Boaz Whiting 1839-1911

Parents: Joseph Whiting and Rebecca Cole (1)
Born: 8th January 1839 in Haverhill.(1)
Baptised: 16th June 1840, St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill. At this time he is living with his parents in the Poor House. (1)
Married (1): Harriet Hughes, 25, spinster, of 39 Curtain Road on 2nd November 1862 at St James Church, Shoreditch. Witnessed by Joseph Whiting and Ann Whiting.(2,3)
Children: None.
Married (2): Emma Challis, 34, spinster of Bethnal Green, daughter of David Challis, weaver, deceased, on 12th February 1866 at St James the Great, Bethnal Green. witnessed by Edmund Whiting and Ellen Whiting. (4,5)
Children: Mary Ann Whiting, b.1867
Married (3): Elizabeth Marsh, 44, spinster, of 19 Burton End, daughter of James Marsh, on 7th March 1893 at St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill. Witnessed by William Nunn and Mary Ann Marsh.(13,25)
Children: None.
Married (4): Emma Kiddy, 32, spinster, daughter of George Kiddy, labourer, deceased, on 19th November 1900 at St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill.
Witnessed by H F Thake and M A Marsh.(16,17)
Children: None.
Died: 4th October 1911, of cardiac valvular disease, at the Union Workhouse, Kedington. Buried at Haverhill Cemetery on 9th October 1911.(18,19,27)

Bio: Boaz was born on the 8th January 1839 in Haverhill, the son of Joseph Whiting, a drabbett weaver, and Rebecca Cole.

He grew up in Burton End, although it appears he spent some time in the Poor House in his first year. He features on the 1841 census living with his parents and siblings but on the 1851 census he appears to be missing, although there is a child of the same age living with the family who's name looks like 'Lot', or 'Liz' and is listed as a daughter. This is either going to be Catherine Elizabeth, or it could be a census taker's error and is in fact Boaz.

The next sighting of Boaz is on the 1861 census. The family have now moved to Bethnal Green, and Boaz is living with his father, mother and brothers at 2 Mount Square. They have a lodger, Harriet Hughes, who Boaz obviously took a shine to as they were to marry the following year. He is working as a shoemaker.

It appears Harriet dies in 1865(6), and Boaz marries again the year after to Emma Challis, who was born on 23rd June 1832 in Crowland, Haverhill, to David and Mary Challis.(21) What is strange is that the marriage entry(4) gives his name as 'William'. The reasons that I am convinced 'William' is Boaz are that he is listed as a widower, his father is named as Joseph - a labourer (which tallies with the fact that Boaz' father was doing casual work at this time; he is listed as dock worker on the 1861 census) and Boaz/William's occupation is listed as Shoemaker. Also, the marriage is witnessed by Edmund Whiting, who was living with Boaz and his parents around this time, and Ellen who was their younger sister. All this is enough for me, but does little to help us understand why he was married as 'William'!

By 1871 the census shows that Boaz, still a shoemaker, is living back in Crowland, Haverhill with Emma and children Mary Ann and Frank Challis. Frank Challis, who was 13, is Emma's son from a previous relationship. Mary Ann was born in Bethnal Green in late 1867.

In 1879 Boaz made the paper after a bout of heavy drinking. Whether this was out of character or not is hard to tell, but he certainly showed remorse. This account is in The Bury and Norwich Press of 26th August: 'Boaz Whiting, of Haverhill, shoemaker, was charged with being drunk and disorderly in the Camps road, on the 16th. Defendant pleaded guilty, and expressed much sorrow at what had happened: he would never do so again, and begged for time for the payment. - Fined 10s 6d, costs 9s 6d; allowed a month, in default (of) 14 days.'(22)

At the time of the 1881 census Boaz is still living in Haverhill, this time in Union Square, with his wife, daughter and step son. It seems that Mary Ann is the only child Boaz had with any of his wives.

