Mr John Farthing was born in Hartest, Suffolk, England during the closing months of 1863.
He was the son of Thomas Farthing (1816-1896) and Susan Jackson (b. 1820). His father, a carpenter, hailed from Chelsworth, Suffolk and his mother from Brockley, also in Suffolk.
His father Thomas had a previous marriage in 1837 to Hannah Prentice (b. 1816) and had two children from that match: William (b. 1838) and Emma (b. 1841). Hannah died in 1845 and Thomas was remarried in 1847 to Susan Jackson. From that union, besides John, they had five further children: Harry (b. 1849), Fanny (b. 1850), Frederick (b. 1852), Alice (b. 1857) and Tom (b. 1860).
He first appears on the 1871 census living at The Green in Hartest with his parents and his brother Tom and he was described as a schoolboy. He later moved to London and worked in the employ of various wealthy families. He shows up on the 1891 census as a butler to the Gond family of brokers at 24 Albert Lane, Knightsbridge, London. He later emigrated to the USA in 1903, as per census records and appears to have been in the employ of the Straus family as the valet to Isidor Straus for a number of years.
John was later married to Thirza Ann Richmond, née Germany (b. 1855). Thirza had been born in Norfolk, England in 1855 and was married in 1879 to Samuel Richmond (b. 1840), a domestic butler and native of Nottinghamshire, and the couple had two known children: Gilbert (b. 1881) and May Marion (b. 1889). She also had a daughter born out of wedlock, Edith Clara (b. 1873). What became of her husband is not known but she later emigrated in 1907 to the USA and was married to John Farthing on 18 February the following year in Manhattan. The couple show up on the 1910 USA census living in that city.
John had travelled with his employers, Isidor and Ida Straus, including their maid, Ellen Bird to Europe in early 1912. For their return to the USA he boarded the Titanic at Southampton with the Straus party (ticket number 17483 which cost £221, 15s, 7d) and he occupied cabin C95.
John Farthing died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified. Ellen Bird was the only survivor from their group.
His widow Thirza never remarried returned to England, arriving in Liverpool aboard Mauretania on 8 July 1912. She settled in Bedfordshire where she died in 1935.