Molly Brown Essay, Research Paper
The woman who would come to be known as the “Unsinkable Molly Brown” was born
on Denkler Alley and Butler Street in Hannibal, Missouri on July 18, 1867. She was born during
a very bad thunderstorm and her mother predicted right then that Molly would not be “just
another pretty face.” Margaret (Molly’s birth name) grew up in a small town with a surprisingly
small population of less than 20,000 people. (Heroine of the Titanic, 1) Margaret attended
school for thirteen years. It was during these years that she earned her nicknames Maggie and
Molly. She had a very open and close family. There were eight people in her small childhood
home. These eight consisted of her two parents, her five brothers and sisters, and Molly herself.
At the age of ten Molly’s father taught her how to row a boat. He insisted that this skill would be
useful for her later in life. If he only knew what laid in store for his daughter! A little known
fact about Molly’s family is that they were poor. She tried to keep this fact about her family a
secret because she found it shameful and embarrassing. As a young girl Molly worked at the
Park Hotel. She was soon dismissed for being too opinionated for a young lady. She then went
to work in a tobacco plant, but found the conditions disgusting and vulgar. (The Unsinkable
Molly Brown, 1)
At the age of nineteen, Molly was getting bored in her small “same ol, same ol” town.
When she heard that one of her favorite cousins and his wife were taking a train cross-country to
Colorado she literally jumped at the idea of going with them. She had heard all of the stories of
adventure and excitement in the West and wanted very badly to try her hand at it herself.
Molly’s parents decided to let her go because their small town had nothing to offer their
daughter. Molly’s main goal in life had always been to achieve success and be well known.
They hoped their oldest child could make her dreams come true in the great land of Colorado.
Once Molly got to Colorado, she was anxious to begin her own adventure and see what was in
store for her. She got a job sewing carpets while she got her new life started. Her co-workers
described her as a “capable and pleasant” employee. They all adored her because she had a
bright, charming personality, and beauty to go with it. Molly’s move to Colorado was also a bit
terrifying because she could have found herself working in a crib house, as a prostitute, or a
cook in a boarding house instead of fulfilling her dreams. It was here in Colorado that she met
her future husband while the both were mining for silver.
Molly met James Joseph Brown in a local mine. He fell madly in love with her charm
and wit. Stories say that when he came to her house for their first dates he pulled up to her gate
with an old , worn carriage and an aging horse. Molly said to James, “Certainly you are not
taking me anywhere in that!” The next time James called on her, he had purchased a brand new
horse and carriage just to show Molly off in. Maggie and J.J. married on September 1,1896.
Not long after their marriage James struck it rich in the silver mines of Leadville. The couple
bought a sixteen-room mansion that is now a museum. ( Molly Brown, 1) Legend says that not
long after they moved into their large home, J.J. brought home his $300,000 paycheck . Molly
placed it in the stove for safe keeping. When James came in later that evening and lit the stove
to warm himself up, he did not realize that Molly had hidden the money there and in a split
second their monthly fortune was gone. As good as things were going for J.J. and Molly
financially, their marriage was heading for trouble. J.J. was sick of all the commotion Molly
was causing around the town. Although documents do not reveal what commotion Molly got
into , we can only begin to imagine what kind of things she stirred up! J.J. soon left Molly and
she sent their children to boarding school. With no one for Molly to care for she decided to set
off on her own journeys and find mischief to get into. She visited such places as Hawaii,
Switzerland, and Siam.
When it came time for Molly to return home she wanted to choose the safest and best
ship, since she was now a wealthy woman. Her choice, the “unsinkable” Titanic, which was said
to be the safest and fastest ship on water. While on this ship people referred to her as “new
money” and “a mere child to the wealthy world” since she had just came upon her fortune a few
years before and hadn’t yet adjusted to the first class society. Certainly if Molly had known the
fate of this vast ship he would have chosen a different vessel.
On the fourth day of her luxurious sail home, April 14, 1913, the extravagant Titanic
struck an iceberg and began to sink. Molly is said to have ran to the deck wearing impressive
attire consisting of a black velvet two piece suit and her ever-famous mink coat. Molly was
loaded onto Lifeboat number 6 along with twenty-four other women and two men. The boat
however, had an astonishing capacity of 65! Molly fought with the courtmaster Robert Hichens
to return to the waters surrounding the sunken ship to retrieve more survivors. He refused
however, stating that he did not want to risk his own life by getting swamped by the freezing and
drowning victims. After fighting profusely, Molly had to resort to threatening to throw the
courtmaster overboard. It was then that she gained command of the lifeboat. Everyone was
scared and in total shock. Molly refused to let her emotions get the best of her. She used all of
her resourcefulness and bravery to help everyone get through the tragedy. She rowed for seven
straight hours that night and made sure the others did their parts. It was because of Molly that
everyone on Lifeboat 6 survived and reached the shore.
The “Unsinkable Mrs. Brown” was probably the most popular survivor of the Titanic.
The press and curious townspeople flocked to hear her overwhelming story. It was funny though,
every time she told it, it grew in detail and seemed to get a few things added. Soon after, she
became involved in politics. She ran for the United States Senate in 1914. She also volunteered
as a nurse and an entertainer during World War I. She did this however, because the press
stayed right with her.
It is no doubt that Molly Brown led an unbelievable and remarkable life. Once Molly
was asked why she let such rumors go around about her and she responded by saying:
“It is a darn good story, and I don’t care what the papers say about me or how
they choose to tell it as long as they say something!” Molly Brown
Another famous quote that Molly has been remembered for came when she was asked
what she hated most about the sinking of Titanic, she responded by saying:
“I feel badly that people lost their lives, suffered, and lost families along with
possessions…..but I am really mad that I lost 13 pairs of shoes and a $325,000
dollar necklace!” Molly Brown
This woman made sure that there was never a dull moment in her life and will always be
remembered as one of the strongest women in our history. In her honor, several museums have
been made and also a musical bearing her nickname, “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.” Molly
always wanted success and to be well known, well she got it.