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One of the oldest men in Cobourg, and for more than thirty years prominent in business, and in municipal affairs, is John Field, who was born at Wiviliscombe, Somersetshire, England, July 10, 1793, hence at the time of writing he is in his 86th year. His parents were John and Myra (Collard) Field, his father being engaged in the general mercantile trade in Somersetshire for many years.
The subject of this notice received an academic education; then served an apprenticeship of six years at Taunton in the mercantile business; was subsequently an assistant in stores at Exeter, Bath, Bristol and London, and was afterwards in trade for himself at Wiviliscombe, Tiverton and Tavistock.
About 1817, Mr. Field married Miss Harriet Chorley of his native town, and she died ten months afterwards in childbed, leaving a daughter, Harriet, now the widow of Thomas Hill, of England.
Four or five years afterwards he married Martha Woodbury, and in 1834 brought his family to Canada, he having visited Cobourg two years before; and concluded to settle here. He opened a general variety store, and managed it until a little more than twenty years ago, when he turned it over to two of his sons. He was a very prudent and careful manager of his business, and was quite successful, accumulating a handsome property, some of it being in farms, some in town buildings and a considerable sum invested in mortgages on real estate.
Mr. Field was in the Town Council a long time; was chairman of the finance committee four or five years, and has been Justice of the Peace the last twenty years or more.
He has been a member of the Congregational Church for a great length of time, and has lived a consistant Christian life, commanding the confidence and warm esteem of his neighbors. He has been and still is emphatically a “piller” of the Church, being one of its most liberal supporters.
In 1861 he visited England after an absence of twenty-eight years, and in the cemetery of his native town, read the names of his ancestors, one of whom lived to be a hundred years old.
The second wife of Mr. Field died in 1857; she was the mother of eleven children, eight of whom, four sons and four daughters, are still living, all married but Francis Woodbury and Sarah. John C., the eldest son, and Corelli C. are in trade together, being the successors of their father, and among the leading merchants in town. William and Francis W., the two other brothers, are assistants in the same store. John C. was for many years in the Town Council, and Corelli is now a member of that body.
Mary, the eldest daughter, is the widow of John A. Hamilton, of Cobourg. Myra Jane is the wife of William Kerr, barrister, and ex-member of Dominion Parliament, also of Cobourg; and Arabella is the wife of Arthur Jaques, forwarding merchant of Montreal.