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Sinking of the Titanic—James and George McGough Man Lifeboats


There were two McGoughs on the Titanic when it collided with an iceberg shortly before midnight on April 14, 1912, 36 hours after the ship had sailed from Southampton. Both McGoughs were in lifeboats when the ship sank at 2:20 a.m. on April 15. Both survived. Often in stories of the disaster only one McGough is identified, the first class passenger James Robert McGough of Philadelphia. Sometimes the same name, J. McGough, is used to describe both the first class passenger, James Robert McGough, and the able-bodied seaman, George Francis McGough, often mistakenly identified as James (Paddy) McGough, who had signed on to the ship in Southampton, England.

In some descriptions of the disaster, James Robert McGough is given the nickname "Paddy," but this nickname belonged to the crewman, George Francis McGough. In the Wikipedia List of crew members on board RMS Titanic, George Francis McGough, able-bodied seaman and member of the deck crew, is mistakenly listed (as of October 17, 2009) as James Robert McGough—who was in fact a first class passenger. The Wikipedia lists of first class passengers includes James Robert McGough, age 35, of Philadephia, who was rescued in lifeboat number 7. The Wikipedia list of members of the deck crew includes James R. McGough (who should have been listed as George Francis McGough), age 25, Able Seaman, of Southampton, Hampshire, England, who was rescued in lifeboat number 9. Encyclopedia Titanica mistakenly publishes a photograph of George Francis McGough, clearly marked George, above the name of James Robert McGough.

 Table of Contents 

James Robert McGough

Here is the entry from the Encyclopedia Titanica on the first class passenger:

"James Robert McGough

 

James Robert McGough''Mr. James Robert McGough, 36, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was a buyer with the firm of Strawbridge & Clothier.* He boarded the Titanic at Southampton as a first class passenger. He shared cabin E-25 with John Flynn.

"According to his later testimony, after the collision, they went out and met second steward Dodd, who informed them they were not in any danger and should go back to bed. However, following his instinct and after alerting the lady passenger across the hall from his room,† McGough, along with Flynn, went up to the promenade deck. Once there, the two were ordered to put on their lifebelts. After getting the belts from their cabin they returned to the deck where they saw women and children being put in the lifeboats. As there was great hesitation on the part of the passengers to get in the boats, a large officer gave McGough a push into a starboard boat, saying, 'You are a big fellow, get into the boat.'

"Lifeboat 7 contained about 28 people but once in the water they met with another and 5 more were transferred into it. Even after all this the people in the lifeboat still felt it would only be a short time before they would row back to the Titanic. Finally, realizing the great ship was sinking, they rowed away, afraid of the suction.

"McGough also recounted that there was water and crackers in the boat, although this was unknown to them at the time. Also, there was some talk about going back for survivors but '... some of the women passengers objected to our making an effort.'

" McGough returned to Philadelphia and his family lives there to this day."

*The majority of sources say that James McGough was a buyer for Gimbel Bros. rather than the competing Philadelphia department store, Strawbridge & Clothier. When McGough registered for the WWI draft in 1918, he said he was employed as a buyer for Gimbel Bros. in Philadelphia (see below). There is no evidence I have found that he changed employment between 1912 and 1918. (McGough has been identified as a buyer for the toy department of Gimbels, but that information may have confused McGough with Edward Pennington Calderhead, another Gimbels buyer, who occupied an adjoining stateroom. He shared his first class compartment, cabin E-25, with John Irwin Flynn, 36, from Brooklyn, New York, who was a buyer with the household furnishing department of Gimbels flagship store at Thirty-third and Broadway in New York City. Flynn was rescued in lifeboat 5. Also in lifeboat number 5 was Edward Pennington Calderhead of New York, a buyer for the toys department of Gimbels, who shared cabin E-24, which adjoined McGough's cabin, with Spencer Victor Silverthorne, a buyer for Nugent's department store of St. Louis.) Silverthorne was also a passenger in lifeboat 5.

†The lady passenger across the hall from his room whom McGough alerted to the danger was probably Mrs. Margaret "Molly" Brown (née Tobin) (Mrs. James Joseph Brown). Her given name was Margaret, and she was called "Maggie" by her friends. She was never known to her friends as Molly, but she became the semi-mythical heroine "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" (Meredith Wilson used Molly instead of Maggie in the title of his musical because, he said, Molly was easier to sing). See Molly Brown: Mystery Unravelled by Daniel A. Klistorner (July 21, 2002, on Encyclopedia Titanica), which makes a convincing case that Margaret Tobin Brown occupied stateroom E-23, immediately across the passageway from stateroom E-25 occupied by James McGough and John Irwin Flynn, both buyers for Gimbel Bros.

Lifeboat number 7, with James Robert McGough manning an oar, was launched at 12:45 a.m. and was the first lifeboat to be lowered. Although it had seats for 65 people, only 28 were on board. The Titanic Lifeboat Lowering Sequence on Jim's Titanic Website.

We learn some of the details about the family of James Robert McGough from The Sinking of the Titanic (1912) by Jay Henry Mowbray. Mowbray gives his name and address as James B. McGough, 708 West York Street, Philadelphia. He names his wife as Mary McGough, and three brothers living with their mother: Philip A. McGough, Thomas McGough, and Andrew McGough. The James Robert McGough from Philadelphia who was a passenger on the Titanic was 36 in 1912, and was therefore born in 1875 or 1876. (James Robert McGough applied for a renewal of a US passport in Philadephia on February 2, 1920. The application says that he was born in county Meath, Ireland, on July 4, 1876; that his father was Thomas McGough, born in Ireland, who was deceased; that he emigrated by sailing for Philadephia from Liverpool in May of 1893, and that he had resided in Philadelphia since 1893. See below.)

