John Bertram Brady
Courtesy of Lynn Soderberg
Mr John Bertram Brady, 41, was born in Satsop on the Puget sound on December 3, 1870. Brady had a brother E.R.Brady, and a sister Ella Brady as well as a half sister R.L.Rush. At the age of 8 in July 1879 he came with his parents to live in Pomeroy, WA where he would be educated before leaving to study at Bishop Scott's Academy in Portland.
On completing his education he returned to Pomeroy to manage the family store, succeeding his father, but in 1903 he sold the business to F.J.Elsensohn when he was made a vice-president of the Pomeroy Savings Bank. Brady had held stock in the bank since its inception and had been a director since 1894. He also had a one-third interest in the Weller Livestock Company. In addition brady was a member of the Masonic lodges in Pomeroy and of the Commandery in Walla Walla and Elkatiff Temple at Spokane.
Left © Lynn Soderberg and Doris Ann Wolf
Right: The East Washingtonian, Pomeroy, WA (April 20, 1912)
In 1906 he left Pomeroy briefly to help his family in San Jose whose house was destroyed by shocks from the San Francisco earthquake. His mother reportedly had her hand smashed and his sister was 'thrown around a bit'.
John Bertram Brady known to his friends as Bert had been holidaying throughout Europe when in early 1912 he booked passage on the Titanic (ticket number 113054, £30 10s, Cabin A-21). However, on Februay 21, 1912 he wrote to an acquaintence W.B.Morris expressing some doubt over the forthcoming trip:
I am booked to sail April 10th on the new steamer Titanic, first trip across. But it's such a thing, she can't go on acount of the coal strike. May not get coal so I am going over to the German boats today and book passage in them for about the same date. They will [sure have ?surely] coal, so if I don't get off on the [?fine] Titanic I'll go on the other.
On February 25, 1912, while in Rome, he wrote to Peter Weller of the Weller Livestock Company:
Friend Peter I found your letter at naple and was glad to have it. I got in here last night at 11:30, making a night ride to be here today, so I could go to church at St. Peter's this morning, which I did, and it was very nice. It has improved very much since I was here 10 years ago, good streets and fine lights everywhere. It has gained very much in 10 years and is the making of a good country now. I took a three day trip on to Naples and it was grand. The weather has been just like spring all the time. I am afraid from now it now on [sic]. I would like to have it good in London. Will be glad to get back and go down [to the stock farm] and have a look.
On March 30, 1912 he wrote to Fred Matthies from the Grand Central Hotel, Belfast.
On the same day he wrote back to W.B.Morris:
I am away over here. Was down to Cork and took a look at Blarney Castle. I also stopped off at Dublin and looked around. I like it out here fine. It must be dandy in May and June. I go from here over to Scotland. I will spend some time there and then back to London and I'm going to try and sail April 10th. Ought to be in N.Y. about the 17th, as it is a fine boat.
Brady wrote many more letters that have survived, one that he wote to his friends Lois, Florence and Willena Long mentioned that he was bringing them some Coral he had acquired while on holiday in Europe. Bert frequently went fishing with their father and the girls brothers, often camping in the mountains.
The Titanic was not held up by the coal strike and Bert Brady boarded the vessel at Southampton as a first class passenger. The last letter he wrote, addressed to J.R.Stevenson was posted in Edinburgh, Scotland and said simply:
I am enjoying Scotland and have to think of my Scotch friends.
With best wishes to all,
Bert Brady lost his life in the disaster. With the slow trickle of information following the tragedy the press in Pomeroy held out hope that he might yet have survived however, on April 20, 1912 they reported that '[Brady's] brother-in-law, R.L.Rush received a telegram from M.H.Houser, then in New York, NY saying that "Bert is lost. Latest reports say very few men saved, account few lifeboats.'The following friday Mr Rush learned that the Carpathia had docked and that Bert was not amongst the rescued.'
A memorial service was held in Pomeroy for Mr Brady on April 28, 1912.
References and Sources
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55)
The East Washintonian, April 20, 1912 & September 11, 1985
Hermann Söldner, Germany
Lynn Soderberg, USA
Doris Ann Wolf, USA