Encyclopedia Titanica

Jacob William Gibbons

Jacob William Gibbons was born in Charminster, Dorset, England on 10 October 1875, later being baptised on 7 November the same year.

He was the son of Jacob Gibbons (1843-1896) and Kezia Gibbs Record (1845-1902), both Dorset natives who had married in Charminster on 22 May 1871. One of ten children, his siblings were: twins James Henry and Edward George (b. 1871), Richard (b. 1874), Elizabeth Mary (b. 1877), Agnes Mabel (b. 1880), Alfred Ernest (b. 1882), Herbert John (b. 1884), Frederick Charles (b. 1887) and Walter Record (b. 1890).

His father worked as a farm labourer and gardener in the Dorset County Lunatic Asylum and this is where Jacob appears to have been born and where he first appears on the 1881 census, still listed there on the 1891 census and then described as a domestic assistant to the gardener (his father).

He was married in Wareham, Dorset in 1898 to Lottie Jane Puckett (b. 1875), a native of Tolpuddle, Dorset, and the couple settled in Studland, Dorset and had five children as of 1912: Annie Clara (1900-1988, later Mrs William J. Strong), Edith Kezia (1902-1979, later Mrs Grant), William Henry (1905-1960), Freda Mabel (1907-1980, later Mrs Henry E. Sales) and Jeanie Lottie (1911-1985, later Mrs Edward A. Sales).

The family appear on the 1901 census as visitors to the home of a Mr Thomas Fox and his family in Gotham, Edmondsham, Dorset and Jacob was then described as unemployed. He and his wife would later run a lodging House, Harbour View, in Studland and they appeared at that address on the 1911 census, their baby daughter Jeanie being only three days old and as yet unnamed. It is believed Jacob may have also worked as a gardener.

When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 4 April 1912, Gibbons gave his address as Harbour View, Studland Bay, Dorset. The Titanic was his first ship, a sea journey he later said that was for the improvement of his health, and as a second class steward he received monthly wages of £3, 15s.

On the night of the sinking, Gibbons later related:

"The shock was very slight, and to this fact I attribute the great loss of life as many of those aboard must have gone to sleep again under the impression that nothing serious had happened. When I got up on deck the boats were being lowered away, but many of the passengers seemed to prefer sticking to the ship. I helped some of the passengers into boat No. 11, including two little children. Before doing this I had scanned the deck for others but could see nobody about... I saw one lady [Edith Rosenbaum] covered in furs complaining that she had several more left behind. She had a mascot in the shape of a little pig which played a tune and she would not leave the ship until she had secured her treasure...

We drew away from the Titanic in charge of Mr. Wheat another steward and when about half a mile away saw her sink. The cries of those onboard were terrible and I doubt whether the memory of them will ever leave me during my lifetime, it has been denied by many that the band was playing but it was doing so and the strains of "Nearer my God to Thee" came clearly over the water with a solemnity so awful that words cannot express it..."

Gibbons was himself rescued in lifeboat 11. Following his arrival in New York aboard Carpathia he sent a telegram to his family on 20 April 1912 with a simple message:

"Saved, well, Daddy"

Jacob returned to England aboard the Lapland and arrived back in Dorset with another crew survivor, Charles Burgess.

It is not believed that Jacob returned to work at sea and it is thought he continued to run his guesthouse and work as a gardener on the side and he and his wife had another child, their son Arthur George (1916-2000).

Jacob Gibbons
Jacob Gibbons, photographed during the first world war.
(Unidentified Newspaper)

During WWI he served with the British Red cross in France, following which he worked in Canada for the Canadian Pacific railway. Upon his return to England he continued to run his guesthouse Harbour View. Widowed in 1955, Jacob himself lived for another decade and passed away on 27 February 1965. His ashes were scattered in the cemetery of Studland Methodist Church where a stone was erected to his memory in 1999 by his granddaughter Sue Stares:

10.10.1875 - 25.2.1965

Jacob still has many descendents living in Dorset. His last surviving child Arthur died in 2000 aged 84. In 2014 a postcard sent by Jacob from Titanic to his family was sold at auction and fetched £87,000.

