John Daft (1804-1879) was a carpenter from Draycott. Around 1850 he and his wife Anne (nee Tunnicliffe) moved to Gaol Yard in Sawley with their 5 children.
Their eldest son William Daft (1826-1905) worked on the railway as a rough carpenter. He married Elizabeth Wilcox in Grimsby (although she was from Sawley). They lived in Bulwell at first before moving back to Sawley, where they were in Gaol Yard, Back Street, then Church Street. Their children were
- Thomas (Wilcox) 1852-1934
- William 1855-1933 – see below
- James 1858
- Matthew 1860
- Harriet 1862
- Mark 1865
- Luke 1868-1940 – see below
- Sampson 1870-1940 became a railway fireman and moved to Long Eaton
- Solomon 1872 – see below
Their son William Daft (1855-1933) married Agnes Rosling (born in Wilne) in 1876. They lived in Gaol Yard, then in Back Street (next to his parents). He also worked for the Midland Railway as a rough carpenter. Around 1905 they moved to Long Eaton. Their children were:
- Arthur 1877
- Agnes 1878
- William 1882
- Frances Lucy 1883-1924
- Elizabeth 1886
- David Thomas 1889-1917 – see below
Their youngest son, David Thomas Daft, grew up in Sawley. He moved with his parents to Long Eaton, where (1914) he married Beatrice Barker and moved to 8 Midland Terrace. They had 2 children:
- Eric Henry Thomas 1914-1975
- Frances Alice 1916-1987
David joined the Army in December 1915 and was mobilized in the Leicestershire Regiment 6 months later. In October 1916 he was transferred to 6th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment, probably to help make up their numbers after the Somme campaign. They took part in the Operations on the Ancre in Jan 1917 and the Battle of Messines in June 1917, after which he was promoted to Lance Corporal. He was killed in action on 14 July 1917 during the 3rd Ypres campaign (Battle of Passchendaele). As he has no known grave his name is on the Menin Gate in Ypres.
His uncle Luke Daft (1868-1940) grew up in Sawley. He married Clara Burton in 1886. They lived in Old Twitchell off Church Street before moving to 7 Shirley Street. Luke worked as a sheet repairer at the Midland Railway Sheet Stores. The had 11 children.
Their 4th child was George Wilfred Daft (1895-1917). He started work as a lace threader and then twist hand with Turner & Allen at Birchwood Mills (Wilsthorpe Road). During the Great War he served with 8th Battalion, Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and went to France in September 1915. He died of wounds at a casualty clearing station near Ypres on 28 May 1917, aged 22. He’s buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery.
Luke’s youngest brother was Solomon Daft (1873-1930). In 1891 (aged 18) he was working as an engine cleaner. In 1898 he married May Ann Taft. Her father was the foreman at the Midland Railway’s Trent Gas Works (which supplied gas to the Sheet Stores and Trent Station). On the day of the 1901 census Solomon was working at the gas works. He was baptised in 1907 (aged about 31). By then he was a coal merchant and living in Shirley Street. In 1910 he was awarded the contract for supplying coal to the Sawley Charities. By 1912 he also had the contract from Sawley Parish Council for scavenging and removal of nightsoil. In 1921 he was still on Shirley Street but was now a farmer as well as a coal merchant. When he died in 1930, he was running Ladylea Farm. The farm was later run by their daughter, Doris Emily Elizabeth (1899-1958) and her husband, Clem Gregory.