Fanny Elizabeth Leach 1866 - 1902

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Print of Hospital Ships at Deptford

Willie's first wife who died young aged 36.

According to her death certificate, Fanny died of smallpox on the hospital ship Atlas , moored in the Thames

Years ago I remember my mother telling me she believed Willie Higgs married twice and had a son Harry and a daughter Nan from his first marriage

As the Family Tree shows, in addition to Harry and Nan there was also young Elizabeth Fanny who died in 1802 aged 12, and Cissy born in 1899

Some of the below facts were found on

In the 1881 Census we see Fanny living with her parents at 7 Betterton Street., aged 15. At 23 Fanny married Willie on 5th May 1889 in the Parish of St. Giles in the Field

A couple of years later they had a daughter Elizabeth Fanny Higgs born on 7th August 1890. Then a son, Harry, born in 1896 ( referred to on this site as Big Harry).

Lastly they had a second daughter Frides Adelaide Annie born 12th July 1892 (known as Nan, see above).

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The certificate also tells us Fanny had been vaccinated but only as a child. She died from it much later, at age 37

The Great Smallpox Pandemic of 1870 to 1875 was the last major smallpox epidemic to reach pandemic level across Europe. The outbreak has its origins in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 to 1871, where unvaccinated French prisoners of war infected the German civilian population, before the virus then spread to all corners of Europe.