Bateson Rawnsley Smith

The first of the clan to undertake the crossing to America was Joseph’s grandson. Born in 1828, Bateson Rawnsley Smith may have considered himself a trifle unfortunate to have been christened with the surnames of both his grandparents.


He was listed as an engineer in the Lowell MA city directories of 1866 to 1870.


However, at the 1870 Federal Census, Bateson and his wife Sarah Ann McNamara (they married in Bradford in 1850) were some distance away, in East Princeton, Sterling, MA. He was an Engineer and, if the census form is to be believed, he was worth a total of $2200, a considerable sum. The form also states that he was a US citizen. The whereabouts of their two children - Mary Ann and Henry - is not known, though it is assumed they were being looked after by relatives in Yorkshire.


If so, Bateson must have come back to collect them, for the entire family, apart from Mary Ann, the eldest child, was together at 289 Broadway Street, Lowell, MA at the 1880 Census. He was an Engineer Stationary, probably in a worsted mill. Lodging with them was an Irish widow called Ellen Shaw. Inexplicably, the Smith children were given her surname by the census enumerator. Interestingly, the form recorded that Bateson could not write, although his wife could.


At some point in the 1880s he returned to Yorkshire with his youngest son, Willie, for on 10 September 1890, the two of them were together onboard the SS Ohio bound for Philadelphia from Liverpool. Philadelphia had a reputation for being an easier entry point than, say, New York. Oddly, his occupation was given as farmer.


There is evidence that the family were familiar with Philadelphia - Bateson was recorded as being naturalised there in September 1886.


A Sarah Smith died there in 1885. Aged 55, she may have been Bateson's wife.

In 1890, a marriage took place in Philadelphia between Bateson Smith and Sarah Ann Bentick. Although the exact date was not specified, the marriage is thought to have taken place after Bateson's return from England. The new wife was from Bradford, born a year or so later than her husband.


By April 1891, the Smith family had returned to take up residence at 123 Briggate, Windhill, a property that was probably owned by Charles Bateson. Bateson had taken a job as a lowly woolwasher and looked as though he was there to stay.


But on 16 September 1891, he was again to be found staring at the Liver Birds as the SS British Princess was nudged away from the Princes Dock en route to Philadelphia. His occupation is difficult to discern on the Passenger List, though the transcript says weaver. He was accompanied by his wife Sara (sic) and four children.


The family is to be found in the New York census of 1892, taken at Jamestown, Chautauqua, New York.


Bateson must have returned to Windhill in 1893 - he was on the Electoral Register, listed as the occupant of 128 Briggate.


In the 1900 US Census, Bateson was at Water Street, Chautauqua with his three sons, his daughter-in-law and Clifford, a grandson. He was aged 70, born in March 1830, having arrived in the US in 1882. He was recorded as Widowed.


So his second wife had died in the previous decade, possibly in Jamestown in 1897.  


Bateson Smith's final piece of paper was issued by the Chautauqua County Almshouse. Aged 90, and unable to look after himself, he was admitted on 2 November 1915. The document does record that he was self-supporting, hinting that none of his family lived near enough to care for him. A memorial plaque in Lake View Cemetery, Jamestown, Chautauqua County records that Bateson died in 1917, when he would have been aged 89. 


A family story relates that John Bateson’s cousin (perhaps Bateson Smith - he was a 1st cousin) was involved with the Chartists and was transported to America. On one occasion he is reported to have been so incensed by the rude remarks made by an American about the English that he ‘stuffed him up the chimney’.

The two men are supposed to have met up at some point.

There are several problems with this story: criminals, political agitators and the like may well have been transported in the 19th Century, but not to the USA, an independent country; a number of Chartists did go to America, but they went of their own volition, either to escape arrest or because the American political system seemed more attractive; what’s more, the Chartists were active in the 1830s and early 1840s, when Bateson Smith was just a teenager.


Although the reason he emigrated remains a mystery, it is quite possible that the two cousins met as they were both in New England at the same time.



John Bateson

Next to emigrate was John Bateson. He was born in Bradford in 1858 and became a United States citizen in 1887. 


The 1900 Federal Census notes that his date of immigration to the US was 1880: he first appears in the record in the 1880 Census when he was aged 20 and employed as a weaver in a worsted mill in Fitchburg, Worcester, MA. He was boarding in a house in Water Street along with a certain John Howarth.


