Archive for December 2nd, 2014

At the Corner of Congress and Drayton

December 2, 2014

If you’ve been reading this blog, then you perhaps already know about the Christopher Remington Bateson family.  Christopher was from Lancashire, England, and was Sugar’s great-great-grandfather’s brother, but we didn’t know that until this year.  Christopher Remington Bateson died in 1855, and is buried in Plot 322 in Laurel Grove Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia.

After Christopher Remington Bateson died, his widow Mary and his two sons, Christopher H. and Thomas, ran the family business, which was a toy shop, which also sold fireworks and confections.

Mary died, Christopher H. died, Thomas’s wife Martha Mann Bateson died, and Thomas died.  Martha and Thomas left three little children.

After we found the plot was unmarked, Sugar decided to have a marker installed.


And now we want to find out where they lived.  The Savannah City Directory tells us that the Bateson toy store was at the south east corner of Congress and Drayton. Thomas Bateson’s death and funeral notices tells us that the store and the residence were in the same building.

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.

The Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of Georgia show the corner of Congress and Drayton in 1884 is R. DeMartin’s Livery. The Batesons resided at 101 Congress.  The Toy Store fronted on Drayton.

SanbornMap CongressDrayton


I found some old photos on the Georgia Historical Society’s webpage of old buildings. While the photos aren’t old enough to show the Bateson shop or residence, they do provide some landmarks that are still there today.

24 Drayton Street (03)

It appears that we are looking across the street at the southern side of this ten-story building that is still in Savannah. The short side of the building that we see is the eastern side. The western side fronts on Drayton. Are all these cars at a car dealership?

Remember this ten-story building.  It will help you keep your bearings.  I’ll point in out in some of our photos.  There’s another one that’s similar to it, but not as tall and wide.

24 Drayton Street 1940

The left side of this building fronts onto Drayton Street. Drayton is one-way headed north towards the river.


24 Drayton Street

31 DraytonSt Corner Congress 1940

31 Drayton Street, Corner of Congress, in 1940.  This is the southwest corner.  See the corner of a building on your very right?  You’ll see that again in modern-day photos.


32 DraytonSt Corner Congress

32 Drayton Street, Corner of Congress.  This is the southeast corner, I believe, and I think this is our corner.  It’s clearly not a one-story livery any more.


Drayton Street North From Congress

On Drayton Street looking north from Congress. I think the building on the right is the same building in the previous photo, and I think that’s the location of the Bateson shop and residence.

Drayton Street

Still looking north on Drayton.

You know what this means, don’t you? We have to go look for ourselves.

Now we’re on Drayton headed north, because that’s the only way you can go on Drayton.



In the next photo, look on the right side of the street.  See the ten-story building?


At the intersection of Oglethorpe and Drayton.

Closer still.  Now at the intersection of Drayton and Broughton.  Broughton Street is part of the shopping district.


I’m driving, and Sugar suggests that I turn left and circle around one of the squares, so that we can come out onto Congress and face across Drayton.  He points out that this is Christ Church Episcopal where he was baptized by Dr. Tucker.  (Remember Dr. Tucker?  We took him an Easter lily.)

I believe that this is where Thomas Bateson met Martha Mann from Beaufort.  When Beaufort, South Carolina, was occupied early in the Civil War, everyone fled for refuge, anywhere, any place they could go.  After the war, the Manns returned to Beaufort, and Martha married Thomas Bateson.  They are both buried in Plot 322 in Laurel Grove.

Johnson Square is to our left.  We’re on Congress approaching Drayton.  There’s the parking garage at the right of the photo which is at the location of the Bateson’s Toy Shop and residence.


From the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of Georgia.

So we just sit for a minute at the stop sign and pretend we’re tourists.


And we stare at the parking garage as if for just one second we can imagine that it’s a toy shop and confectionary, and the little children are calling out with delight that they are at Bateson’s.



We look off to the left, and there’s our friendly landmark, Mr. Ten-Story.



We drive across Drayton, and circle around Reynolds Square so that we can approach Mr. Ten-Story on our right.


As we approach Drayton, Sugar tells me that the white building? Is the back of Christ Church!

I stop the van pretty much in the street before we get to the stop sign, because I can’t stop looking to my left.  It’s a building.  In a building!



I thought at first that it was the inner wall of a building that was demolished.  The longer I looked at it, I thought that perhaps the existing building was simply built over an older building, incorporating it into the entire structure.




If we shoot across Drayton, we’ll be back at Johnson Square.


But we don’t.  Instead, I get out of the van and take a photo of Mr. Ten-Story, even though he wasn’t here when the Batesons were.




We head home, hearing the echoes of little children at Bateson’s Toy Shop.

And now I want a confection.