William Whiting c.1833-1877

Parents: George Whiting and Rose Rowlinson (1)
Born: ?
Baptised: 11th August 1833 at St Mary's Church, Withersfield (1)
Married: Elizabeth Jacobs, spinster, of Withersfield, daughter of Robert Jacobs, labourer, in 1859 at St Mary's Church, Withersfield.(2)
Children: John Whiting/Jacobs (illegitimate son of Elizabeth) b.1856, Susan Whiting/Jacobs b.1859, Samuel Whiting b.1861, Caroline Whiting b.1863, Sarah Whiting b.1866, George Whiting b.1867, Mary Ann Whiting b.1870, Charles Whiting b.1873 and William Whiting b.1875
Died: March 1877 in Withersfield. Buried on 3rd February 1877 at St Mary's Church, Withersfield.(3,4,5)

Bio: William was the first legitimate son of George and Rose Whiting and was born in Withersfield sometime before 1833. He was baptised at Withersfield Church on 11th August 1833.

He appears on the 1841 census living in Withersfield village with his parents, his grandfather Henry Rowlinson, and his brother and sisters. He has a half-brother Samuel, who was Rose's son from before marriage.

The 1851 census sees William still at home, working as a labourer alongside his father.

He married Betsy Jacobs in the winter of 1859. She was a local girl, the daughter of Robert and Mary Jacobs, and was about 23 having been baptised on 24th April 1836 at the village church.(1)

On the 1861 census we find William has moved out of his parents home and has started his own family with Elizabeth. He is working as an agricultural labourer, and we see living with them John, 5, who was his wife's illegitimate son born in the Union House, Haverhill, on 29th January 1856.(1)

They also have a daughter Susan, 1, and a son Samuel who is 2 months old. Susan was baptised on 16th October 1859.(1) It seems that Susan was illegitimate as she was to marry Frederick Darkin using the surname Jacobs in 1889.

The next census in 1871 finds the family still in Withersfield with William still working as a labourer. The family now has four new additions, with a quota of seven children in total. John, Susan, Samuel, Caroline, Sarah, George and Mary Ann.

The couple had two more boys, Charles and William in the years 1874 and 1876.

William was to die at the relatively young age of 44 in 1877. He was buried on 3rd February 1877 at St Mary's Church, Withersfield.(3,4,5)

The widowed Elizabeth remained in the village, and took up work as a trousers maker to support the family. The 1881 census finds her living with daughter Susan, who is doing similar work, son George, who is a labourer, and daughter Mary Ann, and sons Charles and William who are scholars.

On the 1891 census Elizabeth is still there, working as a tailoress and this time living with children Caroline, George, Mary Ann, Charles, William and a granddaughter Edith, who was daughter Susan's illegitimate child.

At the time of the 1901 census the remaining family consists of Elizabeth, now a factory outworker and two sons George - who works on a farm, and William, who is a hairbrush weaver. They are living at Holly Cottages, Withersfield.

One of the last mentions we have of Elizabeth is in the Collector's Report Book of the Risbridge Poor Law Union. She must have become chargeable to the Union around this time. It describes her family situation on 17th May 1907: 'Elizabeth Whiting of Withersfield. Son George, merchants carter, no family. Son William, hairweaver, one child. Daughter Sarah, lodging house keeper in London.'(7)

Elizabeth died the next year in 1908 at the age of 72.(6)


(1) Suffolk Baptism Index, SFHS, Clare Deanery 1813-1900.
(2) Marriage Register. 4th Quarter 1859, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 810
(3) Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds, Parish Registers of St Mary's Church, Withersfield, FL653/4/p3
(4) Death Register. 1st Quarter 1877, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 290
(5) Suffolk Burial Index, SFHS, 1538-1900
(6) Death Register. 4th Quarter 1908, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 433
(7) Suffolk Record Office, Bury St Edmunds branch, 2746/4/3, Risbridge Poor Law Union, Collector's report books.
(8) Marriage Register. 2nd Quarter 1889, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 867