John Henry Taylor was born on 23 November 1862 in Southampton, Hampshire, England. He was later baptised on 11 January 1863 in St James' Church, Southampton.
He was the son of John Hack (b. 1837 in Southampton), a labourer, and Elizabeth Taylor (b 1840 in Portsmouth (1)). His parents were unmarried at the time of his birth and wouldn't be so until 9 January 1863.
John had ten known siblings: Mary Jane (b. 1859), Sarah (b. 1861), Amelia (b. 1865), Albert (b. 1867), Louisa Elizabeth (b. 1870), William (b. 1872), Alice Maud (b. 1874), twins Thomas and Stephen James (b. 1877) and Phillis (b. 1881).
John first appears on the 1871 census living at 1 Nelson Court, St Bell Street (?), All Saints, Southampton. The family would be listed at 4 Berry Court , Southampton on the following 1881 census, his father now described as a coal porter. John was absent and listed elsewhere at Fort Rowner, Alverstoke, Hampshire and he was described as a gunner militia man.
John's mother passed away around 1886. The 1891 census shows his widowed father and siblings living at 27 Kerry Street, St Mary, Southampton but John is again absent. Also present at this address was a lodger named Frances Griffin, whose sister Dora would later become John's wife.
John was married in Southampton in late 1899 to Dora Miriam Judd (b. 1870 in Seetapur, India).
Dora was born as Dora Miriam Griffin in Seetapur, India to English parents. She was first married in England to William Walter Priestly (b. 1869) and had two sons, Charles William (b. 1888) and Walter Samuel (b. 1894). The family returned to India but she was widowed in 1893 whilst carrying her second child. She was remarried the following year to Englishman John Judd and the couple had a further two children, John Victor (b. 1895) and Dora Elizabeth Esther (b. 1896). She was widowed again in 1898 and she returned with her children to England where she was remarried to John Taylor. The couple are not believed to have had any children of their own.
There is no sign of John and Dora and her children on the 1901 census. However, by the time of the 1911 census the marriage between John and Dora had broken down and Dora was listed as living at 2 Waterhouse Court, Evans Street, Southampton with her daughter and a man named Walter Stevens (b. 1870 in London, a general labourer). She claimed to have been married to Walter for three years although there is no record for this marriage (she would still be listed as Dora Taylor when she died).
When John signed on to the Titanic, in Southampton on 6 April 1912, he gave his age as 42 and his address as 23 Queens Street, (Southampton), the home of his sister Sarah Barber and her family. His previous ship had been the Olympic. As a fireman he could expect to earn monthly wages of £6.
John Taylor was lost in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified. The following death notice appeared in an unidentified newspaper:
TAYLOR--In loving memory of our dear brother, John Taylor, aged 50, who lost his life on the Titanic on April 15th. "In the midst of life we are in death." "Thy will be done." From his loving sister and brother, 213, Queens-street, Southampton.
John's widow Dora never officially remarried to Walter Stevens. She remained in Southampton and died there in 1949 aged 79.
Bill Wormstedt, USA
- Birthplace given as Southampton on 1871 census.
- He and his sisters Mary Jane and Sarah bore the name Taylor but would be listed on early census reports under the name Hack.