The fourth card player Carter or Ryerson

Mike Poirier

Dec 12, 1999
I read recently in a new book that Arthur Ryerson left his family for a short while to play cards. Archibald Gracie was told it was Ryerson, but his family accounts that he was with them durinig the sinking. Then I read it was Billy Carter. Did he really desert his family at the first sign of danger to play cards?


Well, Carter did leave the ship before his family, so it makes sense that he deserted his family.

Daniel Rosenshine


What time are you talking about, and which fourth player. If this was the "last hand" being played at 2 am, then Mr Carter was busy getting on to a boat. This leaves Mr Ryerson as the likely third player, just seeng his wife off.

Mr Carter did not actually leave the ship prior to his family. Although he was not around when his family left at 1:50 am on boat 4, he was around the vicinity of collapsible C, and when he got a chance climbed on to it. Recent research shows that collapsible C left at around 2 am.


Mike Herbold

Dec 13, 1999
The Ryerson family was only on the Titanic because Arthur Ryerson Jr. had been killed in a car accident; the family cancelled their European plans and were returning for the funeral. By all the accounts I've read, Mr. Ryerson was totally crushed, and unlikely to play cards at any time, let alone when his family needed him.

The story of Lifeboat 4, on which many famous Titanic families survived, is worth a book in itself. Mrs. Astor, the Carters, Mrs. Walter Miller Clark, the Ryersons, Mrs. Thayer, and Mrs. Widener all ended up on this lifeboat. Mr. Lightoller's loading of these passengers is a not tribute to his organization skills. It was one of the first lifeboats to start to launch and yet one of the last to actually hit the water, and yet it was still only half full and no men were allowed aboard. (Other than the Collapsibles, Lifeboat 4 also had more people rescued from the water than any other.)

Lightoller, who sounds totally overwhelmed at this point, wasn't even going to allow young Jack Ryerson aboard. Mr. Ryerson, who had just lost his namesake a few days before, was not about to lose another. "Of course that boy goes with his mother. He is only 13 years old," he objected.

Anyway, to make a long story end, I can't see Ryerson being a fourth.

There were quite a few card games going on. Some groups seemed to have 5 and some 3, but I don't recall any looking for a fourth.