Mr James Kelly

Mr James Kelly was born in Leixlip 1, Co Kildare, Ireland around 1867. He was the son of William Kelly and Catherine Cafferty.

He was married to his wife Catherine, née Goffe (b. 1864 in Kildare) around 1887 and they had a total of ten children, with seven surviving infancy: Thomas (b. 1888), Margaret (1890-1976), Kate (1892-1964), Mary (1895-1990), Bridget (b. 1897), William (1900-1976) and James (1904-1987).

The family appears on the 1901 census living in house 11 in Allenswood, Leixlip and James was described as an illiterate road labourer. They appear on the 1911 census living at house 9 in Leixlip town.

James' eldest daughter Margaret had left Ireland in early 1911 and settled in New Haven, Connecticut where she worked in Strouse-Adler's corset shop. Her uncle John, her father's brother, also worked in New Haven as a machinist. Margaret's earnings paid for a ticket for her father to join her in the USA with plans to bring the entire family over in due course.

James boarded the Titanic at Queenstown as a third class passenger (ticket number 330911, £7, 16s 7d). James Kelly died in the sinking.

He died in the sinking. His body was later recovered by the MacKay Bennett (#70) and buried at sea on 24 April 1912.


CLOTHING - Dark suit, vest and trousers; white socks; black boots.

EFFECTS - Beads, left on body; comb; knife.




The beads  (a rosary?) were left with the body when it was commited to the sea, the others were sent to his daughter Margaret.
Courtesy of Al Ermer
His family back in Ireland struggled financially in the wake of his death and were assisted by various relief funds. They joined Margaret Kelly in New Haven later in 1912, on a voyage paid for by the White Star Line.

His widow Catherine died in New Haven on 14 October 1955 but not before further heartbreak: her eldest son Thomas served with the 1st Battalion of the Connaught Rangers and was killed in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) on 23 January 1916. He is commemorated on the Basra War Memorial.


Articles and Stories

The Sun (New York) (1912) 


Gavin Bell, UK
Noel Ray, Ireland
Al Ermer, USA (Great Grandson of James Kelly)

Link and cite this biography

(2017) James Kelly Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #934, updated 20th August 2017 02:29:01 AM)

Comment and Correct

Submit new information, a comment or a correction

Comment and discuss

Leave a comment...