Encyclopedia Titanica

Harry Haven Homer

Harry Haven Homer
Harry Haven Homer

Mr Harry Haven Homer was born in Knightstown, Henry, Indiana on 28 November 1871.

He was the son of Richard Henry Homer (1819-1902), a physician, and Elizabeth Mason Jackson (1829-1888). His father was English1 by birth, originating in Dudley in the West Midlands, whilst his mother hailed from Ohio and they had married in Kentucky on 25 January 1845, initially settling there in Grant County before relocating to Greensboro, Indiana in the mid-1860s. 

Harry had ten siblings: Mary (1846-1847), William Richard (1849-1850), William Henry (1851-1933), Lizzie Rachel (1853-1919, later Mrs Edwin Madison Swaim), Mary Statie (1855-1954, later Mrs Frank Lemuel Hill), Louise Mason Bridgewater (1859-1936, later Mrs Mathew Logsdon and later Mrs Leslie Legassic), Charlie Jackson (1862-1879), Lillie May (1864-1926, later Mrs Franklin Layfayette Jaque), Richard Edward (1867-1956) and Morris Simpson (1869-1961). The family appear on the 1880 census as residents of Knightstown.

Harry was married in Chicago on 9 March 1893 to Delia Atwater (b. 1875). Their marriage license was reported in the Chicago Tribune the following day on 10 March 1893 and it was stated that Harry was 21 and his bride 18. The couple had a daughter named Ruth in 1904 (later Mrs Donald Eugene Cross). Few facts are known about this marriage or how long it lasted.

Harry Haven Homer
Harry 'Kid' Homer

Having earned the nickname "Kid," Homer had a shadowy past with numerous run-ins with the law; below is a 1906 entry of some of his misdemeanours to date: 

Record: As Harry H. Dillon, arr. [arraigned] at Buffalo, N. Y., Aug. 26, 1901, charge suspicion, Aug. 27, 1901, given hours to leave the city. As Harry Homer, arr. At Cleveland, Ohio, Dec. 30, 1901, charge G. L. [grand larceny?], on Jan. 3, 1902, discharged in police court. As Harry Homer, arr. Cincinnati, Ohio, Dec. 12, 1905, charge loitering, Dec. 14, 1905, fined $50 and costs. As Harry Homer, alias Harry Dillon, arr. At Hot Springs, Ark., April 24, 1906, discharged.
Pal of Chappy Moran, M. H. Munk, A. J. Poindexter, Thos. Gleason, and Frank Smith. -US album of criminals

He moved around frequently, seemingly getting into trouble wherever he went and becoming wanted in several cities and states:

Detectives Littleton and Brewer yesterday forenoon arrested at the corner of Canal and Baronne Streets a notorious crook named Harry M. Homer, alias Delon, and charged him with being a dangerous and suspicious character. Homer was arrested in Buffalo, N.Y. in 1901 as a dangerous and suspicious character and was given twenty-four hours to leave that city. In the same 
year he was arrested in Cleveland, Ohio for grand larceny but beat the case and was discharged. In 1905 he was arrested in Cincinnati, Ohio and was fined 300 (? illegible). In 1906 he was pinched in Hot Springs, Arkansas as a confidence man and wire tapper. Homer will be brought before Recorder Fogarty on Monday.
(Unidentified newspaper, circa 1907)


Harry in a mug-shot, 1906

His confidence trickster activities led to him being included in the US album of criminals in 1906; with a known alias of Harry Dillon, he was then described as aged 34, standing at 5' 9" and weighing 180lbs and of medium and stout build. He had blue eyes, sandy hair and a florid complexion. He had a mole above his left eyebrow and several tattoos.

In November 1908 he wound up in New Orleans, Louisiana which was, at the time, attempting to clean-up a gambling problem in the city. Homer's arrival piqued the interest of local law enforcement:

Detectives Mooney and Holyland yesterday afternoon arrested James L. Wright and Harry H. Homer, said to be well-known to the police, and locked them up in the First Precinct Police Station, where they were charged with being dangerous and suspicious characters. Very little money was found on either of the prisoners when searched, it is the supposition of the detectives that they had come to recuperate financially. Homer is said to have had his picture in the local rogue's gallery, and has been arrested in various cities in connection with wire-tapping, pocket-picking and other alleged crooked work. When seen last night, Wright said he was merely passing through New Orleans on his way to Cuba, and Homer emphatic in declaring that he had stopped off only a few hours while en route to San Antonio, Texas. 
Times-Democrat, 24 November 1908)

Reportedly working for a Texas-based land company, following a trip to Europe and Egypt Homer joined the Titanic at Cherbourg as a first class passenger (ticket number 111426 which cost £26, 11s); probably due to his nefarious past and reputation he boarded the ship using the pseudonym "E. Haven". Although there are different tales as to the survival of Homer and his gambling associates aboard, such as bribing a crewman, etc, Homer is believed to have escaped in lifeboat 15.

