The club was founded by Captain William Fowler, who had fought in 13 battles during the Civil War. He belonged to thirteen clubs, got married on the 13th, and tried to do anything important on the 13th. He was fixated on the number 13! He even graduated from P.S. 13 when he was 13 years old!
During the club meetings, the members would dine on a 13-course dinner and flouted superstitions at will. They would walk under ladders, open umbrellas indoors at the meeting, break mirrors, and do other things to tempt superstitious fate!
They dined under a banner reading "Morituri te Salutamus" (We who will die salute you.")
On one occasion, the Thirteen Club members dined at a table, with candles by each setting. They waited until the first one burned out -- according to a superstition, the one whose candle went out was supposed to die. A year later, the roll was taken; and all members were present and had a pretty healthy year!
Well, the club was active for only a few years; yet it included no less than five former Presidents among its members: Benjamin Harrison, Chester Arthur, Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, and Theodore Roosevelt!