Mr Arthur Ford was born at West Street in Bridgwater, Somerset, England in the early months of 1889, later being baptised on 17 April that year in the local parish church.
He was the son of Arthur Ford (b. 1857), a plasterer, and Sarah Lewis (b. 1861). Whilst his father was also a native of Bridgwater, his mother hailed from Plymouth, Devon and they were married in Bridgwater on 3 July 1880, going on to have a total of eight children and with six surviving infancy.
Arthur's siblings were: Willie (b. 12 December 1880), Arthur (1883-1884), Florence Kate (b. 1885), Rose (b. 28 August 1886), Ernest (1891-1891), Lena (b. 17 November 1894) and Beatrice (b. 2 July 1897).
Ford first appears on the 1891 census living at 54 West Street in Bridgwater and on the following 1901 census at 9 Lyndale Avenue, also in Bridgwater. He was still living with his family by the time of the 1911 census when they were recorded at 9 Victoria Road, Bridgwater and Arthur was described as an unmarried carpenter aged 22.
Arthur boarded the Titanic at Southampton on 10 April 1912 as a third class passenger (ticket number 1478 which cost £8, 1s). Despite deep misgivings about leaving his mother, Ford had been persuaded to travel to Elmira, New York to the home of his brother.
His brother Willie had emigrated to Elmira in April 1902 aboard the Majestic, then commanded by Captain Edward Smith. A graduate of the London Polytechnic, Willie worked in Elmira as a carpenter for a large contracting firm; by 1912 he lived at 464 Lyon Street in Elmira with his American wife Ethel.
The apparent presence of two Arthur Fords aboard the ship through two Elmira families into anguish, one was a young male passenger and the other a steward and storekeeper.
TWO ELMIRA FAMILIES WORRY OVER FATE OF ARTHUR FORDS
Two Men by the Same Name, Supposed to Be on Titanic, Have Relatives Here Who Are Anxiously Awaiting News
Their Name Does Not Appear in List of Rescued Passengers.
By a most remarkable coincidence two Elmira families are watching with terse strain news from the ill-fated Titanic and information from the rescue ship Carpathia—both anxiously awaiting to learn whether an Arthur Ford was on board the ship and, if he was, whether he was rescued. Charles F. Thompson, secretary and treasurer of the Empire Produce Company of Carroll street, who resides at 102 East Hudson street, has a brother-in-law named Arthur Ford who for many years has been employed by the White Star line, the American line and others of the big steamship combination. He fears that he was on the Titanic on its fatal initial trip. William Ford, a contractor who resides at 464 Lyon street, has been notified that his younger brother, Arthur Ford, aged 23 boarded the Titanic just before she sailed, to come to this country to reside in Elmira and to enter in business here. Of all the lists of rescued passengers from the Titanic the name of Arthur Ford has not appeared...
The younger Mr. Ford lived with his mother in England. His brother, William Ford, came here seven years ago. The latter is a graduate of the London Polytechnic and is a master carpenter. He married the daughter of an Elmira contractor and builder. He has been successful here in association with a southside contracting firm and urged his younger brother Arthur to come here. The lad did not want to leave his mother, who was growing old, but was prevailed on to do so.
Elmira Star Gazette, 17 April 1912
As it later transpired and was reported in the same paper a few days later, the other Arthur Ford mentioned in the article never sailed on Titanic and eventually arrived in the USA later aboard the Oceanic.
Arthur Ford died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified. His death was mourned on both sides of the Atlantic.
AN ENGLISHMAN ON HIS WAY TO
ELMIRA DROWNED IN
Arthur Ford, who was a steerage passenger on the Titanic, was among those drowned. The young man was making his first trip to this country to visit his brother. William Ford, of No. 464 Lyon street. The lad expected to remain in this country and seek his fortune here. His name was listed with the passengers on the ill-fated ship. He had expected to come to Elmira directly after landing in this country. Mr. Ford was a bright young man and it is sad indeed that his life should be demanded so early in life.
The Telegram, 21 April 1912
His parents remained at 9 Victoria Road, Bridgwater for the rest of their lives. His mother Sarah died in 1926 aged 67 whilst his father died on 20 October 1932.
His sister Florence was married towards in July 1912 to Henry Duddridge (b. 1885), a corn merchant manager; they had no children and Duddridge was later killed in action whilst serving in the Royal Tank Corps during WWI on 30 September 1918. Florence never remarried and returned to her parents.
Arthur's sisters Lena and Rose remained unmarried and also continued to live at 9 Victoria Road in Bridgwater for the rest of their lives, later being joined by their widowed sister Florence. Florence died 6 September 1936; Lena on 15 November 1968, and Rose on 14 April 1982.
His younger sister Beatrice was married in 1923 to Henry Glover-Rawlings, an engineer, and they moved to Guildford, Surrey and raised a family. Beatrice died 21 April 1943.
His brother Willie was still living in Elmira, New York at the time of the 1940 census and later at the time of his 1942 US military draft. What became of him thereafter is not certain.