In August 1881, he married Clara A Howarth in Fitchburg. Clara has proved quite difficult to pin down. She was probably born in Yorkshire in 1859 and appears in the 1871 Census for Bradford. Her parents, John Howarth and Mary Briggs, are listed in the 1880 US Census in the Water Street, Fitchburg lodging house together with their twenty-year-old daughter called Adeline. Clara’s middle name was never revealed in any documents or reports and could well have been Adeline. If so, this was the girl that married fellow lodger John Bateson the following year.


In 1882, the local Fitchburg Daily Sentinel printed two reports that seem hard to comprehend. On September 16, Clara A Bateson sued a John Howarth for $70 non-payment of wages for 7 months’ housekeeping. He countered with a $204 claim for clothing. Evidently the newly married Clara had been housekeeping for her father when an acrimonious dispute arose.

A subsequent hearing on 23 September seems to have concluded the litigation, though it is not clear which party emerged the victor. The report is given in full below in case any lawyers reading it can provide illumination:

On the 23rd at the civil session of police court, the defendant in the case of Clara A Bateson, against John Howarth and trustee withdrew his appeal. John W Briggs appeared as claimant for the funds in the hands of the trustee and his claim was sustained by the court, from which decision the plaintiff [ie Clara] appealed.


Over the next 14 years, the Fitchburg Daily Sentinel carried occasional and sometimes revealing reports of the activities of the Bateson family.


In 1882 it listed John as the opening bat for the Worsted Mill Employees cricket XI (along with his brother Haley, a wicketkeeper).


On 21 September 1885, he was onboard the SS Catalonia bound for Boston from Liverpool. He was accompanied by his wife Clara and son John C Bateson, who was 11 months old. Strangely, while John and Clara were listed as passengers 294 and 295 respectively, John C was listed as passenger 219 on a different part of the steerage deck. All three are stated to be US citizens; in fact, only the child had that right by birth: John was naturalised two years later, when his address was 282 Water St, Fitchburg.


In 1889 he was elected Worthy Treasurer of the Shakespeare Lodge No 121 of the Order of the Sons of St. George. This was an ethnic fraternal benefit society for first- second- and third-generation Englishmen residing in the United States of America, as well as their sons and grandsons. It offered sickness and death benefits to members and social activities such as dances, picnics and other lodge activities.


In August 1891 the Sentinel copied an extraordinary news item from the Boston Globe accusing John Bateson of deserting his wife and children.
He was said to be in trouble with a girl and “has not since been heard from”.

This was surely printed at the instigation of the redoubtable Clara. The identity of the girl in question was not revealed but may well be deduced from what followed.


Perhaps there was a reconciliation – in October 1892 Clara wrote a Will that bequeathed her entire estate to her husband. The Witnesses were Emma and James Keegan. The dying Clara was living with the Keegans at their Charles St home, probably because the Bateson family was in the process of moving to Pawtucket in Rhode Island.


She died shortly afterwards on 5 November 1892 and was buried in the local Laurel Hill cemetery.


By the end of 1892 John had upped sticks and gone to Pawtucket RI - he is listed in the directory for that city as boarding in Central St at a bakery.


The following year the Sentinel was able to report that his Fitchburg house had been let to a florist. A short time later, its readers must have been fascinated to learn that the old house was looking much better, thanks to a fresh coat of paint.


By 1894, the Pawtucket city directory was listing a bakery in Dexter St run by the Bateson & Keegan Company - John had evidently taught James Keegan the elements of baking and had gone into business with him.


In 1896 John cut his ties with Fitchburg by selling his property in Water Street to a Charles Dufort.


A month’s trip home to England followed in 1898, sailing from New York to Liverpool onboard the SS Majestic.

He returned to Boston on the SS Dominion in early 1899.


Although he was in the bakery business, the 1900 Federal Census gives John’s occupation as Storekeeper. The faded census form also states that he was widowed.


But not for long! On 24 December 1900 he married Emma Keegan, the widow of his business partner James Keegan, who had died earlier in the year.


John must have returned to Windhill alone at some point in the next five years, because on 18 July 1905 he embarked on the SS Ivernia, which was returning to Boston from Liverpool. He had only $10 to his name and was travelling on to Central Falls. He was English, could read and write and, we are relieved to hear, had never been in prison and was not a polygamist, an anarchist or a cripple.


In the 1910 Census, he was alone in Central Falls, Emma having died a few days earlier on 25th March. Also there were his brother Haley and eldest son John Charles. He ran his own Baker’s shop and owned his own house.