A family of which James Robert McGough was a member is shown by the 1900 census of Philadelphia's 30th ward (roll 1472, book 1, page 246), as living on Carpenter Street (in the 30th ward) on June 1, 1900: Thomas McGough, age 65, born in Ireland in December, 1834, married to Kate (Catherine Dowdell) for 30 years, who emigrated to the United States in 1895 and who had been here 5 years, a "horseshoer," who had not been employed for the past 12 months, who could read, write and speak English, and who was renting a house; his wife, Kate, age 50, born in Ireland in May of 1850, mother of 9 children, all of whom were living, and 7 of whom were living with her and Thomas. All the McGoughs in this household were born in Ireland, literate, and emigrated in 1895. The 7 children at home were: Patrick, age 28, born in March of 1872, a horseshoer who had had no unemployment during the past 12 months; John, age 26, born in October, 1873, a horseshoer who had been unemployed for the past 12 months; James, age 24, born in July of 1875*, a delivery clerk who had not been employed for the past 12 months; Thomas, age 22, born in March of 1878, a delivery clerk who had not been employed during the past 12 months; Mary, age 14, born in February of 1886; Philip, age 11, born in June of 1889; and Andrew, age 10, born in January (?) of 1890. The younger three children were "at school" for 10 months of the past year. Mary, Philip, and Andrew had each attended school for 10 months during the past year.

*The Encyclopedia Titanica at one time gave the birth date of James Robert McGough as July 4, 1776, and several other sources use the same date. (In my opinion, July 4, 1775, is more probably the correct birth date. In his affidavit signed on May 1, 1912, and submitted on May 25, 1912 (day 18 of the Inquiry), to the United States Senate Inquiry on the Titanic disaster, McGough said he was 36 years old, which supports the July 4, 1875, date of birth.)

The only family on the Ellis Island website (American Family Immigration History Center) that I found that is close to this arrived on April 18, 1896, aboard the Campania, a ship which had originated in Liverpool, England. James Robert McGough would have been 19 years old at this time, and he apparently entered the US ahead of his parents and younger brothers and sisters. (In his application for a renewal of a US passport in Philadephia on February 2, 1920, he said he had emigrated by sailing for Philadephia from Liverpool in May of 1893, and had resided in Philadelphia since 1893.) The index at the Ellis Island site lists the family entering in 1896 as: Thomas Mc Goughe, age 50; Cath Mc Goughe, age 48; Joseph Mc Goughe, age 14; Mary Mc Goughe, age 11; Philip Mc Goughe, age 7; and Andrew Mc Goughe, age 4. (New York Passenger Lists, 1820–1957 on Ancestry.com lists the head of this family as Thos McGoughes.) An examination of the ship's manifest convinces me that the e (or es) at the end of McGoughe is only a flourish of the pen in the handwritten records, and the surname should be read as McGough. The surname is written only once, after Thomas on line 606, and the other surnames are indicated by a ditto. The manifest (lines 606 through 611) lists the port of embarkation for the six members of this family as Queenstown. Thomas McGough's occupation is listed as a blacksmith; Catherine's as a servant; and Joseph's as a labourer. Mary, Philip and Andrew are each described as a child. The native land of the six McGoughs is listed as Ireland. The destination of all six is listed as Philadelphia. The family had five pieces of baggage.

A short biography of James Robert McGough was published by the Slane Historical Society under the heading Slane & The Titanic says that he was born to Thomas McGough and Catherine Dowdell on July 4, 1876, in Slane, county Meath. Here is part of the article:

"Hailing from Slane, in Co. Meath, thirty five year old James Robert McGough (born July 4th 1876) was an exceptional case in more ways than one. From a family of six sons and one daughter he moved with some of the family to America when young and became a highly successful executive. A buyer with Strawbridge & Clothier department store he was one of only four Irish people who enjoyed the luxury of first class aboard the Titanic.

"McGough boarded lifeboat No.7 – the first to be launched from the endangered liner, perhaps due to the advise of Mr. Andrews, the ships designer, with whom he was friends and was sharing the finery of first class. James McGough was eating in the first class dining room when the ship struck the iceberg.

"In an affidavit McGough submitted to the U.S. enquiry into the disaster he detailed how ignoring ship personel advice saved his life. The steward Mr. Dodd, of whom he asked the question ‘Is there any danger?’ answered ‘Not in the least’. Describing the total disbelief amongst the passengers, which led to his own lifeboat being rowed only a short distance from the ship, he wrote: ‘We rested on our oars, but after realising Titanic was sinking, we rowed away for about half a mile, afraid that the suction would draw us down’.

"After returning to work James R. McGough was paid 612 dollars for insured property lost aboard. He married and was eventually widowed. The Wall St. crash of 1929 saw McGough, now 53, unemployed. By 1935, now living in Philadelphia, he had developed cancer and eventually died on July 24th 1937 aged 61. His death certificate confirmed his Irish birth, and that of his parents Thomas McGough and Catherine Dowdell."

Thomas McGough and Catherine Dowdell were the parents of Patrick McGough, born in March of 1872, at Mandistown, Slane, Meath; John McGough born in October of 1873 [another listing, which spells the mother's name Dowdall, says November 28, 1872, in Meath] in Slane, Meath, according to the IGI; of James Robert McGough born on July 4, 1875 or 1876, in Mandistown, Slane, Meath; Thomas McGough born in March of 1878 in Slane, Meath; Joseph McGough in 1883 at Slane, Meath; Mary McGough born in February of 1886 at Slane, Meath; and of Andrew McGough born in January 1890, in Meath. According to FamilySearch, Thomas McGough, the father, was born in Ireland in December of 1834, and his wife, Catherine Dowdell, was born in Ireland in May of 1850. Thomas McGough, the son, is shown by Family Search as born to Thomas McGough and Catherine Dowdell in March of 1878. See my page: McGoughs, McGeoughs and McGeoghs in County Meath under Civil Parishes of Drumcondra, Inishmot, Loughbracken, and Nobber—Mandistown.

