Mr James Vivian Drew was born in Constantine, Cornwall, England on 4 May 1869.
He was the son of James Drew (1823-1870), a shoemaker, and Priscilla Vivian (1829-1913), both Cornwall natives who had married in 1861. He had two known siblings: Simon Lugg (b. 1862) and William John (b. 1864).
James' father passed away in 1870 whilst he was still a small child. He and his remaining family appear on the 1871 census living at Well (?) Lane in Constantine and on the 1881 census at Church Town, also in Constantine. His mother is working as a charwoman and his two elder brothers as granite masons, James still being a schoolboy.
His brother William emigrated to the USA around 1886 and James would follow him there around 1890. The pair operated a marble monument business and both appear on the 1900 census living in Southold, Greenport, Suffolk, New York.
James was later married to Maria Louisa Thorne Christian (b. 1878), a native of Greenport and better known to all as Lulu. The couple had no children. However, his brother William had been married to Annie Eliza Brines and had a son named Marshall Brines on 30 March 1904. Annie Drew died within a fortnight of her son being born and Lulu and James Drew became surrogate parents to the child. The family, consisting of James, her husband Lulu, his brother William and his nephew Marshall appeared on the 1910 census living in Southold Township.
James, his wife and Marshall travelled on the Olympic in the autumn of 1911 for a holiday to visit his relatives in Constantine, Cornwall. Their return journey to America was on board the Titanic which they boarded at Southampton as second class passengers (ticket number 28220 which cost £32, 10s). It is possible that they travelled with James Veal who was also a native of Constantine. On embarking James and Marshall were able to view the first class areas including the gymnasium and the barbers shop.
On the night of the sinking James had been up on deck whilst his wife and nephew were settled in their cabin. Following the impact with the iceberg James returned to the cabin, instructing them to dress and put on their lifebelts. He escorted Lulu and Marshall to lifeboat 10, bid them goodbye and stepped back into the crowd.
James Drew was lost in the sinking, his body, if recovered, was never identified.
James is commemorated in the Ashaway Cemetery, Ashaway, Rhode Island in a monument carved by his brother William. His widow Lulu later remarried and died in 1970. His nephew Marshall died in 1986 and his brother William died in 1917.