It may seem surprising that late 19th Century travellers were able to sail back and forth across the
Three of Charles Bateson's children emigrated to the
Their stories can be accessed by clicking the links below.
Three of Charles Bateson's children emigrated to the
References (for all documents):
Transatlantic passenger manifests
US Federal Censuses
US naturalisation records
US Social Security Death Index
UK BMD index
Personal birth, marriage death and probate records
Harry Midgley UK Army records
Harry Lee UK Army records
John Shackleton UK Army records
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.
Next to emigrate was John Bateson. He was born in Bradford in 1858 and became a United States citizen in 1887. 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.
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 the 23rd seems to have concluded the litigation, though it is not clear which party emerged the victor. I print the report in full in case any lawyers reading it can provide illumination:
In 1882 it listed John as the opening bat for the Worsted Mill Employees cricket eleven (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 sick and death benefits to members, benefits, 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 there 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.
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.
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.
Although he 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 25 August 1876, he and five accomplices were caught with nets and other poaching apparatus by the Countess of Rosse's gamekeeper. A struggle ensued, during which the keeper was hit by a stone. Haley was sentenced to 4 months in jail and fined.
For at least 20 years at the end of the 19th Century, Haley lived with a married / widowed woman called Mary Midgley (nee 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.
This may 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 arrived in Boston from Liverpool in 1907 and 1908 respectively. These, as will be seen, show that two of the Midgley girls preferred to use the Bateson surname when travelling abroad.
But first, after the birth of Mary Ellen in July 1881, something seems to have persuaded Haley to accept an invitation from John, his brother in America.
Perhaps there was a family bust-up; perhaps he could not get adequately paid work and thought America would make his fortune. Whatever the reason, it was evidently decided that the family could do without him, and he crossed the Atlantic sometime in late 1881 or early 1882.
According to the city directories for the period, he initially found lodgings in Birch St in South Fitchburg, Massachusetts but in 1883 and 1884 moved the short distance to Water St to lodge in his brother's house.
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.
In the city directory of 1885 Haley is listed as "removed to England."
Ten years later, he got the urge to travel again - Haley's first documented visit to the United States was made on 16 September 1896, when he travelled alone on the SS Majestic to Ellis Island and on to Central Falls, Rhode Island, to stay with John. He returned to Yorkshire only a month later, on 18 October, sailing on the SS Teutonic.
On 18 July 1905 he again left Liverpool, this time sailing to Boston onboard the SS Ivernia in the company of his brother.
There is no record of his return to England but on 17 January 1907 he arrived in Boston onboard the SS Saxonia. There are suggestions on the manifest that he was a US citizen who was going "home" to 444 Dexter St, Central Falls.
He was described as 5' 3" tall with a dark complexion and grey eyes.
The document indicates that he 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.
Also onboard the Saxonia in January 1907 was a 26-year-old weaver who was on her way to stay with her sister at Central Street, Central Falls, just a block from Haley's home. She was christened Ada Midgley in 1881 but preferred to be known as Ada Bateson. The sister was Mary Ellen Ward, christened Midgley in 1881. She had sailed to Boston on 11 November 1906 and stayed temporarily with John Bateson at Dexter St before moving to Central St.
In the Pawtucket and Central Falls city directory for that year, 1907, Haley was listed as a baker at Dexter St.
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, Elizabeth's father was given as Harry Bateson (Haley, being a fairly unusual name, was often misheard as Harry) and his address in Bradford would be registered to Haley in the 1911 census.
In the 1910 US census she was registered at the Cooper St address of her sister Ada Coles but as Elizabeth Baxter.
Although Elizabeth seems to have remained in the USA - she is noted as being there on her son's Army record, there are no further sightings of her in the US documentation.
These passenger records strengthen the case for Haley being father to the later Midgley children.
What is 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 church of St Mary Magdalene in Manningham on 18 October 1881, the vicar did not record the name of a father.
It is not known for certain that Haley became a US citizen. The 1910 US census appears to say that he first 'immigrated' to the USA in 1882, but the column asking about Naturalization is blank. His occupation was given as a Hostler (sic) in a stables. The form again shows him as being married.
He returned to England onboard the SS Ivernia on 2 June 1910.
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 4 Field Street, Shipley on 18 May 1914 of acute bronchitis and heart failure.
A wife would normally be the Informant noted on the death certificate. In fact the Informant was the householder, his elder brother George.
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.
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.
On 9 November 1911, 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 they seemed. 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.
In 1895 and 1899 he is listed in the Providence RI city directories as a fireman, moving to Manton RI in 1900.
George 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 Rhode Island.
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 November 1911, 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 her fare.
The Parr's stay in Palmer was short-lived. Between 1913 and 1917, the Providence and later the Cambridge MA city directories list him as a resident.
Most 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. Crucially, 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 Lowell 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.
However, George Parr probably appears 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. Although he declared that he was married, no wife has so far been found in the Census.
In the 1930 Census, he may appear 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. However, his father Enoch had been a shoemaker and, in the 1885 Rhode Island Census, so was George. If this was George, he was married, suggesting that Annie was still alive.
Albert 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 was dead or was he was 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 his junior.
Alfred 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 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. They had two girls.