John Humphrey Grenville Gilbert was born in Ware, Massachusetts, USA on 20 November 1851.1 He was the son of George Henry Gilbert, a woollens manufacturer, and Elizabeth Jane Hooker, natives of Connecticut and Massachusetts, respectively. He had at least four siblings, two brothers and two sisters.
Later inheriting his father’s woollens company, Gilbert was married on 13 June 1883 to Grace Brown, the daughter of a paper-mill founder in Adams, Massachusetts. The couple’s only child, Grenville Brown Gilbert, was born in July 1885 but died aged 15 in March 1901 as a result of pneumonia.
Highly regarded in their community, Mr and Mrs Gilbert were heavily involved in many philanthropic organisations and the village of Gilbertville in Massachusetts was named for the family.
Lifelong residents of Ware, Mr and Mrs Gilbert were first cabin passengers aboard the Carpathia when that ship rescued the survivors of the Titanic disaster. After depositing the survivors in New York, the couple resumed their trip aboard the ship to Europe, eventually returning to the USA aboard the Laconia in early July 1912. The couple continued to travel frequently.
John Gilbert died in his native Ware on 24 April 1932 and was buried in nearby Aspen Grove Cemetery.