The White family of Stockton and Hopewell

Robert White = Jane Gibson

     |         other children

Ann White = John Wigham

      |         other children

Jane Wigham = Edward Richardson

      |         other children

Elizabeth Richardson = Robert Spence Watson

      |         other children

Mary Spence Watson = Francis Edward Pollard


Ann White, of Lames[ley], was baptised on the 15th April 1770, at Whickham, Durham.1

She married [P2] John Wigham at Stockton on the 4th June 1807.2

She was a convinced Friend, and a considerable heiress. Her elder brother much resented her joining Friends and her marriage, and left his money to a younger brother; but on the death of the latter, Ann inherited both fortunes.3

Ann and John had only one child: [P1] Jane (18081873), born at Edinburgh.4

She was delicate, and needed much loving care. Of 10 Salisbury Road, Edinburgh, she died on the 5th November 1823, and was buried at Edinburgh on the 9th.5

In 1916 Elizabeth Spence Watson found a portrait of Ann White, which she sent to Stella Merz, wife to her nephew Charles Hesterman Merz, she having become absorbed in family history. The present whereabouts of this portrait is unknown, but it seems likely that it was destroyed during the Blitz along with the Merz family home, and all the Merz family except Stella herself.6

Ann White may have been the daughter of [P8] Robert and [P9] Jane White.7


1 bishop's transcript; "England Births and Christenings, 15381975," database, FamilySearch: 30 December 2014, Ann White, 15 Apr 1770, citing WHICKHAM, DURHAM, reference FHL microfilm 91,143, 91,144; the Annual Monitor, however, gives a calculated year of birth of 1781, which suggests this may be an incorrect identification. Another possibility is the Ann, daughter of Robert and Ann White, baptised at Barnard Castle on the 11th September 1774 ("England Births and Christenings, 15381975", database, FamilySearch: 4 February 2023, Ann White, 1774.

2 TNA: RG 6/203, /527

3 Journal of the Friends' Historical Society 10:2 1913

4 DQB; Strath Maxwell

5 DQB; JFHS 10:2 1913; Strath Maxwell; The Edinburgh Advertiser, 1823-11-14; Blackwood's Magazine, Dec 1823; The Scots Magazine, 1823-12-01

6 Alice Mary Merz, 'Family Notes', typescript

7 RG 6/203; DQB


Judging by his age as recorded on his tombstone, Robert White was born in about 1718. He was named in his father's will in 1746.1

He may have first married Ann Myers (? ?) on the 20th May 1755, at Gainford, Durham.2

On the 14th November 1772, a yeoman, of Gainford, Durham, he signed a marriage bond and allegation with George Gibson, of Whittingham, Durham, in respect of his prospective marriage. He married (possibly secondly) [P9] Jane Gibson on the 16th November 1772, at Gainford. Their children were: Robert (1768 before 1823), [P7] Ann (17701823), and Nicholas (1773 before 1823), all baptised at Whickham, Durham; and John (? ?).3

He is believed to have made his fortune in India.4

He became a farmer in Hopewell, Durham. Described as "of Hopewell late of Fishburn," he died on the 1st May 1787.5

His body was buried at St Cuthbert's churchyard, Darlington, Durham. In his will, which was proved in the Prerogative Court of York the following month, he is described as "White Robert form[erl]y of Hopewell but late of Fishburn Co Durham".6



1 photographs of MI at Find a Grave; marriage bond and allegation; Durham Wills; FamilySearch has two individuals named Robert White baptised at Gainford in 1720, as well as three baptised in 1718, but appreciably further away in the county; the Robert White of Hopewell who made his will in 1746 (Durham Wills), and appears to have died in 1747 ("England Deaths and Burials, 15381991," database, FamilySearch: 10 February 2018, Robert White, burial, citing index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City, FHL microfilm 812,196) may have been his grandfather, as the age given at burial (92) is consistent with his self-description in his will as "being very old"

2 "England Marriages, 15381973," database, FamilySearch: 10 February 2018, Robert White and Ann Myers, 20 May 1755, citing Gainford, Durham, reference index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City, FHL microfilm 90,786, 908,027

3 marriage bond and allegation; Dictionary of Quaker Biography; Joiner marriage index; Genuki; Journal of the Friends' Historical Society 10:2 1913; FamilySearch; photographs of MI at Find a Grave

4 Journal of the Friends' Historical Society 10:2,1913

5 photographs of MI at Find a Grave; TNA: RG 6/203, /527; Hopewell is just north of Piercebridge, Fishburn about 12 miles west of Hartlepool.

6 RG 6/203, /527; Prerogative & Exchequer Courts of York Probate Index


Suggestions for further research

It is possible that the 1770 baptism of [P7] Ann White is an incorrect identification, in which case all that follows is wrong. I currently take the view that her age as given in the Annual Monitor was misstated; this should be borne in mind, however.

The story of her having been an heiress derives from a single secondary source, the Journal of the Friends' Historical Society; while the source is dependable, it really only hints at what may have been the historical truth, which thus far remains uncertain.

I would love to think that someone, somewhere, has a photograph of the portrait of her that I presume to have been destroyed in the Blitz, but I fear this is pretty unlikely.

There is clearly a need to see the original probate records for [P8] Robert White. His birth/baptism and parentage have also yet to be found, which may prove very difficult, given such a common name.


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This page was last revised on 2023-11-15.


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