References and Sources

Bournemouth Echo, April 1912, A Swanage Man's Story of the Disaster
[?] Advertiser, 10 June 1999, p.5, Titanic Survivor Memorial

Newspaper Articles

Documents and Certificates

Agreement and Account of Crew, National Archives, London; BT100/259
Hermann Söldner (2000) RMS Titanic: Passenger and Crew List 10 April 1912-15 April 1912, ä wie Ärger Verlag, Rüti, 2000

Graves and Memorials

Search archive online

Comment and discuss

  1. Hugh Duane Jensson

    Hugh Duane Jensson

    Looking for information to Second Class Saloon Steward (Jacob William Gibbons) He is my Great Great Uncle Looking for his family.

  2. Tim Gibbons

    How would someone go about finding out whether or not they are related to a passenger aboard the Titanic? In this case, Second Class Saloon Steward Jacob William Gibbons.

  3. Tim Gibbons

    I'm trying to figure out whether I am related to Second Class Saloon Steward Jacob William Gibbons or not. If anyone has information on his family or how I would be able to figure out if I am related to him or not, please let me know.

  4. Ernie Luck

    Have you checked his biography on this site? I see he was born in 1875, so he and his family should appear on the 1881, 1891 & 1901 census.

  5. Tim Gibbons

    How would I do that? Are all of the censuses on this site somewhere?

  6. Ernie Luck

    Hi Tim No, they are available on the internet via Ancestry.Com but you have to pay a subscription I have had a look at the 1881 census. Dorset County Lunatic Asylum, Charminster Dorchester. Jacob Gibbons (father) is an attendant age 38 Kejiak Gibbs Gibbons wife age 34 James Henry " age 9 Edward George " age 9 Richard " age 7 Jacob William " age 5 Elizabeth May " age 3 Agnes Mabel " age 1 Big families eh! Just a starting point. Are any of these family names of yours? [Moderator's Note: This message and... Read full post

  7. Ernie Luck

    Hi Tim Most of the family are still living at the Lunatic asylum in 1891. On the census only James Henry is missing from home. The others including Jacob William are still there. Jacob William is working at the Asylum - Caretaker cum Gardener. His mothers name is recorded as 'Kejia' There are more siblings:- Alfred Ernest age 9 Herbert John age 6 Frederick Charles age 3 Walter Richard? age 1 Of course, it goes without saying, you need to research your own ancestry back as far as you can to see if there is any connection. On the 1881 census I noticed there was another... Read full post

  8. Dave Gittins

    Tim, the answer is to work backwards from yourself. That way you can create a chain based on known facts. You'll find the Internet is of limited use. Most data is held in public records, which may be on paper or other media. The extent and availability of these varies from place to place and it's often a matter of luck. For instance, a relative traced my ancestors back to the Norman conquest, because the records happened to be held in a relatively peaceful part of Britain. Be prepared for a lot of work and some expense. You'll very likely find that there is a genealogy club in your... Read full post

  9. Ernie Luck

    Hi Tim Very good advice from Dave. I have had a quick glance at the 1901 census and note that Jacob is now married. He is living at a dwelling in Edmondsham. Dorset. Described as a visitor staying with a family, probably his in-laws. He is with his wife Lottie age 25 and year old child Annie. He is recorded as having 'no occupation'.

  10. Annalaise Gibbons

    Hi Tim, Ernie and Dave I am actually directly descended from Jacob, he was my great, great grandfather (i.e. my Grandad's dad). The Gibbons' still live in the local area near Charminster (which is actually a very small village) and my father, Captain Alex Gibbons has mapped our family tree. If you would like any further information or need any help tracing yourself in the Gibbons Clan (hey, we might be related!) let me know and I'll pass on your details. If you ever get the chance, Studland (where most of the Gibbons family have grown up in the past century) is a lovely place so I would... Read full post

  11. Ernie Luck

    Hello Annalaise Welcome to ET. Dave and I were helping Tim out with the ancestry of the Gibbons. Tim, of course, is the only one who may be related - perhaps he will respond. That part of Dorset is very beautiful; Studland, Swanage bay and the Purbeck hills. We hope to visit the area soon if this awful spring weather ever warms up.

Reply Watch Thread

Titanic Crew Summary

Name: Mr Jacob William Gibbons
Age: 36 years 6 months and 5 days (Male)
Nationality: English
Marital Status: Married to Lottie Jane Puckett
Last Residence: at Harbour View Studland Bay, Dorset, England
Occupation: Second Class Steward
Last Ship: First Ship
Embarked: Southampton on Thursday 4th April 1912
Rescued (boat 11)  
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912

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