Frank Whiting 1851-1934

Frank and Emma

Frank (right), and George Wills

(father of Frank's son Bennett's wife Lillian)

Marriage certificate - with permission: GRO

Grave of Frank and Emma at Haverhill Cemetery.

Parents: David Whiting and Elizabeth Buttle (1,2)
Born: 11th October 1851 in Burton End, Haverhill. (1,2)
Baptised: 4th January 1852 at St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill.(1)
Married: Emma Spicer, 18, spinster of Haverhill, (step)daughter of George Wills(?), 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: 6th April 1934 at 21 Broad Street, Haverhill. Buried on 11th April 1934 at Haverhill Cemetery. (4,5)

Bio: Frank Whiting was born in Burton End, Haverhill, and appears first on the 1861 census living with his parents and brothers and sisters. He is working as an agricultural labourer at 10 years old; starting work while young was not uncommon in those days. He appears again in Burton End on the 1871 census, working as a farm labourer with his father and brother James.

Later In 1871 he marries Emma Spicer, who was the illegitimate child of Sophia Spicer who as far as I know went on to marry George Iron. Emma lists George Wills(?) as her father on their marriage certificate, which I can't make sense of.

Gurteen's records show that Frank started work there on 11th December 1872, and by the 1881 census we find him working there as a factory hand cloth cutter living in Chauntry Row, Haverhill. 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 (which my grandmother can be seen standing in front of on the home page) was one of two semi-detached houses known as 'Jessamine Cottages', and was built in 1888. Frank would have been one of the very first, if not the first owner. 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.

This 1911 census is interesting because it lists the total number of children a married couple have had. 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.

My Grandmother Lorna could remember her Grandfather Frank when she was a child, and he could be quite mischevious by all accounts. Apparently he had a small-holding at Puddlebrook, on which he grew vegetables and kept chickens. At some stage he had a lad who worked the land for him, and she remembers how Frank once sent him down to Atterton & Ellis' store in town to buy some 'post holes'. I'm sure the staff had some fun letting the joke run before eventually giving him what he needed to dig the holes himself.

Frank was a keen drummer in one of the local brass bands, and he kept the drum under his bed. My Grandmother recounted how Emma had told her that one night she had woken up to find Frank playing the drums on her in his sleep!

Lorna also remembered being sent round to collect rent for Frank as it seems he had other property in town. Although not rich, it looks like he was certainly doing well enough to ensure his sons had a good start in life. As it turned out, Bennett, the youngest, would eventually make enough money to be classed a millionaire by modern standards at least.

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. Probate was granted on 22nd May 1934 to Walter Cracknell, secretary - effects of £255.(6)


(1) Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds, Parish Registers of St Mary's Church, Haverhill. Fiche 578/4/p11 of 37
(2) Birth Register. 1st Quarter 1852, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 353
(3) Marriage Register. 2nd Quarter 1871, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 580
(4) Death Register. 2nd Quarter 1934, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 974
(5) Haverhill Cemetery, Ref.4947.
6), National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations).