James Whiting c.1785-?

Parents:     Robert Whiting and Mary Hazlewood(1)
Born:          c.1785
Baptised:   10th April 1785 at the St Mary's Church, Haverhill (1)                  
Married:      Amelia Walton, spinster, on 14th August 1808 at St Alphege, Greenwich. Witnessed by Ruth Dorrington and James Smith (2)  
Children:    James Robert Whiting b.3 Nov 1809(6), Elizabeth Amelia Whiting b.5 Jan 1812, Mary Whiting b.17 Jun 1814, Henry Thomas Whiting b.16 Nov 1816
Died:           Unknown


Bio:             James Whiting was the second surviving son of Robert Whiting and Mary Hazlewood and was baptised at St Mary's Church, Haverhill, on 10th April 1785. James made the transition from Haverhill to Woolwich along with his parents and siblings.

James Whiting married Amelia Walton on 14th August 1808 at St Alphege's Church, Greenwich. His surname appears to be spelt 'Whitling' or 'Withing' here, but confirmation that this is 'our' James is provided by the witness - his youngest sister Ruth, who had married John Dorrington two years before.

The marriage of James Whiting and Amy/Amia/Amelia? Ashton on 22nd January 1797 at St Nicholas' Church, Plumstead, Greenwich(2) can be discounted as being that of 'our' James not only because it is too early given James' baptism in 1785 (this is not on enough on its own, as his sister Ruth appears to have been baptised several years after her birth), but also because of the evidence of the witness to the marriage at St Alphege being James' sister. Also, the children of the Plumstead marriage consistently refer to their mother as 'Amy' on baptism records, rather than 'Amelia'. James and Amelia had a son whose second name Robert provides a connection to James' father, as does James and Amelia's residence as will be shown.

After marrying at St Alphege, James and Amelia had several children who were all baptised at St Mary Magdalene, Woolwich. The baptism register that records the entry of the youngest two children of James and Amelia at St Mary Magdalene gives the abode and occupation of the father and reveals that James was a sawyer who lived at Green Hill, Woolwich. James' father Robert Whiting died in this street in 1837. 

Patients records for James' sister Amelia from Kent Asylum, Oakwood Hospital, Maidstone, suggest that James died in Bethnal Green Lunatic Asylum. Although he is just referred to as a brother of Amelia, it is known that her other brother Robert died elsewhere. Unfortunately patient records for Bethnal Green asylum have not survived from around this time. If James was here it was probably in the White House, a private asylum owned by James Warburton which housed paupers paid for by their parish, or the Red House which was a later addition which became used by male patients from around 1831(5). 

Because the Kent Asylum records probably relied on their patient for the information, and as James is not named specifically, it seems wise to treat them with a pinch-of-salt, at least as far as James' fate is concerned. 

DNA evidence has come to light recently which indicates there is some reason to believe that James and Amelia may, in fact, have emigrated to Canada at some point in the 1820s.

A match between proven descendants of Caleb Thomas Whiting and Daniel Whiting  (kindly flagged up by Judy Stratford) suggests that Caleb Whiting's parents, James and 'Emalia' Whiting.  who appear on the 1851 Census of Ontario, West Canada, in Beckwith, Lanark County, may actually be James Whiting and Amelia Walton.

The 1851 Canada census shows James Whiting, farmer and Wesleyan Methodist, born in England and aged about 60, was living with Emalia Whiting, born in England and aged about 53, church of England, in Beckwith Township. Similar to the English 1841 census, relationships are not specified, but they appear to be a husband and wife living with children who are John Whiting, 22, Charles Whiting, 18, Matilda Whiting, 16, and Caleb Whiting, 15, all of which were said to have been born in Canada(7).

In 1822, there is someone called James Whiting is recorded in Land Petitions of Upper Canada as registering land in Beckwith, Lanark, Ontario(8).
The following information is found in the petition, which is an archived webpage which can be viewed here online: https://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/microform-digitization/006003-119.01-e.php?q2=29&q3=2593&sqn=456&tt=1129&PHPSESSID=npfo6qij0n1rpue06msk2mqnj1 

"Perth Military Settlement, 24th December 1822.
Return of Persons entitled to Patent Grants for the several allotments of Land attached to their names respectively in this Return having performed the terms of settlement.

