OSCAR SCOTT WOODY: TITANIC MAIL CLERK FROM NORTH CAROLINA
RMS Titanic, which stood for Royal Mail Steamer Titanic, carried thousands of mail sacks bound for North America as well as several mail clerks who were charged with getting this precious cargo to its final destination. One of these dedicated mail clerks on board Titanic for her maiden voyage was Oscar Scott Woody from Roxboro, North Carolina.
Born April 15, 1871, exactly 41 years to the day before Titanic would sink, Woody was a US Post Office employee who had worked as a railway mail clerk between Greensboro, NC and Washington, DCRMS for 15 years before being transferred to the Sea Post in 1910. A Sea Post position aboard a ship was a choice assignment, as mail clerks made a considerable sum of about $1,000 a year. He sailed from New York City on the SS Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse to Plymouth, England, and then traveled to Southampton to board Titanic.
On the night of the sinking, Woody and four other mail clerks, three Americans and two Englishmen, worked diligently to save the mail in their care. They opened the registered mail cage of the Ship's post office below decks and attempted to drag some 200 sacks of registered mail up to higher decks to escape the incoming sea water, in the hopes that it could be saved. Titanic steward Albert Theissinger assisted the clerks before he abandoned the task, leaving them behind in two feet or more of rising water.
Unfortunately, Woody perished in the sinking, which happened to be his 41st birthday, and his body was recovered a week later by the CS Mackay-Bennett, wearing a cork life jacket. His body was identified by a letter to his wife in his pocket. Due to its poor condition, Woody's body was buried at sea on April 24, 1912. In 2004, the post office on Main Street in Roxboro, NC, was named the Oscar Scott Woody Post Office Building.
Titanic The Experience in Orlando, Florida, has a reproduction of Woody’s personal stamp on a certificate that confirmed the destination of a postal sack.
Image source: http://oscarscottwoody.com/
Photo credit: (c) copyright William J. Baumbach, II