Chaplain John Chidwick was the chaplain on board the Battleship MAINE when the vessel exploded in Havana harbor on February 15, 1898. Chidwick later conducted the funeral for the victims who died in the blast
CHAPLAIN OF U.S.S. MAINE PASSES ON
On January thirteenth, in the City of New York, the Right Reverend Monsignor John P. Chidwick, D.D. LLD, rector of the Church of Saint Agnes and president of the College of New Rochelle passed on. The Army and Navy Register in commenting upon his death, writes:
"He was chaplain of the U.S.S. MAINE which was blown up in Havana Harbor in 1898. He took a valiant part in the rescue work and was one of the last to leave the ship. His name became famous throughout the world, and thereafter "Father John" was revered by American bluejackets. After serving for the period of the Spanish American War he came ashore for duty at the Navy Yard, New York, resigning from the Navy in 1908."
"Rear Admiral W.T. Culverius, U.S.N. (who served in the MAINE with Chaplain Chidwick) in a letter to the New York Times relative to the Chaplain's death, says:
"No word is deeper to us than shipmate. No memory will last longer among the few who survive than of Chaplain Chidwick of the MAINE. Beloved by all hands, irrespective of creed, his presence made each day aboard ship brighter. His time was ours, and he smoother away fro many a man-o-warsman the personal difficulties along life's way."
"On that dread night in 1898 when the MAINE
was destroyed, Chaplain Chidwick was everywhere present. He had a
word of cheer to the injured which soothed their pain. Without
thought of himself he helped the helpless and he ministered to the dying
who will welcome him now in that Great Ship's Company above, where
shipmates never part."
The TEXAS Steer, (the weekly newspaper of the Battleship TEXAS, BB35) February 2, 1935, page 1.