Emma Wilcox, daughter of Mr J. Wilcox, himself well-known as a Lichfield gardener who tended the gardens of many, including Dr Holland, had married and now lived at Orton-on-the-Hill in Leicestershire. Having married her cousin, a tailor by trade, she had not changed her name and still saw the rest of her family quite often as they still lived in Lichfield.
Walking north towards her home from Atherstone, took her to the River Anker which was in flood, as it still does to this day despite steps being taken to rectify the problem. Here she met a boy of just seven years of age, his passage also blocked by the swollen Anker. Although already carrying an umbrella and a bag, she lifted the boy and strode out towards where she knew the bridge to be. We should remember these were times when clothing was largely woollen and much bulkier than today. Thus it was likely the weight of her long clothing which, having absorbed the water, caused her to trip. Together they were washed away downstream.
Later that day a passer-by driving a trap saw her hands above water. Emma was already dead and her hands frozen in that position at the moment of her death and held there by the branches against which her lifeless form was pinned. Looking around he later spotted the boy, now washed up on a bank.
Later the young boy told of how Emma Wilcox had saved his life and continued to support him above water even though he could no longer see her head. Emma Wilcox left behind a husband and six children, the youngest of which was just five months of age.