Our branch of the Garfield family descends from Samuel, the eldest son of Edward who was born in Warwickshire, England in 1583 and died in Watertown, Massachusetts in 1672.  Edward was the first of the Garfield family to leave England for the New World and was the forefather for most if not all of the people bearing or connected to the name in the American colonies. 

Edward and his first wife, name unknown, had three children in England, Jonathan who died shortly after his birth in 1611, Samuel who was born in 1613 and Sarah born in 1616, possibly named for her mother.  According to new information published by Robert C. Anderson in October 2002 in the NEW ENGLAND HISTORICAL AND GENEALOGICAL REGISTER, Edward Garfield was baptized in Hillmorton, Warwickshire in 1583 and his parents were listed as Thomas Garfield and Agnes.  His three children were all baptized at Holy Trinity Church, Coventry, Warwickshire and were recorded in the Parish Registers there but nothing is known about his wife who must have died early.

Edward was a widower when he immigrated to the Puritan colony of Massachusetts, perhaps in the Winthrop fleet of 1630 since he is mentioned in the family records of Isaac Sterns as one of his fellow passengers, along with Gov. Winthrop and Sir Richard Saltonstall.  The first official evidence of Edward Garfield in Massachusetts is shown in Watertown records when he was granted the rights of a freeman on May 6, 1635, (voting rights for property owners.)   After his arrival, he married Rebecca Johnson, who was born in England in 1606, and they resided in Watertown with their four children:  Joseph born in 1637, Rebecca born in 1640, Benjamin born in 1643 and Abigail born in 1646.  He received 30 acres of land in 1636, and a total of 12 acres in 1637.  In addition, he purchased another 100 acres as recorded between 1651 and 1662.  During the years when Watertown struggled for existence, he performed many services, appearing often in the town records, which included serving as selectman in 1638, 1655 and 1661 and "Ould Garfield" was chosen as Constable in 1661.  He died on June 14, 1672 at an advanced age and his will was probated on July 11, 1672.

Apparently, Edward sent for his children soon after his arrival in Massachusetts because both Edward and his son Samuel are shown in the land inventories of 1637 and 1647.  In 1630, when Edward departed for the "New World," Samuel would have been 17 and Sarah 14.   Robert C. Anderson makes a case for Sarah Garfield being the second wife of George Parkhurst and the mother of Sarah Parkhurst, the grandchild who is mentioned in Edward's will but the exact identity of Sarah Parkhurst's mother has not yet been definitely established.

About 1642, Samuel, married Susanna and they had three sons:  Samuel, born about 1644, John, born 1646 - died 1649, and Ephraim, born in 1649.  There is a possibility that Susanna was the elder sister of Mary Benfield whom he married next in September 1652, after the death of Susanna in May of that year.  Samuel fathered another 13 or 14 children by Mary Benfield depending upon whether the Henry Bond list of 1860 or the Savage dictionary is followed.  The Bond list has a Daniel born February 13, 1683, one year before Samuel's death.  Savage does not list a Daniel in 1683, which makes for a possibility that there was some confusion between Samuel the father and Samuel the son in which case Daniel could be the son of Samuel Jr.  Anderson says "Henry Bond created much confusion in the accounts of this family, by splitting the immigrant into two men, and then doing the same with his eldest son."  Anderson untangles the Edwards, but doesn't completely solve the problem with the Samuels.

Samuel Jr., the oldest of the three sons of Susanna, was mentioned as being apprenticed to John Fleming in 1653 but then he disappears from the records except for the mention of him in Samuel Sr.'s will of 1684 with a bequest of 5 shillings to "my son Samuel Garfield" and "unto Ephraim Garfield my son two shillings & six pence."  To his "beloved wife" Mary, he gave the rest of his estate and appointed her "Sole Executrix" to his last will and testament.  Mary Garfield died in September 1708 and her will was probated in January 1709.  She gave her son-in-law (stepson) Ephraim 6 shillings and her two grandchildren (step grandchildren) Daniel and Elizabeth Garfield 3 shillings each as well as 6 shillings to each of her living children and 3 shillings to each of the grandchildren whose Garfield parent was deceased. 

Based on a reading of Mary's Will, it would seem that the grandchildren mentioned directly after Ephraim belonged to Samuel, who must have died between 1684 (Samuel's will) and 1709 (Mary's will).  This idea conflicts with The Memoirs of Worcester Co. which say Daniel was the son of Ephraim.  Further research is needed to clarify the issue.

In Sudbury, where Ephraim lived for many years, there are several references to him including lots acquired in 1684, town meetings and selectmen's meetings from 1684-1698 as well as his death, which is recorded on March 7, 1723.  There are, unfortunately, no vital records of children's births or marriages.  A careful inspection of the original town records and a search of the land and cemetery records could turn up something about his family.