John probably made one more trip across the Atlantic, on 6 August 1912, in a 2nd Class cabin onboard the SS Laconia, sailing from Liverpool to Boston. The entry, on the United Kingdom Passenger List for the vessel, gives his age as only 48 (when it should have been 54), but it does say he was a Baker and a US citizen.


He married Annie Wilson, an Englishwoman 16 years his junior, in Rhode Island in January 1914. Annie was probably born in Bingley and retained strong ties with the place - when she died in 1959, she left money that she had kept in Bingley Building Society to the local Parish Church.


In the 1920 Census, John was alone with Annie in Central Falls. He was stated to be 65 years old but still had his Baker’s shop, although it had moved a few blocks along Dexter St, Central Falls.


The 1921 Central Falls Tax Book records that John and his family owned six properties in Central Falls, adding up to a tax bill of $583.


John’s last record in the Pawtucket city directory is in 1928 when he was listed as a baker and grocer. The following year his wife was listed alone and in 1930 as a widow. The business was subsequently known as Bateson Bros.


According to the records of Mohassuck Cemetery in Central Falls, John died on 3 May 1929 aged 70.


Annie travelled back to England around this time; in September 1930 she sailed to Boston on the SS Scythia. On the manifest she is noted as married.

Her last listing at Central St in Pawtucket was in 1959, when she would have been in her mid-eighties.


John and Clara’s first son, John Charles Bateson, married a divorcee called Florence Sloane and died in Central Falls on New Year’s Day 1941. He probably had a son, John, who died in infancy.


Their second son, Henry Briggs Bateson married Edith Sutcliffe and had a daughter, Clare, who also died in infancy. He last appears in the Pawtucket city directory in 1953.


An infant boy, born on 15 July 1888, died the same day.



George Horatio Bateson

The eldest brother now put in an appearance on Rhode Island. George Horatio Bateson embarked on the SS New England at Liverpool on 25 June and arrived in Boston on 4 July 1903. Travelling 2nd Class with more than $50 in his pocket, he was going to visit John in Central Falls.


On 26 November 1912, his wife Mary Jane, perhaps tiring of her husband’s frequent absences, or believing he was dead, decided to do some travelling on her own account. She sailed from Liverpool to Boston onboard the SS Saxonia, going to Cambridge port. She was 5' 1" with a fresh complexion with grey hair and blue eyes.



George William Bateson

It is not known how long George Horatio stayed but he must have put in an encouraging report when he got home to Bradford. His son George William Bateson turned up with his wife at Central Falls shortly after disembarking from the SS Ivernia on 18 October 1905. George William was a blacksmith and had precisely $105 in his back pocket.


George William must have liked what he saw and stayed on in New England. His wife Mary Elizabeth returned to Boston on the SS Republic in September 1907. Although she was going to Central Falls, at some time during the next two years the family moved to Bridgeport CT - George was listed at Sherman St as an insurance agent.

In 1911 he was listed as a blacksmith but by 1912 he was back to being a milk dealer, at Vincelette Ave.


In June 1913, Mary Elizabeth sailed back to England on the SS Ivernia with her infant son Clifford, returning in October on the SS Celtic to Ellis Island.


In the 1920 Federal Census the family was in the Herald St area of Bridgeport, where they would remain for the next 25 years. He was a milk salesman. In 1921 he was at Herald Ave as a driver. In 1937 he was still employed by Mitchell Dairy Co but by 1938 he was a garage man.


The last reference in Bridgeport was in 1948, by which time George must have retired.

Shortly afterwards, he and his wife moved to Tucson AZ but on 30 January 1950 he died aged 75. He was buried back at Bridgeport.


Mary Elizabeth’s movements are not known but she died in 1961 in Lansdale PA.


George William’s descendants

Clifford Swain Bateson was born in 1911 and married twice. He had two sons, George Edwin and Paul. The former married but probably had no children and died in Lansdale in 1969. Little is known of Paul.

Mildred Bateson was born in 1917 and married David Douglas. It is not known if she had children. She died in Norwalk CT in 1954.




In April 1904, George Horatio’s daughter Hannah (Annie) Jefferson was onboard the SS Ivernia, travelling to join her husband Albert at Bagley St, Pawtucket, where he was a machinist. By the time their two children, Stanley and Alfred, sailed on their own to join their parents in July of the same year, they had moved to Butler Ave, Central Falls.

The family had left Pawtucket by 1906 and moved north to Saylesville RI to join Albert’s brother-in-law Edward Ludbrook.


By the time of the 1910 Census, they had moved to Lincoln RI. But there was no sign of Annie at the family home.
In fact, she was listed at an address 60 miles to the northwest of Lincoln across the state border in Palmer, Massachusetts (see below).


