Mrs Cecilia Jane HARPER, née Frost (1816–1861)
Her daughter Minnie Helen Maud HARPER (1856–1866)
St Giles section: Row 16a, Grave B25½

Cecilia Harper


Cecilia Jane Harper
March 19, 1816
March 10, 1861


Minnie Harper
born March 22, 1856
Died Dec. 2, 1866.


For more on Cecilia’s husband, see his separate grave

Cecilia Jane Frost was born at Hadleigh, Suffolk on 19 March 1816 and baptised there on 16 April. She was the daughter of the music teacher Edward Frost and Jane Compton Dawson.

At the time of the 1841 census Cecilia (25) was living at Grandpont (now part of Oxford, but then in Berkshire) with her father Edward Frost, who was a music teacher and presumably a widower. Six of her siblings were also at home: Ellen (20), Juliana (15), Frederick (14), Selina (11), and Rose (10).

On 1 April 1843 at West Hackney church, Cecilia Jane Frost married Henry Smith Harper, a librarian and bedel of the University of Oxford (see his separate grave for more information about him): they were both then living in Kingsland, and Henry was recorded as Henry Stanley Harper and described as a gentleman. Cecilia returned to Oxford with her husband, and they had the following children there:

  • Florence Emilie Harper (born at New Inn Hall Street, Oxford on 14 January 1844 and baptised at St Peter-le-Bailey Church on 11 February)
  • Kate Cecilia Maria Harper (born at Cornmarket, Oxford in 1848 and baptised at St Martin’s Church on 15 June)
  • Grace Edith Harper (born at New College Lane, Oxford in 1854 and baptised at St Peter-in-the-East Church on 8 October)
  • Minnie Helen Maud Harper (born at New College Lane, Oxford on 22 March 1856 and baptised at St Peter-in-the-East Church on 15 June).

The family was living in New Inn Hall Street when their first daughter was born in early 1844, and Henry was described in the baptismal register as an assistant at the Bodleian Library.

By 1846 the family was living at 58 Cornmarket Street in St Martin’s parish, and Cecilia Jane Harper was listed as a teacher of music there in Hunt’s Directory for 1846.

By the time of the 1851 census, Cecilia (35) was still working as a music teacher and was living over James Russell’s music and musical instrument shop at 125 High Street (at the south-west end of the street in All Saints’ parish, now the Black Sheep Galleries) with her husband Henry (31) and their children Florence (7) and Kate (2). Cecilia’s unmarried sister Rose (20), who was a teacher of dancing, was also living with them, and they had one servant.

The family had moved to New College Lane by October 1854, and then at some point between March 1856 and 1861 they moved to Park Town. Mrs Cecilia Harper died there in early 1861:

† Mrs Cecilia Jane Harper née Frost died at Park Crescent at the age of 45 on 10 March 1861 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 16 March (burial recorded in the parish register of St Giles’s Church).

At the time of the 1861 census her husband Henry Harper (41), still a Yeoman Bedel and librarian, was at home at Park Town with their four children: Florence (17), who was a music teacher, and Kate (12), Grace (6), and Minnie (5). They had one servant.

In the third quarter of 1863 in Kensington, Henry Smith Harper married his second wife Mary Hurd Wood of Notting Hill. They continued to live at Park Town with his daughters from his first marriage, and they had a son in 1865.

Cecilia’s youngest daughter Minnie died in 1866:

† Minnie Helen Maud Harper died at Park Crescent at the age of 10 on 2 December 1866 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 5 December (burial recorded in the parish register of St Giles’s Church).

Surviving children of Cecilia and Henry Harper
  • Florence Emilie Harper (born 1844) gave birth to an illegitimate daughter Cecil [sic] Williams Harper, later known as Cecil Maude Williams, at Hanover Square near the end of 1869. At the time of the 1871 census Florence (27) was posing as a married woman and living at 42 St Paul’s Road, St Pancras with her one-year-old daughter and a 17-year-old servant girl. In 1874 in the City of London district she married Robert Williams, who was presumably the father. Florence’s daughter emigrated to the USA in 1885 when she was 16, and her husband died in 1887. Florence Emilie Harper herself emigrated to the USA in 1918, arriving at New York on 28 October. She died at Point Pleasant, Ocean, New Jersey on 2 November 1925 (see her memorial in White Lawn Cemetery).
  • Kate Cecilia Maria Harper (born 1848) married Charles Glen Bott, a widower and surgeon of Aveley, Essex, at Ss Philip & James’s Church on 3 November 1868 when she was 20. Her first three surviving children were born at Aveley: Cecilia Elizabeth Bott (1869), Mary Bott (1873), and Walter Stanley Bott (1875). Their next child Hugh Glen Bott was born in the Hackney district in 1877. Her husband Dr Bott died on 15 May 1879 in British Guyana (Plantation Skeldon, Berbice County). His effects came to under £600, and his will was proved by Kate, who was then living at 4 Landsdowne Terrace, Winkfield Road, Wood Green. At the time of the 1881 census Kate (32) was living at 2 Bounds Green Road, Tottenham with her four children and a servant. By 1891 she had moved to 40 Hogarth Road, Kensington, and three of her children were with her: Cecilia (21), who was a typist; Mary (19), and Walter (15), who was a draughtsman. By 1901 Kate (52) had moved to 8 Gainsborough Mansions, Fulham and was receiving a government pension. Three of her children were still with her: Cecilia (31) was now a hospital nurse; Mary (29) was a carver and guilder; and Hugh (23) was a bookkeeper to a colour printer. By 1911 Kate had moved into the home of her son Hugh and his family at 65 Flanders Mansions, Bedford Park. She died at 108 Brightwell Avenue, Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex on 25 September 1915. Her effects came to £156 8s. 4d., and her son Walter, who was now an electrical engineer, was her executor.
  • Grace Edith Harper (born 1854) was living with her father and his second wife and their son at Park Town in 1871. On 12 August 1875 at Ss Philip & James’s Church, when she was 21, she married Thomas Henry Barnett, a widower and gentleman of Stoke Newington. They are hard to trace after that date.



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