Encyclopedia Titanica

Howard Brown Case

Howard Brown Case
Howard Brown Case

Mr Howard Brown Case was born in Rochester, New York in 1863.

He was the eldest child of the Reverend Charles Zopher Case (1837-1872) and Helen Brown Lyon (1838-1923).

Both his parents were also from New York; his mother was from a family of distillers in Brighton and his father was a native of Sodus who ministered in the Dresden Methodist Church and Benton Center Church, both in New York. His siblings were: twins Charles and Fanny (b. 1866) and Emma (b. 1870). The family appeared on the 1880 census living in Rochester along with Howard's widowed grandmother Eunice Lyon (b. 1815).

Case was married to Elizabeth Crowther (b. 15 July 1864), a native of Baltimore, Maryland and would have four children: Helen (1890-1978), John Crowther (1892-1983), Charles Zopher (1893-1965) and Honor Elizabeth (1894-1925).

Mr Case, a Freemason, reportedly first came to England around 1886 and his first child Helen was born there on 31 August 1890. Howard, his wife and baby daughter appear on the 1891 British census as lodgers at 27 Park Way, Toxteth Park, Liverpool and he was described as an agent for an oil company. Back home in The States the following year, the family were listed on the 1892 US census living in Howard's native Rochester. Permanently settling in Britain, the family appear on the 1911 census living in Coombe Grange, Coombe Lane, Sunninghill near Windsor in Berkshire and Howard was described as the managing director of an oil company (the Vacuum Oil Company Ltd., Caxton House, Westminster, London). Howard had reportedly returned to England in 1899 to take the sole charge of his company's interests in Britain.

He boarded the Titanic at Southampton as first class passenger with ticket number 19924 which cost £26. He may have intended to make a business trip to Standard Oil Company, Rochester, New York and whilst aboard, it is believed he was acquainted with the Henry Sleeper Harpers, among others.

Some survivors recalled that Case helped women and children into the boats and finally stepped back to meet his fate. Mrs Edith Graham and her daughter Margaret were two such survivors who spoke of his gallantry:

"...Just then Mr Roebling came up, too. He told us to hurry and get into the boat. Mr Roebling and Mr Case bustled our party of three into that boat in less time than it takes to tell it. They were both working hard to help the women and children. The boat was fairly crowded when we three were pushed into it. A few men jumped in at the last moment, but Mr Roebling and Mr Case stood at the rail and made no attempt to get into the boat..."

Later, before the final plunge, fellow passenger Algernon Barkworth encountered Case on the boat deck. Barkworth suggested jumping, to which Case retorted: ''My dear fellow, I wouldn't think of quitting the ship. Why, she'll swim for a week.' He then lit a cigarette and that was the last Barkworth saw of him.

Howard Case died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified. His estate, worth £5600, 19s, 2d was administered to his widow on 14 May 1912 and she later made a claim against the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company, totalling $300,000 for the loss of her husband.

His widow Elizabeth soon returned to live in Rochester and travelled back and forward across the Atlantic several times in later years, her daughter Helen being resident in Britain. She died in 1939 and is buried in Sherwood Episcopal Church Cemetery, Cockeysville, Maryland. Howard is commemorated on her headstone:

DIED 1939

Howard's last surviving child was his son John. John was married in 1916 to Annie Taylor (b. 1892), had two children and, like his father, also worked in the oil industry and would cross the Atlantic many times. He died in Essex, New York in 1983.

Howard's daughter Helen (later Mrs Frederick Middleton Fox) died in Cockermouth, Cumberland, England in 1978 whilst his daughter Honor (later Mrs Charles Pond Kimball) died in Nantucket, Massachusetts in 1925 aged just 30. His son Charles died in New York in 1965.

References and Sources

Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
Marriages, births, deaths and injuries that have occurred on board during the voyage (PRO London, BT 100/259-260)
Daily Sketch (London), 22 April 1912

Newspaper Articles

Washington Times (19 April 1912) J. J. ASTOR ACTED BRAVELY, DECLARE MANY WHO SAW HIM
Col. John Jacob Astor kissed his bride good-by as he placed her in the waiting lifeboat.
New York Times (19 April 1912) ROCHESTER GIRL IS SAVED
Daily Home News (20 April 1912) Jersey Women Tell Thrilling Tales
New York Times (20 April 1912) PRAISE ASTOR AND BUTT
Mother and Daughter Tell How Young Trentonian and London Friend Excelled in Gallantry and Cheerfulness in the Time That Tried the Souls of All Aboard the Sinking Liner
New York Times (20 April 1912) WOMEN REVEALED AS HEROINES BY WRECK (3)


Democrat and Chronicle (1912) Howard Brown Case
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Comment and discuss

  1. Millard D Case

    Millard D Case said:

    I found out that I may have had relations on the titanic can you tell me his caben number Mr Howard Brown Case I in joyed youer websit thanks Millard Case Millard D Case Baltimore Md

  2. Maureen Case Davis

    Maureen Case Davis said:

    I am related to a passenger on the Titanic - on my father's side of the family. My father's name was William Marion Adelbert Case, he was born on April 12, 1910 in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Since I was a child, my late father had told me of a relative of his - going down on The Titanic. His name was Howard Brown Case, and he was in First Class. His name appears in the Passenger Lists of all the Titanic books. I attended the Titanic Exhibit at The CA Science Museum yesterday, (7/3/3) hoping to learn a bit more about him. His name was on the Passenger List on dislay in the exhibit, as well. I was... Read full post

  3. Dave Gittins

    Dave Gittins said:

    Maureen, There's a bit about Howard Case on this site. He was an American who lived at times in England. You can attack the problem from two directions, using material on the public record. Work backwards through your ancestry for a start. That way you start with the known facts. You can look the other way by using old records, such as the 1901 census of England, which is online, though the detailed information is not free. Another source is local newspapers, which often contain things like marriages and obituaries of local identities. If you can get some dates you will know where to... Read full post

  4. maureen case davis

    maureen case davis said:

    Thank you so much Dave (gittins) - for all the useful information on Howard Brown Case. Now I have something to work with! Maureen (Case-Davis)

  5. Morag Jane Dwyer

    Morag Jane Dwyer said:

    Does anyone have any more information on Howard Case than is already posted here? I am especially interested in what became of his family (wife, two sons and two daughters) after the disaster. They were living in England at the time (he was working for Vacuum Oil/Standard Oil) and they were originally from Rochester, New York. Did they return there? Thanks for any help anyone can give me on this.

  6. Chris Dohany

    Chris Dohany said:

    Howard Case's widow was the former Elizabeth Crowther; they had four children - Helen, born in 1890, John C., b. 1892, Charles E. (or J.), b. 1893 and Honor Elizabeth, b. 1894. Helen was born in England when the Cases were residing in Toxeth Park; the latter three were born while the family lived in Rochester, NY prior to relocating back to England. As far as I've found, the surviving family returned to the states in the summer of 1912 and lived briefly in Mrs. Case's native Baltimore, Maryland before returning to Rochester. Elizabeth died in 1939, if I recall correctly. She was buried... Read full post

  7. Morag Jane Dwyer

    Morag Jane Dwyer said:

    Chris, Thanks so much for this - it's really helpful. Do you have a continuing interest in Howard if I find out anything new? Morag

  8. Chris Dohany

    Chris Dohany said:

    Thank you Morag, I'd certainly be interested in anything you find. I'm sure other ET members would too.

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Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mr Howard Brown Case
Age: 49 years (Male)
Nationality: American
Marital Status: Married to Elizabeth Crowther
Last Residence: in Ascot, Berkshire, England
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 19924, £26
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Recovered

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