His return to the States would be aboard the ill fated RMS Titanic, with his six year old daughter Nana and her nanny Jessie Leitch. Harper’s wife had tragically died after giving birth to Nana. Two of John Harper’s letters sent from the Titanic exist today, and Walworth is mentioned in both. One reads: “We had a blessed time in Walworth during the last week. Quite a season of revival.” He also promised to send postcards detailing his trip, and intended his homecoming in August.
But God moves in mysterious ways, and the pastor would not see his flock again. Instead, it is the heroism that Harper displayed in the last hours of the Titanic disaster that he is remembered for.
On hearing the catastrophic news of the iceberg ripping a gaping hole in the side of the vessel, he wrapped his daughter in a blanket, kissed her and got her and Miss Leitch onto a lifeboat. Having secured their survival he then hastened round the upper decks being of much encouragement and sharing his faith with as many folks as he could in that darkest of hours.
Picture taken on the Titanic's promenade, thought to be Harper and Nana .
© Copyright Jack McInroy 2013