Charles Bateson’s fourth son, born in 1853, was named Haley after his grandmother. He turned out to be rather a dark horse, an appropriate figure of speech given that he was often employed as a groom. What little is known of his life is noted below, together with notes on members of his putative family.
started his working life as a dyer, the 1881 census gives his occupation as a
Horse Keeper, an experience that would later help him to find work as a Cabman
/ Groom. The enumerator has added “Huntsman (Allerton)”, which suggests that he
worked for one of the estates that used dogs and horses to hunt for game over
the hills and moors of Allerton, a village just to the west of his home in
Manningham, Bradford. Haley would have known these verdant lands well and, as
an exuberant young man in his early twenties, might have thought little of
venturing out on a suitably dark night for a spot of poaching. Unfortunately,
on the night of
For at least 20 years at the end of the 19th Century, Haley lived with a married / widowed woman called Mary Midgley (née Shackleton) and her children. Her husband, Amos Midgley, was absent from the end of 1871 onwards. In the 1891 and 1901 censuses, Haley was described as a Boarder but in the 1881 census, he was the unmarried Head of Household. Mary and the last four of her children were present. Perhaps it was a slip of the enumerator’s pen but all the Midgley children were listed as being related to the Head of Household, despite not bearing his name.
suggest that he was their father but the definitive proof that Haley was more than
he seemed comes in passenger manifests for the SS Saxonia and SS Cymric, which
after the birth of Mary Ellen in July 1881, something seems to have persuaded
Haley to accept an invitation to visit his brother John in
He soon got work in a worsted mill, perhaps with his brother’s firm, the Fitchburg Worsted Mill Company, and established himself in the community. It was not long before he found a regular place in the works cricket team – he was a wicketkeeper, while his brother, an opening bat and occasional bowler, made less regular appearances.
returned home in 1884 or 1885 – in the city directory of 1885 he is listed as
later, Haley got the urge to travel again - his first documented visit to the
There is no
record of his return to
The document also indicates that Haley was a married man. Here Haley was clearly anticipating his marriage to Mary Shackleton or Midgley later in the year. In early July 1907, Banns were read for the couple at Bradford Cathedral. Unfortunately, the clerk later wrote across the entry, in a neat, careful hand, the word "Lapsed", suggesting that the dues were not paid and the union called off.
onboard the Saxonia in January 1907 was a 26-year-old weaver who was on her way
to stay with her sister at
On 9 May
1908, a 33 year-old Elizabeth Bateson was onboard the SS Cymric, travelling to
Pawtucket, to stay with her sister Mary Ellen Ward at her new home in Power Rd.
On the passenger manifest,
In the 1910
These passenger records strengthen the case for Haley being father to the later Midgley children.
more, while the eldest child, Hannah, has Amos Midgley’s name on her birth
certificate of 1871, neither Elizabeth (1874) nor Mary Ellen (1881) have a
father recorded on theirs. And, when all the children, apart from Hannah, were
baptized en masse at the parish
It is not
known for certain that Haley became a
He returned to
In the 1911 English census, he was again noted as married.
None of these documents mentions a wife by name and, other than the 1907 Banns, there are no records of a union.
He died at
Notes on a chequered Army career
child that ever officially bore Haley Bateson’s name was born in Manningham,
Bradford to Elizabeth Midgley on
members of the Bateson family crossed the
But first they had to go through American immigration.
two main reasons for denying entry to the
Lack of funds (or not having an onward ticket) was the other major reason. But Harry and his grandmother had $35, more than the required $25 per adult, and there is nothing to suggest that this figure was incorrect.
The cash figure would have been verified by the inspector who questioned the steerage passengers to verify all 29 items of personal information they had given on the manifest. Perhaps he found something wrong with the Midgleys’ information.
the reason, they were denied entry and, on
As a 14 year-old in 1911, Harry was employed as a Bobbin Carrier in a wool spinning mill, possibly at Illingworth’s Whetley Mills.
unit was posted to
1917 he was transferred to the Labour Corps and given a new Regimental number: 424696. He probably returned to
He was demobbed on 20 January 1919.
However, as the next instalment of his life shows, here was a man who appears to have loved army life, despite his frequent absences from it. And yet, knowing what we now know of the horrors of life on the Western Front, it seems inconceivable that any volunteer soldier would want to remain in the army.
The new year,
1920, failed to prompt any resolutions to modify his behaviour – on 2 January
he was absent from a Tattoo and was AWOL until apprehended by
A Court of Enquiry was convened to investigate and report on his escape. The President of the Court and its 2 members were all officers of the Regiment. There were 4 Prosecution witnesses. Midgley did not appear to have any legal representation. The witnesses gave their evidence and he was asked if he wished to cross examine them but declined. Finally, he was cautioned and asked if he had anything to say. This was his chance to give his version of events and to explain his behaviour (and our only opportunity to learn something of his motives and personality) but he said only that “I reserve my defence”.
It is unlikely that the Court ever reported its findings because, as we shall see, it was overtaken by events.
