Encyclopedia Titanica

John Montgomery Smart

John Montgomery Smart
John Montgomery Smart

Mr John (or James) Montgomery Smart was a businessman involved in the refrigerated food trade as president of the American Cold Storage & Shipping Co. He was travelling home to the United States where he had previously resided at the Victoria Hotel in New York. 

Very little is known about Smart's background but he possibly originated in the north of England, and had lived for some years in Melbourne, Australia for some years; in 1897 he registered patents there related to the preservation of perishable goods, he also seems to have been involved in gold mining as a founder of the short-lived Mighty Dollar Gold Mining Company.

It was speculated that he was widowed with two children (Annie and George) being educated in France or Belgium and this was the basis of an intense search after his death, but there seems to be no evidence of their existence.  One French newspaper referred to them as. a nephew and niece.

When he bought his ticket (first-class ticket No. 113792 for £26 11 s) he gave his last address as 3 New Row Kildale, Grosmont, Yorkshire.  In the 1911 census, this was the home of retired clerk William Smart (68) and his wife Sarah (née Calvert, 72).  If they were relatives of the Titanic passenger is currently unproven.

The outward passenger list gives his name as John M. Smart; according to contemporary newspapers he more frequently used the name J. Montgomery Smart, and was apparently known to close associates as Jim.  Numerous articles and at least one city directory give his first name as James.  

He boarded the Titanic at Southampton accompanied by his lawyer Frederick K. Seward of the law firm of Curtis, Mallet-Provost & Colt. Smart was listed as a citizen of the United States and intended the USA to be his future place of permanent residence.

He died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.  His will, proved in 1916 but seemingly drawn up in 1897, made no mention of a wife or any children, and instead left his estate to associates he had made when in Australia in the 1880s.  The estate was only valued at £134.17.9d.

See the links to newspaper accounts and research articles below to learn more about this elusive and secretive Titanic passenger.

Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mr John Montgomery Smart
Born: circa.1856 in
Age: 56 years (Male)
Nationality: American
Marital Status: Single
Last Residence: in Kildale, Yorkshire, England
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 113792, £26 11s
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Recovered

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References and Sources

The Mystery Man from Kildale who went down with the Titanic
The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), 27 April 1897, PATENTS AND INVENTIONS.
Western Mail (Perth, WA), 6 Nov 1896, NEWS OF THE WEEK.
Le Journal, 21 July 1912, Ou Sont les Heriteurs de M. Montgomery Smart?

Research Articles

J. Homer Thiel Titanica! (2016) John Montgomery Smart, an elusive and secretive Titanic passenger.

Newspaper Articles

New York Times (5 August 1899) $5,000,000 Sterilized Air Company
New York Times (1 February 1901) Incorporated in New Jersey
New York Times (26 May 1901) A PLAN TO FEED ENGLAND
New York Times (5 September 1901) BIG BET ON SHAMROCK DOUBTED BY BROKERS
Chronicle (19 April 1912) Bound Brook Interest in the Wreck
New York Times (5 June 1912) SEEK THE CHILDREN OF TITANIC VICTIM
New York Times (14 July 1912) CAN FIND NO TRACE OF SMART CHILDREN
New York Times (30 August 1912) THE SMART HEIRS FOUND?
New York Times (7 January 1913) SMART HEIRS SEEM NOW TO BE A MYTH
New York Times (7 January 1913) Smart left unknown estate
New York Times (8 January 1913) THE SMART MYSTERY
New York Times (16 January 1913) ANOTHER MYTH OF SMART
New York Times (5 March 1913) PARTNER SAYS SMART DIDN'T SIGN THE WILL
New York Times (9 March 1913) STARTS NEW SEARCH FOR SMART CHILDREN
New York Times (4 February 1914) DISPUTE J. M. SMART'S WILL
New York Times (13 May 1914) TITANIC VICTIM'S ESTATE (1)
London Gazette (16 March 1917) JOHN MONTGOMERY SMART, Deceased

Documents and Certificates

Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912, National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279]).
(1912) Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths of Passengers and Seamen at Sea, National Archives, London; BT334/52 & 334/53
(1916) Probate report (John Montgomery Smart)

Miscellaneous

John Montgomery Smart General Information
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Comment and discuss

  1. Otis Slusher

    Otis Slusher said:

    Am interested in any info regarding the family of 1st Class passenger and non-survivor, John Montgomery SMART. I have ancestors named SMART and famiy 'rumors' are that we had a relative on the Titanic. In fact, have a SMART-MONTGOMERY marriage in my line. (note John's middle name). Problem is, my known SMART'and MONTGOMERY's are from TN and NC and John Montgomery SMART is said to have new 'from New York'. John is also said to have been 56 y/o , would guess he was (or had been married) w/children? Any suggestions for further research on this so very unlucky passenger? Otis Slusher Ohio now... Read full post

  2. Otis Slusher

    Otis Slusher said:

    Am interested in any info regarding the family of 1st Class passenger and non-survivor, John Montgomery SMART. I have ancestors named SMART and famiy 'rumors' are that we had a relative on the Titanic. In fact, have a SMART-MONTGOMERY marriage in my line. (note John's middle name). Problem is, my known SMART'and MONTGOMERY's are from TN and NC and John Montgomery SMART is said to have new 'from New York'. John is also said to have been 56 y/o , would guess he was (or had been married) w/children? Any suggestions for further research on this so very unlucky passenger? Otis Slusher Ohio now... Read full post

