SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Special Report

April 11, 2012

Visitors drawn to town where Titanic's dead are buried

Movie, centennial, return Halifax to spotlight

(Continued)

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia —

The real J. Dawson, or Joseph Dawson, shoveled coal in the bowels of the ship and didn't win his Titanic ticket gambling as DiCaprio's character did.

"It wasn't until after the movie came out that we found out that there was a J. Dawson gravestone," said the film's producer, Jon Landau, in an interview.

Whoever J. Dawson was, "He received more notoriety decades after his death than he ever would have had in life," said Lunn, curator of maritime museum, which saw its attendance more than double, to 250,000, in the year after the film opened.

The headstones are assembled in the shape of a ship. Among them is that of John Law Hume, violinist in the band that played on as the Titanic sank. Somebody recently left a little replica of a violin by his gravestone.

Beed said it's not just teenage girls who choke up in the cemetery.

"All of a sudden seeing the names on the stones, they are emotional, men and women. It's like 'I've heard this story all my life and here are the remains and here are the names.' It's 121 in this cemetery and it's four rows. And all of sudden the story is real," Beed said.

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