Thomas Bateson of New York & Savannah, 1841-1877

(This is the sixth part of a series.  If you would like to start at the first part, click here.)

Let’s look at what we know, and even what we don’t know, about Thomas Bateson.

We know, from looking at his death and funeral notices in the Savannah newspaper, that he was born in New York, most probably New York City.

The following two images are from the Georgia Historical Society.

BatesonThomas Death SavannahMorningNews 001



Savannah Morning News Nov. 7, 1877:  3/2 – Mr. Thomas Bateson, the proprietor of Bateson’s Toy Shop, at the corner of Congress and Drayton streets, a place which has been known to the children of Savannah for a quarter of a century, died suddenly at his residence, adjoining his store, about half-past ten o’clock yesterday morning.

The deceased was native to the State of new York, but came to this city, when quite young, with his father, who established the business which had descended to him.  He was about thirty-five years of age, and leaves three little children, who had the misfortune to lose their Mother a year or two ago.



BatesonThomas Funeral SavannahMorningNews 001


Savannah Morning News, Nov. 8, 1877:  3/1 – Funeral Invitation –

Bateson – The friends and acquaintance of Thomas Bateson, and of Mrs. Agnes Mann, are invited to attend the funeral of the former, from his late residence, corner of Congress and Drayton streets, this morning at half past 10 o’clock.

We know in the 1860 federal census he was living in the city of Savannah, Georgia, with his brother Christopher H. Bateson and his mother Mary, and his step-father Jonathan Graham.

I’ve seen references that both Christopher H. and Thomas Bateson were in the Civil War.  I haven’t seen actual documents yet, so I won’t comment on that.  If/when I find actual documentation, I’ll edit this post so everything will flow better.

In 1866, Thomas is listed as a merchant in the Savannah City Directory.  The information in the directory was most likely gathered in 1865 after the close of the War.

BatesonThomas Savannah Directory 1866

Here’s the 1866 Tax Assessor’s Report:

BatesonThomas1866 US Tax IRS


Here’s the 1867 Oath of Allegiance:



BatesonThomas1867 OathOfAllegiance


In 1867, there are more records in the City Directory.

BatesonThomas Savannah Directory 1867 Confectioner


BatesonThomas Savannah Directory 1867 Residence

Here he’s listed as the owner of a toy store.

BatesonThomas Savannah Directory 1867 Toys

In 1869, Christopher H. and Thomas’s mother Mary Bateson Graham is deceased.  This is the same year that Thomas and his wife Martha Mann Bateson have their first child, Alice.


In 1870, Thomas and Christopher H. Bateson are listed as “Bateson Brothers Toy Dealers” in the Savannah City Directory.  This is also the year that Christopher H. Bateson dies.

BatesonThomas Savannah Directory 1870

In 1871, the Variety Store is at the same location at Congress and Drayton.

BatesonThomas Savannah Directory 1871


In 1874, he’s listed as a Confectioner.

BatesonThomas Savannah Directory 1874 Confectioner

Still in 1874, he’s listed as a toy dealer, etc., and his residence is at 18 Drayton, corner of Congress.

BatesonThomas Savannah Directory 1874 Residence

In 1874, he’s also listed as the proprietor of a variety store.

BatesonThomas Savannah Directory 1874 Variety Store

In 1874, he’s also listed in the Property Tax Digest.

BatesonThomas1874 PropertyTaxDigest


BatesonThomas1875 PropertyTax Digest

Next there is an 1876 court case between The Unexcelled Fireworks Company vs. Thomas Bateson.

BatesonThomas1876 CourtCase

Then we have an 1877 court case between the Coast Line RR Company and Thomas Bateson which was Discontinued May 11, 1877, and also a case between the same plaintiff vs. Thomas’s mother Mary Graham, which was also Discontinued on May 11, 1877.  Mary has been deceased since 1869.

BatesonThomas1877 CourtCase


BatesonThomas1877 GlynnCountyGA


Here’s a curious record.  It’s a record of taxables and their value, and it’s dated 1880.  Thomas Bateson has been dead for 3 years, his son Thomas H. Bateson died in 1879 at age 7, but the girls Alice and Georgia are living in the Episcopal Orphan Home.  The record states that the property is in the name of the Children of Thomas Bateson, with a guardian named William Spear.

Now who is William Spear?

BatesonThomas1880 ChildrenOf



BatesonThomas1880 PropertyTaxDigest


Thomas died suddenly.  Disease, depression, or PTSD?










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