The two younger brothers of James Robert McGough, Philip Aloysius Mcgough and Andrew Francis McGough, registered in Philadelphia on June 5, 1917, for the World War I draft. Both were single and living with their mother at 252 South 57th Street, Philadelphia. Both registrants say that their place of birth was Mandistown, Ireland. Philip's birthday is shown as January 24 (perhaps 21), 1888. Andrew's birthday is shown as January 22, 1891 [other sources say 1890]. Philip was employed as a clerk and Andrew was employed as a salesman. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917–1918 on Ancestry.com.

James Robert McGough himself sometimes listed his birthdate as July 4, 1875, and at other times as July 4, 1876. He filed a Declaration of Intention to become a citizen of the United States on July 16, 1908, in the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The declaration states that he was 33 years old, that his occupation was a clerk, and that "my personal description is: Color white, complexion dark, height 6 feet 2 inches, color of eyes blue, other visible distinctive marks none." He said he was born in Mandistown, Ireland, on July 4, 1875; that his last foreign residence was Mandistown; and that he emigrated to the United States aboard the Etruria which left Liverpool on May 13, 1894, and arrived in New York on May 20, 1894. His residence was 257 South 57th Street, Philadelphia. While living at the same address, he filed his Petition for Naturalization on February 10, 1911, in which he said once again hat he was born on July 4, 1875, in Mandistown, Ireland, and he sailed from Liverpool aboard the Etruria on May 13, 1894, and arrived in New York on May 20, 1894. He once again described his occupation as a clerk. (Naturalization petition number 3780, roll 076 archive series M1522.) At the time of the petition, he was married to Mary J. (Hughes) McGough.

James Robert McGough registered for the World War I draft in Philadelphia on September 12, 1918. His draft registration card gives his address as 708 West York Street, Philadelphia; his age as 43; his date of birth as July 4, 1775, and his place of birth as Ireland. He was employed as a buyer for Gimbel Bros. at 8th and Market Street, Piladelphia. His wife was Mary J. McGough, also of 708 West York Street. His height was described as tall and his build as stout. Both his eyes and hair was described as gray (FHL roll 1907614).

On all three passport applications I found, in 1919, 1920, and 1922, James Robert McGough gave his birth date as July 4, 1776. These applications are described in more detail below.

By 1910, James's father, Thomas McGough, had apparently died. The 1910 federal census of Philadelphia shows James, age 32, living with his mother, brothers, and sisters at 252 S. 57th Street: The head of the household was Katherine McGough, age 59, a widow, born in Ireland, mother of 9 children, 8 of whom were living. The census return shows that she was supported by her "own income." The other residents of the household were: Patrick McGough, age 36 a son, a blacksmith; Thomas McGough, age 34, a son, a receiving clerk in a department store; James McGough, age 32, a son, a buyer in a department store; Philip McGough, age 21, a son, a bookkeeper for a publisher; Andrew McGough, age 18, a son, a bookkeeper for "wholesale drugs"; and Mary McGough, age 23, a daughter, occupation "none." All the children are shown as having been born in Ireland. All are shown as having entered the US in 1891. The enumeration district was 1172 (46th ward, roll 1413, book 1, page 217a).

James' home address in Philadelphia at the time of the disaster was 708 York Street (sometimes given as West York Street). The address of his mother, and those of his brothers who were still living with her, was 252 South Fifty-Seventh Street. The 1912 Phladelphia city directory listed James R. McGough, buyer, at 708 York Street, and his mother, Catherine M. McGough, widow of Thomas R., at 252 South 57th. At the latter address were also Andrew McGough, clerk; Philip A. McGough, clerk; and Thomas P. McGough, clerk.

From the Carpathia, James McGough sent this message:

"From: Jim

"To: McGough, Philadelphia

"Date: 18 April 1912

"McGough 708 York St Phila Pa Safe feeling good don't worry on board mpa. Jim"

Mpa was the call sign for the Carpathia. Survivors' Messages Received at Sagaponak.

James McGough's next return from Europe was aboard the Lusitania when it arrived in New York from Liverpool on April 17, 1914. The ship's manifest lists him as James R. M'Gough, age 37, married, a US citizen of 708 York Street, Philadelphia. The manifest indicates that he was not born in the United States and that he was naturalized as a United States citizen about 8 years previously, about 1906, in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Post Office. New York Passenger Lists, 1820–1957 on Ancestry.com.

James McGough married Mary J. Hughes, daughter of Patrick and Theresa Hughes, sometime before he signed his petition for naturalization on February 10, 1911. In April of 1911, the manifest of the Lusitania listed him as married. His wife was probably the Mary J. Hughes, age 31, born in Pennsylvania in May of 1869, shown by the 1900 census of the 20th Ward of Philadelphia as single and living at 2054 North Seventh Street with her father, Patrick Hughes, age 61, born in Ireland in January of 1839, a liquor dealer, a naturalized citizen who immigrated to the United States in 1863, who had been married for 37 years, and who owned his home free and clear (T-623, roll 1462, page 2A (or 271), line 4); Hughes is indexed by Ancestry.com as Huther.) Also in the household were Mary's mother, Theresa, age 63, who was born in Ireland in 1837, who also emigrated to the United States in 1863 and had been married 37 years; mother of 4 children, all living; and a grand daughter, Mary T. Ryan, age 8, born in Pennsylvania in October of 1891 to a father born in Ireland and a mother born in Pennsylvania. If this is the Mary Hughes who married James Robert McGough (and I am fairly certain she is), she was about 7 years older than her husband—which is not consistent with their ages shown by the 1920 census that shows Mary a year younger than James. The 1930 census, however, shows that Mary McGough's middle initial was "J" and living with James and Mary was a sister, Kathryn Ryan, age 52. Kathryn Ryan was probably the sister of Mary Hughes McGough and the mother of Mary Ryan, the granddaughter of Patrick and Theresa Hughes who, at age 8, was listed in their household in the 1900 census.

