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Josiah Freeth [fh.]

Josiah Freeth was the sixth child of Samuel Freeth & Frances Grigg christened September 7th, 1806 at Smethwick, Staffs.

Josiah married Mary Yates, born at Bilston, Staffs c1815.

In 1841 Josiah & Mary were living at Rolfe St, Smethwick. They had a 3 year old son, Samuel & Josiah’s occupation was a stock taker. Listed next door in the 1841 census were Ann (60) & James (55) Yates, a stock taker. (Perhaps Mary’s parents?)

By 1851 they were living at Stoney Lane, Smethwick. Josiah was a boiler maker & at this time they had 5 children at home – Samuel (13) a boiler maker, Mary Ann (9), John (7), Fanny (5) & James (3).

A report in the Wolverhampton Chronicle & Staffordshire Advertiser of  July 4th, 1855 states that Josiah Freeth, aged 44, a boilermaker, was indicted for having stolen last November 500 hundredweight of coal from John Howard Blackwell, esq. in Harborne.  He was sentenced to 3 months imprisonment with hard labour!

By 1861 Josiah & Mary were living at St George St, Smethwick. Josiah was still a boiler maker & the children at home were Mary, John, a boiler maker, Fanny, James, Marria (10) & William, just 1 month old.

An article in the Birmingham Daily Gazette of December 7th, 1868 states that an inquest was carried out on the body of Mary, wife of Josiah Freeth at the Travellers’ Rest Inn, Smethwick.  Evidence showed that Mary had gone to bed in a state of intoxication & that Josiah found her dead at 4.30a.m. the next morning when he got up to go to work.  Witnesses called in the case were Josiah, son James & daughter Maria.  The jury returned an open verdict of ‘Found dead’.

Josiah (mistakenly written as Breath in census) was registered as a widower in the 1871 census. He was still at St George St with children John, a gas holder maker, Maria & William. Josiah was still a boiler maker.

At the time of the 1881 census Josiah was with his daughter Ann M (Maria) & her husband Isaac Turton, who she married in 1872, & their family. They were living at 93 Lewisham Rd, Smethwick & Isaac was a boiler maker, as was Josiah at the age of 74! Also living there was Josiah’s son John, a stationary engine driver, & daughter Mary, who had married William H Wills in 1863.

Josiah died March 18th, 1887, aged 81, his death being registered at Kings Norton.

The children of Josiah Freeth & Mary Yates were: Samuel Freeth born July 5th, 1838 & christened August 19th, 1838 at Smethwick, died Jan-March 1913 (Mansfield area) Thomas Freeth christened April 26th, 1840 at Smethwick, died October 15th, 1840 at Smethwick Mary Ann Freeth christened December 26th, 1841 at Smethwick John Freeth born July-September 1843 at Kings Norton, died July-September 1912 at Kings Norton Fanny Freeth born Oct-December 1845 at Smethwick James Freeth born Oct-December 1847 at Smethwick, died Oct-December 1918 at Kings Norton Ann Maria Freeth born July-September 1851 at Smethwick, died Oct-December 1900 at Kings Norton William Freeth born April-June 1861 at King Norton


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