Emma Spicer 1852-1926

Parents:      Sophia Spicer, father unknown. (1,2)
Born:           2nd January 1852 in Union House, Haverhill. (1,2)
Baptised:    22nd January 1853 at St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill.(1)
Married:       Frank Whiting, 19, batchelor, labourer, of Haverhill, son of David Whiting, labourer, on 11th May 1871 at St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill. Witnessed by George and Ellen Whybrow(3)
Children:     ? died aged 1 day, buried 25th October 1871, Sophia Whiting b.1874 died in infancy, ? stillborn, buried 28th December 1875, ? stillborn, buried 4th January 1877, ? stillborn, buried 13th September 1878, Arthur Whiting b.1880, Frank Whiting b.1882, Bennett Whiting b.1883, ? stillborn, buried on 1st January 1886 and ? stillborn, buried on 11th March 1887.
Died:             13th December 1926 at 21 Broad Street, Haverhill. Buried on 18th December 1926 at Haverhill Cemetery. (4,5)


Bio:               There seems to be two baptismal entries for Emma Spicer, daughter of Sophia, in the parish registers. Either she had an older sister who died in infancy or she could have been baptised twice? The latter seems a little unlikely.

Whichever, it is clear that she was 'base-born' (she was illegitmate) in the Union House in Haverhill. This was the work-house in town wich predated the Risbridge Union in Kedington. It looks like Emma had a brother, Frederick, who was also a base-born child of Sophia's born on 6th Jan 1855 at Union House.(1) It seems he died in infancy.(7)

It's hard to trace Emma's early years, but I strongly suspect her mother is the Sophia Spicer who married George Iron in 1856(6) and Emma is living with them as Emma Iron on the 1861 census in Clements Lane, Haverhill. This would make sense as her age is correct and shows she would have been born before her mother's marriage. She has two younger half-sisters Mary Ann and Eliza Iron. The Iron family are boarding with John and Mary Whiting.

Emma's mother Sophia died in 1871 and the The Ipswich Journal describes it thus: 'IRON - 18th inst., (February) at Haverhill, after a long illness, Sophia, the wife of George Iron, of this place, aged 37 years.'(8) On the census shortly after George appears as a widow.

 We see Emma living in Burton End on the 1871 census as a boarder of Robert and Mary Ann Freeman and their family. Robert is a cloth cutter. Emma is working as a cotton weaver. 

Later In 1871 she marries Frank Whiting. She gives the name of her father as 'George Wills' on the marriage certificate, which is something I can't reconcile. As far as I know George Iron was her step-father, and we know she was illegitimate.

It turns out that Emma's half-sister Eliza went on to marry Henry Whiting, who was Frank's cousin.

On the 1881 census Emma and Frank are living in Chauntry Row, Haverhill. Frank is a factory hand cloth cutter, and Emma is working as a trousers maker. They have one son, Arthur, and two boarders, Harriet Iron, 20 (who was Emma's half-sister) and David Manfield, 25, who both work at the factory too.

The 1891 census finds the family living at 7 Chauntry Row. The boarders are gone, replaced with two more sons, Frank and Bennett. Frank is still working as a cloth cutter. The family moved to 21 Broad Street at some point over the next ten years, and this is where Frank and Emma would remain for the rest of their lives. 21 Broad Street was one of two semi-detached houses known as 'Jessamine Cottages', and was built in 1888. 

We see Frank at this address on the 1901 census. He is a tailors cutter, and his son Arthur is a commercial clerk, Frank Jnr is also a tailors cutter, and Bennett is a grocers assistant.

From the 1911 census we find out that Frank and Emma had 7 children that were stillborn or that died in infancy. Arthur and Bennett had moved out by the time of this census, but Frank Jnr remained at number 21 with his wife Effie (nee Cowell), and we see them living together with Frank and Emma.

Emma died before Frank, on 13th December 1926 and was buried at Haverhill Cemetery. Frank himself reached the age of 82 and died on 6th April 1934 at 21 Broad Street.


(1) Suffolk Baptism Index, SFHS, Clare Deanery 1813-1900
(2) Birth Register. 2nd Quarter 1852, Risbridge District, Voumel 4a Page 359 - 'female Spicer'
(3) Marriage Register. 2nd Quarter 1871, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 580
(4) Death Register. 4th Quarter 1926, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 900
(5) Haverhill Cemetery, Ref.4503. http://www.haverhill-uk.com/pages/burial-records-137.htm
(6) Marriage Register. 3rd Quarter 1856, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 523  
(7) Death Register. 1st Quarter 1855, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 297
(8) The Ipswich Journal, Saturday, 25th February 1871, issue 6880, Birth, Death and Marriage Notices.