William Henry Worthman

William Henry Worthman (boarded the Titanic under the name William Jarvis), 37, was born in Dartmouth, Devon the son of William Worthman and Mary Jane Jackson.

On 24 April 1883 he was convicted - at Dartmouth petty sessions - of 'damaging milk of cows while driving them' and sentenced to 14 days hard labour. Less than a month later on 16 May 1883 he was convicted of stealing a brass cap and pice of rope and sentenced to 5 days and 5 years reformatory [school?].  Furthur convictions for petty crime in 1888, 1889, 1890 and 1891 were also recorded and a 1913 newspaper report indicated a further history of housebreaking and theft.

In 1906 he married Mary Jane Jackson who had an equally troubled life having been charged with drunkeness, prostitution and bad language before and after the Titanic disaster. A newspaper report indicated they may have had a child that was taken into care.

In the 1911 census he was listed at a boarding house at 44 College Street, Southampton. 

His mother had remarried to a Thomas Jarvis in 1886 and it may be this connection that prompted him to use the pseudonym William Javis when he signed on to the Titanic on 6 April 1912.

He gave his address as 29 Canal Walk, Southampon. Jarvis died in the sinking, his body, if recovered, was never identified.

His wife received relief from the Titanic relief fund but it was stopped on more than one occasion on account of her chaotic lifestyle.

References and Sources

United States Senate, Washington 1912. n° 806, Crew List

Newspaper Articles

Exeter Flying Post (20 April 1912) Devonians on Board (2)
Southern Daily Echo (5 February 1913) Painful Story at Southampton County Court

Documents and Certificates

American Red Cross Emergency and Relief Booklet (1)
Mansion House Titanic Relief Fund (26)
(1914) Titanic Relief Fund
Search archive online

Comment and discuss

  1. Steve Coombes said:

    This crewman stated his birthplace as Dartmouth, Devon. I have only ever seen him referred to as 'W Jarvis', does anyone know his christian name, date of birth, parentage, wife etc etc?

  2. Craig Stringer said:

    Hello Steve, Good to see you on the message board. I understand that Jarvis was Walter. Regards Craig

  3. avatar

    Brian J. Ticehurst said:

    Steve, I echo Craig's welcome. The following may help in your researches: Jarvis, Walter. lived at 29 Canal Walk, The Ditches, Southampton. Occupation - Fireman. 37 yers old. (Born in Dartmouth, Devon). (From: Mansion House Titanic Relief Fund Booklet, March 1913) Number 150. Jarvis, Mrs. widow. Class G dependent. Number 150a. Thorn, Elizabeth, widow, also a class G dependent. (From the Titanic Relief Fund Minute Book number 2, Southampton Area) Date 23rd April 1914. Case number C150. That Miss Carpenter, Police Court Missioner be requested to endeavour to persuade Mrs... Read full post

  4. Steve Coombes said:

    Brian and Craig Thank you for your replies and welcome, much appreciated. I had previously found a Walter Jarvis so will revisit that information soon to see how it fits together. You will see that I have been busy and there are quite a few more Devon items coming up soon plus some probate information located this lunchtime.

  5. Steve Coombes said:

    Brian (particularly!) I have been reading and rereading the details you have provided, what does it actually tell us? I can see that Mrs Jarvis was Case No.150 and presumably was the woman in Canada (No.205). But where does Elizabeth Thorn, widow, fit in (Case No.150a) and who was Mrs Worthman? is she the remarried Elizabeth Thorn? Perhaps your knowledge of the Relief Fund minutes can shed light on how case numbers C150 and C150a are connected (if indeed they are). Thanks Steve

  6. avatar

    Brian J. Ticehurst said:

    Steve, Mrs. Jarvis was case 105 (British Relief Fund) and case 205 American Red Cross Fund. I assume that Elizabeth Thorn (widow) became Mrs. Worthman case 105a and that she was either a dependent parent or sister or possibly sister in law - if they were needy enough the British Relief Fund paid them a reduced pension of 2/6dp per week. I hope that helps? cheers Brian

  7. Steve Coombes said:

    Brian Thanks for your explanations. I have found a Walter Jarvis in Dartmouth, Devon of about the right age on 1881 census but he was not at home on 1891 nor can he be found on 1901. So I will hold fire on any biography on him until I can be a little more certain he was the right one.