Mary J. Hughes' mother, Theresa Hughes, died on December 25, 1902, and her father, Patrick Hughes, died on June 6, 1907. Mary J. Hughes is listed in the 1910 census of the 19th Ward of Philadelphia (roll 1393, book 2, page 67b) (T-624, roll 1393, page 9B, line _) as a 35 year old single woman, the head of the household, born in Pennsylvania to Irish/English parents, with "own income" written in the column for trade or occupation. Living with her was her niece, Mary T. Ryan, age 19, born in Pennsylvania to a father born in Ireland/England and a mother born in Pennsylvania. They were living on Seventh Street.

After World War I, James Robert McGough traveled every one or two years to Europe, at least through 1924 when Ellis Island closed. The Ellis Island website shows James Robert McGough, a U.S. citizen, 35 years old, married, a buyer, arrived aboard the Lusitania from Liverpool on April 14, 1911. The Ellis Island site also shows his arrival, at age 36 on June 18, 1912, aboard the Carpathia/Titanic, under the name James M'Gough: at age 37 on April 17, 1914, aboard the Lusitania; at age 42 on June 22, 1919, aboard the Aquitania from Southampton; at age 44 on April 7, 1920, aboard the Carmania from Liverpool; at age 45 on March 31, 1922, aboard the Mauretania from Southampton; at age 46 on March 27, 1923, aboard the Majestic from Southampton (this entry shows his place of residence as 4620 Pulaski Avenue, German Town, Philadelphia, and that he was naturalized about 1910 in the Circuit Court in Philadelphia); and at age 48 on April 8, 1924, aboard the Olympic from Southampton. On this trip, he was accompanied by his wife, Mary, age 48. All entries show the place of residence of himself and his wife as Philadelphia.

James Robert McGough applied for a passport in the US District Court in Philadelphia on April 17, 1919. Here is a paragraph from the application:

"I solemly swear that I was born in Mandistown Co Meath Ireland on July 4th, 1876; that my father Thomas S. McGough was born in Ireland and is now ... Deceased; that I emigrated to the United States, sailing from Liverpool on May 12, 1893; that I resided 25 years, uninterruptedly, in the United States from 1893 to 1919 at Philadelphia, Pa; that I was naturalized as a citizen of the United States before the Eastern District of Penn Court of the United States East Dist of Penn Philadelphia on June 1, 1911, ..."

McGough said that he followed the occupation of Buyer, that he intended to leave the US for two months on board the Aquitania, and visit England and France for the purpose of Buying. His passport application is indexed by Ancestry.com under the name James Robert N Gorge.

James Robert McGough applied for a renewal of a US passport in Philadephia on February 2, 1920. The application says that he was born in county Meath, Ireland, on July 4, 1876; that his father was Thomas McGough, born in Ireland, who was deceased; that he emigrated by sailing for Philadephia from Liverpool in May of 1893, and that he had resided in Philadelphia since 1893; that he was naturalized in the US District Court in Philadelphia in about 1910; that he followed the occupation of a commercial buyer; and that he intended to visit Great Britain, France, Holland and Switzerland, on commercial business, and that he intended to leave from the port of New York City aboard the Rotterdam on February 7, 1920. The passport was issued on February 5, 1920. (Passport Applications, January 2, 1906–March 31, 1925 (M1490) > 1920 > Roll 1061 - Certificates: 168126–168499, 05 Feb 1920–05 Feb 1920 on Ancestry.com.). A passport application on January 18, 1922, also gives his date of birth as July 4, 1876, but the date is indexed by Ancestry.com as July 4, 1875.

On Flickr from Yahoo.com, there is a set of 119 passport photos of surivivors of the Titanic. James Robert McGoughs's photos of 1920 aand 1922 are there. The 1920 photo, with a biography, also appears on Encyclopedia Titanica.

The 1920 federal census (8th district, enumeration district #434) of Philadelphia lists James McGough, age 44, born in Ireland, a buyer for a department store, living with his wife, Mary, age 43, who was born in Pennsylvania to Irish parents. No children were living with them. They were living on York Street in the 19th Ward (roll 1622, page 11A). The 1930 census of Philadelphia lists James R. McGough, age 54, born in Ireland, living with his wife Mary J. McGough, age 54, born in Pennsylvania, and a sister, Kathryn Ryan, age 52, born in Pennsylvania. James' year of immigration to the United States is shown as 1893.

James Robert McGough died in Philadelphia on July 24, 1937, and is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery, Yeadon, Pennsylvania, in section 3, range 1, lot 57 of the cemetery. (See: Death Notice of James R. McGough on Encyclopedia Titanica.) This lot is marked by the monument of McGough's father-in-law, Patrick Hughes. McGough's own grave is not otherwise marked. There is no mention of him on the Hughes monument. Here is part of the inscription on the Hughes monument:

"My beloved wife Theresa Hughes, died December 25th, 1902. Our beloved father Patrick Hughes died June 6, 1907."

See: Grave of James Robert McGough on Encyclopedia Titannica. Here is an article from the August 22, 2004, edition of the Delco Times— Delaware County (Pennsylvania:

" Titanic Ties: Several survivors of ill-fated ship now rest in Delco by Kristin Smith (ksmith@delcotimes.com 08/22/2004)

"Nearly 100 years after the Titanic sank off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, there are still many unsolved mysteries surrounding some of the passengers aboard the fabled ocean liner. And at least a few of those mysteries are buried right here in Delaware County.

"James Robert McGough, a first-class passenger who survived the sinking of the ship, is buried in a three-grave plot in Yeadon’s Holy Cross Cemetery, according to burial records. However, McGough’s name isn’t recorded on the family tombstone that was purchased by his father-in-law, Patrick Hughes.

"His wife, Mary J. McGough, also is buried at the site, but her name isn’t recorded on the stone either.

"Two others, presumably Mary’s deceased brother and sister, along with her mother are also buried at the site and their names are listed on the headstone.

