Mr John George Sage was born in Stamford Hill, Hackney, London, England on 13 October 1867.
He was the only child of George Sage (b. 1842), a carman, and Eliza Bulling (b. 1841), natives of London and Norfolk respectively who had married in 1866.
He appears with his parents on the 1871 census living at 8 Grove Terrace, Grove Road in Hackney and would still be at that address by the time of the 1881 census, then aged 13 and having already left schooling and being described as a worker in an oil shop.
He was married in St John's Church, Hackney on 2 November 1890 to Annie Elizabeth Cazaly (b. 1865), a native of Wolverhampton, Staffordshire; the freshly married couple appeared on the 1891 census as residents of 253 Queen's Road, Hackney and John was described as a corn merchant.
They would go on to be the parents of nine children: Stella Anna (b. 1891), George John (b. 1892), Douglas Bullen (b. 1893), Frederick (b. 1895), Dorothy Florence (b. 1897), Anthony William (b. 1899), Elizabeth Ada (b. 1901), Constance Gladys (b. 1904) and Thomas Henry (b. 1907).
John and his family moved to Norfolk sometime around the turn of the century where he became a publican and ran the New Inn in Gaywood, Norfolk; the family appeared at that address on the 1901 census. By 1911 the family home was 246 Gladstone Street in Peterborough, Northamptonshire and John was described as a baker; they had moved there around 1910 and taken over a bakers and confectioners from a Mr Plant.
On 29 April 1911 John and his eldest son George boarded the Allan Line's Pomeranian in London, bound for Québec and eventually Winnipeg, Manitoba where they both worked as cooks with the Central Pacific Railway. After some months, Mr Sage and his son had saved sufficient money to embark out in a venture of their own and he purchased a fruit farm at Jacksonville, Florida, which he intended to cultivate for pecans. He sent a postcard to his wife which shows how taken he was with Florida:
Date illegible 1911
John returned to Britain aboard the Corsican, arriving in London 1 September; his son George followed two months later. A plan was hatched to bring the whole family across the Atlantic.
It was originally intended that the family would travel aboard the Philadelphia but the coal strike forced them to take passage on Titanic instead. After bidding their farewells to many well-wishers the family travelled by train to Southampton and board Titanic on 10 April 1912 as third class passengers (ticket number 2343 which had cost £69, 11s). John insisted that the family piano and other furniture was crated up and sent ahead and sent over £1000 with which to pay the balance of the farm1.
It is likely that the family was able to reach the deck shortly before the Titanic went down as there are reports that Stella had got into a lifeboat but left it when other members of her family were unable to join her.
The whole family were lost in the sinking; out of the eleven-strong crowd only Anthony William's body was recovered.