Emma Deborah Barber 1851-1886

Parents: George Barber and Martha Webb
Born: 1851 in Haverhill (1)
Baptised: ?
Married: Thomas Whiting, 22, Batchelor, Hawker, of Haverhill, son of Harry Farrant, labourer, on 22nd February 1870 at St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill. Witnessed by Henry Ship and Esther Barber.(2,3) Children: Jane Barber Whiting b.1871 died in infancy, Harry Whiting b.1876, Arthur Whiting b.1877 died in infancy, Frederick Whiting b.1878 and Arthur Whiting b.1880.
Died: August 1886. Buried at Haverhill Cemetery on 22nd May 1886.(5,6)

Bio: Emma appears as a two month old child on the 1851 census living with her parents George and Martha in Peas Hill, Haverhill. For the 1861 census the family have moved to Downs Lane, Haverhill, and Emma is the eldest of four children. She married Thomas Whiting in 1870, but remained living with her parents which is where we see her again on the 1871 census living in Duck Lane, Haverhill. She has a child, Jane, who is also staying with the Barbers. It is clear that Thomas had money problems - his occupation as a hawker (a peddlar of goods, not an especially reputable occupation) on his marriage entry alludes to this, as well as the fact that he could not afford a roof over the heads of his young wife and daughter. These problems culminated with Emma becoming 'chargeable to the common fund of the Risbridge Union'(4) in late 1871, something which Thomas had to go to the petty sessions for and receive a fine along with the stigma of not being able to provide for his family.

Their daughter Jane had died in infancy shortly Emma's admission to the workhouse, but Emma went on to have three boys with Thomas who must have found the means to provide for his wife and sons for on the 1881 census we see them residing as lodgers of Eliza Page, widow, in Crowland Road, Haverhill. He is working as an agricultural labourer.

Thomas was prone to bouts of violence and his behaviour became increasingly erratic as time went on. He had spells in prison, spells in the County Asylum, and there can be no doubt all of this would have put a strain on his marriage - not to mention his assault on her mother in 1880 (see page for Thomas Whiting). In fact, it is likely that he would have been in the Asylum at the time Emma died in 1886. The exact cause of her death cannot be ascertained without having a look at the certificate, but I would hazard a guess that having a husband like Thomas took its toll on her health. She was buried at Haverhill Cemetery on 22nd May 1886.(5,6)


(1) Birth Register. 1st Quarter 1851, Risbridge District, Volume 12 Page 467
(2) Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds, Parish Registers of St Mary's Church, Haverhill. Fiche 578/4/p27of 37
(3) Marriage Register. 1st Quarter 1870, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 497
(4) The Bury and Norwich Post, Tuesday, 3rd October 1871, p.8, issue 4658, C19th British Library Newspapers: part II
(5) Death Register. 2nd Quarter 1886, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 315
(6) Haverhill Cemetery, Ref.1395. http://www.haverhill-uk.com/pages/burial-records-137.htm