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Word Count: 998
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was the first son and first child of Arthur Reuel Tolkien and Mabel Suffield Tolkien Arthur Tolkien was a banker by profession first with Lloyds Bank and then when promotions and advancement came too slowly for a man who wanted to raise a family with the Bank of Africa in Bloemfontein South Africa His family was German by descent and had been piano manufacturers in Bloemfontein until Arthurs father went bankrupt The Tolkiens had always been solid members of the middle class in earlier years but by the time that young JRR Tolkien was born they were well in debt JRR Tolkien was born on January 3 1892 and his brother Hillary Arthur Reuel Tolkien was born on February 17 1894 All four of them living as one happy family in South Africa soon became separated Mabel not liking the heat and the lack of society decided to take the children and move back to Birmingham where Arthur planned to join them later In November of 1895 not a year after his familys departure Arthur Tolkien was stricken with rheumatic fever a disease usually suffered by children and accompanied by a high fever swelling of the joints and inflammation of the heart When her husband had not recovered by January Mabel decided that she and her sons must return to Africa to care for him However before they could get there news came that Arthur had suffered a severe hemorrhage and by February 15 1896 he was dead After the death of her husband Mabel Tolkien decided that her children would have to come first in her life She would make sure they would have a roof over their heads and a good education Though they did not have a lot of money Mabel Tolkien moved them to Sarehole a small village just outside Birmingham JRR Tolkien loved Sarehole It had everything a small energetic boy could want fields
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