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Beautiful Emily Jane Southgate 1871 ~ 1898

Emily Jane was the eldest child of Laban and Charlotte Southgate, born 3rd August 1871 in Barking, Suffolk where Laban was farming 57 acres.

By the time of the 1881 census, when Emily was 10 years old, the family were living at Badley, Suffolk and Laban had done rather well for himself and was farming 110 acres employing 2 men and 1 boy, Emily now had four younger siblings so the household was very busy.


Around 1890 when Emily was 19, the family had moved to Stowupland, Laban and Charlotte have had ten children, and on the 1891 census Laban described himself as “living on own means”, they were living at Tyrrells Farm, Stowupland. This farm was sold in 1892 and the family moved to Lings Lane, Chelmondiston, where Laban was a farm labourer. It seems Emily’s father was a drinker.


Meanwhile, Emily had left home and was working as a housekeeper for a Joseph Pawsey in Haughley near Stowmarket.


Emily Jane was reputably very beautiful and when she was washing dishes or clothes by the kitchen window many men would look for her. This was when she was employed as housekeeper to a widowed Joseph Pawsey (A respected member of the town of Haughley, Suffolk as w

ell as being a rate collector). Apparently, the realization that he would lose his reputation in the town when Emily's baby was born led him to hang himself in his own Gig Shed and he was discovered, still warm, at 7am by one of his farm labourers. Emily then went back to her parents Laban and Charlotte in Chelmondiston. It was there that she left her baby Daisy Emily Southgate with her parents who then handed baby Daisy onto another family in Lings Lane, Chelmondiston as a Nurse Child.


An inquest was held on Wednesday at the White Horse Inn at Haughley relating to the death of Joseph Pawsey aged 76, a farmer. The deceased had been greatly upset in consequence of the confinement of his housekeeper, a single young woman. Verdict: Suicide while temporarily insane was returned.


Newspaper articles about Joseph’s suicide

Sep 1893


Baby Daisy Emily Southgate was sent to the Garnham family in Chelmondiston to be cared for, and she would have had her grandparents and cousins all around her.


Emily then went to London. She turned up in the records four years later when in April 1897 she married John Spurgin in Lambeth, John was a greengrocer. Two months after the wedding on 14th June 1897, in Camberwell, she gave birth to a son, John Montague Spurgin. 18 months later, on 6th December 1898 she gave birth to a daughter, Emily Ruth Spurgin, and six days later Emily died, on 12th December 1898 at the age of only 27.

Baby Emily Ruth died at the age of 3, but John Montague went onto live a long and eventful life. I found this very interesting essay about his life written by his grandchild:


“John Montague Spurgin, at the age of 12, had a falling out with, in his words, his drunkard father. He left home and changed his name, adopting his mother's maiden name of Southgate. His mother had passed away several years earlier. From this time he was always known as Jack Southgate. He was taken in by a Jewish pawnbroker in London's East End. He spoke with a cockney accent all his life. At some point he headed north and settled in Leeds where he became a Master Printer and ran a shop until it burned in 1935. He had an illegitimate daughter, Shirley, around 1930 with whom he was reunited in 1980. He met Muriel Gibson and had two children, John Robin (1935) and Terence Malcom Southgate (1937). During WWII they moved several times ending up in Blackpool, where he was a major player in the black market, known as "Jack All Sorts". In 1945, after the end of the war, the family emigrated to Ireland, living in Dalkey, just south of Dublin. In 1952 the family emigrated to Canada, settling in Toronto. He and Muriel moved to Wallaceburg, Ontario, where their son, Robin, lives, in the mid 1970s. After suffering a stroke, Muriel passed away in 1979. Jack was very involved in the community and spearheaded several civic projects. He passed away in 1983, active until he died”.


Daisy would have been 5 years old when her mother died and probably had very little recollection of her, I found Daisy on the 1911 census at the age of 18, working as a scullery maid at Orwell Lodge, Belstead Road, Ipswich for the Paul family. In 1921 at the age of 27 she married Frederick Britton in Ipswich, Frederick was 54 and had been married and widowed and had several children already. Later in 1921 Frederick and Daisy had their only child, a daughter, Nancy Ellen Britton, whose daughter, Maggie Anderson, kindly shared a lot of this information with me.


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