John Whiting c.1817-1887

Parents: Stephen Whiting and Elizabeth Chapman (1)
Born: c.1817
Baptised: ?
Married: Susannah Pilcher, spinster of Pease Hill, Haverhill, daughter of John Pilcher, labourer, deceased, on 5th December 1848 at St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill. Witnessed by John Scott and Susannah Whiting(1,2) Children: Susannah Maria Whiting b.1852, Horace Odessa Whiting b.1855, Amos Jonas Whiting b.1858, Catherine Miranda Whiting b.1861 and Lewis Albert Whiting b.1864
Died: 11th June 1887 in Haverhill. Buried on 15th June 1887 in Haverhill Cemetery. (3,4)

Bio: I cannot find a record of John's birth or baptism. I have his marriage entry, however, which gives Stephen Whiting as his father. There was only one Stephen Whiting alive in Haverhill at this time as far as I know, so I am taking the view that, avoiding any registrars errors, these two are father and son. John is not living with his father and siblings on the 1841 census, but by this time he could have been anything up to 30 years old and most probably had left home although I cannot trace his whereabouts at this time.

John appears with wife Susannah on the 1851 census living in Chauntry Croft, Haverhill. He is working as an agricultural labourer. Susannah was a fair bit younger than him. She was born in Little Thurlow and baptised on 12th October 1828 at St Peter's, the daughter of John and Anne Pylcher.(5) Ten years later they are still in Chauntry Croft, but by this time they have had 4 children.

At the time of the 1871 census, once again they reside in Chauntry Croft with the oldest children Susannah, Horace and Amos all working as cotton weavers. Their fourth child, Catherine Miranda had died in infancy in late 1863 and was buried at St Mary's Parish Church. They had had another boy, Lewis Albert, in 1864. Also living with them at this time was a grandchild Alice Laura Whiting who was the illegitimate daughter of Susannah Maria (who seemed to be known as Maria) .

John's wife Susannah was to die at 50 in July 1878. She was buried at Haverhill Cemetery. After this, the remaining family moved to Eden Road, Haverhill. Horace Odessa had died young at 25, so by the 1881 census John was living with Maria, Amos, Albert, granddaughter Alice and a boarder Daniel Purkiss, who was a boot and shoemaker. He was to marry Maria two months later. John's occupation at this time is listed as gardener/domestic servant.

John died on Saturday afternoon, 11th June 1887 and was buried at Haverhill Cemetery. He had been living at Eden Road at the time. The Bury and Norwich Post has an account of his death: 'Sudden death. - John Whiting, aged 70, of this town, suddenly fell down dead in High-Street on Saturday afternoon. The deceased had been Organ blower at the church for nearly 50 years.'(6)

The photo above shows what I believe is John's grave. The effects of time and weather have taken their toll, but it is possible to discern his name and a 'June' as his month of death, also an age which looks like '70'. There is also a mention of '..Parish church, Haverhill'. Maybe this was a reference to his occupation as organ blower.


(1) Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds, Parish Registers of St Mary's Church, Haverhill. Fiche 578/4/p24 of 37
(2) Marriage Register. 4th Quarter 1848, Risbridge district, Volume 12 Page 819.
(3) Haverhill Cemetery, Ref. 1494.
(4) Death Register. 2nd Quarter 1887, Risbridge district, Volume 4a Page 334.
(5) Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds, Parish Registers of St Peter's Church, Little Thurlow. Fiche 639/4/p5
(6) The Bury and Norwich Post, Tuesday, 14th June 1887, p.8, issue 5463, C19th British Library Newspapers: part II