William HARPER (c.1828–1878)
His wife Jane HARPER (c.1827–1885)
St Paul [St Barnabas] section: Row 27, Grave H9
SACRED TO THE MEMORY
DEC 25TH 1878
AGED 50 YEARS
ALSO OF JANE HARPER
WIFE OF THE ABOVE
WHO DIED MAY 27TH 1885
AGED 58 YEARS
“BELIEVE IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
AND YE SHALL BE SAVED.”
… MY GOD
William Harper was born in Dudley in c.1828, and may be the child of that name born in Sedgley, Dudley in 1827 to Thomas Harper and Hannah Nock.
In the Stourbridge district of Worcestershire in the second quarter of 1854, William Harper married Jane Harper Smith (born in Dudley in c.1827). Jane is likely to have been a widow, as she already had two children, both born in Dudley (which was then an enclave of Worcestershire), namely:
- Emily Harper Smith (born in Dudley in 1847/8)
- Ann Harper Smith (born in Dudley in 1852/3).
William and Jane initially remained in Dudley, where they had two more children together:
- Henry or Harry Harper (born in Dudley in 1855, reg. second quarter)
- Sarah Ann Harper (born in Dudley in 1856/7, reg. first quarter of 1857).
At the time of the 1861 census William Harper was working as a blacksmith and living in Dudley with his wife Jane, her daughters from her first marriage, Emily Harper Smith (13) and Ann Smith (8), and the two children they had had together: Harry Harper (5) and Sarah Ann Harper (3).
By the time of the 1871 census William Harper (42) was working as a stonemason and living at King Street, Knutsford, Cheshire with Jane (47) and their son Harry (16), who was also described as a stonemason, and their daughter Sarah Ann (14).
Not long after that census, William & Jane Harper moved to the Jericho area of Oxford. On 9 May 1875, when she was aged 18, their daughter Sarah Ann Harper gave birth to an illegitimate son whom she register as William Henry Thomas Shuter, indicating the name of the father. She also had the baby baptised with that surname at St Barnabas’s Church on 17 June 1876, and even started using it herself. (A young stonemason called Richard H. Shuter, born in Worcester in 1854/5 and living in Oxford at the relevant time, may have been the father: he married another girl from Jericho, Ann Vize, at St Barnabas’s Church on 17 May 1880.)
William Harper died on Christmas Day 1878:
† William Harper died at 47 Cranham Street at the age of 50 on 25 December 1878 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 29 December (burial recorded in the parish register of St Barnabas’s Church).
The death notice placed in Jackson’s Oxford Journal gives no additional information. It reads simply: “Dec. 25, at 47, Cranham-street, Oxford, Mr. William Harper, aged 50.”
In the fourth quarter of 1880 in Oxford, his daughter Sarah Ann Shuter (s she called herself in the register) married Henry William Harris, who was ten years her junior, and their daughter was born very soon afterwards:
- Jane Harris (born at 47 Cranham Street, Jericho on 12 November 1880 and baptised at St Barnabas’s Church on 3 February 1881).
In 1881 Mrs Jane Harper (56) was still living at 47 Cranham Street with her daughter Mrs Sarah Harris (24) and Sarah’s children William Shuter (5) and Jane Harris (five months). Both mother and daughter were working as linen drapers.
Four years later, Mrs Harper died:
† Mrs Jane Harper died at 47 Cranham Street at the age of 58 on 27 May 1885 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 31 May (burial recorded in the parish register of St Barnabas’s Church).
Surviving children of William and Jane Harper
- Harry Harper (born 1855) is hard to find in the 1881 census. He may be the Harry Harper who died in the City of London at the age of 35 in the fourth quarter of 1890.
- Sarah Ann Harper, Mrs Harris (born 1856/7), was living at 32 Hayfield Road in 1891 with her husband Henry, who was a house painter, and her son William Shuter (16), who was a printer’s labourer, and their daughter Jane (10). By 1901 Henry & Sarah had moved to 21 St Bernard’s (then called St John’s) Road, and their children were no longer at home. In 1911 Sarah Ann (60) and Henry (50) were living at 107 St Clement’s Street.