The Daniel Garfield (4) mentioned above, was born about 1688 to either Samuel (3) or Ephraim (3), the oldest sons of Samuel (2).  Daniel was an early settler of Shrewsbury, Mass., being admitted to the Church there in 1728, living on Lot No. 10 in 1729 and dying on July 15, 1757 at the age of 69.  He had married Mary Crouch in 1715 in Charlestown and the birth of their first child, John, occurred in 1716 in Cambridge suggesting that a careful search of land and church records in Cambridge might also reveal something further about Samuel. 

Daniel and Mary's second child, Elizabeth whose birthplace has not been determined, was born before 1720.  The next child, Daniel, was born in Shrewsbury and recorded in 1722 followed by four more children all being recorded in Shrewsbury.   Ebenezer was born in 1724, Mary in 1727, Moses in 1729 and Aaron in 1736.  Daniel acquired about 70 acres and distributed property to each of his sons before he died or in his will.  The family home, built by Daniel Sr. and then inhabited by Daniel Jr. remained in the Garfield family for nearly 150 years.  While not totally in its original form, the house may still be seen at 398 Walnut St. in the City of Shrewsbury.

Ebenezer (5), the fourth child of Daniel and Mary, married Mary Graves in 1745.  They had 9 children, all born in the town of Shrewsbury and both died there in 1799.  They had four daughters and then a son named Ebenezer, born in 1752, followed by Abijah in 1754 and Daniel (6) in 1756.  There is a very strange twist to this Daniel's story.   According to records in Shrewsbury, the woman he married, Elizabeth (Brewer), had been promised to Daniel's 1st cousin, Joseph of Warwick, on May 8,1788.  He was the son of Moses (5), Ebenezer's brother, and Sarah Whitford.

According to records in Warwick, Joseph married Susanna Weeks August 29,1778 and she bore him two sons, Joseph in August 1779 and Nat in 1781.  According to the Brewer family records, Elizabeth did marry Joseph Garfield of Warwick, but there is no official record of the marriage after the bans were published and there is no further record of this couple.  It is the Garfield family record that Elizabeth Brewer married Daniel, although there is no official record of that marriage either.  Yet, in the town of Shrewsbury, a son, Daniel, in 1780 and a daughter, Betcy, in 1782 are both recorded for Daniel Garfield and Elizabeth.

After the birth of Betcy, the family moved to Winchester, New Hampshire where eight more children were recorded, Myra in 1784 and Aid in 1786.  The fifth child was born there in 1788 and named "Billie" Brewer for his maternal grandfather, William Brewer, a resident of Shrewsbury.  He was married to Abigail Garfield, a daughter of Edward (3) son of Joseph (2) the son of Edward (1) thus making "Billie" Brewer a direct descendant of Edward (1) from both his parents, (7) on his father's side and (6) on his mother's side.  This special descendant is shown in the Winchester town record as "Billie" Brewer, but later became known only as William B Garfield as he is listed in the several census records of Alexander, his property inventory, and in Maple Hill Cemetery.

Daniel Garfield is listed in the first census of 1790 in Winchester, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire with a household of seven, including our ancestor, William Brewer Garfield.  The last child born to Daniel and Elizabeth in Winchester was Maria in 1799. Those were unsettled years following the Revolutionary War and new land opened up new opportunities.  Welcome, who was born in 1791, apparently decided, at the age of 19, to move to New York state and is recorded in Ontario Co. in the census of 1810.  The rest of the family must have followed him soon thereafter settling in the towns of Pembroke, Alexander and Darien in Genesee County, all within close proximity to each other.

Due to the unfortunate loss of records in much of New York State, vital records are quite sketchy for the family after they immigrated to that state. Very little is known about most of the children, especially the girls, or the grandchildren of Daniel and Elizabeth Garfield.   After the 1810 census, which lists Welcome in Ontario Co., the 1820 census shows Daniel and Aid in Pembroke, Genesee Co.  Riley is listed in Bethany, Genesee Co in 1840 and Aid is listed in Wales, Erie Co in 1850.  Wm. B stayed in Alexander where he is recorded in each census 1820 through 1860.  During the same period of time, rather large land purchases were recorded in Oakland Co, Michigan by Welcome in 1826, Wm. B in 1827 and Myra in 1829.  Myra is then recorded in the 1830 census in Oakland Co., Michigan where he died in 1847; Welcome is shown nearby in Farmington, Oakland Co., MI from 1840 through 1870.  It would seem that William B never actually moved to Michigan, but three of his daughters and his son also moved there after initially settling in Wauwatosa, WI in 1840. 

