I am the first to admit, I knew very little about my Dad’s family. It’s the reason I started researching my family history.
The December of 1996, my hero, my Dad was in a horrific accident which would end his life the following April of 1997. Little did we know he had left, us three girls, in my Nan’s care, a Christmas card with a £100 gift inside. As we lay in wait for news of how our dad was doing and if we could have him medivaced home, I knew I had to spend his gift wisely, as it could and was the last gift he ever gave us.
I decided to buy a book to log our family history in and that’s where my journey began.
All these years later, I’m still learning and discovering new information, names and stories about my wonderful Dad’s family.
Every smallest piece of information, every newspaper article, every census and every birth, marriage or death certificate, is a link to him, and an absolute joy to discover.
Every fact, rumour, document, I find is like winning the lottery, in a funny kind of way.
So when I get to share with you a snippet into one of my Dad’s and my ancestors lives, it’s more special and important than you’ll ever know.
I really do pour my heart and soul into my research, I work extremely hard to get the truest picture of our ancestors lives as I can and with great pride and growing love in my heart, I’m proud to say “These humble, hardworking, talented people are my Flesh and Blood, they are my family.”
This week I’m sharing with you the life of my dad’s maternal Great Grandmother. Her name was Kate Withers.
The name appears on various early documents in England, such as a charter of Æthelred II in 1005 where a witness signs as “Ego Wiþer minister” (I Wither, the assistant). In the Domesday Book of 1086 it is the name of a tenant prior to that date. It seems to be a personal name, rather than a place name or occupational name, of unknown meaning: suggestions have included “wood”, “withstand”, “warrior” or “willow”.
While the name occurs in connection with landholdings in various counties of England before the 1150s, the first continuous record of a family seems to be in Lancashire and Cheshire where Sir Robert Wither, knight, of Pendleton and of Halton, was seneschal to Roger de Lacy, who died in 1211. He is recorded as marrying Joan, daughter of Sir Adam Bostock, knight, of Davenham.
By the 15th century, families claiming descent from Sir Robert Wither were living in Cheshire, Lancashire, Wiltshire, Essex, London, Somerset and Hampshire. The Withers in Hampshire, deriving from a member who migrated from Lancashire in the 14th century, were particularly prominent. From 1484, they were lords of the manor of Manydown near Wootton St Lawrence, remaining linked to that estate for more than 400 years.
The Withers family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Withers families were found in the UK in 1891. In 1891 there were 719 Withers families living in London. This was about 15% of all the recorded Withers’s in the UK. London had the highest population of Withers families in 1891.
In 1881, a less common occupation for the Withers family was Carpenter. The most common Withers occupation in the UK was Farmer. 3% of Withers’s were Farmers. Farmer, Labourer and Agricultural Labourer were the top 3 reported jobs worked by Withers.
A Withers family coat of arms was granted in the reign of Queen Mary I (1553–1558 C.E.) to Sir Richard Withers of East Sheen (ancestor of the poet George Wither) and registered in the College of Arms, London. The blazon has “Argent, a chevron gules between three crescents sable” (i.e., White/silver field, red chevron between 3 black crescents). The traditional family motto is “I grow and wither both together”.
Some Contemporary Notables of the name Withers (post 1700) are –
• Elizabeth Audrey Withers OBE (1905-2001), English journalist
• Charlie Withers (1922-2005), English footballer
• Georgette Lizette “Googie” Withers CBE AO (1917-2011), English theatre, film and television actress
• William Harrison “Bill” Withers Jr. (b. 1938), American singer-songwriter and musician
• Alexander Scott Withers (1792-1865), American author of Chronicles of Border Warfare (1831)
• Jones Mitchell Withers (1814-1890), United States Army officer who fought during the Mexican–American War and later as a Confederate major-general during the American Civil War
• Ernest Withers (1922-2007), African-American freelance photographer famous for his black and white images
• Robert Enoch Withers (1821-1907), American physician, military officer, newspaperman, politician and diplomat
• Mark Withers (b. 1947), American actor
• Mark Withers (b. 1964), former Australian rules footballer
Now you know a little about the family name, let’s get down to business and travel back in time to 1863, to a small market town called Romsey, in Hampshire, England, where the life story of my Great, Great-Grandmother, Kate Withers, began.
Kate Withers was born on, May 13, 1863, at The Hundred, Romsey, Hampshire, England, to Stephen Withers and Jane Withers Nee Chapman.
Her Father, Stephen, occupation was recorded as a General Labourer.
Her Mother Jane, registered Kate’s birth on June 23, 1868.
Kate was christened on the 14th June 1868, at Romsey, Hampshire, England.
On the 2nd April 1871, the England and Wales census was taken, this shows that Kate, her Father Stephen, her Mother Jane and her siblings, Harry, Thomas, Edith and Elizabeth, inhabited one house on, Winchester Road, Romsey, Hampshire.
Stephen was working as a General Labourer.
Kate’s, Brother, George Henry Withers, was born in the April-June quarter of 1872, in the Romsey District.
