Encyclopedia Titanica

Joseph Foley

Mr Joseph Foley was born in Lisnafulla, Co Limerick, Ireland on 25 February 1893.

He was the son of David Foley (b. 20 October 1866), a labourer, and Mary Hickey (b. 4 August 1866) who had married in Dromcollogher, Co Limerick on 14 February 1892. He was named for his paternal grandfather and he had a younger brother John (b. 7 January 1895).

His mother died during childbirth on 15 December 1897 but there is no record that the child was ever delivered. His father was remarried on 29 January 1901 to Julia Connors (b. circa 1870); that line-up of the family appears on the 1901 census living at house 5 in Mountplummer; his father was described as an agricultural labourer and his stepmother a shopkeeper.

Through his father's second marriage Joseph had a half-sister, Eliza "Lizzie" (b. 10 November 1901). However, his stepmother died due to complications from childbirth a matter of weeks later on 8 December 1901 aged 31. His father, thereafter, took another wife and was remarried on 24 February 1903 to domestic servant Margaret Harnett (b. circa 1862) and this union garnered Joseph a half-brother, William who arrived on 10 July 1904.
The 1911 census shows Joseph's family living at house 21 in Mountplummer but he was listed elsewhere as a general farm servant at the home of the Aherin family in Hernsbrook, Mountplummer. He was unmarried.

Joseph boarded the Titanic at Queenstown on 11 April 1912 as a third class passenger (ticket number 330910 which cost £7, 17s, 7d) and he was journeying to the home of his maternal uncle John Hickey in Larchmont, New York. Travelling with him was his sweetheart Bridget O'Sullivan from Glenduff, Co Limerick who was headed to her sibling in Manhattan.

Joseph and Bridget both died in the sinking and their bodies, if recovered, were never identified.

Confusion arose following the death of Joseph on Titanic; a family of Wexford Foleys in Chicago had been awaiting the arrival of their brother Joseph, aged 26, from Ireland and the reports of a Joseph Foley being among the lost on Titanic threw them into despair. That Joseph Foley's brother Thomas Foley of 3157 Harrison Street in Chicago, who worked as a street car conductor was later interviewed by the press where he mourned the loss of his brother. His brother, however, had travelled aboard the Celtic and later made it to American shores.

Joseph's father remained living at Mountplummer but died aged 49 in Newcastle Workhouse, Co Limerick on 25 April 1916 from pneumonia and heart failure. His stepmother Margaret rallied for many years before her death in Mountplummer on 1 February 1951.




Newspaper Articles

Chicago Tribune (20 April 1912) Thomas Foley's Brother Gone
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Comment and discuss

  1. G. Caulfield

    G. Caulfield

    I'm trying to find some information on Joseph Foley, a 3rd class passenger who embarked at Queenstown and died in the disaster. I've seen his name on many Titanic passenger lists, yet I've also seen his name ommitted from other Titanic passenger lists (such as in the relics exhibit I saw in Atlantic City in 1999). Is there an OFFICIAL passenger list that everyone agrees on? When I was a child my grandmother told me how her mother tried to convince her to travel to New York on the Titanic so she could travel with a local boy, Joe Foley. Her father told her it was bad luck to change her... Read full post

  2. Phillip Gowan

    Mr. (Miss?) Caulfield, Your best source of information on Irish Titanic victim Joseph Foley, is his biography in the book "The Irish Aboard Titanic" by Senan Molony. The second printing of the book is available and there is a great photo of Joseph as well. He was 19 at the time of the Titanic disaster having been born in Lisnafulla, County Limerick, Ireland to parents David and Mary Julia (Hickey) Foley on February 5, 1893. Regards, Phillip

  3. G. Caulfield

    G. Caulfield

    Thank you Phillip for your timely reply. Maybe my grandmother's story is correct, as she was also from County Limerick (Kilmeedy) and born in 1893

  4. Aine Foley

    The Thomas Foley in Chicago was from Wexford, not Limerick, his brother Joseph (who traveled on the Celtic) was my grandfather.

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Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mr Joseph Foley
Age: 19 years 1 month and 18 days (Male)
Nationality: Irish
Marital Status: Single
Occupation: Farm Labourer
Embarked: Queenstown on Thursday 11th April 1912
Ticket No. 330910, £7 17s 7d
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Recovered

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