  8. Brian Meister said:

    Steve and Brian, I have located a William H Jarvis at the correct age in the same area. Are we sure his name was Walter, and may I ask what the source may be? All the Best, Brian M

  9. Steve Coombes said:

    The Walter Jarvis I found in Dartmouth was the son of Samuel Jarvis (draper) and Sallie. He was aged 2 on 1881 census. I too am not sure about the Walter name, the 1912 Exeter newspaper I have only says Mr. W Jarvis of Dartmouth, so can anyone confirm he was actually Walter? There are a couple of William Jarvis' of about the right age in South Devon at that time but none were born in Dartmouth according to 1881 census. It is also useful to compare the 1881 Jarvis names with those on the 1901 census, which I have already tried and nothing really seems to fit. ALTHOUGH - on 1901 census... Read full post

  10. Steve Coombes said:

    Having scoured the 1901 England census search page last evening for any Jarvis born Dartmouth c.1875/76 I may have found a strong contender and am opening this up for discussion. There is an Arthur Jarvis, aged 23, born Dartmouth living in Willesden, London with an occupation of 'Officer, Merchant Service'. This Arthur turns out to be of the same Dartmouth family as the Walter I mentioned in a previous posting, ie son of Samuel Jarvis (draper) and Sallie. He is in Dartmouth on 1881 census aged 3. Could someone check the original sign on sheets to see if he was not 'W' but 'A' Jarvis? Is... Read full post

  11. avatar

    Brian J. Ticehurst said:

    Dear Steve, I have just checked the Signing On Sheet and it is definitely a capital W. Jarvis. Also i have: (From the Exeter Flying Post, April 20th 1912) Devonians on Board: Walter Jarvis, 37, of Dartmouth, fireman. Of course just to be helpful he could have changed his christian name for some reason? Cheers Brian

  12. Steve Coombes said:

    Brian I have seen the Exeter Flying Post article of which you mention and as far as I can see it only says Mr. W. Jarvis of Dartmouth. Also in a book of Dartmouth it mentions Mr. W. Jarvis, probably both lifted direct from the sign on info. How about if W Jarvis was actually A W Jarvis but chose not to use his first name? Perhaps we should be looking for a birth record next? Steve

  13. Steve Coombes said:

    I have now found a Walter Jarvis on 1891 Plymouth census, born 1874 so aged 17 then, described as a sailor, his birthplace given as Cattedown, Plymouth, Devon. (this would make him 37ish in 1912) So, do the sign on records clearly show Dartmouth as the birthplace of W Jarvis, might it be Plymouth? As for the Arthur Jarvis of Dartmouth, I found his birth on-line, he was Arthur Calley Jarvis (Calley being the maiden name of Sallie, his mother) so I think he is firmly ruled out as a contender..

  14. avatar

    Brian J. Ticehurst said:

    Steve you said : How about if W Jarvis was actually A W Jarvis but chose not to use his first name? Perhaps we should be looking for a birth record next? Could well be but I dont see how we are going to prove it. I confirm it has Dartmouth on the signing on sheet. Cheers Brian

  15. Steve Coombes said:

    We know the sign on's are prone to inaccuracy, I certainly saw that with W T Fox who said born Plymouth but it was actually over the border in Cornwall. So, I wonder if this W Jarvis stated Dartmouth because he thought that's where he was from, maybe he spent time there from a very young age and just assumed... I know that's a bit unlikely but there just doesn't seem to anyone that we've found so far that accurately fits the bill. (unless it is the slightly younger Walter Jarvis son of the Dartmouth draper) Is it possible to check records of sign on for his previous ship? perhaps he put... Read full post

  16. Bob Godfrey said:

    Just to throw a (possible) spanner in the works, do we know for a certainty that Mr Jarvis was born in Dartmouth, Devon, or could that be an assumption made by ourselves and by the reporters back in 1912? At that time Canadians were listed as British. The Relief Fund recorded that the estranged Mrs Jarvis was living in Canada and that Walter was planning to return to her. There is only one Canadian-born Walter Jarvis in that country's 1881 Census and he was 7 years old - spot on for our man. He was born in Ontario, and there is a Dartmouth in that province. A very long shot, I know, but an... Read full post

  17. Steve Coombes said:

    Bob You may well have hit the nail directly on the head. I feel inclined to accept that the man you've found is the correct one. I think the English press quoted him as of Dartmouth and just assumed it was the one in England. Steve

  18. Bob Godfrey said:

    Steve, I'm afraid it's still just a long shot, as I now believe that the only Dartmouth in Canada is the one in Nova Scotia, near Halifax. I did find a number of organisations which gave their address as 'Dartmouth, Ontario, Canada' but I can't find such a place on the map or in any directory. Maybe one of our Canadian members can help? Otherwise, this Walter is one of many that don't quite fit the profile.

  19. Steve Coombes said:

    Thanks Bob Although being a long, long way away from Canada myself I might just give this some more thought.

  20. Bob Godfrey said:

    Steve, just in case, here are the details from the 1881 Canadian Census: Walter M Jarvis, age 7, born Ontario. Brothers Frederick (18) and Orlando (16). Parents Isaac and Melinda, farmers of Irish ancestry and Methodist Faith. Living at Clinton Township, Lincoln County, Southern Ontario (not far from Niagara Falls).

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Steve Coombes, UK
Chris Dohany, USA
Brian J. Ticehurst, UK
Andrew Williams, UK
Bill Wormstedt, USA

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2013) William Henry Worthman (ref: #1536, last updated: 22nd February 2013, accessed 1st August 2021 21:27:21 PM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-victim/walter-jarvis.html

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