Although he plied the same trade as his brother Jesse, lived nearby, and they both drank at the Royal Standard beer house, it seems they had an on-running feud and the occasional bout of fisticuffs was not unheard of! Jesse was charged with assaulting Boaz in 1889 (see Jesse's page) and three years earlier they had got into a similar scuffle.

By 1891, the children have left home and Boaz is living with Emma at 19 Burton End, still employed as a shoemaker. Mary Ann had married George Marsh earlier that year,(10) and Frank had married Mahala Mynott of Shudy Camps on 26 December 1881.(11,12)

Boaz' wife Emma died of cardiac disease aged 60 on 22nd October 1892 at 19 Burton End, and Boaz was present at the death. She was buried at Haverhill Cemetery on 27th October 1892. (8,9)

By the start of next year, Boaz was married to wife number three, Elizabeth Marsh. She was 44 years of age, and according to the parish marriage register(25) was the daughter of James Marsh. At the time of their marriage she was living with Boaz at 19 Burton End. She had an illegitimate daughter, Kate Marsh. They spend seven years together, until Elizabeth dies aged 50 of cirrhosis of the liver on 26th September 1900 at 27 Burton End. Boaz was present at the death. She was buried at Haverhill Cemetery on 1st October 1900.(14,15)

Not being one to hang around, Boaz is married for the fourth and last time to Emma Kiddy (just over half his age at 32) a month later. (16,17)

On the 1901 census, Boaz is living at 144 Burton End next door to his brother Jesse, also a shoemaker. Emma appears to have four children who are living with them. They are Emily Kiddy, 12, Annie, 10, Rose, 7, and Albert, 4. Also living with them is Kate Marsh, the illegitimate daughter of Boaz' previous wife, and Edward Kiddy who I believe is Emma's elder brother.

The fact that he had a wife who was almost half his age coupled with the fact that he liked his drink a bit too much seems to have caused Boaz no end of problems as the newspaper report from the Cambridge Daily News of 10th July 1901 testifies to:

"Burton End Assault.

John Shipp, brickmaker, Haverhill, was summoned for assaulting Boaz Whiting, at Haverhill on 24th June. - Defendant pleaded not guilty.

Complainant stated that on the 24th June between eleven and twelve o'clock at night, he saw his wife going up Primrose-hill with a man named Beavis and the defendant. He followed his wife up the road, and told her to go home. He also told her that she was not doing what was right. Beavis then turned round and swore at him, telling him to go away. Witness, however, still followed, and when they reached the next meadow the defendant struck him three times. They had been drinking with his wife during the whole of the afternoon. Witness got out of their road as well as he could, as he dare not do much but look after himself. They only wanted to get rid of him. His wife was out all night with some men.

By defendant: His wife did not strike him.

Defendant, on being sworn, stated that when he left work on the afternoon in question, about six o'clock, he went to the Australian Arms, where he met Beavis and complainant's wife. They stayed there until between nine and ten o'clock. They went up Burton-end, and were in John Whiting's until eleven o'clock. Witness came down Burton-end with Harry Beavis, who turned up Primrose-hill, part of which road witness also went with him, afterwards coming down again and going home. Boaz Whiting, and his wife were walking up Primrose-hill. He did not know if they were walking in a friendly way or not. Witness did not go as far as Greensfields, neither did he strike complainant on the side of the head. He did not see any blood on Whiting's face. Complainant's wife struck him, when they were fighting in Burton-end, before they went to Primrose-hill. Witness was not the worse for drink, and he could not say whether the others were or not. He was a married man, and he went to Primrose-hill to try and get Beavis home.

George Kiddy gave evidence to the effect that defendant never struck Whiting. Complainant's wife struck him in witness's house when he came in and tried to 'lug her about' by the hair of her head. Complainant's wife struck him on the side of the head. He fell and cut his eye. This happened between 10 and 11 o'clock. His sister (complainant's wife) was sober, but complainant was very drunk.