Name: James Whiting
Description: Royal Navy
Township: Beckwith
Concession: 3
Number of Lot: S. West half ___ 3
Number of Acres: 100
Date of completion of the Prescribed terms of Settlement: 30 September 1820
Total Number of Acres: 100"

There is an earlier mention of a 'James Whiting' in Beckwith land concessions, who may be the same person (there is some suggestion that he exchanged the land he was given initially because of its unsuitability) and this gives us even more information. Crucially, this seems to match the description of 'our' James' wife and baptised children EXACTLY in terms of the other individuals it lists as accompanying him:

"792. James Whiting, seaman, 1 adult male and 1 adult female, 1 male over 12 and 1 male under 12, 2 females under 12, years of service 4 6/12, country England, located Sept. 30, 1817 Beckwith, C3 SW23-exchanged from SW1 in the 3rd Concession Beckwith. Exchanged to SW 3 from (illegible word) A? Fowler, G.F.? " (Ref: National Archives of Canada, MG9 D8-27 Vol Reel C-4651, Transcribed by Christine Meinert Spencer)

James was said to be in the Royal Navy - this needs further investigation. From his children's baptisms, we know that James worked as a sawyer in Woolwich.  The two are certainly not mutually exclusive - the Royal Naval dockyards in Deptford and Woolwich used all manner of skilled workers such as shipwrights, sawyers, coopers and rope makers who were employed by the Crown.

James Whiting's death has not been traced yet, but it looks to have occurred at some point between the 1861 and 1871 Canada censuses.

James and Amelia Whiting appear on the 1861 Canada census in Beckwith, Lanark, Ontario. James is described as a yeoman, 76 years old, born in England and a wesleyan methodist. Amelia was 70, church of England, born in England. Also living there are sons John, 27, Charles, 23, and Matilda. 22 (13)

'Emley Whiton', widow, about 75, Wesleyan Methodist, born in England, appears on the 1871 Canada census in Beckwith, Lanark, Ontario, living with John Whiton, 35, and Matilda Whiton, 37. This would seem to be the same family as on the 1851 and 1861 censuses, although the names and ages appear to be somewhat inaccurate (10).

The death of Amelia Whiting, widow, aged 86, took place on 12 October 1874 in Lanark, Ontario, Canada. The cause of death was old age. By this reckoning, she was born in about 1788. Given that James' known baptism year was 1785, this would seem reasonably accurate(9)

Further confirmation of the Canada connection is supported by death records which seem to show James and Amelia's two sons:
James Robert Whiting  married Martha Hirst, they raised a family and they appear on Canada censuses up to 1891 in Montague, Lanark, Ontario (12).
Henry Thomas Whiting, blacksmith, methodist, born in England, died of apoplexy aged 79 on 26 June 1895 in Newboro' village, Leeds County, Ontario (11).

...to be continued


(1) Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds, Parish Registers of St Mary's Church, Haverhill. Fiche 578/4 of 37
(2) London Metropolitan Archives; London Church of England Parish Registers; Reference Number: p97/nic/006, p.24. ancestry.co.uk
(3) London Metropolitan Archives; London Church of England Parish Registers; Reference Number: p97/mry/037, p.198. ancestry.co.uk
(4) London Metropolitan Archives; London Church of England Parish Registers; Reference Number: p97/mry/026, p.88. ancestry.co.uk
(5) https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/middx/vol11/pp203-212
(6) London Metropolitan Archives; London Church of England Parish Registers; Reference Number: P97 /MRY/010. ancestry.co.uk
(7) Year: 1851; Census Place: Lanark, Canada West (Ontario); Schedule: A; Roll: C_11732; Page: 13; Line: 11. Ancestry.
(8) Reference: RG 1 L3, Volume 421, Pages 59a, Bundle: Perth Military Settlement, Petition: 59. Microfilm C-2739, Item ID Number 76620, Genealogy / Land / Land Petitions of Upper Canada, 1763-1865. http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.redirect?app=lanpetuppcan&id=76620&lang=eng
(9) Archives of Ontario; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Collection: Ms935; Series: 8. Ancestry.
(10) https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M4W3-448
(11) Archives of Ontario; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Collection: Ms935; Series: 75. Ancestry,
(12) Year: 1891; Census Place: Montague, Lanark South, Ontario, Canada; Roll: T-6349; Family No: 56. Ancestry.
(13) Year: 1861; Census Place: Beckwith, Lanark, Ontario, Canada. Film C-1042-1043, Library and Archives Canada. Findmypast.