Henry Harper
1845 - 1896

Henry Harper was born on March 25, 1845 in Acton Trussel, Stafford, England to parents Joseph Harper and Elizabeth Worthington. A few months after Henry was born his father died. His father was 52 years old when he died. His father was a wheel wright.

Joseph and Elizabeth were married on March 9, 1829 in Acton Trussell. Both were being married for the first time. Joseph was 14 years older than Elizabeth. He was 38 and she was 24. Their first child Sarah was born a little over three months after they were married.

Henry was living in a Gentleman's family bound out for apprentice as a rope spinner starting at nine years of age until thirteen years of age.

He married Sarah Timmons. She was the daughter of Benjamin Timmons and Elizabeth Taylor. Sarah was born on April 15, 1841 in Sedgley, Staffordshire, England. Sarah had one brother and two sisters.

In August of 1865, Henry and Sarah sailed for Quebec, Canada on the ship Hibernian.

Canadian Passenger List for Hy Harper
Canadian Passenger List for Hy Harper

They crossed Lake Ontario from Kingston, Canada to Oswego, New York. Their first child, Henry Ephriam Harper was born in Oswego on November 22, 1865.

The family left America for England April 20, 1866. They lived in Birmingham for the next four or five years. In Birmingham three children were born: Jessie Maria, June 1867, Arthur George, 1869, and Alice Louise, August 6, 1870.

In 1870, Henry sailed back to America, leaving the family in Birmingham. According the the 1871 England census, the family is there without Henry.

1871 England Census Harper Family
1871 England Census Harper Family

Sarah and the children joined Henry in Massachusetts in 1871. They left Liverpool, England on the ship Calabria and arrived in Boston, Massachusetts on October 2, 1871.

Six more children were born in Wakefield, Massachusetts: Elizabeth V., August 14, 1872 (10 months after Sarah joined Henry in Massachusetts), Annie Rebecca, June 27, 1874, Walter Benjamin, January 2, 1876, Cyril Albert Ernest, April 10, 1878, Edith S., November 5, 1880, and Ira Joseph, August 27, 1883.

Henry's occupation was listed as laborer on the birth certificates for the first three children born in Wakefield. He is listed as a mechanic on the birth certificates for Cyril and Ira. On Edith's birth certificate he is listed as a rattan worker. In the 1880 census, Henry's occupation is "works in rattan factory". He probably worked at the Wakefield Rattan Factory.

Wakefield Rattan Factory
Postcard of Wakefield Rattan Factory, Wakefield, Massachusetts

1880 Census Harper Family
1880 Census Harper Family

Henry and Sarah got married in Boston on July 8, 1886 by a Justice of the Peace. It is clearly them with the correct parents listed and Sarah is listed with her maiden name. Did they lose any proof of their marriage?

Henry Harper and Sarah Timmons record of marriage 1886

Sarah died January 15, 1892 in Wakefield from chronic gastritis and parital insanity (Note: she could have had some kind of cancer in her stomach and pain led to instanity.) She was 50 years, 8 months, and 15 days old when she died.

Henry died May 17, 1896 in Wakefield of brights desease of the kidneys. He was 53 years, 1 month, and 23 days old when he died. He is buried at Lakeside Cemetry in the family plot

Henry Harper death in newspaper
Charlestown Enterprise
Saturday, May 30, 1896
Vol 28. No. 22
page 5

Recent Deaths.
  Henry Harper, a well-known employee of
the Navy Yard, who died at his home in
Wakefield on the 17th inst., was buried on
Tuesday of last week. The funeral took
place from his late residence on Nahant
street, and the burial was at Lakeside
Cemetery. Mr. Harper was exceedinly
well known as a musician and for many
years conducted organizations known as
the Wakefield brass band, Harper's band and
Harper's orchestra.

The Navy yard was 13 miles from Henry's house. Today it would take 25 minutes to get there. I wonder how long it took Henry to get to work. By the 1890s there were surface electric trolley lines operating in Boston. The first subway opened in 1897, a year after Henry died.

Harper Tombstone

Harper Tombstone Back Harper Tombstone Back

Descendant Report

Pedigree Chart


1900 U.S. census, Middlesex County, Wakefield, Massachusetts, page 200, line 13, Henry Harper head, digital image, Heritage Quest, from National Archives microfilm T623, roll 667.

1920 U.S. census, Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts, page 95, line 15, Harry M Curtis head, digital image, Heritage Quest, accessed 8 March 2011, from National Archives microfilm T625, roll 694.

Ancestry.com. Boston Passenger Lists, 1820-1943 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006.

Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Marriage Records, 1840-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013. Original data: Massachusetts Vital Records, 1840–1911. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts. Massachusetts Vital Records, 1911–1915. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts. Sarah Timmins, _Up Through 1910, 1886, image 1142 of 1336

Harper, Anna R., birth certificate, Massachusetts Archives Year: 1874, Vol.: 260, Page: 228, No: 48, Boston, Massachusetts.

Harper, Arthur George birth, http://freebmd.org.uk/ Mar 1870 HARPER Arthur George Birmingham Vol. 6d Page 198.

Harper, Cyril Albert E., birth certificate, Massachusetts Archives Year: 1878, Vol.: 296, Page: 204, No: 26, Boston, Massachusetts.

Harper, Edith S., birth certificate, Massachusetts Archives Year: 1880, Vol.: 314, Page: 225, No: 6, Boston, Massachusetts.

Harper, Elizabeth, birth certificate, Massachusetts ArchivesYear: 1872, Vol.: 242, Page: 299, No: 100, Boston, Massachusetts.

Harper, Henry baptism, Staffordshire, England, digital image, Findmypast.com, record set Staffordshire baptisms, archive reference D3650/14, page 36.

Harper, Henry, death certificate, Massachusetts Archives Year: 1896, Vol.: 464, Page: 413, No: 51, Boston, Massachusetts.

Harper, Ira Joseph, birth certificate, Massachusetts ArchivesYear: 1883, Vol. 341, Page 236, No: 77, Boston, Massachusetts.

Harper, Jessie Maria birth, http://freebmd.org.uk/ Jun 1867 HARPER Jessie Maria Birmingham Vol. 6d Page 198.

Harper, Joseph and Elizabeth Worthington marriage, Staffordshire, England, digital image, Findmypast.com, record set Staffordshire marriages, archive reference D731/5, page 31.

Harper, Joseph burial, Staffordshire, England, digital image, Findmypast.com, record set Staffordshire burials, archive reference D3650/1/6, page 25.

Harper, Sarah, death certificate, Massachusetts Archives Year: 1892, Vol.: 428, Page: 385, No: 9, Boston, Massachusetts.

Harper, Walter B., birth certificate, Massachusetts Archives Year: 1876, Vol.: 278, Page: 205, No: 5, Boston, Massachusetts.

Letter written by Elsie M. Tenney to Arlene Roy, June 26, 1986, Harper Family Reunion held June 21, 1986, personal correspondece, 1986; privately held by Patty Roy.

Timmins, Sarah, birth certificate, General Register Office, England, Application Number PAS 1005551, Registration District: Dudley, 1841 Birth in the Sub-district of Sedgley in the County of Stafford.