A further summons, preferred by Boaz Whiting against Harry Beavis, labourer, Haverhill, for assaulting him on the 24th June was then gone into. - Defendant pleaded not guilty.

Complainant, after recounting most of the evidence given in the previous case, stated that defendant said to him 'If you don't go back, I will kill you'. This occurred in Greensfields. He followed up the threat by trying to strike witness, but he got out of the way as well as he could.

Defendant was sworn, and said he went into Greensfields with complainant's wife between 11 and 12 o'clock on the 24th June. John Shipp was not there, although he went part of the way up Primrose-hill. He did not threaten the complainant that night, neither did he hold up his hand in a threatening manner.

The Chairman stated that Shipp would be fined 10s and 7s 6d costs, while the case against Beavis would be dismissed".

To say that Boaz' younger fourth wife Emma was feisty, is probably an understatement. On the night of 4th January 1903 she was to be seen and heard, drunk as a skunk, telling the whole of Haverhill what she thought of them at the top of her voice in the middle of the High-Street. Needless to say, the local police officer on the beat didn't take too kindly to this behaviour and she found herself up before the magistrates a short while later.

The Cambridge Daily News of 12th January 1903 reported the events as follows:

"Emma Whiting, a married woman, of Haverhill, was summoned for being drunk and disorderly, at Haverhill, on January 4th. - Defendant pleaded not guilty. P.C. Oldring stated that about quarter-past ten on the night of January the 4th he was standing near Bigmore's corner, when he heard the defendant coming down High-Street. As soon as she saw him she began abusing him. She was shouting at the top of her voice, and was drunk. He asked her to go home, and as she refused, he took her a little way up Camps-road. She then followed him right up Burton End, still shouting. Next day he had several complaints about her. What she said could be heard a hundred yards away. She said she did not care about the new Act.

[Emma was referring to the Licensing Act of 1902 which had a clause about the 'Prohibition of sale of liquor to persons declared to be habitual drunkards'(29)]

She could get her beer in spite of that.

- Defendant, in a long voluble statement, denied being drunk.

Boaz Whiting, shoemaker, her husband, said his wife was not drunk. They had only one pint of beer. She did not make a noise, but talked to the policeman. - Supt. Bardwell said defendant was accusing the policeman of giving a false oath at Clare.

- The Chairman said that there were four convictions for similar offences against the defendant.

- Defendant: It was only done for spite. Why don't they do their duty and take those who go to public houses and get drunk three or four times a week.

- The Chairman: You will be fined 5s and 7s 6d costs, or 14 days.

- Defendant: I'll take the 14 days, gentlemen.

- Supt. Bardwell said it should be known that publicans would be cautioned against serving defendant. If they did so, they were open to conviction.

- The Chairman: They will be careful about these habitual drunkards."(28)

Boaz appears in the Collector's report books of the Risbridge Poor Law Union on several occasions. On 1st January 1904, the collector, Arthur H. Debenham, states 'I have received from Boaz Whiting the sum of 6/- during the quarter, the amount due to the board of guardians would be 26/-'. Again on 26th February 1904 'Boaz Whiting is not paying anything towards his childrens maintenance, 36/- due'(20). It seems Boaz had fallen on hard times.

The creed register of Risbridge Union Workhouse gives details of his admission and discharge up until his death. He had spells in the workhouse from 7/4/02 to 23/4/02 when his wife Emma and her children Annie, Rose and Albert were also admitted. His wife and step-children returned there from 23/4/02 to 3/5/02.

For the next few years Boaz was back and forth like a fiddlers elbow, staying there from 21/9/03 to 26/9/03, 1/3/04 to 7/3/04, 8/4/04 to 5/5/04, 9/9/04 to 20/2/05, 16/10/06 to 10/11/06, 16/7/07 to 12/8/07, 30/12/07 to 1/4/08, 2/7/08 to 9/9/08 and 20/10/08 to 13/9/10.(26)

Boaz spent longer periods in there during the last two years of his life, from 24/9/10 to 6/1/11 and 22/9/11 until his death on 4th October 1911.(27)

The dates in the creed records suggest that Boaz should appear somewhere outside of the workhouse on the 1911 census but I have been unable to trace him. We do know that he died there of cardiac valvular disease on 4th October 1911, however. Afterwards he was laid to rest in Haverhill Cemetery.

