Title: Navy fireman, 2nd Class, Civil War; coppersmith, police officer
Birthdate: December, 1842
Death Date: July 5, 1907
Plot Location: Section 106, Lot 12; GPS: 39.93538* N, 075.23819* W

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John didn’t set his sights on becoming a “bluecoat,” a common term for an officer of the law, but his father William was one for many years in Philadelphia. John’s first job was an apprenticeship with a coppersmith, according to the 1860 census. He joined the Navy in April, 1864 as a “landsman,” someone with no sea experience, and had the job of stoking the boilers on a steamship. He was on three vessels during his brief tour, the USS Princeton, the Saugus, and the Stonewall.

After the war John returned to his craft, and his skill as a coppersmith grew. He married Mary Morris in 1868 and they named their son Morris when he was born eight months later. Their daughter Laura was their last child, born in 1872 as the Blanfords made their home on Ann Street in the Kensington section.

William Blanford died in 1874, as did his wife in 1880, and both were buried at Mount Moriah. After about 20 years as a coppersmith, John made the decision to become a police officer, a position he held for another 20 years until his heart gave out. The circumstances of his death are explained in this newspaper account. The official cause of death was heart and kidney disease but, as the reporter laid out the details, it was obviously aggravated by the physical and emotional stress of the moment.

Mary lived for five more years before she died, and Morris died five years after that. He and Laura are elsewhere at Mount Moriah as are John’s parents and his two sisters.


Japanese maple tree in front of a monument at Mount Moriah Cemetery

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