Kate Whiting c.1881-1977?

Parents: Jesse Whiting and Ellen Smith (1)
Born: 9th September 1881 in Haverhill?(1,3)
Baptised: ?
Married: William Samuel Bowyer, 40, farm labourer of Great Wratting, in 1st Quarter 1913 in the Risbridge district.(2)
Children: Jesse Joseph Bowyer b.1914(4)
Died: 2nd Quarter 1977 in Newmarket district.(?)(3)

Bio: Kate's birth year varies in the censuses on which she appears; at first it seemed that she may have been the child of Jesse's second marriage to Elizabeth Hunt that took place in 1883.

A closer look at the GRO registers pointed to the fact that she was most likely to have been born in the 4th Quarter of 1881.(1) Jesse's first wife Ellen Smith died around this time. It is quite possible that this death was linked with birth complications.

The 1891 census finds Kate living at 104 Burton End with Jesse and Elizabeth, his second wife. Also present are her brothers Benjamin and Jabez.

Her age is given as nine, which would be correct if she'd been born in late 1881.

On the next census, in 1901, it looks like Kate has moved down to London to work as a servant. This was a path her sister Alice had also taken.

A Kate Whiting, aged 18 and born in Haverhill, is working as a housemaid at 9 Brent Road, Plumstead, the house of a widow Jane Young, and her daughter Georgina. This age would place Kate's birth year as 1882/3, but as no unaccounted-for Kate Whitings were born in Haverhill in these years, it looks like it's a slight mistake and this is 'our' Kate.

For the 1911 census, Kate has returned to Suffolk and she is living in Withersfield, the village just north of Haverhill, with her brother Joseph and his household. She is working for the family business and helping with the running of the Duke Inn, of which her brother is Landlord. She is unmarried, and here her birth date is given as 1881.

It is a little unclear what happened to Kate after this census, but I am inclined to believe that she was the Kate Whiting who married William S Bowyer in the Risbridge district in 1913. He was a widower of 40, and she would have been 32 at this time. A Jesse J Bowyer whose mother's surname was Whiting was born in the Risbridge district in 1914. Surely this must have been a child of Kate and William who was given the same forename as Kate's father.

Kate Whiting and William S Bowyer can be seen on the 1939 register living at 83 Near Church, Clare, Suffolk(5). Her birthdate is given as 9th September 1881. William is an agricultural labourer, born on 27th March 1873.

Kate Bowyer died in 1977 at the age of 95 in the Newmarket district, which Haverhill and surrounding area came under at this time. Several of Jesse Whiting's other children had lived into their nineties; this seems to have been a long-living branch of the Whiting family. This death entry places Kate's birth date as 9th September 1881 which matches with the year established previously.


(1) Birth Register. 4th Quarter 1881, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 541
(2) Marriage Register, 1st Quarter 1913, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 1357
(3) Death Register. 2nd Quarter 1977, Newmarket District, Volume 10 Page 2738
(4) Birth Register. 2nd Quarter 1914, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 1711
(5) 1939 Register, Ref: RG101/6666C/010/39, Findmypast.co.uk