Five days after the sinking of Titanic on April 14, 1912, “The Just Missed It” Club was formed. It was an unofficial collection of people-both passengers and crew- who claimed to have escaped death on the doomed liner by missing their passage. By April 26, it boasted the impossible number of over 118,337 members. All claimed to have either canceled a reservation, had a premonition of doom, suffered delay, prevented from boarding due to illness or in the case of the crew, had ‘jumped ship” or had been transferred at the eleventh hour.
As Titanic could only take a maximum of 3300 people-including both passengers and crew, it is safe to say that most of the members of the “Just Missed It” club were frauds; opportunists seeking fame on the back of the tragedy. However, it is possible to verify certain people who are actual members of the Club from Titanic’s lists of those registered to travel or serve on her. Here are just twelve of those people and their stories.
J Pierpont Morgan
John Pierpont Morgan came from a family of successful financers. After beginning his career as an accountant, Morgan moved into business, reorganizing the railroads and amalgamating several steel companies to form United States Steel, the world’s first billion-dollar corporation. He also created General Electrical, by merging The Edison General Electrical and Thomas Houston Electrical. By 1891, the company was the dominant electrical equipment manufacturing firm in the US. Morgan also reputedly saved the US banking system during the panic of 1907, earning himself the title: “The Napoleon of Wall Street.
Morgan also amalgamated the majority of transatlantic shipping lines into the IMM- the International Mercantile Marine. Amongst those lines was the White Star Company, the company that owned the Titanic. This fact meant that technically speaking; JP Morgan was the owner of the legendary liner that could have cost him his life. Such was his interest that the ship was equipped with a private suite just for Morgan, complete with a promenade deck, and a personalized bath with specially designed cigar holders.
So it is no surprise to learn that Morgan had booked passage on Titanic’s maiden voyage. However, he never made it. The businessman had been enjoying a restorative holiday at the French resort of Aix, taking the sulfur baths for his health. At the last minute, he decided to extend his vacation and continue in Aix. The maiden voyage of the much-vaunted Titanic would have to go on without him. “Monetary losses amount to nothing in life,” he told a New York Times reporter who visited Aix several days after the sinking. “It is the loss of life that counts. It is that frightful death. “Frightful death or not, Morgan had avoided it.
However, in recent years, an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory has grown up around Morgan’s eleventh-hour decisions not to sail. The theory speculates that Morgan orchestrated the sinking of the Titanic to eliminate several rivals to the idea of the creation of a US central bank. Those opponents included John Jacob Astor IV, Benjamin Guggenheim and Isidor Straus who went down with the ship. The idea, however, doesn’t hold much water. Morgan’s role in championing the bank was a small one, and by the time it was set up in December 1913, Morgan had been dead nine months, having passed away in Rome earlier that year.
Curiously, at least two other people associated with Morgan were also booked to travel on the Titanic. Like Morgan, they did not sail. However, fate, rather than his own decision saved one-the outgoing US ambassador to France.