Paradise Square, SheffieldJohn Staniforth was born August 20, 1793 to William Staniforth, Sheffield Surgeon (see our article on William here), and Ann Cam, daughter of Joseph Cam of Boston, Lincolnshire.

On December 9, 1824, the Sheffield Independent announced his marriage:

Married on Thursday the 9th Instant, by the Rev. Matthew Preston, Mr. John Staniforth, Solicitor, to Eliza, younger daughter of John Vickers, Esq. all of this place.

On the 1841 Census, we find John Staniforth, Solicitor living with his wife Elizabeth,, and daughters Harriet, Anne and Gertrude as well as sons Samuel Herbert and John Walter.

On June 25, 1842, the Sheffield Independent gave this interesting report:

Tuesday - Before H. Parker, W.J Bagshawe, J.C. Athorpe, and Wilson Overend, Esqrs. Joseph Heawitz, a denvor of steel pins, was charged with stealing a sovereign from the office of Messrs. Wheats and Staniforth, on Tuesday last. Mr. John Jas Wheat proved that between twelve and one he was called out of the lower back office to the front door, and stood in the passage for a few minutes, talking to a woman. As he stood there, John Tasker, a clerk, came down stairs, and on returning to his office, Mr. Wheat found that one of two sovereigns which he had left on the desk, with some silver, was gone... John Tasker, the clerk, occupying the chamber over the office of the last witness, proved that he heard Mr. J. J Wheat in the passage leading to the front door, and that he saw the prisoner, whom he knew as a vendor of steel pens, come down the yard from North Church street. He heard the door open out of the yard into the passage to the back office, and then saw the prisoner run up the yard again towards the street. He came down stairs and enquired of Mr. J. J Wheat if he had lost anything, and Mr. wheat, on looking at the money on his desk found that a soverieng was missing. On Saturday, Mr. Tasker met the prisoner in Scotland street, and after following him some distance, with the assistance of another person took him into custody, and have him into the care of Mr. Raynor .... On searching the prisoner, no money was found, but only a few boxes of steel pens... the prisoner denised that he had been at all at Messrs. Wheats and Staniforth's office - Committed for trial.

Finally we find this detailed report of his death, on January 22, 1848:

Awfully sudden death of John Staniforth Esq. - A feeling of universal regret has pervaded the town during the last few days, occasioned by the awfully sudden demise of John Staniforth, Esq. the Law Clerk to the Police Commissioners, and senior partner in the old and highly respectable firm of Staniforth and Wheat, solicitors. An inquest was held at the deceased's office, on Thursday evening, before Thomas Badger Esq. and a highly respectable jury, when the following facts were stated in evidence:- Mr. Staniforth, it appeared, left his residence at Westbourne, about ten O'clock, in good health and spirits, and had engaged that some members of his family should call upon him at the office, in the afternoon, and go with him to dine with his brother-in-law, Henry Vickers Esq. He reached his office, in Paradise-Square at his usual hour, half-past ten, and was engaged there in the discharge of his professional duties during the whole of the morning. Nothing unusual was observed in his manner, either by his partner or the clerks in the office. About half-past two, he went into Mr. Wheat's office, and after some conversation with him, returned to his own room, and sent one of the clerks, named Clegg, out to procutre him a glass of sherry and a boscuit. the clerk had not left the office more than five minutes, when Mr. Herbert Staniforth (son of the deceased) and Mr. W. Smith of Liverpool, shipping agent (nephew of the deceased) who were in a room adjoining Mr Staniforth, heard him cry out. He endeavoured to call his son by name; but he could articulate no more than "Her=" when he appeared to choke. They both immediately ran into his room, and found the deceased seated in the chair at his desk, but quite insensible. Messengers were immedietely sent out for medical assistance, and, in two or three minutes, Mr Chesman arrived. The evidence of Mr Chesman proved that he found the deceased insensible, his breathing sterious, his pulse laboured, slow, and full, the pupil of one eye contracted, and the other dilated, considerable frothing at the mouth, and his commonsense very suffused. These were the symptoms of a severe attack of apoplexy. He immediately opened a vein in each arm, but could get very little blood. Cold water was applied to the head, and this appeared to rouse him more than annything else. A mattress was brought into the office, on which he was then laid, with his head considerably elevated. At this time Mr. Wright and Mr Micklewaite arrived; and the course of treatment he had adopted was continued until the arrival, at three o'clock, of Mr. Gregory (the regular surgical attendant of the family) with Dr. Thompson; and the case was left in their hands.The deceased did not rally from the state of insensibility in which he was found, and expired a few minutes before nine O'clock the same evening. Mr. Chesman, when first called in, considered the attack of so serious a character, as to render his recovery quite hopeless. This opinion, confirmed by the other medical gentlemen, was communicated to Mr. Staniforth's relations within an hour after the attack. The jury, in accordance with the medical evidence, returned a verdict that the deceased had died in a fit of apoplexy.

John's grave at Hill Top, Attercliffe

The smaller obituary also appears in the same issue:

On the 19th Inst, suddenly, John Staniforth, Esq. solicitor of the town, aged 54/ He was the law clerk of the Church Burgesses, the town trustees, the commissioners of Improvement of Sheffield, and several other trusts. It is our painful duty to record the sudden death of John Staniforth, Esq. of the firm of Wheats and Staniforth, solicitors, under circumstances which will be found slated in another paragraph. Mr Staniforth was the younger son of Mr. Wm Staniforth, surgeon, of Castle Street, who was the most celebrated surgeon of his day in this neighbourhood. Mr Staniforth has filled for nearly thirty years, the office of law clerk to the Commissioners of Improvement of Sheffield, to which office he was appointed at their first meeting after the passing of the act on the 25th May 1818. Within the last few years, Mr Staniforth entered into partnership with Messrs. James and John Wheat, suceeding Mr James Wheat in his office of law clerk to the Town Trustees and to the Church Burgesses. In these offices Mr. Staniforth has had important public duties to discharge, which he has fulfilled in a manner highly satisfactory, while in his ordinary intercourse no man could be more courteous or gentlemanly.

Following his death, the following note belonging to the firm shows how they replaced John:

In consequence of the death of Mr. Staniforth, the late law clerk, Mr. Wheat, Mr. Vickers, Mr. T. W Rodgers, Messrs Brookfield and Gould, Mr. Dixon and Messrs. Wilson, Younge and Pierson were candidates for the vacant office, and Mr. Henry Vickers was elected to that situation. With Mr. Vickers accession to office a new minute book was commenced, and I leave it to some future enquirer to continue the story if such a course commends itself to those who suceed to the responsibilities of this trust.

Over the course of his short life, John and his wife Eliza had the following children:

  • Harriet Staniforth (born 1821)
  • Samuel Herbert Staniforth (1825-1875), followed in his fathers footsteps and became a solicitor, he is also listed as playing on the first Sheffield United F.C Squad, married Henrietta Rodgers
  • Gertrude Staniforth (1828-1854)
  • Anne Staniforth (born 1830)
  • John Walter Staniforth (1835-1904), married Julia Creswick and had son Leonard Staniforth, Leonards son John Ronald Staniforth emigrated to Powell River, British Columbia, Canada and his descendents are still found in the town.