"The reasoning behind the McGough omissions is still a mystery to researchers, said Titanic historian and author Calvin Sun, although there is speculation the McGoughs died childless, leaving no one to record their names on the headstone.

"Little is also known about McGough’s life, except he was 35 years old when the Titanic sank and he died in 1937, according to the website Encyclopedia Titanica.

"Walter Lord’s 1955 novel, 'A Night to Remember,' which helped revive waning public interest in the Titanic story, lists McGough’s occupation as a buyer for a major department store in Philadelphia.

"The Titanic struck an iceberg 20 minutes before midnight on April 14, 1912. Many passengers were awake at the time, including McGough, whose 'porthole was open, and as the berg brushed by, chunks of ice fell into the cabin,' wrote Lord.

"An April 20, 1912, New York Times article mentions McGough once, in a quote from Mrs. J. J. Brown (The Unsinkable Molly Brown), a survivor from Denver. Brown recounted the events leading up to the evacuation of the ship for the newspaper.

'I had noticed two men following me from place to place as I talked with the women here and there. These two men just then followed me up to the upper deck and carried me down, and practically threw me into the boat with the words, ‘You are going, too.’ They were Edward P. Calderhead and James McGough, two American merchants. I owe my life to them, for there were no more boats and I would be now with those who are at the bottom,' Brown told the newspaper.'"

(McGough, and Calderhead, departed the ship on lifeboats 5 and 7 hanging from adjoining davits on the starboard side; and Brown departed on boat 6, which was hanging on the port side. McGough was on boat 7, which had a capacity of 65 and which was first away, launched at 12:45 a.m. with 28 aboard, and later tied up with boat 5; Brown was on boat 6, which had a capacity of 65, was the first boat lowered from the port side, and launched at 12:55 a.m. with 28 passengers; and Calderhead (also a buyer employed by Gimbel Bros.) was on boat 5, which had a capacity of 65 and launched (from the starboard side) at 12:55 a.m. with 40 or 41 passengers. Boats continued to be launched until 2:05 a.m., many of the last ones at or over capacity. See: The Titanic Lifeboats by John M. Hennessey on Jim's Titanic Website. Some experts have concluded that boat 6 was not the first boar lowered from the port side: Titanic: The Lifeboat Launching Sequence Re-Examined by Bill Wormstedt, Tad Fitch and George Behe on Bill Wormstedt's excellent Titanic website.)

There is a copy of this same New York Times article on the Titanic-Titanic.com website.

George Francis McGough, also known as George M. "Paddy" McGough

The Encyclopedia Titanica indexes as a member of the deck crew: McGough, Mr. George M. "Paddy". The specific entry lists him as a deck hand: able-bodied seaman George M. McGough. The text says: "Mr. George M. (?James R. 'Paddy') McGough of St. George's Street, Southampton was an able-bodied seaman on the Titanic. After helping at the davits with Lifeboat 14 on the port side, McGough crossed over to the starboard side of the ship where he was assigned to Lifeboat 9 and was rescued." He was also picked up by the Carpathia. The crew list on Mark Nichol's Titanic website (now dead) names him as able-bodied seaman James (Paddy) McGough. But the comprehensive website (now dead) on the Lifeboats of the Titanic, by Peter Engberg-Klarström and Chris Dohany, lists the name of the able-bodied seaman assigned to life boat 9 as George M. McGough. The initial for the middle name is incorrect—it should be F. for Francis.

The name of George "Paddy" McGough may have been taken from an article in the New York Evening World for April 20, 1912, set out in a 1999 Internet essay by Bill Wormstedt: Shots in the Dark—Did an Officer Commit Suicide on the Titanic in the Last Stages of the Sinking? The newspaper article quoted George "Paddy" McGough as saying:

“Both Captain Smith and Junior Chief Officer Murdoch were now together on the bridge, the water being up to their armpits. The next I saw of Captain Smith was in the water holding a child in his arms. He swam to the raft on which was Second Officer Lightoller and gave the child to the mate. That was the last. He and the ship went down, and Murdoch—God help me; don’t ask me what I saw.”

The article went on to say that George McGough left the Titanic in Lifeboat #9, a little less than an hour before the ship sank. He therefore was not in a position to see either Smith or Murdoch, or the events he described. Second Officer Lightoller also never reported seeing Smith in the water, much less receiving a child from him. This article is part of a controversy over whether an officer of the Titanic shot himself on the Titanic’s deck in the final stages of the sinking. Two web pages carry on a debate over whether the Titanic's First Officer, William M. Murdoch, had taken his own life with a revolver shortly before the vessel foundered. Each mentions able-bodied seaman George McGough. See Murdoch of the 'Titanic', especially 4. Collision & Aftermath, and First Officer Murdoch and the 'Dalbeattie Defense'.

For articles on George McGough, see two articles in Encyclopedia Titanica by Senan Molony (ET Research) of Dublin: McGough the Key? and McGough the Killer. In the latter article, Molony uses my article on this website, Able-bodied Seaman George Francis McGough, and additional research of his own, to confirm that the George McGough, who was an able-bodied seaman aboard the Titanic, was the George Francis McGough who had committed manslaughter aboard the Rustington on March 10, 1900. Molony includes several photographs of George Francis McGough.

An American typed version of the sign-on sheet in Southampton for the crew of the Titanic shows, as #58, a J. McGough, age 25, British, born in Duncannon [county Wexford, Ireland], with a permanent address of St. George Street. Examination of the actual signature shows that the J is actually a G. (See: McGough the Key by Senan Molony, where he says (and illustrates): "But the American list cites only 'J. McGough,' whereas the actual Titanic sign-on list, and the sign-off list for receipt of wages, both make it clear that he was George McGough ...") The capacity in which he was engaged was "A.B.", able-bodied seaman. His last ship was the Hermione. (To find the incorrect printed version of the sign-on sheet, which is alost always used in the United States, go to Titanic Deck Crew: Signed at Southampton on Encyclopedia Titanica and go to #58. ) Griffith's Valuation of 1853 for county Wexford shows only one McGough in the county, Mary McGough. She lived, coincidentally, in the town of Duncannon. See McGoughs, McGeoughs, and McGeoghs in Ireland in the 1820–30s and 1850–60s: By County, Parish, and Townland, line 522.

There were also McGoughs in the town of Dungannon, county Tyrone. Griffith's valuation shows two McGeoghs in 1860 in the town of Dungannon, townland of Drumcoo, parish of Drumglass, county Tyrone. See lines 509 and 510 of the table just mentioned. The McGeoughs, McGoughs, and McGeoghs in lines 505 through 518 of my table, including a Francis McGough (line 517) in the townland of Shanmaghry in the parish of Pomeroy, are from nearby parishes. There is no evidence, however, that the able-bodied seaman on the Titanic, George McGough of Duncannon, was a member of one of these families. The records I have found on seaman George McGough that give his place of birth are consistent in spelling it Duncannon.

The home address of the G. McGough on the original Titanic sign on sheet (and J. McGough on the typed copy) is given as "St. George St." No city is specified, but the reference is probably to the city where the crewman signed on: Southampton. When George McGough, with passport number 127074 and seaman's identification number of 338024, issued by Britain, signed onto the Lapland before its arrival at Ellis Island from Antwerp on January 15, 1920, he gave his birth date as February 12, 1873; his birth place as Duncannon; and his permanent address as 15 St. George Street, Southampton. See my page Able-bodied Seaman George Francis McGough.

When "G. McGough" signed on at Southampton on April 6, 1912, as an able-bodied seaman at £5 a month, he listed the Hermione as the ship on which he last served. This is the only McGough in the Southampton crewman's sign on sheet. The Alphabetical List of Crew on Steamship Titanic, attached as Exhibit A to the 1912 report on the Titanic Disaster by the Committee on Commerce of the United States Senate, lists as crewman number 5 in the Deck Department: "McGough, J., St. George's Street, Southampton. Able-bodied seaman. Saved." He is the same person sometimes identified as George M. "Paddy" McGough. The able-bodied seaman who is mistakenly listed as "J. McGough" on the typed copy of the sign-in sheet is often confused with the passenger J. R. McGough. For example, The Titanic Lifeboat Lowering Sequence lists the passenger in lifeboat 7 as J. R. McGough and the seaman in lifeboat 9 as J. McGough. In the Wikipedia List of crew members on board RMS Titanic, George Francis McGough, able-bodied seaman and member of the deck crew, is mistakenly listed (as of October 17, 2009) as James Robert McGough, who was in fact a first class passenger.

An inquiry on RootsWeb indicates that there was a "family called McGough (McGeough) listed about 1910—for "Georges St Belfast."

In addition to McGough, TitanicPark.com (in an earlier version) lists spellings of the surname of this sailor as McGeough, McGoff and McGow; and pronunciations, in addition to Mac Gee-ohh for McGeough and Mac Goff for McGough, of Mac Geek, Mac Joke, Mi-joke, and Mac Geffi.

Here is part of an article from page 8 the New York Times of Saturday, April 20, 1912, under the heading: Titanic's Seamen at Prayer Service; All Deeply Moved, Many Weeping, After Giving Thanks for Their Rescue.

Priests Consoled the Doomed

George M. (sic) McGough, an able seaman on the Titanic, who manned one of the lifeboats, told yesterday at the Catholic Seaman's Mission, 422 West Street, of two Catholic priests on the titanic, who spent their last two hours consoling the people of the steerage and finally went down with the ship.

The two priests joined the ship at Queenstown. They came out on a tender and were not included in any of the lists of passengers. They spent most of the time in steerage, giving attention to the Irish immigrants. They held services on the third-class recreation deck on Sunday.

McGough complains that the crew of the Titanic were treated as prisoners by the White Star company as prisoners on their arrival in New York. Late Thursday night, he said, they were mustered on the deck of the Carpathia and ordered to go under an escort of officers to the Red Star liner Lapland. McGough says that many asked to go ashore, and were refused permission and were ordered to get into line and march along the dock to the Lapland.

This excerpt is reproduced in Senan Molony's article, McGough the Killer, along with a 1920 photograph of George Francis McGough. The two priests to whom George Francis McGough referred were probably Father Thomas Roussel Davids Byles from county Essex, England, and Father Josef Peruschitz, OSB, from Bavaria. Both were second class passengers. A third priest, also a second class passenger, was Father Juozas (Joseph) Montvila from Lithuania. All three priests boarded the Titanic in Southampton. All three helped passengers until the ship sunk, and all three went down with the ship.

Twelve years before the sinking of the Titanic, able bodied seaman George Francis McGough sailed from Southampton aboard the coal ship Rustington. This George McGough gave his "home address" as "Duncannon." The George McGough who signed aboard the Titanic says he was born in Duncannon. There is a significant difference in the ages recorded for the two men. The probability that the two George McGoughs were the same person is explored further on another page, Able-bodied Seaman George Francis McGough. See also two articles on Encyclopedia Titanica by Senan Molony (ET Research) of Dublin: McGough the Key? and McGough the Killer.

Frank McGoughCrewman on Titanic's Belfast to Southampton Trip

On the Encyclopedia Titanica website, under the Titanic Crew List, there is a page called Delivery Trip Crew. (Belfast to Southhampton). On this list is Frank McGough, age 25, who signed on in Belfast on March 29, 1912, as a fireman. He lists his place of birth as Belfast. His previous ship is listed as the Black Head. He was discharged from the Titanic in Southampton where George Francis McGough signed on as "G. McGough." For more on seaman Francis McGough, go to my page McGough Seamen—Ellis Island. The fact that both men showed their ages as 25 raises the possibility that they were one person, but the evidence is almost conclusive that the "G. McGough" who signed onto the Titanic was the George Francis McGough who was born in Duncannon Ireland on either February 12, 1873, or July 15, 1875, depending on which record which is accepted. See Able-bodied Seaman George Francis McGough.

