Faces of the Titanic: John Horgan lost at sea but remains a total mystery man

Three cemeteries in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada — including Fairview Lawn Cemetery — are the final resting places for 150 victims of the Titanic disaster.

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PHOTOS - photographs of some of the Irish on board

Profile taken from Senan Molony's book "The Irish Aboard the Titanic"

Ticket number 370377. Paid £7 15s.
Boarded at Queenstown. Third Class.
From: Cork/Limerick?
Destination: New York.

The ‘Quiet Man’ could be applied to John Horgan, whose name appears on the embarkation records for the Titanic, but whose disappearance led to not a single newspaper reference, nor any legal action against the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company, nor any charitable disbursement, nor even a death notice nor a legal move for administration of his estate.

John Horgan certainly existed – but whether he embarked on the Titanic, or was replaced by someone using his ticket, is another matter. It will remain a mystery while Horgan’s own origins remain unclear.

What is known is that John Horgan was listed to sail on the Cymric, from Queenstown, on Easter Sunday, 7 April 1912. He did not board that vessel – instead all of those booked aboard were transferred to the Titanic when the Cymric did not sail.

A man called ‘John Horgan’ did board the Titanic on Thursday 11 April 1912. Later, in listing the Irish victims, the Irish World in New York referred to Horgan as being from County Limerick. It is also true that he came to the Titanic at Queenstown in the company of six other passengers from County Limerick. They were among the last to board, and it is known that the connecting train from Cork to Queenstown was late arriving at Deepwater Quay on that day. But it is also possible that John Horgan might have sold his ticket and this would explain the lack of newspaper references to anyone mourning his passing.

It is known that William O’Doherty, a Cork publican, bought the ticket assigned to a James Moran, and died in the disaster in the latter’s name. O’Doherty was friends with another tavern worker, 19-year-old Timothy O’Brien, whom the Cork newspapers also insisted had gone down on the Titanic. But Timothy O’Brien does not appear on the list of passengers. Is it possible that he followed his friend O’Doherty’s example and bought his ticket from John Horgan? The Cork Examiner of 17 April 1912, in a section headed ‘Believed Passengers’, referred to ‘William Doherty [sic], 12 Old Market Place, employed by Messrs W. F. O’Callaghan, Daunt’s Square, and Timothy O’Brien, billiard marker at the Oyster Tavern’. The rival Cork Constitution newspaper made the same pairing in the same day’s edition.

The Mansion House relief fund does not list John Horgan among its Irish cases in a March 1913 report, but mentions a claimant mother of the surname Landers. It may be that Horgan sold to O’Brien, who in turn sold to Landers, but the case is mysterious. Daniel Landers of Castletown Conyers, County Limerick, is a likely candidate – most of his siblings had preceded him to New York.

Source - Mercier Press - Ebooks from Ireland – Irish author on Kindle, iPad, Nook and all ereading devices

Visit our Titanic Centenary Commemoration section here