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,
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
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
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.
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
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
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).
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
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
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
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
John probably made one more trip
across the Atlantic, on 6 August
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
Travelling 2nd Class with more than $50 in his
pocket, he was going to visit John in Central Falls.
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
By the time of the 1910 Census,
they had moved to Lincoln RI. But there was no sign of Annie at the family home.
Annie arrived in Boston onboard the SS Franconia on her
way to rejoin her husband Albert at Reservoir Ave, Saylesville.
That, at least, is what she told
the purser who compiled the passenger manifest. But things were not quite what
There is good evidence that she
spent the years to March 1919 living with another man. That man was a certain
Mr George Parr.
George Henry Parr was born
in 1870 in Rhode Island. By 1900 he was a fireman living in Johnston Town RI and had been married to Nancy
Rowley for six years.
1895 and 1899 he is listed in the Providence RI city directories as a fireman,
moving to Manton RI in 1900.
was nowhere to be seen in Rhode Island when the 1910 Census was taken. But
there is a 1910 street directory reference to a George H Parr working some 50 miles
to the north-west of Providence. He was a fireman at an
electrical plant in Blanchardville, Palmer MA. One imagines that he and Annie Jefferson
must have decided to set up home together well away from the wagging tongues of
There is little doubt that the couple
are in the 1910 Census for Palmer. George H Parr, a fireman of 40 born in Rhode Island, was married to Annie, also aged
40 and born in England. Some of the information is
inaccurate or incomplete and suggests that the enumerator may have got it second-hand
from a neighbour. That neighbour may have known that Annie was on her second
marriage but, having seen no children running around, reported that she had
none. He may not have been able to help with a figure for the number of years
they had been married because the Parrs had been evasive on the subject - not
surprisingly, considering their situation; so the enumerator simply wrote ‘Un’,
meaning ‘unknown’, in the appropriate column.
If the census information is taken
at face value and they really were married, then they must have been in a
bigamous relationship. George was undoubtedly separated from Nancy (see 1910 census - though it says she was
married for 1 year instead of 10 years) but she was alive until 26
when she died just days after Annie Bateson / Jefferson had returned to Rhode Island from Bradford.
That voyage, onboard the Franconia, departed
Liverpool on 31 October 1911. Annie gave her married name and said her husband was Mr Jefferson.
So she was still married to Albert, a fact confirmed a year earlier, when he and the couple's two sons were
recorded in the 1910 Census at Lincoln RI and he was noted as 'M1' - on his first marriage.
George had evidently jumped the gun and
"married" his bidie-in (cohabitee) some 18 months before Nancy’s death. This was why Mary Jane
Bateson, on her way to visit her daughter in November 1912, was able to declare
on the passenger manifest that she was going to join her son-in-law Geo Parr,
of 102 Auburn St Cambridge MA. George, incidentally, had paid
Parrs' stay in Palmer was short-lived. Between 1913 and 1917, the Providence and later the Cambridge MA city directories list him as a
notably, he was at 102 Auburn St, Cambridge 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. These
two references are significant in being the only ones that definitively place George
Parr the son-in-law with Annie Bateson / Jefferson.
The last listing for George Parr
in a city directory was in 1917 in Cambridge MA MA. Two years later, in March 1919, Lily,
George Horatio Bateson’s youngest child, referred to him as her brother-in-law
when she sailed to Ellis Island on the SS Orduna. He was noted as living either in Milford St, Boston or in George St, Lowell.
There are no further confirmed
sightings of Annie.
Parr may appear in the 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 firefighting skills. However, his parents are
listed as born in Indiana rather than England; but they had lived in Indiana - George's two youngest
siblings were born there. Although he declared that he was married, no wife has so far been found in the
In the 1930 Census, a George Parr appears
as a patient at Monson State Hospital. His age and place of birth, Rhode Island, are correct but his age at first marriage, 38,
is out by 4 years. What's more, he was a shoemaker, not a fireman. But if this was George, he was married, suggesting that Annie
was still alive.
Jefferson in the 1920 Census was with his two sons and a housekeeper at Quincy
City MA, where he was recorded as being widowed. Was Annie really dead or was
he employing a tactic he remembered his mother-in-law trying back in 1901?
Declaring himself a widower would have left him free to remarry: he is recorded
in the 1930 Census with a wife, Elizabeth, an English-born laundress 15 years
Lewis Jefferson was born in 1892 in Bradford and died in Lincoln RI in 1973. He married an Emily from
Canada and had three children. He was a
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. They had two girls.