Emma Wellard hit by train

Cut to pieces June 1899

Reading in the Echo this week about the Peculiar People’s Church I was surprised to see Canvey Island mentioned. Although Canvey has always and continues to be home to people of different religious persuasions I have not come across anything in association with the Peculiar People’s Church before so I decided to investigate.

The entry in the Echo was about Emma Wellard who indeed was a resident of Canvey Island and had been for nearly all the years she had been married to Thomas. All but one of their children (6 daughters and 4 sons) were born on the island and they can be found in various locations around the island in the census and parish records.

Emma was born in Kelvedon in 1829 she married her husband Thomas in 1848 at St Michael’s in Pitsea. The couple were later living on Canvey. Thomas was born on Canvey in 1826 to the Willard family who had been on the island since the 1790’s they originated from St Mary Hoo in Kent.

For a short while around 1861, possibly for only a few months/years, the family lived in Rayleigh. At that time the Peculiar People were very prevalent in the area. It would seem from the newspaper reports published throughout the country. that Emma was a member of the church and it was a journey to their church in Southend that took her to Benfleet station. Unfortunately she never made it as she was hit by a train and killed. At the inquest her son just stated she was going to chapel in Southend as well as visiting her daughters. No mention of the Peculiar People.

Following her death in 1899 an inquest was held. The report from the inquest can be seen below.

Emma and her husband are buried in St Katherine’s Churchyard.

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