Thursday, June 18, 2009
Jacques Heath Futrelle was born on April 9, 1875 in Pike County, GA (in the U.S.A.). At the age of 18, he became an apprentice to a printer. He then worked for the Atlanta Journal as the aid to a business manager, where he started the Sports section. He married Lily May Peel in 1895, and together, they had two children named Virginia, and Jacques Jr. In 1898, war broke out between America and Spain and this forced Telegraph Editor Jacques Sr. to work 24 hours a day during the period of the war (May 1-July 18, 1898). After the war was over, they stayed with his sister in Scituate where they rested and relaxed. He also worked for the New York Herald, Boston American, and Boston Post. It was in these newspapers in 1905, that his first novel called "The Thinking Machine" which began as a serial for the Boston Post but became so successful, it was put into a series of books. The famed novel was later renamed "Problem of Cell 13". In 1906, Jacques Sr. quit the Boston American and wrote novels like "The Chase of the Golden Plate", "The Simple Case of Susan", "The Diamond Master", "Elusive Isabel", "The High Hand", "My Lady's Garter", "The Flaming Phantom", "The Great Auto Mystery", "The Man who was Lost", "The Mystery of a Studio", "The Ralston Bank Burglary", "The Scarlet Thread", "The House That Was", and "The Phantom Motor". He built a home in Scituate, Massachusetts which he labeled, Stepping Stones. In 1912, the Futrelles were on a vacation in Europe. There is a story which is not confirmed, that the night before they were to return home on the Titanic, Jacques celebrated his 37th birthday with his friends and wife. The party didn't end, until 3:00 A.M. and he spent the rest of the night packing. They were traveling on the Titanic in 1st Class in Cabin C-123 (the children stayed at home with their grandparents, since he also had business). After the Titanic struck an iceberg, the ship began to sink. The couple was asleep at the moment, and didn't feel the collision. He put his wife into Collapsible D. May tried to convince Jacques to enter the lifeboat, but he refused saying he'd enter a later boat (although that was one of the last lifeboats to leave safely). As the boat pulled away from the sinking ship, there is one story that says that he was last seen smoking a cigar with John Jacob Astor. He unfortunately died in the cold North Atlantic. His body was never recovered. There is a memorial to him in Poplar Springs Methodist Church, in Emanuel/Johnson County, GA. His final book "My Lady's Garter" was found in his study, and published by his wife. May put in there, "To the Heroes of the Titanic, I dedicate this my husband's book".