Emma Cole 1843-1915

Parents: James Cole and Harriet Pannell
Born: 1843 in Haverhill.
Baptised: ?
Married: Moses Whiting, batchelor, weaver of Burton End, Haverhill, son of John Whiting, weaver, on 21st February 1863 at St Mary's Church, Haverhill. Witnessed by Frederick and Eliza Cowle.(2,3)
Children: William Whiting b.1864, Ellen Whiting b.1866, Alice Whiting b.1868, John Whiting b.1870, ? - stillborn 1872(4), ? - stillborn 1873(5), and James Whiting b.1874 died 1876.
Died: August 1915. Buried at Haverhill Cemetery on 31st August 1915.(4,5)

Bio: Emma was born in 1843 in Burton End, and was the eldest child of James Cole, carpenter, and Harriet Pannell, weaver, who had married in the same year.(7)

The fact that there doesn't appear to be an Emma Cole who's birth is registered in the Risbridge district around this time, but there was an Emma Pannel registered in 1843(1) makes me wonder if she was an illegitimate child of Harriet. I have not been able to find a baptismal entry to back this up.

Emma is present on the 1851 census living in Burton End with her parents, and she now has siblings Eliza, William, James and Harriet. The next census in 1861 finds Emma working as a weaver, like her mother, whilst her father retains his occupation of Carpenter/joiner. Emma has two new siblings, Amelia and Christopher.

In 1863, Emma married Moses, also a weaver, and also living in Burton End. They were to remain there, and we see them complete with family on the 1871 census. They are both silk weavers and they now have children William, Emma, Alice and John. Emma's sister Amelia is visiting them.

Tragedy was to strike the household in 1876 when Moses took leave of his senses and murdered his two year old son James with a billhook. (see Moses Whiting)

Although this must have been devastating for Emma, life did not stop as she had her children to look after and being in no way implicated I imagine she would have received a great deal of sympathy - indeed, at the inquest 'at the suggestion of the Foreman a subscription was started in aid of the prisoner's wife, who is left with three children.'(6)

Emma never remarried, but always had the support of her children and on the 1881 census we see that she is the head of the family in Burton End, still working as a silk weaver with her four children living alongside her. She lives at 42 Burton End on the 1891 census, and her two sons William and John are living with her. Also present is Annie Cowle, who is her niece.

At the time of the 1901 census, she is living with her son William and his family at 76 Burton End. She is listed here as a retired silk weaver. On the 1911 census she was living with her daughter Alice, now married to William Radford, at 17 Burton End. As a stark reminder that she was never actually divorced from Moses, she is listed as married here.

Emma stayed in Haverhill until her death in 1915, and she was buried in Haverhill Cemetery on 31st August 1915.(5)


(1) Birth Register. 4th Quarter 1843, Risbridge district, Volume 12 Page 394
(2) Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds, Parish Registers of St Mary's Church, Haverhill. Fiche 578/4/26 of 37
(3) Marriage Register. 1st Quarter 1863, Risbridge district, Volume 4a Page 448
(4) Death Register. 3rd Quarter 1915, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 788
(5) Haverhill Cemetery, Ref. 3862. http://www.haverhill-uk.com/pages/burial-records-137.htm
(6) Extract from The Ipswich Journal, Tuesday 26th September 1876, issue 7461.(7) Marriage Register. 2nd Quarter 1843, Risbridge District, Volume 12 Page 518