Gabriel Benjamin Reeve was born in Ipswich, Suffolk on 7 April 1822 to Gabriel Reeve and Hannah Reynolds.  He was the eldest of 10 children (nine of whom were boys).  He was christened privately on 10 April 1822.  Perhaps he was sickly?

Ipswich was a substantial trading settlement.  In the early part of the 19th century its population was about 11,000, rising to almost 33,000 by 1851, so at the time of Gabriel’s birth, there was perhaps a population of between 15,000 and 20,000.  Industries included iron foundries, brick making, breweries, and milling.

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Gabriel’s father was a painter and glazier.  Gabriel B had three brothers called John, born 1826, 1827, and 1833.  The first two died in infancy.  At least three other brothers grew to adulthood and married but I don’t know what happened to the other siblings.

In 1841 Gabriel was living at Coytes Gardens in Ipswich with his parents and three brothers.  He was a tailor’s apprentice.

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Google streetview of Coytes gardens

In 1846 Gabriel married Hannah Wright on 21 September at St Nicholas, Ipswich.  Gabriel was a tailor.  The marriage was witnessed by Gabriel’s brother, Robert, and Hannah’s sister, Maria.

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St Nicholas church, Ipswich

The following  year the couple had their first child, Emma, who, unfortunately, died two years later.  In 1849 the second daughter, Hannah, was born.  Two years later, in February, Sarah was born.

In the 1851 census, Gabriel was a railway clerk, seemingly having given up tailoring.  The family of four lived in Barclay Street in Ipswich.  I can only find an Upper Barclay Street (presumably there was a lower), but there’s nothing there but a carpark and ugly (newer) brick building.  It appears that Sarah died later that year.

Two more daughters were born in 1852 and 1854 (Elizabeth Sarah and Emma Maria).  In 1856 another girl, Mary Eliza, was born, but she died in 1859.  The first son, John Benjamin, was born in 1858 and then another girl, Ruth, in 1861.  In the 1861 census,  however, only four children were listed.  Emma appears to have died also.  Gabriel was listed as an iron foundry clerk.  The family were living in East Street Albion Terrace, the terrace apparently joining East Street to Albion Street (so I’ve been told).  I can’t find it on a map, let along Google streetview.  Three more children were born: Harry Joseph in 1863; Mary Kate in 1866; and Katherine Alice in 1869.

In the 1871 census all the surviving children are listed except for John Benjamin, who would’ve been about 12 years old.  It’s possible he was at a “Hospital school” listed as Benjamin Reeve.  Why he would be there remains a mystery.  Gabriel was listed as a merchant’s clerk.

Ten years later, 1881, Gabriel was listed as a commercial clerk at the iron foundry, as was his son John Benjamin.  The family were living at 9 Orford Street in Ipswich (now a carpark).

I have no more information for Gabriel.  He died in 1890 on 6 September, age 68.

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He was buried on 11 September at Ipswich cemetery.

I was sent a photo of Gabriel by a descendant of Gabriel’s son John Benjamin.  He looks a kindly man.

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Sources: findmypast; localhistories.org; family archives; Google; suffolkchurches.co.uk; probatesearch

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