Mr John Lingane was born in Quitrent, Kildorrery, Co Cork, Ireland in September 1850. He was the son of Jeremiah Lingane (b. 1814), a farmer, and his wife Mary (b. 1821). He had two known siblings: Michael (b. 1859) and Bridget (b. 1862).
He had first emigrated around 1873, settling in Washtenaw, Michigan and buying land northwest of Chelsea by a dirt track. The track would later become Lingane Road, the house listed as 6690 Lingane Road. Here John and his family cleared a small homestead which they farmed.
On 16 May 1876 John married an American woman, Ellen Savage (b. 1843 in Washtenaw, Michigan), herself the daughter of Irish immigrants. Together they had five sons: Jeremiah (1877-1926), William (1878-1900), James (1880-1933), Patrick (1882-1957) and Vincent Aloysius (1884-1960).
The 1894-1910 censuses show John and his family living in Chelsea, Sylvan Township, Washtenaw. Few facts are known about their life in Chelsea but one elderly resident recalled (in 1985) them driving to St. Mary's Church on Sundays in a 'Surrey' led by a black prancing horse. Another person recalled a close friendship between Lingane and his grandfather. John was a hard-working farmer and father and it was his ultimate aim to return to Ireland with his wife.
The years leading up to John's voyage on Titanic were tragic themselves. In 1900 he lost his son William aged 22. A voyage to his homeland in Ireland was planned to take place in the Autumn of 1911. Sadly Ellen Savage died in March of that year and John eventually made the trip alone. He visited his brother Michael and his family in Quitrent, Kildorerry, Co Cork where his sister Bridget also still lived as a spinster.
For the return journey John had booked passage on the White Star Liner Celtic but was persuaded to await the arrival of the newer and more luxurious Titanic. He boarded at Queenstown as a second class passenger (ticket number 235509 which cost £12, 7s). One of only a handful of Irish passengers travelling second class, John may well have been acquainted aboard with his fellow countrymen.
Lingane died in the sinking but ten days later his ultimate fate was still unknown to the people of Chelsea:
CHELSEA, MICHIGAN, THURSDAY, APRIL 25, 1912
MAY HAVE BEEN ON BOARD TITANIC
John Lingane, of Sylvan(3), Is Thought to Have Been Passenger
The friends of John Lingane are in grave doubts as to his whereabouts. According to letters he sent to two of his friends here he stated that he expected to leave on his return journey from Ireland about April 1st. It is possible that he may have sailed on the Titanic which sailed from Queenstown, one of the principal seaports of Ireland, on April 10. Mr Lingane was visiting at Kildorrery, County Cork. At Queenstown the passengers for Cork take a small boat, and as Mr Lingane was not far from the seaport, he could easily have taken passage on the ill-fated steamer.
Confirmation of his death wasn't received until 23 May 1912, when a letter which expressed regret and deepest sympathy that John Lingane was not on the survivor list was received by the sons. The letter was on parchment and was written by the White Star Line.
John Lingane's body was never recovered, but he is remembered on the grave of his wife and his son William in Oak Grove Cemetery, in Chelsea.
His son Patrick continued to farm the land in Chelsea before moving to Jackson; he died in 1957. His son Jeremiah died in Minnesota on 1 May 1926 and son John in Sylvan, Michigan on 8 June 1933. His son Vincent was twice married and had a son, James (1909-1994). He died in Ramsey, Minnesota on 19 October 1960.
Today the Lingane farm is still standing in Chelsea.