Harry Homer, 
Titanic passenger, writes sister here that shock causes suffering.
Mrs Louise Logsdon, 35 the Eugenia flats, has received a letter from her brother, Harry Haven Homer, one of the survivors of the Titanic, saying that he is suffering from the nervous shock occasioned by the disaster, and that he intends taking a trip to San Antonio, Tex., for his health before returning to his home here.

The letter, which was very brief, gave nothing of the details of the wreck and of how he was saved, but merely stated that he was in the icy water for four hours.

The last time Mrs Logsdon heard from her brother before the accident was when he was in Cairo, Egypt several weeks ago, but she says that as soon as she heard of the wreck she felt he was in it. She told her friends and neighbours in the flat that she was sure that he was a passenger on the boat, and immediately began buying every newspaper she could find.

last she learned that his name was on the passenger list, but the accounts were so conflicting that she was not sure he survived until receiving his letter.

Mr Homer travels for a land company in Texas in which he is interested, and his duties carry him to all parts of the country as well as to Europe. The trip from which he has just returned was his fourth abroad in the last year.

He was born in Knightstown, Ind., and his father was Dr H. A. Homer, a well-known physician of Henry County. He and Mrs Logsdon were the younger children of the family and from childhood have been almost inseparable. His duties kept him on the road most of the time, but he always made Mrs Logsdon's home his headquarters and received his mail there. On his short visits here he made many friends and acquaintances.
(Indianapolis Star, 24 April 1912)

Homer's brush with death did not alter his ways and in 1914 he was arrested in Toledo, Ohio and sentenced to two years in the federal penitentiary in Atlanta; one of his accomplices was a familiar name:

Are convicted at Toledo of having swindled two farmers
Toledo, Ohio, January 29.--Five men were convicted in the United States District Court here today of having defrauded two farmers by the use of a fake wire scheme. The following were sentenced:
Harry H. Homer, alias Bolder, alias Baldwin, of Indianapolis, two years at Moundsville, fined $2000 and costs.
George A. Brereton, alias Banning, of New York, same sentence.
Berta Hathaway, alias Manton, of Chicago, 21 months.
John C. Arthur, alias Hayes, of Dayton, sentence deferred.
John J. ("Mickey") Shea, of Toledo and New York, who has been mentioned prominently in the " clairvoyant trust," was given 35 days in jail on a contempt of Court decision. He will be given his sentence later.
The men were arrested on charges made by Wilbur Rundell, a farmer of Pontiac, Mich
,, that he had lost money on an imaginary horse race.
(Cincinnati Enquirer, 30 January 1915)

With his sentence possibly reduced Homer was back at large when, in September 1915, he was arrested in San Francisco as being the mastermind of a wiretapping scheme:

Harry Homer and gang made $8000 by wire tapping
San Francisco, Sept. 30--Harry Homer, known over the world as a "swell" gambler, and who was supposed to have been lost on the steamer Titanic, is under arrest here today. Peter Mokovihs, a fruit dealer, caused his arrest, claiming that Homer was the guiding spirit of a wire tapping scheme. 
According to 
Mokovihs, Homer and his gang permitted him to win $20,000 and then induced him to play until he had lost that and $8000 more. Homer's wife was also arrested. She is said to be the daughter of a banker in Toledo, O., and Homer is said to be wanted in Toledo and several cities in the east on charges of obtaining money by fraud.
(South Bend News-Times, 30 September 1915)

Later that same year, in November 1915, he was arrested in Chicago, although to crimes to which he was only possibly tenuously linked:

Harry Homer, said by the police to have a long criminal record, was taken into custody yesterday by detectives who told him he was suspected of planning to work a wiretapping game on Maj. B. Shaw Wood of the British army, who is at the Congress hotel seeking supplies in Chicago for his government. Homer was told that two other men--known as "English Jim" and Rothbart--were in the conspiracy with him. He denied knowing these men. He said he had bought a ticket for Cleveland when he read of the plot with which he was credited. The police are thinking of something to charge him with.
(Chicago Tribune, 12 November 1915)

Later part of a suspected gang operating in Mineral Wells, Texas and Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1919 Homer was going by the pseudonyms of Logsden (his sister's married name) and Brewster when he attempted to swindle a Missouri farmer and was again arrested.