George Henry Withers, was Christened on July 14th, 1872, at Romsey Hampshire.
George would later marry Emma Maria Candy.
Kate and her family, welcomed a new sister in to the clan between the months of July and September 1876, in the Romsey district.
Stephen and Jane, named her Bertha Louisa Withers.
The 1939 Register gives her birth date as June 12, 1876. I can not confirm this date until I purchase her birth certificate.
Bertha Louisa Withers, was christened on the 9th July, 1876, at Romsey, Hampshire p, England.
Bertha would later marry, Frank Guyatt, Son of Charles and Sarah Fanny Guyatt Nee Hazell.
And a brother whom they named, Frederick Percival Withers, was born between the months of July and September 1878.
The 1939 Register, gives his birth date as 27th August 1878.
Frederick Percival, was christened on, October 13, 1878, at Romsey, Hampshire, England.
He would go on to marry Agnes E Guyatt, (Sister of Frank Guyatt)
On April 3, 1881, the census was taken which shows, Kate, Stephen, Jane, Frederick, Harry, George and Bertha, inhabiting a house on the Hundred, Romsey, Hampshire, England.
Stephen was working as a Farm Labourer, Jane was a Laundress and Harry was a Errands Boy.
Jumping forward to 1890, Kate, married my 2nd Great-Grandfather, Harry Carr, Son of Harry Carr and Caroline Lye, at the Parish Church of Romsey aka Romsey Abbey, on the 26th December 1890.
Kate was a 22-year-old, Spinster and Harry was a 22 year old Bachelor. They were both residing at Romsey and Harry was working as a Gardener.
Kate’s Father, Stephen, occupation was given as a Labourer and Harry’s Father Harry was a Sawyer.
Their witnesses were Tom Withers and Matilda Carr.
The 1891 census, shows the newly weds, residing at, Number 30, Princes Road, Freemantle, Millbrook, Hampshire, England. Harry’s occupation was given as a Gardener/Domestic Servant. They were inhabiting one house which had 3 rooms.
It wasn’t long until Kate, was in the family way and she gave birth to her first child, my Great-Grandfather. Kate and Harry named him, Frederick Earnest Carr and he was born on the, 10th October 1891, at 91 Milton Road, Fitzhugh, Millbrook, Southampton, Hampshire, England.
Harry Carr was working as a Gardener Domestic.
Kate registered Fredericks birth on the 17th November 1891.
Their family of three, soon became four, when Kate gave birth to their second Son, Cecil George Carr.
He was born between the months of January and March 1896, in the Southampton District.
Kate and Harry’s baby boy, Cecil didn’t make it to his first birthday. He passed away on the 12 August 1896, at Number 5, Lower Bannister Street, Southampton, Hampshire, England, aged only 8 months old. He died from, Denlilion Colic Convulsions. Harry Carr, Cecil’s Father, registered Cecil’s death on August 12, 1896 His Fathers occupation was given as a, Gardener Domastic. Their abode was given as, Number 5, Lower Bannister Street, Southampton, Hampshire, England.
Kate and Harry, laid Cecil, to rest at, Southampton Old Cemetery, Southampton, Hampshire, England, on August 15, 1896, in Row 0, Block 142, Number 31.
Somehow through the pain of loosing a child, life continued and Kate gave birth to a daughter, Beatrice Eugenie Carr.
She was born on the 5th March 1899, at Bedford Place, Southampton, Hampshire, England.
On June the 6th 1900, Kate gave life to a second daughter, Ethel Berta Carr, at Home Farm, Marchwood Park, Southampton, Hampshire, England.
The 1901 census was taken on the 31st March 1901, which finds, Kate, Harry and their Children, Frederick Beatrice and Ethel, residing at Home Farm, Marchwood Park, Southampton, Hampshire.
Harry was still working as a Gardener Domestic.
For some reason, as you can see below the census has their surname as Robson, which was one of their neighbours surnames.
On April the 24th 1904, Kate gave birth to a daughter, May Carr, at Cupernham, Romsey, Hampshire.
Just two short years later, the Carr family, welcomed a baby boy into their clan.
Bernard George Carr, was born on the 4th September 1906, in Romsey, Hampshire.
And then another baby boy joined them in 1908.
Stanley Henry Carr, was born on the 5th May 1908, at Nursling, Southampton, Hampshire.
On the 2nd April 1911, the census was taken.
Kate, Harry, Frederick, May, Stanley, Beatrice, Bernard and Ethel, were residing at, Weston Cottage, Nursling, Southampton, Hampshire, a 5 room dwelling.
Kate and Harry, had been married 20 years, they have had 7 children, 6 living and 1 that has died. (This is how I discovered Cecil)
Harry was working as a Groom Gardener Domestic.
Frederick was a Third Dairyman on a farm.
