Rebecca Whiting 1823-1883

Parents: William Whiting and Ann PoolBorn: 5th February 1823 in Haverhill.(15)
Baptised: 29th January 1829 at the Congregational Church, Haverhill.(15)
Married: John Midson, batchelor, thatcher of Helions Bumpstead, son of Robert Midson, Thatcher, on 19th November 1841 at St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill. Witnessed by William and Harriet Midson. (1,2)
Children: Eli Midson b.1843, Emma Midson b.1845(4), Enoch Midson b.1849(5), Harriet Midson b.1857, William Midson b.1858, Elizabeth 'Betsy' Midson b.1860, Robert Midson(?) b.1862, Albert Midson b.1864, Female b.1865 died in infancy and Aaron Midson b.1867
Died: 14th June 1883 at North West Bay, Kingston, Tasmania.(10)

Bio: Rebecca Whiting, daughter of William and Ann was born on 5th February 1823 and baptised on 29th January 1829 at the Old Presbyterian Meeting House.(15)

On the 1841 census Rebecca is living with her parents and brother Samuel in Burton End, Haverhill. Later that year later she marries John Midson, of Helions Bumpstead. His occupation is given as a thatcher on their marriage entry in the parish register. He was the son of Robert Midson and Harriet Tilbrook(14), and was baptised on 16th July 1820 at St Andrews church, Helions Bumpstead.(13)

By 1844 Rebecca has moved to Helions Bumpstead with her new husband and started a family of children whose names all begin with 'E'.

Eli Midson was born around 1843, but may not have been registered under that name. He doesn't seem to appear in the GRO birth index. Emma Midson was born in 1845(5) and baptised at St Andrews, Helions Bumpstead on 6th July 1845. Her father's occupation is given as labourer.(17) Enoch was born in 1849.(5)

On the 1851 census, Rebecca and John have three children all born in Helions Bumpstead, and are living at Wiggins Green, Helions Bumpstead. John's occupation appears to be rat-catcher.

In the same year as Thomas and Mary Whiting left for Australia, John and Rebecca decided to emigrate too. On 21st August 1852 they set sail from Plymouth aboard the 415 ton barque Australasia with their three children. We find reference to John Midson as a farm labourer with his wife and three children. There were 221 more immigrants and 14 other passengers aboard. On 5th December 1852 they arrived in Hobart Town, Tasmania.(6,7)

After this point, information about John and Rebecca is more patchy. All three of the children born in England were to marry and settle in Tasmania, Enoch Midson unfortunately dying at 26 in an 'accidental death' in Kingston, Tasmania.(8)

It appears that John and Rebecca had several more children after their arrival in Tasmania. A few died in infancy, but survivors included Harriet, Albert and Aaron Midson.(9) Identifying these children is made more difficult by the fact that several were not named at the time their births were declared, however research by Kylie Millison suggests that the male Midsons born in 1858 and 1862 were William and Robert. The female Midson born in 1860 was probably the Elizabeth 'Betsy' Midson who married Henry John Stewart in Kingston in 1877(18) and who died on 18th January 1888 aged 27(19).

There is reference to Rebecca's death in The Mercury, a Hobart newspaper in 1883.(10) John Midson was to die a few years later on 10th November 1886 at North-West Bay 'after a painful illness'(12), and a probate of £194 was granted to his eldest son Eli.(11) He was buried at All Saints Anglican Cemetery, Margate. (see photo). A scan of his will is available to view on the LINC Tasmania website.(16) In it, he leaves land of 62 acres and 23 acres to his son Eli, 101.5 acres of land situated 3 miles from Margate known as his 'old property' to his daughter Emma, and requires £20 to be paid to his daughter Harriet (now Walshe), within a month of this death. He also leaves money to his grandchildren Emily Jane and Rebecca Matilda Midson (daughters of Enoch) which they will receive when they are older.

Thanks to Maria Kotynia for the Photo of John Midson's grave from All Saint's Anglican Cemetery, Margate, on her 'Headstones from cemeteries of Tasmania' site, and Kylie Millison for information about the Midson children.


(1) Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds, Parish Registers of St Mary's Church, Haverhill. Fiche 578/4/p23 of 37
(2) Marriage Register. 4th Quarter 1841, Risbridge district, Volume 12 Page 799
(4) Birth Register. 2nd Quarter 1845, Risbridge district, Volume 12 Page 417
(5) Birth Register. 2nd Quarter 1849, Risbridge district, Volume 12 Page 446
(7) The Courier, Wednesday 8th December 1852,
(10) The Mercury, Saturday 16th June 1883,
(11) The Launceston Examiner, Tuesday 15th February 1887,
(12) The Mercury, Saturday 13th November 1886,
(13) SEAX, Baptisms at St Andrews Church, Helions Bumpstead 1813-39, D/P 331/1/5
(14) SEAX, Marriage of Robert Midson and Harriet Tilbrook, 10th February 1818, St Andrews Church, Helions Bumpstead, D/P 331/1/10
(15) Register of Births and Baptisms at the Old Presbyterian Meeting House in the Parish of Haverhill, Suffolk from 1820 to 1837. RG4/1845/p12
(16) Tasmania Government Archives, Will of John Midson, 1887, AD960/1/96, p571, Will no.3276.
(17) SEAX, Baptisms at St Andrews Church, Helions Bumpstead 1840-1875, D/P 331/1/6 image 14.
(18) Australia, Marriage Index, 1788-1950. Marriage of Betsy Midson and Henry John Stewart, Kingston, 29 Mar 1877. Reg No.381.
(19) Australia, Death Index, 1787-1985. Death of Elizabeth Betsy Stewart. 18 Jan 1888. Aged 27. Reg No. 1211.