Mr 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.



Baltimorean A Hero
Evening Sun (Baltimore)  (1912) 
Photograph of Howard Brown Case

Articles and Stories

Daily Home News (1912) 
New York Times (1912) 
New York Times (1912) 
Trenton Evening Times  (1912) 
New York Times (1912) 
Washington Times (1912) 

Comment and discuss

Howard Brown Case (8 posts)
Leave a comment...


Gavin Bell, UK
Hermann Söldner, Germany

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
Search archive British and Irish newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

(2019) Howard Brown Case Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #59, updated 12th December 2019 00:31:11 AM)