James Robert McGough Describes His Experiences in the Disaster

Here are some excerpts from The Sinking of the Titanic by Jay Henry Mowbray:

"Several weeks ago Mr. McGough was sent abroad on a purchasing trip for his firm. With him were J. D. Flynn, of New York, formerly of Philadelphia, and N. P. Calderhead, also a former Philadelphian.

"When the gang plank was thrown down from the Carpathia, Mr. McGough was the first passenger from the ill-starred Titanic to land. Waiting for him were his wife, Mrs. Mary McGough, and his three brothers, Philip A., Thomas and Andrew McGough, all of 252 South Seventh street, Philadelphia. His wife saw him first. Stretching out her arms, she threw herself from the police lines toward him, and in a moment he had her clasped in his embrace. ...

"Afterward he rushed through the crowd and took a motor car to the home of a relative. Thence he went to the Imperial Hotel. From the hotel he sent a message to his mother at 252 South Seventh street. 'I am here, safe,' the message read.

"The collision which caused the loss of the Titanic," Mr. McGough said, 'occurred about 11.40 o'clock. I had an outer stateroom on the side toward the iceberg against which the ship crashed. Flynn who occupied the room with me, had just gone to bed. Calderhead was in bed in a stateroom adjoining.

"When the crash came, I ran to the porthole. I saw the ice pressed close against the side of the ship. Chunks of it were ground off, and they fell into the window. I happened to glance at my watch, and it showed me exactly the hour.

"I knew that something was seriously wrong, and hastily got into my clothes. I took time, also, to get my watch and money. Flynn, in the meantime, had run over to Calderhead's stateroom and had awakened him. When I had dressed I ran outside.

"I saw the iceberg. The boat deck stood about ninety feet out of the water and the berg towered above us for at least fifty feet. I judge the berg stood between 140 and 150 feet out of the water.

"Many of the women on board, I am sure, did not leave their staterooms at once. They stayed there, at least for a time. I believe that many of them did not awaken to their danger until near the last.

"One statement I want to correct, the lights did not go out, at least not while I was on board. When I ran to the deck I heard Captain Smith order that the air chambers be examined. An effort was made to work the doors closing the compartments, but to no avail. When the ship ran upon the iceberg, the sharp-pointed berg cut through both thicknesses of the bottom and left it in such a position that it filled rapidly.

"I remember that it was a beautiful night. There was no wind and the sea was calm. But for this it is certain that when the boats were launched most all of us would have perished in the ice-covered sea. At first the captain ordered the hatches over the steerage fastened down. This was to prevent the hysterical passengers in that part of the ship rushing to the deck and increasing the panic. Before we left, however, those passengers were released.

"Two sailors were put into each of the boats. When the boats were lowered the women hung back. They feared to go down the long, steep ladder to the water. Seeing them hesitate, I cried: 'Someone has to be first,' and started down the ladder. "I had hardly started before I regretted I had not waited on deck. But I feel if I had not led the way the women would not have started and the death list would have been much larger. Flynn and Calderhead led the way into other boats.

"It was only a short time before the boat was filled. We had fifty-five in our boat, nearly all of them women. We had entered the craft so hastily that we did not take time to get a light.

"For a time we bobbed about on the ocean. Then we started to row slowly away. I shall never forget the screams that flowed over the ocean toward us from the sinking ship. At the end there was a mad rush and scramble.

"It was fearfully hard on the women. Few of them were completely dressed. Some wore only their night gowns, with some light wrapper or kimono over them. The air was pitilessly cold.

"There were so few men in the boat the women had to row. This was good for some of them, as it kept their blood in circulation, but even then it was the most severe experience for them imaginable. Some of them were half-crazed with grief or terror. Several became ill from the exposure."

Here are excerpts from the Project Gutenberg e-text of Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters, edited by Logan Marshall, Chapter XVI, in which James McGough tells his story (see also Sinking of the Titanic, et al):

"None, I believe, knew that the ship was about to sink. I did not realize it just then. When I reached the upper deck and saw tons of ice piled upon our crushed bow the full realization came to me

"Officers stood with drawn guns ordering the women into the boats. All feared to leave the comparative safety of a broad and firm deck for the precarious smaller boats. Women clung to their husbands, crying that they would never leave without them, and had to be torn away.

"On one point all the women were firm. They would not enter a life-boat until men were in it first. They feared to trust themselves to the seas in them. It required courage to step into the frail crafts as they swung from the creaking davits. Few men were willing to take the chance. An officer rushed behind me and shouted: 'You're big enough to pull an oar. Jump into this boat or we'll never be able to get the women off.' I was forced to do so, though I admit that the ship looked a great deal safer to me than any small boat.

"Our boat was the second off. Forty or more persons were crowded into it, and with myself and members of the crew at the oars, were pulled slowly away. Huge icebergs, larger than the Pennsylvania depot at New York, surrounded us. As we pulled away we could see boat after boat filled and lowered to the waves. Despite the fact that they were new and supposedly in excellent working order, the blocks jammed in many instances, tilting the boats, loaded with people, at varying angles before they reached the water. ...

"As the life-boats pulled away the officers ordered the bands to play, and their music did much to quell panic. It was a heart-breaking sight to us tossing in an eggshell three-fourths of a mile away, to see the great ship go down. First she listed to the starboard, on which side the collision had occurred, then she settled slowly but steadily, without hope of remaining afloat.

"The Titanic was all aglow with lights as if for a function. First we saw the lights of the lower deck snuffed out. A while later and the second deck illumination was extinguished in a similar manner. Then the third and upper decks were darkened, and without plunging or rocking the great ship disappeared slowly from the surface of the sea.

titanic sinks"People were crowded on each deck as it lowered into the water, hoping in vain that aid would come in time. Some of the life-boats caught in the merciless suction were swallowed with her.