When Kate Withers was living in Southampton, Hampshire in 1911, the fight for women’s suffrage had turned militant. After decades of fighting for the right to vote, British women were ready to go to extremes to win suffrage by the early 1900s. On October 10, 1903, Manchester suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst and her two daughters founded the Women’s Social and Political Union. Its members were disillusioned by the lack of progress by moderate organizations, and their radical message caught on—by the decade’s end, WSPU was the leading militant organization devoted to women’s suffrage. WSPU became a national organization, whose weekly newspaper, Votes for Women, boasted a readership of 20,000. However, as the years passed and women remained disenfranchised, WSPU’s tactics became increasingly violent. Its members began bombing public buildings, including Westminster Abbey. They also burned the unoccupied homes of public officials. Once imprisoned, members launched hunger strikes, which prompted forced feedings. These extreme measures sparked public sympathy and growing support for the cause. And in 1918, after decades of protests and struggle, British women secured the right to vote.
I wonder if Kate was amongst the brave women, who stood up for what they believed in? I really hope she was.
On November 22, 1912 a newspaper Article was printed in the, Romsey Advertiser, about one of Kate and Harry’s Daughters.
And a second article was printed on the, 2nd December 1912.
Poor Kate and Harry, how humiliating for them. Can you imagine if newspapers printed about every case of head-lice, the papers would be full.
Who’s child hasn’t had the odd case of nits? 😤
Kate’s Father, Stephen Withers passed away on the 22nd April 1916 at Number 33, Winchester Road, Romsey, Hampshire England.
His death certificate states that he was 83 years old and his occupation was a General Labourer. He died from Arteris Sclerosis and Bronchitis. Edith M Hole Nee Withers, his Daughter registered Stephen’s death on the 24th April 1916.
Kate and her family, laid her, Father Stephen Withers, to rest at, Romsey Cemetery, Botley Road, Romsey, Hampshire, England, on the 26th April 1916, in plot L31.
Jumping forward a few years, Kate’s world would have been torn apart when her Mother, Jane Withers Nee Chapman, draw her last breath, on Thursday, November 15, 1923, at Number 33, Winchester Road, Romsey, Hampshire,England, at the age of 84 years old. Jane died from Senectus. Kate’s sister, Edith Hole Nee Withers, registered her death on the 15th November 1923.
Kate and her family laid, Jane Withers Nee Chapman, to rest, on Monday, November 19, 1923, on her 87th birthday, at Romsey Cemetery, Botley Road, Romsey, Hampshire, England, in plot number, L31-84.
She was buried with her Husband, Stephen Withers.
Her remains were conveyed to the cemetery in a glass hearse, followed by one coach containing the mourners who were :- Messers. Tom, Howard and Fred Withers (Sons), Kate and Edith (Daughters), Emma (Daughter-in-law). Jane left 7 Children, 36 Grandchildren and 14 Great-Grandchildren.
The service was taken by the Rev. A. J. Robertson, M.A. Jane’s coffin was of plain elm with brass fittings and the breastplate was inscribed :
Jane Withers, Died November 18, 1923, Aged 86 years.
An article was placed in the Romsey Advertiser following her death.
Have you noticed that the news paper article and death certificate give different age and dates of death, which means that maybe the wrong date was inscribed on her coffin breastplate.
Unfortunately more death was yet to come, as on the, 1st September 1930, Kate’s Brother, Thomas Edward Withers, passed away at Number 57, Winchester Road, Romsey, Hampshire, England.
Thomas left the effects of £405 8s to his Daughter, Edith Louise Grace Nee Withers, Wife of Frederick John Grace.
Thomas Edward Withers, was laid to rest, September 4, 1930, at Romsey Cemetery, Botley Road, Romsey, Hampshire, England, in plot number, R7.
An article was placed in the, Romsey Advertiser, about his life, death and funeral.
Sadly Kate’s life came to an end on August 6, 1937, at Weston Corner Cottage, Nursling, Southampton, Hampshire, England. She was 69 years old.
Kate died from, Central Haemorrhage and Senile Arteriosclerosis.
Her Son, Stanley Henry Carr, registered Kate’s death on the 7th August 1937.
Unfortunately I do not know where Kate was laid to rest, she is not at Romsey cemetery or any of the Southampton cemeteries, thanks for looking Bruce and Chas. Fingers crossed I will hopefully find it one day.
I must say a huge thank you to my wonderful friend, Bruce and Chas Burnett, for sharing burial locations with me. I am as always very grateful for your help. To me, Burials are so very important, not only do they complete my ancestors stories but they give us somewhere to visit to pay our respects to the people who gave us life. Also a huge thank you to Chas, for the newspaper articles about Mary’s and Thomas’s deaths, they are absolutely fascinating and I couldn’t be more grateful to you.
No matter how long ago they passed, they are still my flesh and blood and I owe my life to them, I’ve inherited their DNA and hopefully some of their skills, talent and I hope to think wisdom.
They live on through their descendants, each and every one of us.
I’m mighty grateful for all their struggles, battles, joys and triumphs.
May they rest peacefully.
Kate Carr Nee Withers
1868 – 1937
I have brought and paid for all certificates throughout, Intwined.blog.
Please do not download or use them without my permission.