Mr Joseph "Joe" Charles Nicholls, 19, was born on 24 July 1892 in Nancledra, Cornwall, a small village midway between Penzance and St Ives. His father, Richard Henry Nicholls was a stonemason at the nearby granite quarry at Trenowin Downs. His mother, Elizabeth Agnes Mary Nicholls (née White) was originally of Ludgvan, Cornwall. Joseph had an elder brother, Richard Henry Nicholls and a sister, Mary Nicholls.
After his father had died (sometime prior to 1900) Joseph and his family moved to live in the Stennack, St Ives where his mother had relatives. It was in St Ives that Joseph joined the Boy's Brigade. In about 1900 Joseph's mother married for a second time, to John Morgan Davies who was from Wales, it is possible he was a mariner and worked on coastal vessels which traded between South Wales and St Ives. The family moved to live in Cardiff for a while where a step-brother to Joseph, John Morgan Davies was born on 28 March 1902.
After the death of his step-father the family returned to live in St Ives. By this time Joseph's elder brother had married and emigrated to Kearsarge near Mohawk, Houghton County, Michigan. The decision was made that the family should emigrate and join Richard in Michigan. Joseph had planned to take in lodgers there to supplement his mother's income she having sold most of the family possessions to fund their move to America. He travelled from St Ives with his mother and young step-brother and family friend Maude Sincock from nearby Halsetown.
The group boarded the Titanic at Southampton as second class passengers (ticket number 33112, £36 15s.20). Joseph was in a separate cabin to the others.
On the night of the tragedy Joseph came to his mother's stateroom and helped his mother and brother to put their lifebelts on. They all went up on deck about 12.15 where Joseph's mother and brother were placed in a lifeboat. Joseph had asked permission to enter the boat himself but was refused with the threat that he would be shot if he attempted to get in.
Joseph was lost in the sinking,. On 23 April 1912 Joseph's body was recovered from the sea by the MacKay Bennett.
NO. 101. - MALE. - ESTIMATED AGE. 20. - HAIR, DARK
CLOTHING - Grey overcoat; blue suit; blue socks; black boots; Boy's Brigade belt.
EFFECTS - Field glasses; one wrist watch, gold; two silver watches; silver chain; pipe; comb; padlock; account book; £2 19s. 5 ½d.; £5 in gold.NO MARKS ON BODY OR CLOTHING.
The body was buried at sea as identification proved difficult at the time; possessions, which had been removed from the body were taken to Halifax, Nova Scotia. It was here that the possessions were identified as belonging to Joseph Nicholls by the brothers of William Carbines.
There is a memorial to Joseph Nicholls in the Calumet Cemetery, Houghton County, Michigan.
Courtesy of Chris Dohany, USA
References and Sources
Record of Bodies and Effects: Passengers and Crew, S.S. Titanic (Public Archives of Nova Scotia) (#101)
Maude Sincock Roberts The Story of the Titanic
Akron Beacon Journal (Ohio), 20 April 1912, p.1.
Stephen Coombes, UK
Chris Dohany, USA
Phillip Gowan, USA
Brian Ticehurst, UK
Geoff Whitfield, UK