Sophia Scotcher Whiting 1821-1879

Parents: John Whiting and Mary Scotcher (1)
Born: 4th September 1821 in Haverhill (1)
Baptised: 13th February 1822 in Haverhill (1)
Married: William Buttle, batchelor, labourer, of Burton End, son of Thomas Buttle, labourer on 30th July 1838 at St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill. Witnessed by John Whiting and Sarah Mead(2,3)
Children: Eliza Buttle b.1840, Emma Buttle b.1843, George Buttle b.1846, Jabez Buttle b.1848 died in infancy, Elizabeth Buttle b.1851, Thomas Butler b.1854, Mary Ann Butler b.1855, Frederick William Butler b.1857, Henry Butler b.1859, and Ellen Florence Butler b.1862(?)
Died: 7th April 1879 in Blinman, South Australia. Buried in Blinman Cemetery, South Australia.(4,5)

Bio: Sophia and William appear on the 1841 census in Burton End, Haverhill with their 10 month old daughter Eliza. Then, at the time of the 1851 census they are living with Sophia's parents, still in Burton End. They now have four children.

Then, the following year, the Buttle family decided to emmigrate to Australia. They did this alongside her second cousin, Thomas Whiting and his family, and set sail upon the barque China, 658 tons, captain George McMillan, from Plymouth on 26th July 1852 and arrived at Port Adelaide, South Australia at midnight thursday 12th November 1852.

For more background information, see Thomas Whiting.

It appears that after they settled in Australia the family became known as 'Butler' instead of Buttle. Sophia and William had several more children who went by that surname, and there are many family trees on the web that list these children and the Adelaide birth registration references - 'The Buttles emigrate to Australia' posted by Paul Baird in the Public Member Stories section of is a useful place to look.

William died on 4th August 1878 and was buried at the local cemetery.

Sophia died of disease of the womb in Blinman the year after.(5) There is an interesting little tale connected with her final days in Frank Williams “I’ll be alright in the morning: a guide to the historic Blinman cemetery”, - 'The local doctor was most upset that the only payment he had received for his attendance in Sophia Butler’s final weeks was 2 emu eggs. He sued the storekeeper, who, in desperation to get help for the ailing Sophia, had assured the doctor he would be paid. The Blinman court accepted that the storekeeper had made such an assurance and held him liable for a small portion of the debt, but deducted the value of the emu eggs. It also recommended that the doctor’s annual stipend be reduced by the amount of the fee received from the Court action.'(6)

Sophia died on the 7th April 1879 and was buried alongside William at Blinman Cemetery. It is interesting to note that on the headstone they are both called 'Butler', and that there is an 'h' missing from Sophia's name!

Many Thanks to Kym at Dead Search (hosted by rootsweb) for the photo of William and Sophia's gravestone. (Click on photo to enlarge)


(1), Non-Conformist registers, RG4/1845
(2) Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds, Parish Registers of St Mary's Church, Haverhill. Fiche 578/4/p23 of 37
(3) Marriage Register. 3rd Quarter 1838, Risbridge District, Volume 12 Page 477
(5) info from Death Certificate. Ref: 94/296. Thanks to Fiona Errington
(6) Williams, Frank “I’ll be alright in the morning: a guide to the historic Blinman cemetery”, pub by Blinman Progress Association, 2005 – SA State Lib.