The infamous luxury steamship Titanic sank off the coast of Newfoundland in the early hours of April 15, 1912, taking a renowned Pike County resident’s life after the ‘unsinkable’ ship hit an iceberg during its maiden voyage.
Well-known author Jacques Futrelle was aboard the ship with his wife Lily May Peel. After the impact as people were scrambling for safety, she urged her husband to get into the lifeboat with her but he refused. She said the last time she saw him, he was on the Titanic’s deck, smoking a cigarette with John Jacob Astor.
Futrelle achieved great fame in his 37 years of life. He wrote for many notable newspapers including the Atlanta Journal where he started their sports section and the New York Herald.
Futrelle also wrote and directed many theatrical plays, all while writing popular mystery stories featuring Augustus S.F.X. Van Dusen for fun in his spare time. He was known as ‘The Thinking Man’ for his use of logic in his writing.
Futrelle left Pike County at age 18. He was born April 8, 1875 in Pike to Wiley Harmon Heath Futrelle (a descendant of the French Huguenots) and Linnie Bevill Futrelle. He attended Pike County public schools but was also schooled by his father who was a teacher in an Atlanta College who taught him basic academics in addition to the French language.
The Titanic was the largest ocean liner at the time when she sank just four days into the ship’s maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. Of the 2,240 passengers aboard, more than 1,500 lost their lives, including one of Pike County’s most famous authors.