Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Fact or Fiction, the search continues

My 3great grandfather John Thomas GARRETT (1802-1852) was born 210 years ago today (baptised two months later).
In planning to write something about him, I came across a common problem when tracking down details and stories of your ancestors – both variations and conflict in what is available. There are advantages in having a family with many ‘famous’ people, particularly a family that doesn’t move much – there are many references to them in many different sources. This is exciting when you are searching for the stories, but this also gives rise to disadvantages – all these sources don’t say the same things, and not all members of the families are included.

John Thomas Garrett was a fairly ordinary man in a family of many extraordinary people – his father was Vice Admiral Henry GARRETT (1774-1846), his uncle Sir George GARRETT (1772-1832), his mother Mary RAIKES (1773-1812) was the daughter of the founder of Sunday Schools, Robert RAIKES (1736-1811), and there were numerous other high ranking military, clergy and business men.
He even married well – Mary Charlotte CLAVELL (1803-1876) was the eldest daughter of Captain John CLAVELL (1776-1846) who was Collingwood’s right hand man in the Battle of Trafalgar. His mother’s younger sister, Jane Newnham Collingwood CLAVELL married Jane AUSTEN’s nephew.
John Garrett’s mother died when he was only 10.
From a book by John Pile with the Havant Borough Council in 2011
Belmont Park, Bedhampton
The Estate, The House and it's People
(if you click on this it will come up bigger)
His father remarried in 1819, the same year that his eldest brother was killed in India. Four other brothers, all younger, also served in the military, most in India.

John Garrett ran the family brewery in Penny Street, Portsmouth, Hampshire until his death, aged 50 in 1852. The brewery appears to have started as Websters in about 1705, was purchased by his great grandfather William NORRIS (1719-1784) and then passed down to his grandfather Daniel GARRETT (1737-1805) who had married William Norris’ daughter. After his death, the brewery passed to Sir George Garrett’s son-in-law. It appears there were still some Garretts associated with the brewery over the years until 1880 when it was sold.
Henry Raikes Garrett c1853,
son of John Thomas Garrett

The names of Norris and Garrett also popped up a lot in the lists of Burgesses of the Town and Boroughs of Portsmouth, in the elections of the first Council in 1835, and on subsequent Councils too.

At the time of his death, John Garrett’s only surviving son, my 2great grandfather was only 13. Young Henry Raikes GARRETT (1838-1876) joined the Merchant Navy (see photo) and ended up in Adelaide, South Australia, arriving in Sep 1858 on the African.

I have death certificates, census records, marriage settlements and wills that have helped support most of what I have written here, and some websites are more reliable than others, eg History in Portsmouth website
Another website has him as ‘Sir John Thomas Garrett’ – but on checking, it was only his uncle that was knighted for services to brewing.
There is little mention of him in his father’s naval biographies – these only seem to mention the other military/naval brothers and their achievements and/or deaths.

I welcome more information or corrections, preferably with proof - although 'a good story' can be a hint about where to start looking.

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