The Gamblers


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Wesley Crozier

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I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Herbold's article about the gambler George Brayton or Brereton and I wonder if he has more on the others like Charles Romaine and Hary Haven Homer. I see there is a picture of an old Harry HOmer but none of Goerge Brereton or Mr. Romaine. Has anybody found out what ever happened to Mr. Jay Yates. Did they all keep on gambling on big ships after the Titanic.
 

Mike Herbold

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Feb 13, 2001
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Wesley:
Thanks for the note. George Behe is the real expert on the gamblers. I just latched on to Brereton because he's from California. We haven't positively identified pictures of Brereton yet; distant relatives alive today have lots of old unidentified family pictures, but don't know if any are of George. Phil Gowan is trying to find a US passport photo so we can compare it to the family's heirlooms. At this point, I'm not sure when Mr. Brereton stopped sailing and settled down for good in Southern California.
 

George Behe

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Dec 11, 1999
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Wesley Crozier wrote:

> I see there is a picture of an old
>Harry Homer but none of Goerge Brereton or Mr. >Romaine.

Hi, Wesley!

For what it's worth, there's a photograph of Charles Romaine in my book "Titanic: Safety, Speed and Sacrifice." A photo of the young Harry Homer appeared in my 1982 Commutator article about the gamblers.

Mike, I'd (again) like to offer you and Phil Gowan my sincere congratulations on tracking down "Boy Bradley." Outstanding!

All my best,

George
 

Phillip Gowan

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Apr 10, 2001
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Wesley,
I don't have any photos of Brereton or Romaine other than the latter's mug in George Behe's book. If Brereton applied for a passport when he traveled on Titanic he did so under another pseudonym as there is nothing on file under Brayton, Bradley, or Brereton.

Romaine's wife lived well into her 90's, dying in 1970, and surely some of her relatives would still have photos of him--I've not yet tried to track them down.

I've done nothing on Jay Yates as he apparently was not a real Titanic passenger. My friend Mr. Behe is the expert extraordinaire on him.

I've tracked down Harry Haven Homer and have his estate settlement, death certificate, obituary, and three good photographs (including the one on his bio here) from his later years. He did continue his gambling antics on the high seas (and elsewhere) for many years after Titanic (he was the last of the gamblers to die). I'll be sending everything I've found on him to be put up on Encyclopedia Titanica at a later time.

I hope some of this is of interest.

Phil Gowan
 
Dec 4, 1998
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Since we are on the subject of gambling and as Judith B. Geller pointed out in her book, Titanic: Women and Children First, Miss Dorothy Gibson played bridge with Mr William Sloper and Mr Frederick Seward; and as bridge is a game of four players, was Mrs Leonard Gibson playing among them? Also, as Mr William Greenfield played with Baron von Drachstedt (Herr Alfred Nourney) and Mr Henry Blank, did Mrs Leo D. Greenfield have a few hands? I thought to ask this and hope someone knows the answer. If they did, then what other First Class ladies played poker, bridge, &c?

Thank you for your attention.
 
Apr 26, 2005
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Jeffrey, according to Mr. Sloper's memoirs, Mrs. Gibson was also playing with them. Later, if I'm right, they both went to their cabins and changed in warm clothes for a nocturnal promenade on the deck, but before they were ready the collision occured and then Miss Gibson and Mr. Sloper ran on the promenade, to finally saw the berg pass along the hull.

I cannot say for sure that Mrs. Greenfield was the fourth player, but I once read somewhere that William was always with his mother, and never failed to accompany her in all of her movements on the ship. I will try to find the exact source for that. Regards,

Charles
 
Apr 26, 2005
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Another thing, Mrs. Harris was a good bridge player. She replaced one of the gamblers in a card game where her husband was involved. I think the gambler was George Brereton and that he was suspected by the other players to cheat, so Henry Harris asked his wife if she can join the group before the sharp would arrive, so they could say the group is complete and that they do not need him anymore. Hope this helps,

Charles
 
Dec 4, 1998
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Thank you for that, Charles. Yes, Mr Brereton was a cardsharp. If I recall, in Mr Lord’s ‘The Night Lives On’, he described Mr Brereton’s swindling Mr C. E. Henry Stengel. Je te remercie encore, mon ami. Dieu te bénissent.
 
Jun 28, 2018
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Noted academic D W Maurer writes that there were several commen aboard, all of whom survived. ( see quote below.) Does anybody have any further information?

Excerpt
".....Indiana Harry, the Hashhouse Kid, Scotty, and Hoosier Harry were returning to America on the Titanic when it sank. They were all saved. After the rescue, they all not only put in maximum claims for lost baggage, but collected the names of dead passengers for their friends, so that they too could put in claims."

Any help gratefully received.
 

Kas01

Member
May 24, 2018
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I found a near-identical passage in Jay Robert Nash's The Great Pictorial History of World Crime:

"
Two years after (William Elmer) Mead was conning marks in his Halley's Comet scam, an enterprising sharper, Alvin Clarence Thomas, turned a quick profit on the sinking of the great liner Titanic while the ship made its fatal voyage from England to New York...Thomas and his fellow hustlers, the Hashhouse Kid, Hoosier Harry, and Indiana Harry got into lifeboats...immediately filed exorbitant claims for reimbursement."

I strongly doubt Thomas was one of the men believed to be on Titanic because he wrote an article for Sports Illustrated in 1972 claiming that his nickname was from a pool room bet in Joplin, MO, around the time Titanic went down, not from the wreck itself.