John was born 5 Feb 1819 in the village of Wellington, Northampton, Northamptonshire, England to Thomas Boyce and Sarah Randall. The Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial register lists John’s christening on 17 Mar 1822 (St. Patrick’s Day!), in All Saints Wesleyan Methodist Church, Northampton, Northamptonshire. John had an older brother, William born in 1811, and a younger sis, Caroline, born in 1820. William is found living in Kingsthorpe House, District 17, Northampton. He’s single and 30 years old in 1841.
A side note regarding the non-conformists (Wesleyan Methodists): they were not the radicals they became later in the century. Some even say the Wesleyans may have prevented a wider spread of the revolutionary fervor that had overtaken most of Europe in the middle of the nineteenth century. They were known as conservatives, who did not support democratic ideals.
In June 1840 Northampton, Northamptonshire, John married Martha James, a dressmaker, born in 1820 All Saints, Northampton, daughter of John James and Sarah Weedon. (William and Martha?)
Their first child, daughter Elisabeth, was baptized 14 Feb 1841 in St.Giles Parish, Northampton. A son, Thomas was born in 1846. We have not found his death record yet, but it does not appear that he survived childhood. Another older brother, William James Boyce was born in 1850 in Kent, Tumbridge Wells, and a younger sis, Louisa,was born in 1864.
In 1841, John (20), Martha (20) and infant daughter Elisabeth live on Great Rupell Street, Northampton (Extra parochial is noted as the Township), Northamptonshire. This is the parish of St. Giles in District 19. At least half of the heads of households are shoemakers, like John.
The 1851 England census for Northampton, shows the Boyces living at 134 St. Georges Street in the parish of St. Sepulchre. John (31), is a shoe manufacturer, Martha (29) a dress maker, daughter Elisabeth, a scholar, and William is an infant. Thomas (17) is an unmarried apprentice living with Thomas Buckingham (38), his wife, Mary Ann (39) and their 2 year old daughter, Mary Augusta in Long Itchington, Warwickshire.
In 1859, John and Martha’ s daughter Elisabeth died.
The 1860 census for the 6th Ward of the City of Newark NJ (Essex county) shows John (42), a shoemaker in House 1304. Also listed are Martha (40), William is now 10, and George Randall, born in NJ, was 5 months old.
John died on 10 Oct 1868 in Orange, Essex, NJ. He was only 50 years old. He was buried two days later in the family plot in Fairmount Cemetery. John Boyce bought this plot for $25.00 in 1859. There are 351 sq.ft. Wife, Martha, and daughter, Elisabeth, are also buried in Fairmount.
At 49 years old, in 1870, Martha James Boyce lived with her two sons, William James (20 works in a shoe store) and George Randall (10 a student) in East Orange NJ with the farmer, Christ Edge and his family. Perhaps the Edge family were tenant farmers because they do not appear to own anything and have only $100.00 of personal assets, whereas Martha has $8000 in real estate and $1500 in personal assets.
Martha was 60 when the 1880 census was taken.
She was living, the head of the household at 420 Main Street, Orange with 20 year old son George, working as a machinist. 59 year old Chas Huston was a boarder. James Philips, his wife Anna, and 2 year old son, Charles, also lived in the house.
After a year of being a parapalegic, (possibly due to stroke) g-g gramma, Martha died on 9 Dec. 1885 while living with her son (our great-grandfather) George Randall Boyce’s family in East Orange NJ. She was 65 years old. She was buried in Fairmount the next day.