Encyclopedia Titanica

John Ashby

Mr John Ashby, 57, born in Balham, Surrey, England on 29 June 1854 the son of James Ashby (1818-1898) and Sarah Ann Arlette (1820-1904) and was christened on 23 July in Holy Trinity Church in Clapham, Surrey.

His father was a gardener originally from Norfolk whilst his mother was a native of Middlesex and worked as a laundress. They were married on 1 April 1844 and had at least nine children. John's known siblings were: Lucy (b. 1843), Henry (b. 1848), James (b. 1850), Elizabeth (b. 1852), Walter (b. 1856), Joseph Wright (b. 1858), Mary Ann (b. 1862) and Arthur (b. 1864).

The family appear on the 1861 through 1881 censuses living at Balham New Road, Streatham and by the time of the 1871 census John, aged 16, had already left school and was described as a porter and the 1881 census shows him as a warehouseman.

He married Emma Keely in 1881 in the Hartismere district, Suffolk, England, and had (at least three) children; Amy Emma (May 1882 in England), Edwin Valentine (born 12 July and baptised 7 October 1883 in St. Saviour's church, Brixton, Surrey, England; died in March 1969 in Bergen, New Jersey) and Lucy Ethel (September 1888 in England, later Mrs Greenwood Robertson).

John and his family emigrated in 1889 and they appeared on the 1900 census living in Brooklyn, New York (listed as a packer, name listed as Ashbey) and on the 1910 census in West Hoboken, Hudson, New Jersey.

In 1912 he lived with his wife Emma at 517 Synnes Street, West Hoboken, New Jersey.

Ashby had been working in a cravenette1 factory and had been injured in accident. He had been sent to England to recuperate and was returning to his family in New Jersey.  He had stayed in London prior to booking second class passage on Titanic (ticket number 244346 which cost £13) to return to the USA. He joined the ship in Southampton on 10 April 1912.

Ashby died in the sinking. Contrary to contemporary newspaper accounts his body was never recovered.

His widow Emma never remarried and later lived with her daughter Lucy. She died in 1937 in Union City, Hudson, New Jersey.

She is buried in Fairview Memorial Park and Mausoleum, Bergen County, New Jersey; John Ashby is remembered on her headstone.

John Ashby Memorial
Memorial to John Ashby at Fairview Memorial Park and Mausoleum
(Photo: Glen McCall and Trevor Baxter)


  1. Seemingly a method of waterproofing textiles, e.g. raincoats.

References and Sources


Newspaper Articles

Recovered by the Mackay-Bennett Ship and Will Be Sent Home.

Documents and Certificates

Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912, National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279]).
(1912) Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths of Passengers and Seamen at Sea, National Archives, London; BT334/52 & 334/53
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Comment and discuss

  1. keith marsh

    keith marsh said:

    the address in west hoboken is:- 517 syms street, not synnes street.

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Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mr John Ashby
Age: 57 years 9 months and 16 days (Male)
Nationality: English
Marital Status: Married to Emma Keely
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 244346, £13
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Recovered

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