Thomas Whiting 1816-1857?

Parents: David Whiting and Sarah Ragg (1)
Born: 16th June 1816 in Burton End, Haverhill.(1)
Baptised: 14th July 1816, St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill (1)
Married (1): Mary Ann Crackling, spinster of Burton End, daughter of John Crackling, Labourer, on 19th August 1838 at St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill. Witnessed by William and Charlotte Marsh.(2,3)
Married (2): Mary Webb, widow of Chauntry Croft, Haverhill, daughter of Thomas Mead, Weaver, on 11th October 1848 at St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill. Witnessed by John Scott and Mary Ann Baines.(4,6)
Children: Sophia Whiting b.1839 and Henry Whiting b.1841
Died: February 1857 in Highercombe district, Adelaide? (9)

Bio: On the 1841 census Thomas is living with his wife Mary and daughter Sophia in Burton End. He is working as a Labourer. When they had Sophia they were listed as living in Beggars Row, Haverhill. They had another child, Henry, in 1841 but then two years later Mary died and was buried at St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill on 14th March 1843. Thomas married again 5 years later to Mary Webb, originally of Helions Bumpstead. They were both living in Chauntry Croft, Haverhill at the time of their marriage but by the 1851 census they had moved to Peas Hill, Haverhill with Thomas' children from his first marriage. Thomas is working as a Labourer and Mary as a dress maker.

In 1852 Thomas and his wife and children decided to emigrate to Australia. The local hand-weaving industry had been hit hard by the competition from the Lancashire cotton-boom, and 'the great grandson of the founder of the Gurteen Company, writing in 1854, noted that: "Often 500 men stood idle on the Market Hill, waiting for work and food." So great was the distress that the Vestry met twice a fortnight for the purpose of sending families to Australia and elsewhere.'(8)

This was at a time when the Australian economy was booming, gold had recently been discovered and Australia was becoming an increasingly popular destination for free settlers looking to start a new life.

They sailed 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. They experience fine weather during the passage, but nevertheless there were ten deaths on the voyage - all children. There were however six births during the voyage.(5)

William and Sophia Buttle from Haverhill also sailed with their children on the same voyage aboard the China. Sophia's maiden name was Whiting.

She was the daughter of John and Mary Whiting, who are missing on the 1841 census but appear on the 1851 living with the Buttles in Burton End. Sophia was a second cousin of Thomas, and it is likely they would have known each other.

Thomas' son Henry married Sarah Ann Mortimer at the baptist chapel at Tea Tree Gully, South Australia, on 14th December 1864.(7) His sister, Sophia was to marry Frederick Burt in 1854 at Trinity Church, Adelaide.

I'm not sure when Thomas or his wife Mary died. The South Australian Register of 10th February 1857 mentions that an 'account was read for funeral expenses connected with the interment of a man named Thomas Whiting, amounting to £3 10s' by the Destitute Board on Monday, 9th February.(9) This was signed-off by the chairman of the Highercombe district council. Today, this is known as Tea Tree Gully Council and covers the area that consists of the north eastern suburbs of Adelaide and some smaller outlying towns in the Adelaide hills(10). This fits in with where Thomas was living as far as we know.

There is a family story that a female Whiting came back from Australia and spent her latter years in Haverhill, but I have been unable to confirm this.


(1) Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds, Parish Registers of St Mary's Church, Haverhill. Fiche 578
(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 478.
(4) Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds, Parish Registers of St Mary's Church, Haverhill. Fiche 578/4/p24 of 37
(6) Marriage Register. 4th Quarter 1848, Risbridge district, Volume 12 Page 819.
(9) 1857 'DESTITUTE BOARD.', South Australian Register(Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), 10 February, p. 2,
(10) Thanks to Kym Jones for observations about how old districts are now represented in modern-day Adelaide.