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Some English Garfields


Researched by Sylvia Lagah (NZ), Audrey Potts (UK) and Anne Weyers (UK)

Also our thanks go to Martin Wheeley, for the use of his notes, Judith Hurst,
Eileen Hall and other assorted cousins and contacts

Dick has asked us to put together the story of our Garfields and, while our beginnings are small, we hope to add to this as time goes on.

Collaboration for us began when we found each other while searching for the same family members. This of course caused great excitement, and our computers were running hot with numerous emails.
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John Garfield married Susannah Atkins in the parish of St Michaels, Coventry on 19th March 1792. We have possible parents for John and Susannah, but these have not been verified .
John and Susannah had two known children, John Benjamin born about 1793 and Maria who was baptized 2nd February 1795

John Benjamin Garfield

Records in the Coventry IGI archives would seem to suggest that John Benjamin was either orphaned or his family were reduced to parish welfare as he was bound by the United Parishes Coventry Overseers firstly to James Banbury of St Michael, Coventry, weaver. 2nd January 1805, and later reassigned to Thomas Moy of Coventry, weaver, 5th March 1806.

By the mid 1820's John had moved to London, carried on with his trade as a weaver and also joined the local militia.

"The Militia Act of 1757 provided for men to serve in the militia at home in order to counter any threat arising when the majority of the regular army was stationed abroad. Lists of eligible men in each parish were known as militia ballot lists and from these, the men actually chosen appeared in the militia lists"

Bethnal Green Library card index Whitechapel roll containing names and places of residence of men serving as Privates in 1st and 2nd regiment of Tower Hamlets Militia
Deed No. 785 (1827)
John Garfield, a Weaver, of Phoenix St, Spitalfields named as substitute for John Hooker. Date of enrolment 27th March 1827

John married Harriett Heather on the 11th January 1829 at St John, Hackney
and their first child
Jane (Audrey and Anne's gg/Grandmother) was born in the same year.
Other children followed:
Harriett born c1835
John (Sylvia's g/Grandfather) born 31st May 1841
Sarah born c 1843
Susannah born 23rd Sept 1845
Their address on the 1851 census is 17 Pelham Street, Spitalfields. (Whitechapel)

By the middle of the 1800's life for a weaver was becoming very difficult. Against all arguments by the once powerful Weaver's Guild, the Government of the time was now allowing cheaper imports from the Continent and the weaver's wages had been reduced to a pittance. Families were living in overcrowded slums and conditions were appalling.

John and Harriett's children's marriages:
Jane married William Blackhall 12th June 1848. St Anne's Limehouse, Stepney
Harriett married Thomas Winter (Dec qtr) 1852
John married Amelia Mary Ann (Littleby? Littery?) 6th June 1858, St Phillips,
Bethnal Green
Sarah possibly married shortly after the 1861 census, but this has to be confirmed.
Susannah moved to Coventry where she stayed with her uncle and aunt George and Albina Beaumont for a time then married Alfred Lowe in June 1881

By the 1861 census Harriett had died. John is still listed as a silk weaver living with his daughter Sarah, a bonnet maker, at 18 Pelham St Spitalfields.
Harriett's death has not been found in the GRO index

10 years later the 1871 census sees John Benjamin Garfield as an inmate at the The Workhouse of St Matthew, Waterloo Road, Victoria Park, Bethnal Green, age was catching up with him and on 10th Feb 1872 he died aged 79. His cause of death is listed as Infirmities of Age and Pneumonia.