Joseph Thomas Wheat was born in Rock Ferry, Cheshire, England on 13 April 1882. He was the son of William Wheat (1849-1908), a seaman, and Mary Jane Oldham (1850-1942). His parents were from Gainsborough, Lincolnshire and Runcorn, Cheshire, respectively and they married in Birkenhead in 1872.
At the time of the 1881 census, the year before Joseph's birth, the family lived at 5 Wellington Street in Tranmere, Cheshire. Their children were Marian, William and James. The family disappear for the 1891 census but reappear in 1901 when they are living at 22 Mulberry Road, Tranmere and have had another two children besides Joseph: Florence and Charles.
Joseph Wheat was married on the Isle of Wight, Hampshire in late 1911 to Ellen Gertrude Whiteley, a laundress who had been born in Halifax on May 17, 1884. The two had lived together as boarders and show up at 12 Queens Park Terrace, Southampton in the 1911 census.
Wheat was on board the Titanic for her delivery trip from Belfast to Southampton. When he signed-on again, in Southampton, on 4 April 1912, he gave his address as 14 Cobden Gardens, Southampton. His last ship had been the Olympic. As Assistant Second Steward he received monthly wages of £8.
Wheat was rescued in lifeboat 11.
Joseph Thomas Wheat from a c.1919 Board of Trade identity card.
(National Archives, Crown copyright, used with permission, courtesy of peter Engberg)
Wheat continued to work at sea into the 1920s. He and his wife had a son on November 29, 1912, John Joseph William. The Wheats later resettled in Bromley, Kent, England and this is where Joseph died on 18 June 1961 aged 79. He left an estate worth £3379 1s 10d to his wife. Ellen Gertrude Wheat passed away in Worthing Sussex in 1979 aged 95. Their son John married Doris Townley in Southampton in 1938. He died in 1976 in Lewes, East Sussex.
References and SourcesDaily Sketch 18 April 1912
Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
Particulars of Engagement (Belfast), Ulster Folk and Transport Museum (TRANS 2A/45 381)
Wreck Commissioners' Court, Proceedings before the Right Hon. Lord Mersey on a Formal Investigation Ordered by the Board of Trade into the Loss of the S.S. Titanic
England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966