Emma Ashby was born on 15 November 1839 while her parents, William Ashby and Mary Ann Groves were living at 1 Regency Place, White Hart St., Kennington, Lambeth, Surrey in England.
Her father was a carpenter and she was the eldest of six children. She was baptized on the 9th day of December 1839 at St Mark’s in Kennington, Surrey, England.
It is interesting how Emma and her husband might have met, as she is living in the London area and he is from the Birmingham, England region. Might they have met while he was down from Birmingham attending to Guild business, or having something to do with his Confectioner shop? It will remain a mystery as I have no answer as yet. Feel free to drop me a line with some suggestions on the “meet and greet” if you have something to back it up with. Regardless, Emma spent her early years in the southern London region whilst her husband James Williams Newman spent his in the Birmingham region. Yes, there were trains running between the two cities and this was probably how they ended up moving back to Birmingham. Again, all we can do at this point is guess.
Emma and James Williams Newman were married on the 10th day of September 1860 in Birmingham, England. Emma is a spinster and James was listed as a Widower. Life continues quite well for the couple as they move up in the world to 31 Fleet St. in Birmingham and Emma has eight children. Unfortunately for the family, James dies at the early age of only 48 leaving Emma with seven children, the youngest being only 1-year-old to care for. At this time, Ellen and Jane, her older daughters were getting married, William, her eldest son is only 16. The family appears to have been destitute, as the three youngest children, Betsy, James and Harry were given to the Middlemore Home in Birmingham, England. It was understood by everyone at the time that the children would be given warm, loving homes out in the country in Canada. As you can read from the entry for admittance of Betsey, Emma is having fits. You might think this would have been a mental issue and maybe it was. I think, personally, that having no money, no way of making a living now my husband is dead and having so many children dependent on me I might have a few problems also. I know that as a mother, I would only want the best for my children and the Middlemore Home was really selling a positive outcome then. So the three youngest children were admitted by 1890.
In the 1901 census, Emma is living with a couple in Birmingham and gives Wash Laundress as her profession.
The end of Emma’s story is on the 11th of October 1910 when she dies age 69 years of Carcinoma of the Pancreas and Liver while in the Workhouse Infirmary at Western Road, Birmingham. For further reading on workhouses and the Western Road Workhouse for Birmingham, England, please see http://www.workhouses.org.uk/Birmingham/