Alice & Georgia Bateson, Two Orphans of Savannah

(This is the fourth part of a series.  If you would like to read the first part, click here.)

Using a wild card method by inserting an asterisk instead of a letter in a word, I found Alice and Georgia Bateson in 1880 in Savannah, Georgia.  They were both living in the Episcopal Orphan Home at the southwest corner of Liberty and Jefferson.

The orphanage is no longer on the lot.  It’s a parking garage now for the city of Savannah.

Look below on lines 33 and 34.  You can left-click on the image to enlarge and educate.

BatesonAlice&Georgia1880 Orphans


And there is such a thing as a Supplemental Schedule for Homeless Children – “Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes”.  This particular one was taken in June 1880 for the Episcopal Orphan Home.


I've cropped the original image, and outlined the pertinent info in red.

I’ve cropped the original image, and outlined the pertinent info in red.


There’s a lot to learn from the answers given in the columns.  I’ve transcribed them below.  The answers are the same for both girls.

Column 3:  Name – Line 13 for Alice Bateson & Line 14 for Georgia Bateson

Column 4:  City or Town – Savannah

Column 5:  County (if in same state), or

state (if in some other state) – Chatham

Column 6:  Is this child’s father deceased?  Yes

Column 7:  Is this child’s mother deceased?  Yes

Column 8:  Has this child been abandoned by his

(or her) parents?  No

Column 9:  Has this child’s parents surrendered

the control over him (or her) to the

institution?  Yes

Column 10:  Was this child born in the institution?  No

Column 11:  If not so born, state year when admitted.  1876

Column 12:  Is the child illegitimate?  No

Column 13:  Is this child separated from his or her

(living) mother?  (No answer)

Column 14:  Has he (or she) ever been arrested? 

If yes, for what alleged offense?  No

Column 15:  Has he (or she) ever been con-

victed or sentenced?  No

Column 16:  Has the origin of this child been

respectable?  Yes

Column 17:  Has he (or she) been removed from

criminal surroundings?  No

Column 18:  Is this child blind?  (blank)

Column 19:  Is he (or she) a (can’t read)?  (blank)

Column 20:  Is he (or she) an idiot?  (blank)


Here’s what we know when we view the Episcopal Orphan Home Census.  Their mother Martha was deceased in 1874.  When mother Martha died, their father Thomas was the last surviving adult Bateson in Savannah, with 4-year-old Alice, 3-year-old Georgia, and 2-year-old Thomas H.  Father Thomas’s business was not doing well, and he had been taken to court several times and lost.  Things must have been dismal for him to relinquish his two daughters to the orphan home.

Martha’s record of burial in Laurel Grove Cemetery shows that she died and was buried on the same day, May 3, 1874.  This tells me that the family knew that she was ill and had made preparations for her death.  Perhaps she needed to be buried quickly due to the nature of her illness.

BatesonMarthaMann Death 1874

Now cropped and outlined for better viewing.

BatesonMarthaMann Death 1874

Martha Bateson was 25 when she died, leaving behind 3 children ages 4 and under.  She died from…

BatesonMarthaMann Death 1874 (p2)



Sugar’s great-grandfather was William Starr Basinger, a native of Savannah.  I’ve written about his a lot, all on this blog.  He was an attorney, he was in the Civil War as a member of the Savannah Volunteer Guards, he wrote copious letters while a prisoner of war, and he left a book of “Personal Reminiscences” for his children.

There are records of him in the city directory of Savannah.  I commented how odd that” Basinger” and “Bateson” are so close together in the directory.  We never noticed.  We never made a connection.


William Starr Basinger’s law office was on Drayton.  Thomas Bateson’s toy store was on the southeast corner of Drayton and Congress.  Surely they knew of each other.

William Starr Basinger and his wife and children lived with his mother Jane Susan Starr Basinger and his sister Elizabeth “Georgia” Basinger on Liberty Street.  We know that Sugar has Jane Susan Starr Basinger’s Family Bible, so we’ve seen her handwriting and we know that she was Christian.  We don’t know anything about Elizabeth “Georgia” Basinger, except that she didn’t marry.  She’s in a family photo, but we don’t know anything about her everyday life, her thoughts, her beliefs.


Lastly, in 1880 we find yet another census listing Georgia Bateson.  She’s living in a household as a 9-year-old servant.

BatesonGeorgia1880 Hartridge

Sugar knew of this family, and said that they were well-to-do, and it was fortunate that Georgia was placed in this home.  I worried that she and her sister Alice were separated.  Which is worse, being a 9-year-old servant in a well-to-do household, or staying with a family member in an orphanage?  Who can say?  We can’t know the dynamics of either.

So I tried to find out more about the Episcopal Orphan Home, which is no longer in existence.  Sugar thinks that we can learn more from Christ Church.  In the meantime, because is available all night, I went to the Savannah City Directory.

Here’s one from 1877, one from 1879, and one from 1882.






And whom do we see in the position of First Directress?  Miss E. Bassinger.  That would be Elizabeth “Georgia” Basinger, who lived two blocks away from the Episcopal Orphan Home on Liberty Street.  Sugar thinks that she helped place Georgia Bateson in the Hartridge home.

I can’t find another trace of Georgia Bateson.  There is no 1890 census, and I can’t locate her in 1900.

And where’s Alice?  Why didn’t she get placed in a home?  Was she deceased?

Yes, she was deceased, but not until 1951.  That’s right, Nineteen Fifty-One.

BatesonAlice married Herzog 1869-1951

Alice Bateson married a man named Herzog, and they named their daughter…(you already know the answer)…


Good-night, ladies.  You are in our thoughts.



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4 Responses to “Alice & Georgia Bateson, Two Orphans of Savannah”

  1. Judith Richards Shubert Says:

    What a great job you have done tracing the ladies down. I really find them interesting – they must have been so strong emotionally !


  2. Maureen Fitzpatrick Says:

    Until I discovered your blogs, The New Yorker used to be my favorite thing to read.
    Ruth, you should be a high school teacher. You’d instill some sparkle into learning history. I enjoyed this immensely!


    • ruthrawls Says:

      Hi Maureen! The New Yorker? What’s that? (just kidding)
      I couldn’t be a high school teacher, or a teacher of any kind. I carry those children around with me, and worry over them, and can’t let them go. I worry about their stories. We wouldn’t get anything done in class.
      Thank you for your high praise. You will perhaps notice that I don’t mention their brother Thomas H. Bateson. After their father Thomas died in 1877, what happened to Thomas H.? Where was he until he died in 1879? There was no family left. And what happened to Georgia? I’ve found Alice in the Savannah City Directory in the 1890s, but no Georgia. So if I theorize that she is deceased, where is she buried? Why not on the family plot?
      We are quite wiggly with anticipation that the Christ Church will have some old records for us. They have limited office hours at the Parish House from 9-1 on Monday-Thursday. And tomorrow is Memorial Day so they’re probably closed. (stifling a small scream here)


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