Mr Joseph Beattie was born in Belfast, Co Antrim, Ireland around 1871 but little is known about his beginnings.
He came from a Presbyterian family and was married sometime about 1896 to his wife Maria (b. 1868) and they would have four children: Maria (b. 1898), Margaret (b. 1899), Agnes (b. 1903) and Joseph (b. 1907).
Joseph appears with his family on the 1901 census living at 23 Canton Street in the Ormeau district of south Belfast and he was described as a ship's fireman. Whilst absent from the 1911 census and likely at sea, his wife and children were listed as living at 3 Isthmus Street, Belfast, again in the Ormeau district.
Beattie had previously worked on the Olympic; when he first signed-on to the Titanic on 29 March 1912 for the delivery trip he left a cross (x) and his name was signed for him, suggesting that he was illiterate. The register states that he was due aboard at 4 am on 1 April for the sea trials but because of bad weather the trials did not take place until 2 April. When he re-signed on 6 April 1912,he appears to have signed his own name and gave the Sailors' Home, Southampton as his local address. As a greaser he received monthly wages of £6, 10s.
Joseph Beattie died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.
Leaving a widow and four children, his daughter Margaret was reportedly in frail health and the lack of income for the family pushed them to poverty. Maria Beattie later sued Messrs Ismay, Imrie & Co. Ltd and was awarded £294, 15s; one third of that sum was apportioned to Mrs Beattie whilst the remainder was distributed among her children.
On the first anniversary of the sinking Maria Beattie placed the following poem in the Belfast Telegraph.
I often sit and think of him
When I am all alone,
For memory is the only friend
That grief can call its own.
Like ivy on the withered oak
when other things decay,
My love for him will still keep green
and never fade away.
Beattie is commemorated on the Titanic Memorial in the grounds of Belfast City Hall.