Mr John Bradley Cumings

John Bradley Cumings

Mr John Bradley Cumings was born in Boston, Massachusetts on 26 September 1872.

He was the son of John Wells Cumings (1836-1891), a sugar importer, and Abba M. Clark (1840-1914), both Massachusetts natives who had married on 18 June 1861.

The youngest of three children, Cumings' elder siblings were: Clara Louisa (1862-1893, later Mrs George H. Witherell) and Marion Wells (b. 1868, later Mrs Frank B. Bermis).

John later worked as a banker and was married in Brookline, Massachusetts on 24 September 1896 to Florence Briggs Thayer (b. 1873). The couple initially lived in Brookline, Massachusetts and had their first two children there: John Bradley Jr (b. 15 August 1897) and Wells Bradley (b. 18 September 1899). They moved to Manhattan around 1900, appearing there on that year's census, and they would have another son whilst in that city, Thayer (b. 16 March 1904). The family appeared on the 1910 census still living in Manhattan at 50 East 64th Street and with four female servants, all Irish.

A stockbroker, he was a partner in Cumings & Marckwald, located at Wall Street and was also a director in the Subsurface Torpedo Boat Company.

Outside of work he was a member of Racquet, Metropolitan, Riding and Knollwood Country Clubs. His life was insured for $10,000.

In the Spring of 1912 Mr Cumings and his wife Florence embarked for a six-week-long European vacation and for their return to the USA boarded Titanic at Cherbourg as first-class passengers (ticket number 17599 which cost £71, 5s, 8d). Whilst aboard they occupied cabin C-85

Following the collision with the iceberg, Mr and Mrs Cumings went to the boat deck and were among the group of first-class passengers herded down to A-deck to enter lifeboat 4. Mrs Cumings stayed with the other women around lifeboat 4 and waited until the boat was finally lowered. She refused to leave her husband but he assured her that he would follow in a later boat.

John Bradley Cumings died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified. He is commemorated on his widow's grave in Mt Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts:

"Sacred to the memory of John Bradley Cumings
- Born September 26, 1872, Lost at Sea on S.S. Titanic, April 15, 1912 -
'Greater love hath no man than this - that a man lay down his life for his friends."

His widow Florence later remarried before her death in 1949.

His son John was married in 1922 to Katherine Hurd (b. 1904) and raised a family, working as a stockbroker and banker. He died in 1937 following a stroke aged 39.

His second son Wells later entered the Marines during World War I and died on 30 June 1918 from wounds sustained earlier during the Battle of Belleau Wood, France; he was just 18 years old.

His youngest son Thayer graduated from Harvard and later worked in advertising, rising to become director of his firm before his retirement in 1963. A veteran of WWII, he was married to Virginia Richardson (b. 1909) and raised a family. He died in York Harbor, Maine on 20 February 1989.



Grave memorial stone
Thayer Cumings, son of Florence and John Bradley Cumings

Articles and Stories

New York Times (1912) 

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John Bradley and Florence Cumings (38 posts)
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Gavin Bell, UK
Robert Bracken, USA
Michael A. Findlay, USA
Phillip Gowan, USA

References and Sources

Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
Photo: (Boston Herald
Search archive British and Irish newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

(2020) John Bradley Cumings Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #85, updated 13th January 2020 12:34:59 PM)