"The sea was calm—calm as the water in a tumbler. But it was freezing cold. None had dressed heavily, and all, therefore, suffered intensely. The women did not shriek or grow hysterical while we waited through the awful night for help. We men stood at the oars, stood because there was no room for us to sit, and kept the boat headed into the swell to prevent her capsizing. Another boat was at our side, but all the others were scattered around the water.

"Finally, shortly before 6 o'clock, we saw the lights of the Carpathia approaching. Gradually she picked up the survivors in the other boats and then approached us. When we were lifted to the deck the women fell helpless. They were carried to whatever quarters offered themselves, while the men were assigned to the smoking room.

"Of the misery and suffering which was witnessed on the rescue ship I know nothing. With the other men survivors I was glad to remain in the smoking room until New York was reached, trying to forget the awful experience."

Logan Marshall's book The Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters has been published as an e-book on the Internet in PDF format as part of Project Gutenberg.

The Titanic Inquiry Project, a valuable website, contains transcripts of both the American and the British official inquires into the disaster, and links to a well-selected few of the dozens of Titanic websites on the Internet. An affidavit of James R. McGough was signed on May 1, 1912, and submitted to the United States Senate (62nd Congress), Subcommittee Hearings of the Committee on Commerce, Titanic Disaster, on May 25, 1912, the 18th and last day of the hearings. Testimony of two of the three crewmen with James R. McGough aboard lifeboat #7 is contained in the records of the inquiry of the British Board of Trade: Archie Jewell (day 2), lookout, and George Alfred Hogg (day 15), lookout. (Go to Titanic Inquiry Project and search for the names.) See also A Night to Remember.

First class passenger James Robert McGough was quoted in the controversy over whether an officer of the Titanic had shot himself as the ship sank. In the Internet article by Bill Wormstedt, quoted above, this appears:

"McGough was saved aboard Lifeboat #7, and had this to say about his experiences (from The Sinking of the Titanic by Logan Marshall): 'At the end sailors had to tear Mrs. Widener from him, and she went down the ladder, calling to him pitifully. The ship went down at 2.20 o'clock exactly. The front end went down gradually. We saw no men shot, but just before the finish we heard several shots. ... I was told that Captain Smith or one of the officers shot himself on the bridge just before the Titanic went under. I heard also that several men had been killed as they made a final rush for the boats, trying to cut off the women and children.'"

Boys and Girls of Addergoole in County Mayo

About 113 Irish citizens had boarded the Titanic in Ireland, at Cobh (Queenstown), on April 11, 1912, shortly before it sank. For the sad tale of fourteen of those, all from the parish of Addergoole in county Mayo, see One survivor became a nun in thanksgiving for her deliverance and 15 boys and girls were longing for a new life—but most perished by Tom Sheil of the Connaught Telegraph. For details of the stop at Queenstown, and a list of the passengers who boarded there, see Titanic at Queenstown—April 11th 1912. For the full story, see the website of the Addergoole Titanic Society.

Able-bodied Seaman James McGough

The "J. McGough" whose name appears as a British seaman on the typed copy of the sign-in sheet of the crew of the Titanic was "G. McGough," or George McGough. He gave his age as 25. If recorded correctly, he was born in 1886 or 1887. The only J. McGough, British seaman, whom I have found, would have been 30 years old at the time J. McGough signed on as 25. At Kew, there is an identity certificate #326304, issued to James McGough, British nationality, a fireman, who was born to a British father in Liverpool on September 3, 1881. In the years 1919 through 1922 this same British seaman, whose residence was Liverpool, made several entries into the Port of New York as a crewman on British ships. His age, as stated in the Ellis Island records, means that he was born in 1882 or 1883. The Ellis Island website shows several listings of this James McGough. In all cases, the records note that he was a member of the ship's crew; his nationality is stated as British, English, or British-Irish; and, when stated, his residence is given as Liverpool. For more detail, see James McGough—born September 3, 1881, under British Seamen, on my web page McGough Seamen—Ellis Island.

Frank McGough, Seaman on the Titanic on its Belfast-Southampton Trip

To complicate matters further, there was another McGough who was a seaman on the initial trip of the Titanic from Belfast to Southampton. His name was Frank McGough. His age matches that of the British seaman listed variously as Frank McGough, Francis McGough, and Francis McGeough, on three arrivals of ships at the Port of New York in May, June and July 1920.

Another—Perhaps Distantly Related—James Robert McGough

Another James Robert McGough was born on September 26, 1836, in Butts County, Georgia. His parents were Thomas McGough and Nancy McClure McGough. Thomas was born on April 7, 1795, in Abbeville, South Carolina. His parents had moved there from Mecklenburg, North Carolina, at about the time of their marriage. His parents were John McGough and Elizabeth Carson McGough. John McGough was born in county Down, Ireland, on August 21, 1761, and emigrated to the United States with his parents, Robert McGough and Mary Carson McGough, in about 1771. For a history of this family, progenitors of a large clan of McGoughs in Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas, see The McGough Family Page. I have no evidence to support any family relationship between the two James Robert McGoughs. Carolyn McGough Rowe, author of A Glimpse Of The Past: Descendants of Robert McGough (b 1725, Northern Ireland), has laboriously compiled a data base of 10,885 names of persons in an unbroken line from Robert McGough. She was kind enough to check her data base and inform me, by email of January 29, 2000, that:

"I do not believe James Robert McGough who was on the Titanic came from my Robert McGough line. We have 4 James Roberts that I have documented but none of them were born anywhere around his birth year. I strongly suspect if research is done into his family, you will find him to be Catholic.

"My Robert McGough was Presbyterian when he came to America and the family continued to be Protestants all the way down the line. I have not found any Catholics in the family even by marriage. Catholics & Protestants did not intermarry very often."

Links

Titanic Inquiry Project

Links on the Titanic Inquiry Project.

George Behe's Titanic Tidbits.

Encyclopedia Titanica.


Sinking of the Titanic—James and George McGough Man Lifeboats
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