Journey’s End

The grave of a victim of an infamous disaster

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undreds of Irish passengers traveling in third class died in the sinking of the RMS Titanic. Only one, whose body was among the few fished out of the Atlantic, is buried on land: 22-year-old Catherine Buckley, who lay in an unmarked grave for almost 100 years until sympathizers and Titanic devotees arranged for a headstone in St. Joseph Cemetery. Buckley was bound for Boston to join her sister, Margaret, who lived in Roxbury. Her body was found four days after the sinking, the only Irish third-class victim recovered, still dressed in a blue overcoat and serge jacket with a stitched cross and a $5 bill in her purse. Rather than allow a burial in Nova Scotia, Margaret had her sister’s body brought to Boston and, too poor to afford a separate grave, buried with her cousin, Jeremiah. Their parents blamed Margaret for the death of their Kate, and, when she returned to Ireland eight months later in an attempt to reconcile with them, slammed the door in her face.

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Catherine Buckley never was supposed to be on the Titanic. She was booked to sail to Boston on the White Star liner Cymric, but the Cymric was idled by a coal strike. “Too bad I couldn’t go direct to Boston,” Buckley wrote before she left. “I have to go the way I am told to.”

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