  3. Alex Smart

    Alex Smart said:

    From what I have seen on this website, it looks as though John montgomery Smart was one of those that was buried at sea. It is not understood by me that a passenger, wether 1st or other class having a ticket that the company had NO idea as to which cabin that passenger was allocated too. Has any one any idea as to which cabin Smart was given? Also, does anyone know who else lived at the address in New york that he gave as his? TIA Alex

  4. Michael H. Standart

    Michael H. Standart said:

    So long as they knew the location of their cabin, I doubt they gave it a lot of thought. After the fact, I think it likely that the survivors were quite happy to just be alive. 1500 others weren't as lucky. Given enough time, it seems to me entirely conceivable that they wouldn't remember specifically which cabin they were assigned to. Hell, I can't even remember my room number of the last hotel I stayed in and that was just last month!

  5. Bob Godfrey

    Bob Godfrey said:

    I think Alex was referring to the lack of surviving records of the cabin allocations. Not really surprising, though, as these were determined onboard and the ship's records were obviously lost (apart from the 'Cave list'). Alex, JMS may have been buried at sea, or at Halifax, Nova Scotia as an unidentified body, or most likely his body was never recovered. As far as I can see, the only address he gave was his 'last known' in Yorkshire.

  6. Alex Smart

    Alex Smart said:

    Agree , the passenger (if survived ) may not have known. BUT and to me UNTHINKABLE that the Shipping Company or the Seller of the ticket would not know to which cabin the the passenger had been allocated. Imagine 100 passengers turning up in the same cabin just because they had a ticket but no cabin had been allocated. They just chose a particular cabin same as all the others, just does not run.

  7. Bob Godfrey

    Bob Godfrey said:

    Alex, White Star certainly did know the cabin allocations at the time, but the records have not survived. For a few weeks after the sinking Titanic was a subject of world-wide fascination but was then largely forgotten until the revival of interest in more recent years. Any records relating to the Titanic had no special significance at the time when White Star's archive was destroyed following the take-over by Cunard in 1934. The best source on this subject is Debbie Beavis' book 'Who Sailed on Titanic?'. This won't provide you with John Smart's cabin number, but might help to explain why... Read full post

  8. Ben Holme

    Ben Holme said:

    Hi Alex, The reason Smart's cabin number did not appear on the cave list (a list of cabin allocations found on the body of bedroom steward, Herbert Cave, when recovered by the Mackay-Bennett) may have been because he booked passage on Titanic later than the majority of first class passengers, i.e. the document may have been written up when there were still latecomers waiting to book. I'll venture, however, that Smart may have occupied a cabin on E-deck, as many 1st class man did who paid the fare he did for his accomodation. £26, 11s was relatively low in comparison to the sums others... Read full post

  9. Daniel Klistorner

    Daniel Klistorner said:

    Ben, I'm curious about the Seward account you mentioned that possibly suggests he was on E deck. I have seen few accounts by Seward let alone any that hint at his possible deck of cabin. I think I read one account where he turned up at the Smoking room from his cabin below. I thought it gave the impression that he used the aft staircase and that his cabin was on C deck. The inner cabins there were cheap too. However he may very well have made the trip from E deck all the way to the Smoke Room. In any case, 84 first class passengers who did sail on Titanic (in 1st class) were not... Read full post

  10. Ben Holme

    Ben Holme said:

    So sorry about the delay in replying to your post above, Daniel. Can't think how I missed you. I wish I could say I had the crucial article on me, but as is often the case when posting on ET, I was working from memory regarding the Seward account. However, I do recall that the suggestive clues regarding his cabin oriniate from an article relating specifically to W.T. Stead, in which Seward mentions some fascinating conversations he had with the editor over dinner one night at the purser's table. He refers specifically to the evening of April 14th, following an enjoyable meal at his usual... Read full post

  11. Daniel Klistorner

    Daniel Klistorner said:

    Ben, It is frustrating that the "Cave List" has so many passengers missing from it. As I said above, I strongly believe that is becase it was printed before Titanic's sailing day, it was probably printed on Saturday (April 6). It is "Third Proof" which suggests there were two others before it, and possibly more proofs after it as well. There are two such lists that survive to this day, the one recovered from the body of steward Cave, which is where the list gets its name from, and one was saved by steward Faulkner. Both lists are the Third Proof. One would think that a more updated... Read full post

  12. Jack Richards

    Jack Richards said:

    I realize that this is an old thread but it seems an appropriate place to post. I'm sure it will be moved if I'm wrong. I am interested in John M Smart aka J Montgomery Smart whose age is given as 56 in his ET biography. Can anyone tell me the source of this please as I can't find anything anywhere else to confirm it. I'm a new member and this is my first post so I'm sorry if this seems like a stupid question. I'm probably not looking in the right places. Thanks Jack [Moderator's note: This message, originally posted in a different thread, has been moved to this pre-existing... Read full post

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Acknowledgements

David Johnson
Hermann Söldner, Germany
Homer Thiel, USA