Harry Ross Baxter was born in St Bartholomew, Middlesex, England on 20 July 1858. He was the son of Alfred Baxter (1829-1862) and Harriet Ross (1828-1892). His father, a commercial clerk in the book trade, was native to London and his mother to Dundee, Scotland and they had married in 1852.
Harry had three known siblings: Hector (b. 1853), John Sidney (b. 1854) and Alfred Ernest (b. 1860).
Harry first appears on the 1861 census when he and his family were living at 3 Albion Cottages, Hackney, Middlesex. His father died on 9 June the following year aged 33 and his mother never remarried. At that time, as per the probate report, the family were resident at 227 Queens Road, Hackney. By the time of the 1871 census Harry was still a schoolboy and living with his family at 35 North (?) Grove, Islington. Harry later went on to work in the drapery business and appears as such on the 1881 census when he and his mother were resident at 105 Mildmay Grove, Islington. His mother had also become a seamstress to support the household. She would die in 1892.
Harry was married in St Mary's Church, Islington on 1 May 1889 to Fanny Jane Mears (b. 1868 in Millbrook, Hampshire, daughter of William Cicero Mears and Mary Jane White). He was described at the time as a draper. The couple are known to have had three children: Mary Elizabeth (b. 1890), Fanny Alice Ross (b. 1892) and Victor Ross (b. 1896).
Harry and his wife spent their first years of marriage living in Hackney, Middlesex before moving to Shirley, Southampton around mid-1890. They and their first child Mary appear on the 1891 census living at 58 Milton Road, Millbrook and Harry is still described as a draper. The 1901 sees a change of profession for Harry as he is now described as a stationers agent working for himself. He, his wife and younger two children are living at Foundry Lane, Freemantle whilst his oldest child Mary is listed with her maternal grandparents at 62 Alexandra Road, Shirley.
Harry was widowed in early 1909 when his wife Fanny died aged 41. He likely went to sea around this time and would be absent from the 1911 census. His children were scattered at different addresses: Fanny and Victor at different maternal aunts' homes and his daughter Mary a barmaid at the Park Hotel, Shirley Road, Southampton. Following in their father's footsteps, Fanny was described as a blouse maker and Victor as a tailor's assistant.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 4 April 1912, Harry gave his address as 5 Shirley Road, (Southampton). His last ship had been the Oceanic. As a third class steward he received monthly wages of £3 15s.
Harry Ross Baxter died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.
Harry's eldest daughter Mary had been married in the latter half of 1911 to Ernest Owen Barnes (1885-1967) and they had a son named Owen in early 1912. Mary died the following year aged 23 and Ernest was remarried in 1915.
Harry's son Victor was never married and continued to live in Southampton, possibly in the care of aunts during adolescence. He died in 1920 aged 24. What became of Harry's daughter Fanny is uncertain.
Peter Engberg, Sweden