© Bill Fowler, Canada
Thomas Ferguson Baxter was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on 10 August 1856, the son of David Baxter (b. 1818), a baker, and Elizabeth Ferguson (b. 1819).
He had five known siblings: Agnes (b. 1848), Catherine (b. 1850), Margaret (b. 1852), John (b. 1854), and Mary (b. 1859).
Thomas appears on the 1861 and 1871 censuses living with his family at 30 Lothian Street in Buccleuch, Edinburgh and by the time of the latter he is aged 14 and has already left school, now working as a grocer. It is possible that his parents died sometime before 1881 and he perhaps left home around this period and went to sea.
He was married in Liverpool in 1882 to Mary Lucy McMullen (b. circa 1857) but the couple are not known to have had any children. His wife apparently died in 1887. He began a relationship with Mary Ann Butter (b. 1854 in Stepney, Middlesex) but there is no official record for their marriage (1). The couple would remain childless and apparently settled in Liverpool. Mary Baxter appears on the 1901 census, minus her husband, at 104 Delamore Street, Kirkdale. By the time the 1911 census was conducted Thomas was still absent but his wife was listed as living at 81 Atherley Road, Shirley, Southampton. Also present at this address, as boarders, were Titanic steward Samuel Rule and his wife Catherine.
When he signed on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912, Thomas gave his address as 81 Atherley Road, (Southampton). His previous ship had been the Olympic and as a linen steward he could expect to earn monthly wages of £4, 10s.
Baxter died in the sinking, his body was later recovered by the cable ship Mackay-Bennett.
NO. 235. - MALE. - ESTIMATED AGE, 40. - HAIR, DARK.
CLOTHING - Blue suit; vest with company button; coat with buttons; "T. B." on singlet.
EFFECTS - One nickel watch and ship's keys; "T. F. B."; clothes marked "Baxter."
NAME - T. F. BAXTER.
According to the burial records he was interred at Mount Olivet Cemetery on 6 May 1912. However his grave lies today at Fairview Lawn Cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The following death notice appeared in the Hampshire Advertiser (27 April 1912):
BAXTER--On the 15th., through the foundering of the s.s. Titanic, Thomas Ferguson Baxter, 81, Atherley Road, Southampton.
and this in the Southern Daily Echo (24 April 1912):
BAXTER--On the 15th., through the foundering of the s.s. Titanic, Thomas Ferguson, the dearly loved and loving husband of Mary B. Baxter, 81, Atherley Road, Southampton, and devoted brother of Mary B. Driscoll, 2a Harlech Street, Liverpool. In His safe keeping. Edinburgh and Liverpool papers please copy.
- Mary Ann Butter Baxter, on the 1911 census, claimed to have been married for 21 years and without issue.
References and Sources
White Star Line (1912.) Record of Bodies and Effects (Passengers and Crew S.S. "Titanic") Recovered by Cable Steamer "MacKay Bennett" Including Bodies Buried at Sea and Bodies Delivered at Morgue in Halifax, N.S. (#235)
Scotland, Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950