My suspicion is that after Boaz' death, Emma went to live in Poole with her daughter Emily, who married a Whiting herself - Arthur, the son of Thomas Whiting.

An Emma Whiting is recorded as having married a Henry Arnold here in 1920.(23) She died in 1940 and would have been of the correct age to be Boaz' wife.

Another piece of evidence that Emma and some of her Kiddy children moved to Poole is that when Arthur and Emily's son George died at the age of 18 in 1945 he is recorded as having lived at 1 Blue Boar Row, Poole. Also at this address, dying in the same year, is an Albert Kiddy who was of the correct age to be Emma's son.(24)

Thanks to Sheila Marsh for extra information on Boaz and his wives from birth and death certificates


(1) Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds, Parish Registers of St Mary's Church, Haverhill. Fiche 578/4/p10 of 37
(2) London Metropolitan Archives, Saint James, Bermondsey, Register of marriages, P71/JS, Item 015
(3) Marriage Register. 4th Quarter 1862, Shoreditch district, Volume 1c, Page 331.
(4) London Metropolitan Archives, Saint James The Great, Bethnal Green, Register of marriages, P72/JSG, Item 022
(5) Marriage Register. 1st Quarter 1866, Bethnal Green district, Volume 1c, Page 469.
(6) Death Register. 3rd Quarter 1865, Bethnal Green district, Volume 1c, Page 185 or 212.
(7) Birth Register. 4th Quarter 1867, Islington district, Volume 1b, Page 364. (incorrect birth details.)
(8) Haverhill Cemetery, Ref.1973.
(9) Death Register. 4th Quarter 1892, Risbridge district, Volume 4a Page 35?
(10) Birth Register. 1st Quarter 1891, Risbridge district, Volume 4a Page 821.
(11) Cambridge Family History Society, Transcriptions of the Parish Registers of Shudy Camps. Banns & Marriages at St Mary's Church.
(12) Marriage Register. 4th Quarter 1881, Linton district, Volume 3b Page 1129.
(13) Marriage Register. 1st Quarter 1893, Risbridge district, Volume 4a Page 697.
(14) Haverhill Cemetery, Ref. 2651.
(15) Death Register. 3rd Quarter 1900, Risbridge district, Volume 4a Page 481.
(16) Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds, Parish Registers of St Mary's Church, Haverhill. Fiche 578/4/p28 of 37
(17) Marriage Register. 4th Quarter 1900, Risbridge district, Volume 4a Page 1434.
(18) Haverhill Cemetery, Ref. 3544.
(19) Death Register. 4th Quarter 1911, Risbridge district, Volume 4a Page 861.
(20) Suffolk Record Office, Bury St Edmunds branch, 2746/4/3, Risbridge Poor Law Union, Collector's report books.
(21) SFHS, Suffolk Baptism Index, Clare Deanery 1813-1900.
(22) The Bury and Norwich Post, Tuesday, 26th August, 1879, p.8, issue 5070, C19th Century British Library Newspapers: part II.
(23) Marriage Register. 3rd Quarter 1920, Poole District, Volume 5a Page 816.
(24) Dorset Deaths and Burials, Hamworthy 1940-49, 15, PE/HMY: RE 3/2.
(25) Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds, Parish Registers of St Mary's Church, Haverhill, 1892-1924, FL578/4/19
(26) Suffolk Record Office, Bury St Edmunds branch, 2746/2/17, Risbridge Poor Law Union, Creed Register.
(27) Suffolk Record Office, Bury St Edmunds branch, 2746/2/18, Risbridge Poor Law Union, Creed Register.
(28) Cambridge Daily News, 12 January 1903, p.3,