kansas City, Missouri. They had two children: Lawrence Palmer "Pat" Brown, Jr. (1911–1976) and Eileen Elizabeth "Betty" Brown (1913–1974). The marriage failed and Larry married Mildred Gregory (1895–1956) on November 17, 1926 in Beverly Hills, California. This marriage produced no further children. Larry died on April 2, 1949.
  • Catherine Ellen Brown ("Helen"), was born on July 1, 1889 in Leadville, Colorado. She married George Joseph Peter Adelheid Benziger (1877–?) on April 7, 1913 in Chicago, Illinois. Her children were James George Benziger (1914–1995) and George Peter Joseph Adelrich Benziger (1917–1985). Helen died in 1969.

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