Harry had been married for a second time in Manhattan on 17 April 1914 to Marie Maud Hanscom (b. 28 June 1883), a divorcee from Akron, Ohio, the daughter of a banker who also became embroiled in his appalling activities. It appears they lived in Cincinnati (and possibly Los Angeles) during the 1920s and 1930s, but this is unclear. Homer's continual movement and use of aliases mean that details of both his marriages remain largely unknown but there are some indications that his wife Marie died at a young age, possibly as early as 1920. 

He continued to journey extensively, travelling on ships that included: Bremen, Britannic, Empress of France, Europa and Pennsylvania. In 1921 he applied for a US passport, intending to sail from a port in Florida as soon as possible. In 1923 he applied for another passport and indicated then that he had spent short periods living in Britain and Cuba; his intended destinations, for business and pleasure, were France, Belgium and England. He was described as standing at 5' 9" and with brown hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion.

Harry in 1921
Harry in his 1921 passport

Harry Haven in 1923
Harry in his 1923 passport

Even journeying into his advanced years Homer's travels around the USA continued to bring him into conflict with the authorities:

Two men arrested in the same downtown hotel yesterday are held by the police on suspicion that they are wanted in other cities as confidence men.
A middle-aged 
prosperous looking man who was known at the hotel as Charles W. Baker, an Australian, is believed by detectives to be J. B. Kinsman, wanted in Denver and Okmulgee, Okla. as a "high class bunk man" and for whom a $1000 reward.
Later detectives Frank McConnell and Charles Gallivan also arrested Harry H. Homer, who claimed to be an Indiana farmer, but who police say is wanted in Los Angeles and New York. He admitted having been arrested during the exposition in 1915 on a vagrancy charge and said he had once been a bookmaker but now devoted all his time to farming.
Each of the men had about $300 when arrested and both were unusually well dressed.
(San Francisco Examiner, 18 May 1926)

Harry resided for some time in Hamilton, Ohio but eventually died in Manhattan, New York on 10 February 1939. His estate was left to his brother Morris and wife Emma of Butler, Ohio.


  1. Census records and his death certificate state that he was English; a later passport application by Harry Homer gives his father's birthplace as Cincinnati, Ohio.

Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mr Harry Haven Homer (E. Haven)
Age: 40 years 4 months and 17 days (Male)
Nationality: American
Occupation: Gambler
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 111426, £26 11s
Rescued (boat 15)  
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912

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References and Sources

Courier Journal, 25 April 1912
Indianapolis Star, 24 April 1912
Hamilton Daily News, 28 March 1939, Harry H. Homer's Will Filed in Court
National Archives and Records Administration - Passport Photographs
Walter Lord (1986) The Night Lives On: Thoughts, Theories and Revelations about the Titanic. London, Penguin. ISBN 0 140 27900 8

Newspaper Articles



Harry Haven Homer
Harry Haven Homer
Harry Haven Homer 1921 Passport Photograph
Harry Haven Homer 1923 Passport Photograph


A dangerous and suspicious character
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Comment and discuss

  1. Wesley Crozier

    Wesley Crozier said:

    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.

  2. Mike Herbold

    Mike Herbold said:

    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.

  3. George Behe

    George Behe said:

    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

  4. Phillip Gowan

    Phillip Gowan said:

    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... Read full post

  5. Joannie

    Joannie said:

    When is the date of death of Harry Homer?

  6. Jeffrey M. Kern

    Jeffrey M. Kern said:

    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... Read full post

  7. Charles Provost

    Charles Provost said:

    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... Read full post

  8. Charles Provost

    Charles Provost said:

    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

  9. Jeffrey M. Kern

    Jeffrey M. Kern said:

    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.

  10. Alice Vivien Sherwood

    Alice Vivien Sherwood said:

    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.

  11. Kas01

    Kas01 said:

    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... Read full post

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