The primary evidence in New York of the family of Daniel and Elizabeth Garfield can still be viewed at the Maple Hill Cemetery in Darien, Genesee County.  The first Garfield burial occurred in 1813 with Charles, firstborn son of Wm. B and Mary and then Sophronia, another son, died at 9 months in 1824.  William's sister, Laura Garfield, wife of David Halstead was next, buried in 1825 at the age of 33.  Then, Dwight, son of Aid and Lydia Garfield, was buried at the age of 16 in 1838 after being kicked in the head by a horse.  These were untimely deaths and must have caused the family great sorrow.    Elizabeth, the wife of Daniel, was buried in 1841 and Daniel next to her in 1849.  His tombstone reads Doct. Daniel Garfield died April 30, 1849, age 94.  The cemetery book states that he was a surgeon in the Revolutionary War  (this has not been documented and the DAR refuses to recognize cemetery records.)

The Maple Hill cemetery record states that Wm B and his wife Mary Marshall of Litchfield Co. NY arrived in Darien in 1813.  They were among the first settlers of that area; they and other family members bought land and continued their tradition of farming.  That record also indicates Wm B bought his first farm in northeast Darien, selling it in 1827 to purchase a farm in Alexander from his brother Myra, where he lived until his death in 1861. Deacon William B. Garfield was buried in the family plot next to his parents. The cemetery record also mentions another of the family's many misfortunes, the loss of Mary and her daughter, Lorette in 1856, to typhoid fever in Wauwatosa, WI while Mary was visiting her children. Samuel Marshall Garfield, Lorette Brown and Elizabeth Smith all lived there at the time.  Mary Garfield and Lorette Brown were buried in Wauwatosa Cemetery in March 1856; Elizabeth Smith was buried in the same cemetery in 1865.

Shortly after the deaths of his mother and sister Lorette, Samuel moved his family from Wisconsin to Grand Rapids, MI settling near his sister Harriet and husband Joel Simonds, because he had been told by them that the area was especially well suited for growing fruit.  Later in his life, Samuel served as state legislator as did his son Charles.   Samuel also helped establish the Grand Rapids Savings Bank and later, Charles served as Director and then President for many years.  Charles was the only child of Samuel's to live into adult years. Since he did not have children, the Garfield name as it descended from William B's branch, ended with Charles W. Garfield of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Pioneering families moved when new lands opened up new opportunities.  With two uncles and their families already living in Oakland Co, Michigan, it must have seemed logical for Mary Jones and Philomela Chapin to move there.  Our ancestor, Philomela Garfield (8) and her husband, Elbridge Gary Chapin made the journey with their children to Michigan in either 1847 or 48.  This can be determined from the fact that their first child, Francis, was born in1839, an unknown daughter, born about 1841, Mary in1843 and Marshall in 1845, all in the state of New York.  The 1850 census of Rose Township, MI records only Mary, Marshall and included Harriet age 2 who was born in Michigan in 1848.   Francis had died of diphtheria and was buried in Brookins Cemetery in January 1850 before the census was taken. The daughter, name unknown was buried beside the trail after breaking her neck in a fall from the back of the wagon. 

This tragic story of a small child's death is part of the family legend that recounts the journey traveled by covered wagon, which they probably put on a barge to transit Lake Erie, possibly from Buffalo to Detroit (there were steamboats and that was an active route in the 1840's.)  From Detroit, a corduroy road ran northward into Oakland County.   After reaching Michigan, the Jones family and the Chapin family settled in Rose, Oakland Co., possibly on land purchased by William B. Garfield in 1827; this remains to be determined.   The few belongings the Chapins brought to Michigan included a highboy bureau and an extendable dining table, which has several leaves.  These items had been hand made by Elbridge and are still among our family's prized possessions along with an embroidered crazy quilt, which was pieced from silk and satin fabrics by Philomela .

The Garfields were farming families.  They moved in order to acquire more land or better land.  Genesee and Erie County, New York, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, and both Kent and Oakland Counties in Michigan became the homes of the children and grandchildren of Daniel and Elizabeth Garfield.  Two of William B. and Mary Garfield's daughters, E. Jane Johnson and Lorette Brown, both died as young adults each leaving 2 young children motherless before the property of Wm. B was inventoried in 1861.  The children who survived him were Samuel Garfield and Harriet Simonds who settled in Kent Co, MI, Mary Jones and Philomela Chapin who settled in Oakland Co. MI and a fifth daughter, Elizabeth Smith, who remained in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.  They were all pioneers with a love of the land, hard working people of strong convictions and true to their Puritan heritage.

The eulogy for William B., which is found in the Maple Hill cemetery book, is the best summary of this family:

"Sickness and misfortunes often overtook him, but with courage he would grapple with them till his efforts were crowned with success.  He was kind to the poor and needy and a useful and enterprising member of society."