At some point in the next 18 months she sailed back to England.

On 9 November 1911, Annie returned to America, arriving in Boston onboard the SS Franconia on her way to rejoin her husband Albert at Reservoir Ave, Saylesville RI.


That, at least, is what she told the purser who compiled the passenger manifest.
But things were not quite what they seemed.

There is good evidence that she spent the years to March 1918 living with another man, a certain Mr George Parr.


George Henry Parr was born in April 1870 in Rhode Island. Like his father Enoch he was a shoemaker. But by 1900 he had become a fireman in a woolen mill, living in Johnston Town RI. As a fireman George would have kept the fires under the factory's steam boilers going, rather than putting them out.
He was living with Nancy Rowley, whom he married in 1896.
The couple had just one child, Jeanette, who survived for a mere 3 months in 1900.


In 1895 and 1899 he was listed in the Providence RI city directories as a fireman, moving to Manton RI in 1900.


By 1910 he had disappeared from Rhode Island. A 1910 street directory for Blanchardville, Palmer in Massachusetts lists a George H Parr working as a fireman at an electrical plant.


The 1910 Census for Palmer confirms that he and Annie Jefferson had set up home together, well away from the wagging tongues of Rhode Island. They were listed as married.  


If they were married, then they had both committed bigamy: George's wife Nancy was still living in Providence RI; she did not die until November 1911.
Annie's husband Albert was in Lincoln RI; he was noted in the census as "M1", meaning he was on his first and only marriage.
However, no Parr/Bateson marriage has been found in the Massachusetts records.
This may explain why the couple were coy about how long they had been married: the census gave no figure for this - the enumerator simply wrote 'Un', meaning 'unknown', in the appropriate column.


If George Parr had really married his bidie-in (cohabitee), their families must surely have found themselves in an unusual and rather difficult position.
Annie's mother, on her way to visit her daughter in November 1912, declared on the passenger manifest that she was going to join her son-in-law Geo Parr.
If she believed they were married she must have overlooked her daughter's bigamy.
If she knew they were not really married, she must have colluded with everyone else involved to deceive officialdom - a more acceptable and therefore likely scenario, one would assume.


The Parr's stay in Palmer was short-lived.
Between 1913 and 1917, the Cambridge MA city directories list him as a resident. Most notably, he was at 102 Auburn St in 1913, this being the address given by Mary Jane Bateson on the passenger manifest the year before.
In 1917, he was at nearby 10 Cottage St, living with his wife Annie. The last listing was in 1917 in Lowell MA.
Two years later, in March 1919, Lily Bateson (Annie's sister) referred to George as her brother-in-law when she sailed to Ellis Island on the SS Orduna. He was noted as living in George St, Lowell.


Annie, unfortunately, was dead by this time. She died in Boston on 19 March 1918 of uterine cancer.
George was the informant; her married name was Parr and her maiden name Bateson. Her parents were correctly identified. There was no mention of Jefferson.


George Parr appeared in the January 1920 Census as an officer in the state-run Industrial School in Shirley MA. This was a kind of reform institution that taught various trades to the boy inmates and provided them with a stable home environment. George evidently taught fireman skills.
He declared that he was married, rather than widowed. Perhaps he was looking forward 6 months - on 9 July that year he married Josephine Nutting in Groton MA.
He said, correctly, that he was widowed and gave as his occupation Stationary Engineer.


Sadly, by the 1930 Census, he was a patient at Monson State Hospital, which was mainly used as an insane asylum. His occupation, Shoemaker, suggests he had reverted to his original calling, perhaps as occupational therapy.
George was still at Monson in 1940. Although Josephine had died in 1935, he was noted as divorced.


He died in 1950 and was interred at Ayer, near Groton. He is noted on the Parr family grave in Providence but, appropriately perhaps, none of his wives get a mention.



Albert Jefferson in the 1920 Census was with his two sons and a housekeeper at Quincy City MA, where he was correctly recorded as being widowed. In the 1930 Census he was still in Quincy, with a wife, Elizabeth, an English-born laundress 15 years his junior.
It is not known when he died.


Hannah’s descendants

Alfred Lewis Jefferson was born in 1892 in Bradford and died in Lincoln in 1973. He married Emily Dionne from Canada and had three children. He was a plumber.


Stanley Jefferson was born in 1894 in Bradford and died in Pawtucket in 1967. He was an insurance salesman. He also married a woman from Canada - Georgiana Langlais. They had two girls.