Encyclopedia Titanica

Robert James Bateman

Stonemason and methodist minister

Robert James Bateman
Robert James Bateman

Reverend Robert James Bateman was born in Bristol, Gloucestershire, England on 14 October 1859 1.

He was the son of Charles Bateman (1823-1909), a currier (leather worker), and Esther Beck (1823-1891), Mongotsfield, Gloucestershire natives who had married on 1 October 1849; and he was brother to Charles (b. 1850) and Matthew (b. 1856).

Robert appears with his family on the 1861 census living at Old Market Street in St Paul, Bristol. He later became a stonemason and, being a deeply religious man, also dabbled with Methodist mission work. He was married in early 1880 to Emily Jane Hall (b. 20 August 1860), a London native, and their first child, Laura Emily was born early the following year. The child did not reach her third birthday and died in 1883.

Robert, his wife and child appear on the 1881 census living at the home of his parents at Oldbury Court Road, Stapleton, Gloucestershire and he was then described as an evangelist missionary. The couple later moved to London and had a further two children: Ernest Robert (1884-1960) and Daisy Esther (1886-1970, later Mrs John Carson Walker). The entire family later emigrated around 1889 and settled in St David's, Toronto, Ontario, appearing in that city on the 1891 census. They would have another child in that city, Mabel Lilian (b. 1890) before entering the USA, living in various states including Missouri, Tennessee and Maryland. They had a further three children in the States: Percy Bruce (1893-1987), Grace (1895-1990, later Mrs Frederick William Ellinghaus) and William Frizell (1901-1928). The family were shown on the 1900 census living in Knoxville, Tennessee and on the 1910 census twice, in Jacksonville, Florida and Baltimore, Maryland. On all occasions Robert was described as a minister but is understood to have continued his work as a stonemason whilst in America, building bridges in Key West, Florida and a train station in St Louis, Missouri.

Reverend Bateman had returned to England to visit relatives in his native Bristol and it was under his encouragement that his widowed sister-in-law Ada Balls, née Hall, accompany him back across the Atlantic, with her sons to join her at a later date. They boarded the Titanic at Southampton on 10 April 1912 as second class passengers (he on ticket number 1166 which cost £12, 10s, 6d).

On the night of the disaster, alongside his sister-in-law Ada Balls, also a deeply religious woman, he had organised a prayer meeting near the second class dining room. A small group of no more than half a dozen people sang hymns and joined in prayer, concluding around 10.30 pm. Ada then retired to bed and slept through the ship's impact with the iceberg. Her cabin companion Mrs Jerwan woke her when she burst into their room exclaiming "We had an accident!" Too tired to take notice, Ada nonchalantly went back to sleep and was only compelled to get up and dressed when her brother-in-law arrived at her cabin and boldly instructed her to do so. He then escorted her to the boat deck and assisted her into one of the aft port lifeboats, reportedly throwing his neck tie to her as the boat was lowering and shouting "If I don't meet you again in this world, I will in the next."

Robert Bateman died in the sinking and his body was subsequently recovered by the cable-laying vessel Mackay-Bennett. On 6 May 1912 his remains were forwarded to his widow in Jacksonville and he was interred in the Evergreen Cemetery, Jacksonville on 12 May 1912.


CLOTHING - Black overcoat; black frock coat; vest and trousers.

EFFECTS - Gold watch and chain; masonic charm pin; glasses; knife; photo; fountain pen; pipe lighter; gold links; 4 gold studs; purse; 7s 2¾d.; gold mounted eye glasses; £4 10s. in a sovereign purse; cigar holder; style pin.

(Per) Pendennis, Stapel Hill, Bristol

His widow Emily later moved to Baltimore and kept in close contact with her sister, Ada Balls (later Mrs William Perrine). She remained in Baltimore for the rest of her life, living with her married daughter Grace and her family, and passed away on 12 October 1953. His last surviving child, Grace Ellinghaus, lived in Baltimore and died in 1990 just short of her 95th birthday.


  1. Some sources say 14 October 1860. His birth was registered in the last quarter of 1859.

Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Revd Robert James Bateman
Age: 52 years 6 months and 1 day (Male)
Nationality: English
Marital Status: Married to Emily Jane Hall
Occupation: Priest / Minister
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 1166, £12 10s 6d
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body recovered by: Mackay-Bennett (No. 174)

Linked Biography

Ada Elizabeth Balls

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References and Sources

Record of Bodies and Effects: Passengers and Crew, S.S. Titanic (Public Archives of Nova Scotia) (#174)
British Census 1881
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279]).
Walter Lord (1976) A Night to Remember. London, Penguin. ISBN 0 14 004757 3
Search archive online

Comment and discuss

  1. Barbara Bateman-DeBaie (Barbara)

    Barbara Bateman-DeBaie (Barbara) said:

    I am trying to find out more information about Reverend Robert James Bateman who perished on the Titanic as I may be related to him(my great-great uncle?). From what I am told from relatives, my great-grandfather Richard James Bateman was born in 1865 in Kent, England. My great-grandfathers' decendants lived in Bromely which is where Ada Ball (Hall), who survived the sinking, is from as was her sister Emily (Rev. Bateman's wife). A late 1800's census showed a "Charles Bateman" (Rev. Bateman's dad's name) in my great-great-grandfathers home and was perhaps listed as a "brother to the head of the house". I am anxious to find out more. My brother mentions a 1891 censius which was not available when he was in England and may be now. And I wonder if anyone has a picture of Rev. Bateman? Thanks!

