James Veal was born in Constantine, Cornwall in November 1871 1 the son of Thomas Veal and Selina (nee Sarah, 1839-1908).2
James immigrated to the United States, travelling by himself from Liverpool or Queenstown and arriving in Boston aboard the Samaria on 3 June 1889. Numerous members of the Veale family moved to Barre, Washington County, Vermont around the same time period. They worked at stone cutting, including the manufacture of tombstones.
In 1890, James was employed at Everson & Company in Barre, boarding in a house on North Seminary Avenue. By 1895, James was working for Barclay Brothers, living at 18 Plain Street in Barre along with his brothers Benjamin and Edwin, while in 1896 he lived at the same address with his brothers Benjamin and Nicholas. He was working for the firm of Littlejohn & Milne.
In 1898, James worked for Mackie, Hussie & Company and lived with his brother Edwin at 61 Maple Avenue in Barre. In April 1900, James was elected recording scribe for the Sanctuary Granite City, Shepherds of America. This fraternal group met twice monthly.
On 7 June 1900, James lived with his brother Edwin (born 1866), Edwin’s wife Katherine, their daughters Linda and Wannitta, and two other brothers Benjamin (born 1869) and Nicholas (born 1873), at 61 Maple Avenue in Barre. All four of the Veale brothers worked as stone cutters. James was employed by the Harrison Granite Company. In that year James was a member of Court Granite City No. 3 of the Foresters of America, serving as “S.B.” James was again elected recording scribe for the Sanctuary Granite City group in December 1902, December 1903 and July 1903. In April 1901 he was an alternate for the Grand Court to be held by the group in Montpelier the following month.
James was a member of the Socialist Party, which organized in Vermont in September 1902, at which time he was appointed librarian for the group. The Socialists had 998 members in Vermont in 1904. In that year he ran for State Auditor, receiving 733 votes in October 1904. That year the city directory noted that James was working as a stone cutter while living in his brother Edwin’s house.
He was more successful when he was elected an auditor for the Barre Granite Cutter’s Union in August 1904. On 13 November 1905, James became a naturalized citizen of the United States. In December 1905, he was assistant secretary for the John Bright Lodge of the Sons of St. George. His brother Edwin was the “outside sentry” for the group. By the early 1900s, this fraternal group was a benefit society for Englishmen living in the United States.
James was chair of the Vermont Socialist Party’s state committee in May 1906. In the elections held in September 1906, James Veale received 733 votes for Vermont Auditor of Accounts.
Beginning in 1908, James began to make annual trips back to visit Cornwall. James and his brother William sailed from Liverpool on 21 March 1908 aboard the Mauretania. On 27 March 1909, he sailed on the Philadelphia from Southampton, arriving in New York City on 4 April 1909. James was aboard the S.S. St. Louis, which sailed from Southampton on 30 March 1910, arriving in New York City on 7 April 1910. A James Veal, granite cutter, also appears in the passenger list of the Adriatic which arrived at New York on 28 April 1910.
On 27 April 1910, James lived with his brother Edwin, Edwin’s wife Katherine, their daughters Linda and Wannitta, and four boarders at 61 Maple Avenue in Barre. James was still working as a granite carver. In 1911, James was employed by Willis A. Hall.
Sometime in early 1911, James travelled back to Constantine for a visit. Afterwards, James boarded the Titanic with his friends James and Lulu Drew of Long Island, New York. James travelled as a second class passenger, ticket number 28211, paying 13 pounds for his passage. James Drew was also involved in the monument carving business.
James died in the disaster. By 17 April, Edwin and Nicholas Veale were worried that James had perished. Afterwards it was reported
“E. C. Veale, of Barre, has received word from his brother William J. Veale, of Westerly, R.I., that there is now no further hope that their brother, James, survived the wreck of the Titanic. James Veale had been a resident of Barre since 1889. He had been on a visit to the old country and was returning to Barre when the disaster occurred. He was 41 years old and unmarried.”
He is remembered on a family gravestone in the churchyard at Constantine, Cornwall.
Front and reverse of the Veal family stone
© Steve Coombes, UK