Letter from Baptist pastor who drowned while preaching Gospel as Titanic sank to be auctioned

A photo of the Titanic, thought to be the last known image of the ship, as she sets sail from Queenstown for New York. The White Star liner, touted as "unsinkable," sank in 1912 with the loss of 1,523 lives. |

A letter written by a Baptist pastor from Scotland who drowned when the RMS Titanic ship sank in the northern Atlantic Ocean in 1912 is expected to fetch as much as $67,000 at auction this weekend. 

John Harper, who wrote the letter, was a 39-year-old minister at the time and was on his way from London to Chicago to visit his sister and niece when the oceanliner descended to the bottom of the ocean after it struck an iceberg. Harper was writing to another minister, Pastor Young, who led Paisley Road Baptist Church, thanking him for his help before Harper departed London.

Harper pastored Walworth Road Baptist Church in London and was reportedly going to be preaching at Moody Church.

“My dear brother Young, I am penning you this line just before we get to Queenstown to assure you that I have not forgotten you and especially all your kindness while we were north,' the letter reads.

“I intended sending on Mrs Pratt's train fares just before I left but, in the rush, which was exceptional having had 11 or 12 services for the weekend, I was unable to get it done. I will send it on from Chicago.

The letter was written on Titanic stationery and is dated April 11th, 1912, three days before the famous ship sank. It was sent from Queenstown, Ireland.

The letter will be sold at an auction on Saturday by a private collector through Henry Aldridge & Son Ltd, an auction house. The starting pre-sale price between $39,487.05 and $65,811.75 (£30,000 and £50,000).

The young minister reportedly preached the Gospel message even as the Titanic sank and testified in the water as he drowned, contemporary accounts say.

An unnamed survivor of the Titanic accident who was rescued by a lifeboat claimed to be "the last convert" from Harper's preaching at a gathering for survivors four years following the tragedy.

In 2017, a letter that was recovered from a Titanic victim's body sold at an auction for $166,000.

The RMS Titanic sank on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York, and 1,523 people died in the accident.

In 1997 movie "Titanic" — directed, written, and co-produced by James Cameron — became one of the highest-grossing movies at the box office. Starring actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, the motion picture was the first in history to hit the $1 billion mark and was nominated for 14 Oscars, winning 11 of them.

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