Encyclopedia Titanica

James Hollen Bracken

Mr James Hollen Bracken was born on 8 September 1881 in Beaver Dam, Ohio County, Kentucky.

He was son of William B. Bracken (1841-1921), a farmer and Union Civil War veteran, and Sarah Ann Morris (1853-1898), natives of Tennessee and Kentucky respectively who were married in 1866 when the latter was just 13.

He had six siblings: Mary Jane (1868-1946, later Mrs Grafton Willoughby), Amanda Ann Frances (1873-1934, later Mrs Neafue and later Mrs Thomas Hall), Leanora (b. 1875), Joseph Frank (b. 1879), Herman (b. 1885) and Bertha (1890-1918, later Mrs J. V. Sarvela).

Just prior to his birth James' family were listed on the 1880 census as residents of Cromwell, Ohio, Kentucky. James' mother died on 28 March 1898 and his father never remarried and the family were shown on the 1900 census at an address in Central City, Muhlenberg, Kentucky; James was not present with them and instead was recorded living with his childless uncle and aunt Asa and Eliza Bracken in Hale, Texas. He was described as still being at school at this point.

He was married in 1907 to Addie C. Greathouse; Addie was born on 9 June 1881 in San Saba County, Texas, the daughter of Archibald Donohue Greathouse and Sarah Ann Jackson.

On 16 April 1910, James and Addie lived in Lake Arthur, Chaves County, New Mexico where James was working as a house carpenter. They were attempting to patent the N ½ of the SW ¼ of Section 2 and the N ½ of the SE ¼ of Section 3 in Township 13 South, Range 25 East of the New Mexico Meridian, totalling 160 acres.

James was working as a stockman and sailed to Europe on a buying trip in 1912, staying in London at the end of his time abroad. He boarded the Titanic as a second class passenger for the return home, paying £13 for his ticket (#220367). Nothing is known about his activities on the ship.

James Bracken died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.

Afterwards the American Red Cross established a trust fund for his widow Addie, who was living on the New Mexico homestead with her elderly mother. There had been no life insurance and Addie told the Red Cross that James had been carrying between $3,000 and $4,000 in cash. The Red Cross established a trust fund for her and she had received $108.74 from other sources. Family members would later state that Addie had refused to take the Red Cross money.

Addie received the title for her land on 25 June 1913 from the Roswell, New Mexico General Land Office.

Addie went to live with her sister Lilly Boyd and her family in El Paso, Texas in 1918. A few years later she moved on to her sister Belle Greenwood’s family home in Carbon, Texas. She was living in Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas in 1928. The City Directory for that year indicates she was a machine operator for the Fort Worth Tent & Awning Company and that she lived at 416 S. Jennings Avenue. In April 1940, Addie (listed as Bonnie Bracken) was living at 3031 Avenue G in Fort Worth. She rented her home for $8 a month.

Addie reportedly was visiting family in the 1930s and when she left she vowed to her family that they would never see her again. Her family asked the American Red Cross to locate her, but they were never successful. She was apparently living in a convalescent home in Fort Worth towards the end of her life.

Addie died from myocardial infarction on 31 May 1969 at Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas. The informant on her death certificate was the American Red Cross. She was buried in the Shannon Rose Hill Memorial Park in Fort Worth.

References and Sources

Photo courtesy of James Pylant (Genealogy Magazine)
Addie Bracken entry, Bureau of Land Management Patents, online at www.glorecords.blm.gov
Addie Bracken entry, Social Security Death Index.
Addie Bracken entry, Texas Death Index 1903-2000; online at Familysearch.org.
Addie C. Greathouse memorial on Findagrave.com
Asa Brackin household, 1900 US census, Justice Precinct 02, Hale County, TX.
Bonnie Bracken entry, 1940 US census, Fort Worth, Tarrant County, TX.
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
James H. Bracken household, 1910 US census, Lake Arthur, Chaves County, NM.
Marriages, births, deaths and injuries that have occurred on board during the voyage (PRO London, BT 100/259-260)
Mrs. Addie Bracken entry, 1928 Fort Worth City Directory, p. 275.
Still Bringing Up Stories, Fort Worth Weekly, October 2012
The Emergency and Relief Booklet by the American Red Cross (1913), case no. 51.
The Titanic Passenger and His Mysterious Wife
Search archive online

Comment and discuss

  1. lorna bracken

    I am from, Scotland. There has been many stories in my family about a family member who lost his life on the Titanic, Mr J Bracken your great uncle My family is originally from Ireland please get in contact if you read this.

