John Harper - Titanic Second Class Passenger

Reverend John Harper was a second class passenger traveling aboard Titanic with his 6 year old daughter Annie Jessie Harper and his late wife's niece Jessie Wills Leitch. Boarding Titanic at Southampton on 10th April 1912, they were travelling to Chicago, Illinois, United States, where John Harper was to preach at Moody Church Chicago; he had been at the church there just a short few months earlier and had been asked back.

He was born in Houston, Renfrewshire, Scotland, United Kingdom on 29th May 1872. He married Annie L Bell in 1903, and on 3rd January 1906 their daughter Annie Jessie Harper was born. Sadly his wife died soon after, on 8th January 1906, said to have been of complications of child birth.

In 1897 he became the first pastor of the newly formed Paisley Road Baptist Church in Glasgow Scotland. Today the church has long been known as, in his memory, the Harper Memorial Baptist Church.

By 1912 he was the pastor of Walworth Road Baptist Church, London.

John Harper did not survive the Titanic disaster. His body is not known to have been found or recovered from the sea. Both Annie Jessie Harper and Jessie Wills Leitch were rescued.

There is a memorial to John Harper and his wife at Craigton Cemetery, Cardonald, Glasgow, Scotland. The memorial says: ”Erected by the members and friends of Paisley Road Baptist Church, Glasgow, in loving memory of Annie L. Bell beloved wife of John Harper who fell asleep in Jesus, 8th Jan 1906, aged 39 years[.] And also of the above John Harper[,] founder, and for 13 years pastor of Paisley Road Baptist Church” (afterwards pastor of Walworth Road Church, London) who while on a second gospel mission to the Moody Church, Chicago, was called to higher service from the deck of the ill-fated S.S. Titanic, 15th April 1912, aged 39 years. Faithful unto death.

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