A new Court of Enquiry was convened “for the purpose of investigating and reporting on the illegal absence and deficiency of kit (if any) of No 54213 Pte H Midgley No 1 Company”. Lance Corporal Unsworth got the blame for the escape but, in extenuation, the Court highlighted problems in the management of security at the prison and made recommendations to improve matters.
The Enquiry reported on 19 February but there is no information in the surviving papers on the verdict or the sentence or on Midgley’s recapture, if it was ever effected.
What happened next suggests that he remained at large, uncaptured. Paradoxically, he seems to have yearned to be back in uniform: perhaps he missed his mates; perhaps he needed the money; perhaps his grandmother needed the money. Whatever his motives for wanting to return to army life, he knew that as a deserter he could not do so without further punishment. In desperation, he took the only course available to him.
Around this time the Army must have realised that Harry Lee was not all that he seemed: a Royal Regiment of Artillery Conduct Sheet for Harry Lee has “Alias (Harry Bateson Midgley)” scrawled across the top.
Harry had borrowed the surname from his aunt Hannah Lee, who lived for a time
at the family home at
At a Court Martial on 27 April, Harry Midgley was charged with Fraudulent Enlistment, Absence and Losing Kit by Neglect. He was sentenced to 6 months detention at York Barracks and ordered to forfeit all his former service along with stoppages of £4 13s 2d.
demob, Harry married Louisa Horne at St Michael’s
1920 and 1939 Louisa gave birth to 6 girls and 5 boys. At least 4 children died
in infancy. Little is known of the others although it is thought that they
remained in the
All that is
known of his mother
grandmother, Mary Shackleton,
probably died in
She had a brother, George, who was unmarried when he died in 1900.
Luke, another brother, seems to have inherited the family’s maverick streak: he was a career mugger and burglar who served at least six terms in prison.
He was also
a violent man. On
On his release, in March 1872, he was convicted of mugging a farmer in Allerton, using a garotte to steal a silver watch and a quantity of gold. He was sentenced to 10 years and 20 lashes with a cat o’ nine tails. He must have committed further crimes on his release for at the time of the 1891 census he was a prisoner at Chatham, a bricklayer who was probably doing hard labour helping to reconstruct the dockyards.
The exact involvement of Amos Midgley in the Bateson family tree is uncertain.
The only recorded birth of a suitable Amos Midgley was on 16 October 1854, in Illingworth (a district of Ovenden, near Halifax), to William Midgley, a Farmer and Hannah Sheard. By 1863 this family of six children had moved to Bradford, where William sold beer. By the 1871 census he was still working for a brewery. Amos was described in the census as a Warp Dresser in a worsted mill.
Thirteen weeks later, on 8 July, he married Mary Shackleton in Bradford. A daughter, Hannah, was born just four days later.
At the end of 1871 an incident involving the Midgley family was reported in the Bradford Observer.
It was alleged that Mary’s brother, Luke Shackleton, had behaved indecently towards her. Amos had upbraided Luke and been assaulted for his trouble. One imagines that the assault must have been a serious one for it to have been brought before the court. On 2 January 1872, Luke was sentenced to 2 months hard labour.
This was the last event that connects Amos Midgley to this family. He was not present with his wife and child at any of the succeeding censuses and must have abandoned them. It is likely that Haley Bateson took a central role in the family, possibly from as early as 1874.
The only other event of note at this time came on 21 February 1874, when his elder sister Mary got married: Amos and his younger sister Emma were the two Witnesses.
But in both censuses he declared that he was married to a Sarah Jane Gill of Pateley Bridge. There is no official record of such a marriage, however.
Sarah Gill had married a Samuel Parkinson in Windhill in 1870. She already had a child, Annie Tillotson Gill, who was born in 1868, presumably to a man called Tillotson. By 1878 the Parkinson marriage, apparently childless, had broken down; over the next two years, Sarah Jane had a son, Bainbridge, and daughter, Florence, by Amos Midgley and took his name. Her illegitimate daughter, Annie Tillotson, retained the Gill family name until her marriage in 1934.
In the 1901 census, Bainbridge, Annie and their mother were living together in Manningham (Florence had died in 1882) but Sarah was described as a widow.
Yet there is no evidence that Amos had died. In fact, he was alive and living at 56 Clayton Place, near Barkerend Mills in central Bradford, where he remained until 1904. In the 1901 census he was aged 46, a married Warp Dresser born in Halifax.
Living a few blocks away in Garnett Street was his mother Hannah, the widow of William Midgley, sometime Farmer from Illingworth. At some point in the mid-1860s, William had moved to Horton, Bradford, where he worked in beer retailing; he then moved to Tong and became a self-employed Wood Turner. By 1891 he had moved to central Bradford, to Garnett Street, where he died in 1896. His Will made no mention of any of his children – his entire estate, an impressive £370, was left to his wife.
