John George Manfield MILLER (c.1842–1871)
St Michael section: Row 38, Grave L51
AFFECTIONATE MEMORY OF
WHO DIED AUGUST 4TH 1871
AGED 29 YEARS
BLESSED ARE THE DEAD
WHICH DIE IN THE LORD
J. G. M. M.
John George Manfield Miller was born in Walworth, Surrey in c.1842. His parents were John George Miller senior (born in Walworth in 1815) and his first wife Susannah (born in Walworth in c.1795).
His older sister Lydia was also born in Walworth (c.1835). By the time his younger sister Jemima Mary Ann Miller was born in 1843 they had moved to Broadway, Worcestershire, and his next brother William Robert James Miller was also born there in 1843/4. By the time his youngest brother Edmund was born in 1847, the family had moved to Oxford (probably Summertown).
The 1851 census shows John (12) living in St Aldate’s Street, Oxford with his parents John (44) and Susannah (42) and his siblings Lydia (16), Jemima, wrongly recorded as Jeremiah (8), William Robert James (6), and Edmund (4). His father was then working as a police officer for the University from their office in the Clarendon Building, Broad Street. John’s mother Susannah must have died by 1858.
On 19 September 1858 at St John's Church, Clerkenwell, John's father married his second wife Clara Brown (a plasterer’s daughter, born at the Eagle & Child pub in Oxford on 1 January 1831 and baptised at St Giles’s Church on the 30th of that month). They both gave their address as Clerkenwell Green, and John's father now described himself as an antiquarian. John's first stepsister Ruth Martina Agnes Mary Ann Miller was born at Barley, Hertfordshire in 1859.
By the time of the 1861 census, John’s father was a photographer at 94 High Street (on the site of the present Quod Restaurant), and was living there with his second wife Clara (30) and their baby Ruth (1), plus Jemima (17) and William (16) from his first marriage, and his wife’s sister Miss Caroline Brown (21). John George Miller himself is hard to find in the census, but by the autumn of that year he was a jeweller at 1 Magpie Lane (then called Grove Street), just around the corner from his father.
On 22 October 1861 at St Mary Magdalen Church, Oxford, John George Miller, described as a jeweller of St Mary-the-Virgin parish, married Elizabeth Williams (20): she was born at Bridport Street, Oxford in 1841 and baptised at St Ebbe’s Church on 26 May, the daughter of Thomas Williams, a trunkmaker, and his wife Frances (or Fanny). By the time that her sister Sarah Anne Williams was born in 1846, her family had moved to Friar’s Entry; and by 1861 they were living in George Street.
Their marriage was announced thus in Jackson’s Oxford Journal: “Oct. 22, at St. Mary Magdalene [sic] Church, by the Rev. R. St. John Tyrwhitt, John George, eldest son of Mr. John George Miller, of the High-street, to Elizabeth, fourth daughter of Mr. Thomas Williams, of George-street, in this city.”
The following year (after two changes of address), Miller was declared bankrupt. The Edinburgh Gazette of 11 November 1862 reported in its list of bankrupts: “John George Manfield Miller, late of 1, Grove Street [Magpie Lane], since then of 8, Charles Street, St Ebbe, and now of 4, East Street, New Osney, all in Oxford, working jeweller, and dealer in jewellery.”
On 10 January 1863 it was reported in Jackson’s Oxford Journal under the Oxford County Court: “BANKRUPT— John George Mansfield [sic] Miller, jeweller, of Grove-street, passed his last examination, and obtained his order of discharge without opposition”, and on 17 January that an Order of discharge would be drawn up.
By April 1863 the Miller family appear to have moved again, this time to Pembroke Street in St Ebbe’s, as on 25 April 1863 it was reported in Jackson’s Oxford Journal that a warrant was applied for for the arrest of John George Miller, a jeweller of Pembroke Street who had disguised himself as a woman and entered the house of a travelling jeweller, Isaac Goldstein, in Chaundy’s Place, Paradise Square. Miller had recently lost a considerable amount of property, and he was discharged, as the object was apparently to see if Goldstein had any of the property stolen from him. (In the event a puddler called Thomas Mackintosh was convicted of stealing eight watches from Miller on 12 January that year.)
They were living in St Aldate's in early 1864, and John was described as a watchmaker.
John and Elizabeth Miller had the following children in Oxford:
- Louisa Lavinia Miller (born in St Aldate's in 1864 and baptised at St Aldate's Church on 1 May)
- Herbert Harry Frederick Miller (born at 25 Cornmarket Street in 1866 and baptised at St Michael’s Church on 23 September)
- Francis John William Miller (born at 25 Cornmarket Street in 1868 and baptised at St Michael’s Church on 15 March).
By 1867 Miller was listed as a “working jeweller” at 25 Cornmarket Street, next door to the chemist William Luff (shown right, with a handcart outside; now rebuilt and part of Burger King).
At the time of the 1871 census John (31) and Elizabeth (26) were living over this shop with their children Louisa (7), Herbert (4), and Francis (3), and Elizabeth’s unmarried sister Sarah Ann Williams (24) and their niece Louisa Faulkner (11).
His father was still a photographer at 94 High Street, in 1871, assisted by his son William Robert John Miller (26), and he and his second wife now had one-year-old twins, Albert Edward and Arthur Henry Miller.
John Miller junior died at Cornmarket Street just three months after the census was taken:
† John George Manfield Miller died at 25 Cornmarket Street at the age of 29 on 4 August 1871 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 5 August (burial recorded in the parish register of St Michael’s Church).
His effects came to under £200, and his widow Elizabeth was his executor. Elizabeth is hard to find after 1871: she may have remarried or died, as by 1881 at least one of her children was in an orphanage.
John's father died in Berkshire on 5 August 1875, and his last daughter Lydia was born posthumously in 1876.
Children of John and Elizabeth Miller
- Louisa Lavinia Miller, Mrs Harris (born 1864) was already working as a nurse in a private house in Torquay in 1881 when she was 14. She married Vincent Bray Harris at All Saints’ Church in St John’s Wood 8on 18 May 189, and they had three children: Ernest Vincent Harris (born 1890), Florence Harris (born 1894), and Stanley Harris (born 1904). At the time of the 1891 census her husband was a milkman and they were living in Paddington; by 1901 he was a dairy manager and they lived in Putney; and by 1911 they were in Brixton.
- Herbert Harry Frederick Miller (born 1866) was in Kingsbury House, an orphanage in Middlesex, in 1881 when he was 12. He is hard to find after that date, and it is possible that he went abroad.
- Francis John William Miller (born in 1867/8) is hard to find after 1871.