THE GARFIELD FAMILY
The first recorded history of the Garfield family occurred in 1587 when a tract of land was deeded to James Garfield (Gearfeldt) by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. The land was located near Chester, England. It is believed that the land was given for military service rendered the Earl on the continent. The estate was situated near Oswestry, near the Vale of Leangollen on the border of Wales.
It is conjectured that the Garfield family was of Welsh origin and may date back to Scandinavian ancestry through the Viking invasions. The family appears to have stemmed from descendants of the Knights of the Caerphilly (Gaerfili) Castle, meaning "Keeper of the Battlefield".
James Garfield's son, Edward, immigrated to America in the early 1600's with Governor John Winthrop. It is speculated that they came over on one of the crossings of the Mayflower. Edward became a man of wealth and notoriety in Watertown, MA. His son, Benjamin, married Mehitable Hawkins, and had two children before she died in 1675. His second wife, Elizabeth Bridge, gave birth to Samuel in 1690 along with six other children. Benjamin Garfield was given a commission of Captain in the Colonial Militia by the Governor of Massachusetts. He was elected nine times to the Colonial Legislature.