Tag Archives: President Taft

This Day in the Yesteryear: President Taft Pardons William H. Van Schaick (1912)


This Day in the Yesteryear

President Taft Pardons William H. Van Schaick (1912)

More than 1,000 people died when the General Slocum, a passenger steamship, caught fire in New York’s East River in 1904. It was the city’s worst loss-of-life disaster until the attacks of September 11, 2001. Van Schaick, the ship’s captain, was convicted of negligence and failure to maintain fire safety equipment and received a 10-year sentence. He was paroled after serving 3½ years in prison and later pardoned by President Taft. Why were most of the passengers unable to escape the fire? More… Discuss