Encyclopedia Titanica

James Thomas Wood

Mr James Thomas Wood was born in Crayford, Kent, England in early 1863.

He was the son of John Wood (b. 1835), an iron turner and fitter, and Ruth Thorn (b. 1837), natives of Hertfordshire and Berkshire respectively. The couple initially settled in Tring, Hertfordshire where their first three children were born before moving to Crayford.

James' known siblings were: Albert Howes (1856-1937), John William (b. 1858), Jonathan Edward (1861-1930), George Thorn (b. 1864), Edwin Blanch (b. 1870) and Oliver Joseph (1871-1950). His brother John later served as the postmaster of Hythe, Kent

James appears with his family on the 1871 census living on London Road, Crayford and on the 1881 census on the Main Dover Road, also in Crayford. By the time of the latter record he is aged 18 and described as a tailor's apprentice, a profession he would later leave behind.

By the early 1890s James wound up living, for reasons unknown, in South Australia. He was married in Trinity Church, Adelaide on 4 March 1890 to former school teacher Sarah Wisdom (b. 1864), also of Crayford and daughter of George and Elizabeth Wisdom.

During 1891 Wood worked as a storekeeper in Booleroo Centre, South Australia; it was there that year that his daughter Grace was born; she would be followed by another daughter named Adelaide Ruth (b. 1894).

When the family returned to England is not clear but by the time of the 1901 census they were living at 91 Edwin Street, Gravesend, Kent and James was described as a ship's steward. By the time of the 1911 census James was absent, presumably at sea, whilst his wife and daughter Adelaide are listed as living at 14 Cumberland Avenue, Milton Road, Gravesend. The family later moved to Clapton, London.

After serving for several years aboard Oceanic, James was allegedly persuaded to join Titanic for her maiden voyage. He signed-on to the Titanic, on 4 April 1912, and gave his address as 7 Narford Road, Upper Clapton, London and his previous ship as the Oceanic. As a second class steward he received monthly wages of £3, 15s.

James Wood died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified. His widow was later assisted financially by the Titanic Relief Fund as a class E dependent.

What became of James' widow and daughter Grace is not known; his daughter Adelaide was married in 1922 to Charles Ernest Maher before her death in Ealing, London in 1954. 

References and Sources

Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)

Newspaper Articles

Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate, and Cheriton Herald (25 April 1912) Hythe Mourners
Hackney And Kingsland Gazette (7 July 1912) Clapton Widow's Application

Documents and Certificates

Search archive online

Comment and discuss

  1. Andrew Twynam

    Hi - I don't see a thread about this man, but please inform me if there is one. James Thomas Wood born 1863, steward. steward Wood has turned up in my extended family tree and I agree with all the details about him and his family as written up in the Encylopedia Titanica. However there are two small discrepancies which make me wonder whether this is actually the correct man. The encyclopedia correctly gives his year of birth as 1863 but in the Titanic death records on the genealogy website Ancestry his estimated death age is 40 which is 9 years astray. Secondly the encyclopedia links... Read full post

  2. Andrew Twynam

    I've just noticed that the Folkestone newspaper article does give J T Wood's age as 49 which would be correct for an 1863 birth, but I'm no nearer discovering who "W R Wood" is. As far as I am aware James Thomas Wood was one of 7 brothers, the other's initials are AH, JW, JE, GT, EB and OJ. Their mother's maiden name was Thorn.

  3. Andrew Twynam

    I think I've now worked this out. James Thomas Wood was 49 years old not 40 when he died, so that is a mistake in the Titanic death records. Secondly he did have a brother who was a postmaster in Hythe, Kent, as referred to in the newspaper article, but his name was John William Wood, so "Mr W R Wood" is a mistake by the newspaper.

  4. Lavender136

    Hi Andrew....I've just been reading the entry for James Thomas Wood...fascinating stuff! He was my Great great grandfather through his daughter Grace...who was training to be a teacher at the time of the disaster. We must be distant relatives! : )

  5. Andrew Twynam

    Hi Lavender well the genealogical website Ancestry says that James Thomas Wood was a first cousin three times removed from me. His mother Ruth Thorn was an older sister of my great-grandmother Rebekah Thorn (or Thorne).

  6. Lavender136

    Does that make us 7 times removed? I'm not very knowledgeable about genealogy but love the history of it.

  7. Andrew Twynam

    I'm not sure what that makes us. Can I ask, did Grace and her husband have just one child, or more than one ?

  8. Lavender136

    Two. James and Louisa.

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Titanic Crew Summary

Name: Mr James Thomas Wood
Age: 49 years (Male)
Nationality: English
Marital Status: Married to Sarah Wisdom
Last Residence: at 7 Narford Road, Upper Clapton London, England
Last Ship: Oceanic
Embarked: Southampton
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Identified

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