  2. Bob Godfrey

    Lorna, James Bracken was a Second Class passenger who did not survive. Very little is known about him, but the little we do have in the ET biography section is here: Check back, as other members may be able to help with more information. We would be very interested in anything you can tell us about Mr Bracken.

  3. Phillip Gowan

    Hi Lorna, James Hollen Bracken was a Kentucky native and lived in the tiny town of Bend, Texas at the time of his meeting his wife, Adeline Greathouse. He died in the sinking but Adeline survived him and with her mother returned to Texas. She had quite a few nieces and nephews that remained in Texas, the last one dying in 1997. There are still quite a few of the Greathouse family members that are well acquainted with the story of their "Aunt Addie" and her husband that died on Titanic. If you're interested I can put you in touch with some of them. By coincidence, I took a trip to Bend and... Read full post

  4. Ben Holme

    I'm sure there was an article on James Bracken which appeared in a quarterly journal of one of the Titanic societies a while back. The rather crucial details of the author of the piece and the society in which the article appeared seem to have eluded me, however! I haven't read it myself, but remember it was mentioned on their website (either THS or TI). I was in touch with a descendant about a year ago, who managed to furnish a nice photo of *a* James H. Bracken. We're 99% sure that the clean-cut young man in the photo and Titanic victim James Hollen Bracken are one and the same. Best,... Read full post

  5. Shelley Dziedzic

    Voyage 38 Winter 2002 had the article by Robert Bracken (TIS Treasurer) about James H. Bracken ( a distant cousin). Let me know if you wish a copy of the article.

  6. Gayle Fisher

    I have recently begun searching my "family tree" and I have learned that James Hollen Bracken was my Great-Great Uncle and he died on the Titanic. James had a sister (Amanda Ann Bracken) who was my Great-Great Grandmother). I have no information on their parents and I welcome any information anyone may have.

  7. Gayle Fisher

    I am looking for information on my Great-Great-Great Uncle, . His sister was my Great-Great Grandmother. If anyone has any information, please post it or email me.

  8. Brian J. Ticehurst

    Gayle - Here is what I have on Mr. B: Bracken, Mr. James. H. Missing. American. Home New Mexico. (From The Emergency and Relief booklet by the American Red Cross, 1913). No. 51. (American). Husband, travelling alone, was drowned. He was carrying with him in cash between $3,000 and $4,000. There was no life insurance. He leaves an invalid wife, 30 years of age, and her mother 77 years old, dependent. Her physician states that she can never hope to be in any better health, and that she will never be able to do even light, regular work. The only resource is a homestead of 160 acres, in New... Read full post

  9. Ben Holme

    Hi Gayle, Some years ago, I was in correspodance with a relative of Mr. Bracken who was kind enough to provide an excellent full-length portrait. I will try to dig this up for you. Best Regards, Ben

  10. Shelley Dziedzic

    Voyage 38, journal of Titanic International, has a feature story on James by a relative, Bob Bracken. I can scan this if you would like it, Gayle. There is also a nice photo, and I am sure Bob would like to hear from you- I guess you two must be related!

  11. Gayle Fisher

    Thank you all so very much....I can't wait to see the look on my Grandmother's face when I can show her a picture of James. Thank you again!!

  12. Laura Summers

    My husbands family are relatives of James Hollen Bracken who died on the Titanic. I'm the one who submitted the pic of James to Robert Bracken for his book. I have much info on the Bracken/Brackin lineage. Laura S.

  13. JanaB2021

    Hello! Can I receive a copy of this article? I teach 9th grade NM History and like making this connection to the Titanic.

Reply Watch Thread

Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mr James Hollen Bracken
Age: 30 years 7 months and 7 days (Male)
Nationality: American
Marital Status: Married to Addie C. Greathouse
Last Residence: in Lake Arthur, United States
Occupation: Stockman
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 220367, £13
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Recovered

Page Options

Watch this page

Improve this Biography

If you have any corrections or something to add please  get in touch