Amos died of heart failure at 4 Penn Street, near Bowling Station, less than half a mile south of Barkerend, on 28 August 1905. Remarkably for one whose estate was valued at a mere £30, he left a Will. There is no mention of a wife or children; the sole beneficiary of his assets, which included a horse and wagon, was Annie Higgins, the recently widowed occupant of 4 Penn Street.
One of Amos’ executors was a Fred Whitehead of Garnett Street. Fred was a Chair Maker by trade. He had been placed in receivership in 1900, so may have been working for his brother John, who had a chair and stool making business in Tong. Chair makers work with wood and with lathes – the trade directory for 1900 actually lists Fred as a Wood Turner.
Since William Midgley had lived in Tong for a time, working as a Wood Turner, his son Amos might have known Fred Whitehead as a business associate of his father.
But executors are usually chosen because they are related to the testator. Fred Whitehead’s sister Mary was married to a Coal Miner, later Coal Dealer, called William Midgley and they lived in Tong.
When Amos got married in 1871, both Banns and Marriage Certificate described his father as a Coal Dealer, giving rise to the possibility that his father was from Tong and Fred Whitehead was his cousin.
Unfortunately, nothing else corroborates this theory – the known facts about the Coal Merchant’s family make such a connection unlikely: William and Mary were married in 1854 and the couple’s first recorded child, George, was born less than a year later, followed by two more children.
When he died in 1897, his Will divided his £289 estate among his wife and three children, including George. There was no mention of an Amos.
These two possibilities – Amos’ father as a Coal Dealer and his Executor as a cousin – are now thought to be red herrings. The cousin theory may be a simple coincidence, as explained above; the coal dealer problem can be explained as follows:
In William Midgley we are probably looking at a man who had the enterprise and ability to turn his hand to virtually any form of remunerative employment, as the following list of occupations, culled from census and marriage documentation, shows. On marriage he was a Woolcomber. In the 1850s he was a Farmer. In the 60s and early 70s he sold Beer. When his son Amos got married he had just started selling coal. In 1873 he took up Joinery but was recorded as a Dyer in 1874. By 1877 he was back in the coal business, working as a Coal Mechanic. A year later he was a Joiner again. From the late 70s until his death he continued to work with wood, describing himself as a Wood Turner.
And there, having fleshed out a little of the life of Amos Midgley, we must move on to his first and only legitimate child.
Midgley, born on
1926 she was alone onboard the SS Laconia, sailing from
Midgley was born on
Her son, christened Harry Bateson Midgley, was born on 23 February 1897. No father was recorded and Elizabeth only got married 5 years later - in Bradford to Harry Baxter on 13 January 1902.
Curiously, she is recorded as an unmarried Weaver.
In the 1910
Baxter remained in the
When or where she died is not known.
Midgley was born on
Until his early teens, it seems that he preferred to be known as John Bateson. We know this because in 1896 he was arrested for housebreaking and sentenced, as John Shackleton, to 9 months in prison. But this was not his first court appearance - his life of crime began with the theft of clothing in 1888 at the age of 12. In 1889, as John Bateson, he received 4 years in Reform School for a similar offence. From 1893, when he was mostly known as John Shackleton, there were 8 further court appearances for petty theft and assault. His infamous uncle Luke was probably his evil mentor - Luke Shackleton was implicated in the 1896 crime and sentenced to 12 months. The local newspaper reported that during the hearing, one of the pair, presumed to be Luke, became very restless and, springing forward, assaulted the prosecutor, who happened to be the Chief Constable.
when he may have been charged with assault, there are no sightings of him until
2 January 1917 when he enlisted, as John Shackleton, in the 89th Training
Reserve Battalion. He was deemed to have enlisted on
Curiously, one of the witnesses to the offence was a Lance Corporal Midgley, probably no relation.
Lily Midgley was born in 1878 in the White Abbey district of Bradford. She was a silk cleaner or gasser by trade – this appeared to involve passing the cloth over a flame to remove extraneous fibres.
She married Alfred Keighley in 1907 and had a son, Norman, who married Mary Boocock in 1939 and died in 1973.
When or where Lily died is not known.
was born in 1880 and christened along with all her siblings, apart from Hannah,
at St Mary Magdalene’s Church, Manningham on
1908 or 1909 she married William Coles, an Englishman from
When William died in 1949, she was recorded as his spouse, Ada Bateson.
A year later, she was still travelling - as Ada Coles - on a flight from London to Boston, travelling with her grand-daughter Mildred.
When or where she died is not known.
Midgley was born on
Ernest Ward Midgley, was born on
months later, on
birth to a daughter called Annie Ward on
Less than a year after the birth, on
was together at the 1910 Federal Census at
Mary Ellen and her two children moved to
She was recorded in the city directories of the day but Harry's location at this time is less certain. His First World War Draft Registration Card of 17 September 1918 put him in Norwood, Norfolk MA. He disappeared from view for a decade, reappearing in 1929 in Laconia NH, where he resumed his former trade as a butcher. He died in Portland City in 1957.
The full history of Harry and Mary Ellen Ward and their children is detailed in the Ward / Walsh family tree posted on Ancestry.com.