Amos Jonas Whiting 1858-1935

Image of Amos Whiting from photo of Gurteens longest serving employees in 1920.

Courtesy of Haverhill Local History Group. (a head has been edited out from bottom left of image)

Gravestone at Haverhill Cemetery.

Parents: John Whiting and Susannah Pilcher.(1)
Born: 14th February 1858 at Chauntry Croft, Haverhill.(1,2)
Baptised: 2nd January 1859 at St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill.(1)
Married: Eliza Willis, 21, spinster, of Orchard Place, Haverhill, daughter of George Willis, Factory hand, on 8th May 1881 at the Old Independent Church, Haverhill.(3)
Children: Ethel May Whiting b.1881 and Winifred Grace Whiting b.1890
Died: 1st September 1935. Buried on 4th September 1935 at Haverhill Cemetery.(4,5)

Bio: Amos appears on the 1861 census living with parents John and Susannah and brother and sisters in Chauntry Croft, Haverhill. He is there again on the 1871 census, working as a cotton weaver alongside his elder brother Horace Odessa. For the 1881 census we find him living in Eden Road. He is a factory hand living with his father (now a widower) and remaining siblings. Odessa had been killed the previous year in a factory accident.

Soon after, Amos (who appears as Jonas on later censuses) was married to Eliza Willis, a factory hand, most likely working alongside him at Gurteen's factory. The event took place at the Old Independent Church, Haverhill, on 8th May 1881.

The are living at 7 Nunn's Yard, Haverhill, on the 1891 census. Amos is still a factory hand, and they have two daughters Ethel May and Winifred Grace.

It appears Amos was very active within the community - he is mentioned in The Ipswich Journal of 8th March 1889 as being present at a meeting at Haverhill Town Hall to support the candidacy of Mr W Atterton for seat on the West Suffolk County Council.(6)

At the time of the 1901 census, Amos and Family are living at 22 Burton End, Haverhill, and he is working as a framer at the winding and warping department (presumably of Gurteen's). Eliza is working as a cotton winder, and their eldest daughter Ethel is a schoolteacher.

On the 1911 census Amos (more familiarly known as Jonas) is living at 22 Shepherd's Cottages, Haverhill with Eliza. He has obviously worked his way up to a position of responsibility at Gurteen's, where he is now an 'Over Looker in Linen and Cottons manufacture'.

Amos was the treasurer of the West End Congregational Church Sunday School from 1897 until 1928, and when he retired from the post an article about his time there appeared in the South West Suffolk Echo of 19 January 1929.
'...Mr Unwin (the superintendent) reviewed the work of Mr Whiting from 1897 to 1928, his record including four years as teacher, 25 years as Branch Superintendent at the Burton End School, this being from 1901 to 1926, and 27 years as Treasurer. The speaker paid special testimony to the good work put in by Mr Whiting at the Burton End School for so many years, and then, on behalf of the teachers and officers, asked him to accept an address and a hansdome armchair... Mr Whiting, who was cordially received on rising to make his response, thanked all concerned most sincerely for their kind present, which he assured them he should always value very much indeed. He gave a survey of the work done by the Burton End school, where had spent many pleasant years. If at any time it should happen that the West End School required his services temporarily, he would be only too pleased to give whatever help he could.'

On the 16th May 1931, the South West Suffolk Echo ran an article commemorating Amos and Eliza's golden wedding anniversary: 'GOLDEN WEDDING. - Mr and Mrs Jonas Whiting, of 22, Vine Cottages, recently celebrated their golden wedding, for it was on May 8th, 1881, that they were married at the Old Independent Church, the Rev. John Cottingham, officiating. Mr and Mrs Whiting are natives of the town, where they have resided all their lives. Mr Whiting has been well to the fore in various directions, having been prominently identified with Sunday School work, having held offices in connection with the 'Vine' Lodge of Ancient Shepherds, and having served also as a member of the Urban District Council. For the lengthy period of 60 years he was employed by Messrs. D Gurteen and Sons, Ltd., and for some time prior to his retirement about three years ago, he was a foreman in the textile weaving department. To mark the auspicious occasion now reached, the happy pair were the recipients of several presents, including a glass bowl of golden coloured irises from Mr and Mrs D. M. Gurteen, and a bouquet of tulips from Miss C Grace Gurteen. A wedding cake was made and presented by relatives, viz., Messrs. John Walker and Sons, of London.'

Amos was to live until 1935, and according to the probate records he died at 22 Vine Cottages, Haverhill, on 1st September. He was buried in Haverhill Cemetery where his grave is one of the most prominent and easy to find of the Whitings. As you pass the chapel coming up from the Withersfield Road entrance, the grave is just off the path on your right (see picture on left - click to enlarge).

The Essex Chronicle of Friday, 6th September 1935 carried a short obituary notice which gives us an idea of his standing within the town: 'The Funeral took place at Haverhill on wednesday of Mr Jonas Whiting, whose death at the age of 77 occurred on Sunday at Vine Cottages. Mr Whiting was for many years a departmental foreman in the textile factory of Messrs. D Gurteen and Sons, Ltd. He was for a time a member of the Urban District Council, and for 31 years a Sunday School worker. At the West End Congregational Church he was treasurer for 27 years, and for 25 was superintendent of the Burton End branch school.'(7)

After Amos' death, probate was granted on 11th October to his wife Eliza, and also Ethel May Pannell (his daughter was now the wife of Charles Pannell). Effects were £485 4s 1d.

Eliza was to die three years later and is commemorated on the same stone.


(1) Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds, Parish Registers of St Mary's Church, Haverhill. Fiche 578/4/p12 of 37
(2) Birth Register. 1st Quarter 1858, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 380
(3) Marriage Register. 2nd Quarter 1881, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 686
(4) Death Register. 3rd Quarter 1935, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 827
(5) Haverhill Cemetery, Ref.5027.
(6) The Ipswich Journal, Friday, March 8, 1889; Issue 9173. C19th British Library Newspapers.
(7) The Essex Chronicle, Friday, September 6, 1935. p10