Amelia Whiting c.1782-1853
Parents: Robert Whiting and Mary Hazlewood(1)
Married (1): Samuel Hill, bachelor of St Sepulchre without, on 2nd May 1802 at St Alphege, Greenwich. Witnessed by Ann Whiting and James Smith(1)
Married (2): John Mullison, bachelor, otp, on 7th April 1831 at St Giles, Colchester. Witnessed by Thomas Nunn[?] and Elizabeth Welstead(2)
Died: 5th February 1853 at Oakwood Hospital, Maidstone (Kent Asylum) aged 72.
Buried on 9th February 1853 at All Saints, Maidstone(3,4)
Bio: Amelia is a 'mystery' daughter of Robert and Mary Whiting whose identity was only discovered because of a mention on the 1851 census which could then be researched further to reveal her life.
Because her age is referred to at various points throughout her life, Amelia's year of birth can be reckoned to have occurred in about 1781. A baptism is not found for her in Haverhill under this name at this date, but there is the real possibility that she may have been the daughter of Robert and Mary Whiting known as 'Mildred' baptised in 1782. On the parish registers of St Mary, Haverhill, there is a name that looks vaguely like 'Mella' which has been crossed out and 'Mildred' is inserted above.
Amelia married Samuel Hill, bachelor of St Sepulchre without, on 2nd May 1802 at St Alphege Church, Greenwich. The marriage was witnessed by Ann Whiting, who could not have been elder sister Ann as she was married to Edward Smith in 1797. Rather, this is likely to have been Amelia's brother Robert Whiting's wife Ann, they having married in 1799.
It is not thought that Amelia and Samuel had any children, but Amelia Hill was witness at the marriage of her niece Charlotte Whiting (Robert's daughter) and Joseph Diggles at St Mary Magdalene, Woolwich, on 27th December 1823(5).
At some point during this decade Samuel died, as Amelia was referred to as a widow when she married again. Her second husband was John Mullison, bachelor, who she married on 7th April 1831 at St Giles' church, Colchester, Essex(2). How she came to be living in Colchester and whether she had relocated there before Samuel's death is unclear. She was referred to as being 'of this parish' in the marriage register.
On the 1841 census Emily[sic], 55, and John Mullison, 60, a boiler maker, can be seen living on Woolwich Road, Woolwich Dockyard, Greenwich. Neither are referred to as being 'born in county'(6)
John Mallison[sic] died aged 68 on 20th June 1849 in East Street, Greenwich. He was buried on 25th June 1849 at St Alphege, Greenwich(7).
The 1851 census provides the clue that allows us to 'find' Amelia to begin with. She is in the household of her sister Ruth and brother-in-law William Fleming at 8 Marshall Grove, Woolwich Dockyard. She is referred to as Amelia Mollison, 69, a nursemaid, widow, and sister, born in Haverhill, Suffolk (8). This allows us to link her in with a place in the wider Whiting family.
The next year, Amelia was admitted to Kent Asylum on 10th April 1852(9). This was based at Oakwood Hospital, Maidstone.
Knowing that she was at Oakwood Hospital allows us to roll the dice and track down her patient records at the Asylum. We get lucky, because they provide an interesting and quite detailed bio for her, not only of her final days but of her background, too (10). So, if you have any ancestors who were at Oakwood Hospital, be sure to check out this valuable resource at Kent History and Library Centre, Maidstone.
A transcript of Amelia's patient records from Oakwood Hospital are as follows:
From Woolwich - Admitted April 10 1852.
Age 72. Widow. No Children. Can read only.
Was a Baptist but has since joined the Wesleyans.
Has suffered from Dropsy during the past winter
and has only recovered about 4 weeks.
Duration of the insanity 3 weeks.
Symptoms ----- She saw evil spirits – witches, animals etc., Keeping from her bed during two whole nights and destroying most of her clothing. An alternately mild and violent temper – imagines herself some great person, and takes the names of celebrated scripture characters. Is not suicidal or dangerous to others. Is destructive, dirty in her habits and noisy. And her memory is impaired by the attack.
Cause not known. She has not been of intemperate habits nor suffered from poverty. Had a brother insane who died in the L. Asylum at Bethnal Green (her husband was sometimes deranged)
January 1853. A case of acute mania.
The symptoms have been moderate in intensity but very much marked. The above description of her state on admission was found to be very correct and remained applicable thereto for some time after. A gradual subsidence has however taken place and she seems convalescent.
She has suffered from bronchitic affection.
January 28 1853. She remained as before but with a growing dementia. In the beginning of February she was seized with severe continued epilepsy with apoplectic coma which continued until the 5th on which day she died. A post mortem examination disclosed general congestion and softening of the brain"
It is interesting that Amelia had been a baptist and also a Wesleyan - non-conformism was a feature of earlier Whitings in Haverhill. Her brother was supposed to have died at Bethnal Green Lunatic Asylum, and this can only have referred to James Whiting as Robert Whiting died in 1821 at Stowage, Greenwich. Whether this is true or not is open to debate; nothing has been found to back this up.
Amelia died aged 72 on 5th February 1853 and was buried on 9th February 1853 at All Saints, Maidstone, Kent (3,4).
(1) London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; Reference Number: P78/ALF/034. www.ancestry.co.uk
(2) Essex Record Office. Marriage Registers of St Giles, Colchester. D/P 324/1/18. www.essexarchivesonline.co.uk
(3) Death Register, 1st Quarter 1853, Maidstone District, Vol 2a Page 289.
(4) Kent Family History Society, Maidstone All Saints burials 1838-1907 (plus 5 1977-89)
(5) London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; Reference Number: p97/mry/026, p.263. www.ancestry.co.uk
(6) 1841 Census. Woolwich Rd, Woolwich Dockyard, Greenwich, Kent. Class: HO107; Piece: 493; Book: 4; Civil Parish: Charlton Next Woolwich; County: Kent; Enumeration District: 4; Folio: 21; Page: 35; Line: 15; GSU roll: 306884. www.ancestry.co.uk
(7) London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; Reference Number: P78/ALF/075, p.3. www.ancestry.co.uk
(8) 1851 Census, 8 Marshall's Grove, Woolwich Dockyard, Greenwich. Class: HO107; Piece: 1588; Folio: 112; Page: 50; GSU roll: 174825. www.ancestry.co.uk
(9) The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Lunacy Patients Admission Registers; Class: MH 94; Piece: 15. www.ancestry.co.uk
(10) MH/Md2, NRA 15203 Oakwood Hospital, 1829-1986: administrative records, financial records, staff records, patient and clinical records