  2. Mike Herbold

    Mike Herbold said:

    Using the search function (love that feature) I noticed that an Alec Bateman from British Columbia may be related. Mike Herbold

  3. Harvey Myers

    Harvey Myers said:

    My Great Grandfather, 2nd class passenger Rev. Robert J. Bateman. Died in the sinking, and was accompanying Ms. Ada Balls who survived. I've attached a photograph, history unknown of Rev. Bateman that has been in the family for some time. Harvey Myers IV Clearwater Beach, Florida

  4. Brian Meister

    Brian Meister said:

    Mr Myers, Thank you very much for providing this forum with a fantastic image of your Titanic ancestor. I have seen newspaper quality images of Reverend Bateman, but never one so clear. I visited his gravesite with my mother in 1992 and paid our respects at that time. I found it interesting that his gravestone and his actual burial spot are in two different sections. I hope you will consider telling us more of your great-grandfather in the future. Kind Regards, Brian Meister

  5. Ben Holme

    Ben Holme said:

    Dear Harvey, Delighted to see you posting on ET! We corresponded some years back regading your Great Grandfather, during which you very kindly scanned me a copy of the above image. Through my research into the clergy aboard Titanic, I have been very fortunate to obtain (eventually) images of all nine ill-fated ministers, of which Revd. Bateman's is by far the most clear. I also have a photograph of the grave to which Bateman visited on his last journey to Bristol. A fascinating character. Best Regards, Ben Holme

  6. Harvey Myers

    Harvey Myers said:

    Wonderful to hear from you Mr Meister, I hope to visit that grave and marker soon, I still have a lot to learn about both of my ancestors. I understand, especially after reading the work done by Mr. Ben Holme, that he performed some valuable services and was well remembered by people in Jacksonville at that time. I'm guessing it drew a crowd. And Ben, it is just great to be back in contact with you, I'm trying to dig up my copy of your work, i misplaced it somewhere, have you mentioned that or posted any of that here, which actually brings up a point, my mother is the one with the direct knowledge, having known Ada Balls early in her life. I would be glad to relay any message or question about Ada Balls or Rev. Robert J. Batemen to her. Mom (Betty Jane Bateman Myers) is a very young 80 years old. Warm Regards, Harvey Myers

  7. nicholas aarons

    nicholas aarons said:

    Dear Harvey I am trying to locate all known relatives of your great grandfather. Would you happen to know their whereabouts? best wishes Nick Aarons

  8. Harvey Myers

    Harvey Myers said:

    It's long been family lore and there are postings that support as well as not, the idea that 2nd Class Passenger Rev Robert J. Bateman, my Great-Grandfather, led the band or requested the famous rendition of the song "Nearer My God to Thee" during the final moments of the sinking. He was the Pastor of the Cross City Mission in Jacksonville, Florida at the time, and had a reputation for saving souls of the most downtrodden in that era, and so it's hard to imagine him not being involved in some way. I offer this link in support of this theory but am really impressed by the collective knowledge and insight of this group and hope to learn more from you. http://cowart.info/Monthly%20Features/Titanic%204%20web/Bateman%204%20web.htm [Moderator's Note: This message, originally posted as a separate thread, has been moved to this pre-existing thread discussing the same passenger. MAB]

  9. Robert Selby Bateman

    Robert Selby Bateman said:

    I'm the grandson of the Rev. Robert James Bateman. My father, Percy Bruce Bateman was his son. And, I'm named for my grandfather: Robert Selby Bateman. A most interesting discussion here. Thanks!

  10. Harvey Myers

    Harvey Myers said:

    Hello Robert, It seems that long periods go by between visits. I hope you receive this message. I would certainly like to talk to you further about our common ancestor and family. Always have more questions than answers it seems.

  11. Harvey Myers

    Harvey Myers said:

    Gosh Nick, I had lost my login and had't visited for years, trying to pick the ball up again. I have a number of relatives with input including some connected thru this site. I also touched bases with his family from Bristol but hvae to dig those connections back up again. I will do my best to remain active and watch for your response, so pleas write back if you can.

  12. kacs1991

    kacs1991 said:

    It's been a while since anybody posted on here, but after looking at a family tree a family member has done, it appears I am (albeit loosely) related to Rev. Bateman too. Assuming it is all correct, he is my 2nd cousin, something like 4 times removed on my father's side. My maiden name was Iles and I was born in Bristol - a relatively common surname in Bristol it would seem.

  13. Faith Aeris Rose Doyle

    Faith Aeris Rose Doyle said:

    He is my great, great, great grandfather... my grandmother is Sheena Bateman, he has been on my family tree for a long time. My name is Faith Doyle, my grandma's maiden name is Bateman but my grandfathers last name is Doyle. I have heard from my grandma, auntie and uncle that he is my great, great, great grandad. I find it weird that I have never heard of any of you, if you have been trying to get in contact with his family in Bristol then strange that none of us has heard a peep from any of you. I currently live in Bristol and so does my grandma aunt and uncle. We have a few photos of him and you can definitely see

  14. Patricia Healy Komroski

    Patricia Healy Komroski said:

    Hello, I had a great aunt who was quite active in her church in Baltimore, Maryland. She had a photo of Rev, Bateman with

  15. Steven Christian

    Steven Christian said:

    Nice find/keepsake. You should add the picture to his page/database on here. https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-victim/robert-james-bateman.html#articles-and-stories

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Gavin Bell, UK
Steve Coombes, UK
Michael A. Findlay, USA

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2015) Robert James Bateman (ref: #337, last updated: 11th September 2015, accessed 21st January 2022 11:48:16 AM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-victim/robert-james-bateman.html