Molly was born into a poor family and her parents and six siblings lived in a two-bedroom cottage in Hannibal, Missouri. When she was 18, the family moved to Colorado where she got a job in a department store. Her goal was to find a rich man to marry who could also help take care of her family but she fell in love with a man by the name of Jim Brown who was as poor as her family was; but he did have aspirations to move up in the mining business. She told herself she’d rather be poor and in love than rich and miserable.
Jim made a tremendous find for his mining company and they gave him 12,500 shares of stock and a place on their board of directors. They were rich. They bought a Victorian mansion and a second home and she quickly became a socialite but she always fought the image of new money and not being part of the wealthy establishment. She joined various women’s societies and led various philanthropic efforts in an effort to fit in. She became very interested in the arts and became fluent in French, German, Italian, and Russian. She may have grown up poor and lacking a good education but she was making up for it in an effort to be acknowledged as worthy in upper-society.
After 23 years of marriage (1909), she and Jim dissolved their marriage amicably; they remained close friends throughout their lives. Besides being given their homes she also received a one-time payout (amount unknown), and a $700 monthly allowance (equivalent to $18,659 today). She was in great financial shape.
Molly remained very active in charitable work focusing on disadvantaged children; she had two children of her own. She was instrumental in laying the groundwork for our juvenile justice system. She ran for Senate in 1914 but stopped her campaign when an opportunity presented itself to do some charity work in France as a lot of their country was destroyed during WWI.
She loved to travel and this is why she ended up as a passenger on the Titanic as she was coming back to the U.S. from Europe. The reason she is so famous is that when the Titanic sank on April 12, 1912, she didn’t run to one of the lifeboats to get away, instead she directed people to the launch points and helped passengers get on the boats. It wasn’t until she was forced to board a life boat that she finally gave in.
Only one lifeboat went back to try and find passengers who were alive and it was filled with crew members who felt it was their duty. The lifeboat Molly was on had one of the crewmembers, but he refused to go back. She tried to form a mutiny to try and take over the boat so they could go back and check for survivors but no one would help her, they were too afraid. She was distraught and even grabbed one of the oars to try and paddle towards the victims but the crewmember pretty much told her that he’d throw her overboard if she didn’t stop. Their fear was justified in that they were worried the boat might get overwhelmed by survivors and capsize. This wasn’t the case as so many had already died from the cold water but this wasn’t known until later.
I can’t sit here and say what I would’ve done if I were in her shoes but she was such a brave woman with a tremendous amount of spunk thus the honor of being called: The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Margaret died when she was 65 years old from a brain tumor and is buried beside the only man she ever loved, her late husband, Jim.