Mr Benjamin Howard was born in Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire, England on 10 May 1848, later being baptised on 3 December that same year. He was the son of Joseph Howard (b. 1801), a cotton mill spinner, and his wife Ann (b. 1814). Few exact details about his early life are known.
His father was the son of Aaron and Martha Howard and he had first been married in 1824 to Harriot Brunt (?-?) and had two children from that relationship: Sarah (b. 1825) and Ephraim (b. 1827). What became of Harriot is not known and Joseph was remarried to a Yorkshire woman named Ann (maiden name unknown) and had four known children from that marriage: Mary Ann (b. 1836), Elizabeth (b. 1842), James (b. 1845) and Benjamin.
Benjamin first appears on the 1851 census living at 139 Cotton Street in Ashton. Both his parents are believed to have died that same decade, his mother around May 1851 and his father in May 1858. He then went to live with his married sister Mary Ann and her husband Samuel Kenworthy (b. 1831), a farmer, at Hill Barn in the remote moors of Saddleworth in western Yorkshire. A 13-year-old Ben was described as a farmer's boy. His siblings Elizabeth and James were listed as boarders at the home of an uncle, John Howard and his family in Dukinfield, Cheshire. The 1871 census shows a 22-year-old Ben living at the home of his step-sister Sarah Schofield and her husband William (b. 1834), and still living in Saddleworth, then at 4 Bridge Street and by then Ben was described as a bolt maker.
Benjamin was married on 16 May 1872 to Ellen Truelove Arman (b. 14 April 1851), a native of Wiltshire. The couple settled in Swindon, Wiltshire and had five children, with four surviving infancy: William Henry (b. 1873), Frederick Charles (b. 1878), Ethel Louise (1879-1957) and Herbert Benjamin (b. 1887).
The 1881 census shows the family living at 84 Cheltenham Street in Swindon, later moving to number 84 in the same Street, an address they would live at for the rest of their lives and appearing there on the 1891 through 1911 census records. Ben was listed as a bolt maker throughout, later as a foreman in the same capacity at Swindon's GWR Works, but was retired by the time of the latter census.
Ben's health had been in decline and it was decided that a sea voyage to the USA--where two of his son's, Frederick and Herbert lived in Idaho--would perhaps benefit him. Leaving Swindon on the 2.15 pm train to Southampton on Tuesday 9 April 1912, Ben and his wife boarded the Titanic the following day as second class passengers (ticket number 24065 which cost £26). Their eventual destination was to the home of their sons in Buhl, Idaho. From Cherbourg they posted a letter to their daughter, Mrs Opie Smith, who lived on their same street with her husband and two young children.
Ben and Ellen Howard died in the sinking and their bodies, if recovered, were never identified.
Ben's estate, worth £902, 3s, 6d, was administered to his eldest son William on 30 August 1912.
Probate and Administration
HOWARD Benjamin of 85 Cheltenham-street, Swindon, Wiltshire retired bolt maker, died 15 April 1912 at sea on board s.s. Titanic, Administration Salisbury 30 August to William Henry Howard piano tuner. Effects £902 3s 6d. Resworn £697 10s.
His son Herbert continued to reside in Idaho, latterly at Caldwell in Canyon County. He was married to Sarah Lydia Tannehill (1898-1934), a native of Nebraska, and had several children. Following the death of his wife he settled in Los Angeles where he remarried in 1946 to Laura Adelaide Mosher, née Harris (b. 1887) but he was widowed after less than a year of marriage. Herbert died in Los Angeles on 19 August 1963.
Articles and Stories
Swindon Advertiser (1912)
Albert Soriano Royes
Hermann Söldner, Germany
References and SourcesContract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55).
Marriages, births, deaths and injuries that have occurred on board during the voyage (PRO London, BT 100/259-260)
Probate Registry: Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration
Swindon Advertiser 19 April 1912