Archive for January, 2015

A Letter to Walter John Bateson, September 8, 1970

January 30, 2015

Sugar received an envelope of letters and photos in his mailbox a few months back. I scanned them and saved them to my computer and to DropBox. I’ve already posted two of the letters, and now I find that the following letter should have been inserted in between the two just published.


Not perfect, I see, but it’ll have to do.

The gentleman that wrote the following letter is the very same person that mailed it to Sugar, 44 years later, along with all the other letters and photos. I’m not publishing his name here.

The transcription follows the images.

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11 Edgehill Road

Glen Cove, N.Y.  11542


September 8, 1970

Mr. Walter John Bateson

16 King Street, North,

Alliston, Ontario


Dear Mr. Bateson:

                My aunt-in-law, Mrs. E. Farrar Bateson, has asked me to

reply to your letter of June 23 regarding the Bateson family,

inasmuch as she is a Bateson only by marriage, whereas my mother

(a sister of the late Mr. E. Farrar Bateson) is a Bateson by

birth. Also, I have been interested in the genealogy of the

various branches of my family and seem to be a chief repository

of available information, memorabilia and photographs.

                It is I, not Mrs. Bateson, who has been dilatory in re-

gard to your letter, which she gave me in July. Be assured that

it has been extreme pressure of business and other matters, not

lack of interest, that has delayed me so long in responding.

                As I am writing with but limited time, I think I can

most easily give you all the information I have in the follow-

ing manner:

  1. Enclosed is a copy of a letter dated July 25,

1965 which I wrote to Mr. Colin McDonald, a

Bateson relative in Western Australia, to-

gether with all enclosures to that letter

except the photograph (now sadly out of date)

mentioned at the bottom of page 4. The page

of a chart prepared by me (referred to under

item 3 on page 2) has not been updated to re-

flect changes since mid-1965.


Also enclosed are copies of Mr. McDonald’s let-

ters of May 12 and June 1, 1965 to which my letter

refers, and which I am sure Mr. McDonald would

have no objection to your seeing.


Mr. McDonald has not proved to be a very active

correspondent. It was three years before I heard

from him about my 1965 letter. At that writing,

he was in London, and a copy of his letter, dated

September 12, 1968, is enclosed. I have been

hardly more active than he, and thus have not yet

answered that letter. I shall do so, however,

and shall inquire as to the notes mentioned in

his letter and as to the results of his researches

in England. On the assumption you will have no

objection, I intend also to send him copies of

your letter under reply and of the very useful

materials enclosed therewith.


On the first page of my 1965 letter to Mr. McDonald,

I offered to send him copies of any of the photo-

graphs mentioned in the letter which might inter-

est him particularly. The same offer is extended

to you.


  1. On page 4 of my letter to Mr. McDonald, I stated

that I would try to get some information which

one William Bateson Gaillard (deceased) obtained

from Col. John Holgate Bateson. I did in fact get

in touch with William Bateson Gaillard’s brother,

who produced three sheets of notes headed “Richard

Bateson – Susannah Wagstaff”, “Henry Bateson” and

“Sundry Batesons before 1600”, as well as a two-

page genealogical chart of the descendants of

Henry Bateson, of Cragg Hall, who died in 1671. I

am further enclosing a copy of each of these four



I have not followed up on the subject of the Bateson papers

mentioned by Mr. McDonald in his June 1, 1965 letter; nor did

I ever get around to writing Col. Bateson’s widow, as I told

Mr. McDonald I would. Insofar as I am aware, she is still alive.

I hope you will be more vigorous in following through on these

leads than, thus far, I have been.

                With the enclosures to this letter, you have about all

I know of Bateson genealogy. While lack of time again has pre-

vented my correlating the details of the information in these

enclosures with the carefully prepared and comprehensive enclo-

sures to your letter, it is evident that your information will

add considerably to mine (and that mine to some extent will cor-

rect yours). I am certainly most pleased to have your contri-

butions to my small knowledge of the family.

                Some details about myself are given at the bottom of

page 4 of my 1965 letter to Mr. McDonald. Nothing has changed,

except that the address of Hooker Chemical Corporation’s head-

quarters is now 1515 Summer Street, Stamford, Connecticut 06905.

                I would be delighted to hear from you again and to be of

whatever further assistance I can.

                I am sending Mrs. E. F. Bateson a copy of this letter.

                                Very truly yours,



cc: Mrs. E. F. Bateson

26 East Gate Rd., Lloyd Harbor

Huntington, N. Y. 11743

Mr. Colin McDonald

A Diamond in the Mailbox: A Letter from Walter John Bateson, November 29, 1970

January 27, 2015

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16 King Street, North,

Alliston, Ontario


November 29, 1970

Dear Cousin Douglas:

I hope that this finds you and your family all in good health.

Since the time of my last letter to you, I have taken steps to

locate the cousins in South Africa. Through an advertisement in

the Johannesburg Daily Star I received a tremendous response from

the families of the three sons and four daughters of Liston Richard

Bateson. The letters revealed a very close and warm friendly

family. I wrote to Serbe when about ten years old. He is on his

way to London for an eye  wrote to my daughter Lynda

who is in Coventry to take time to visit Serbe at the hospital.

I hope that I will receive word from her this week.

Cousin Bess sent me Colin MacDonald’s address in Australia,

c/o The Weld Club, GPO Box 354, Perth, Australia. Apparently he

was visiting in England, phoned her and said that he was leaving

for home by way of South Africa. At the time that he was on the

way the cousins in SA wrote and said that they were expecting him.

He is supposed to be there for a month. Did’nt get word on the

whereabouts of his sister.

My son Walter left a few weeks ago for the west coast, is

visiting my brother Richard and seeing British Columbia before

leaving fo Australia. Think that I told you that before.

I would appreciate hearing from you Douglas. How are you

doing with the sheets I sent requesting further information?

Could I please have an answer to the questions I broached in my

last letter. I hate to impose on your time, but I am extremely

interested in moving forward in recording our family history.

I found addresses to Widdows families in Cleveland but as

yet no answer. I’m also waiting to hear from Philip and Farrar.

We are all busy people with so many commitments, that I feel

guilty when I ask or make demands on someone elses time.

Write soon.

Our kindest regards

Cousin Walter


He would have loved the internet.

And social media!

Diamonds in the Mailbox: A Letter From Walter John Bateson, 18 September, 1970

January 26, 2015

A few months back, Sugar received a packet of family letters and information from a cousin in Connecticut. And even though I haven’t finished with the Gold Mine in the Closet, it’s time for a Diamond from the Mailbox.

(Don’t strain your eyes. The transcription follows the images.)

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16 King Street, North,

Alliston, Ontario


18 September, 1970

Dear Cousin Douglas:

I was delighted to receive your letter with the enclosed charts

and correspondence. Due to my enthusiasm with the project of gathering

information on the Bateson family, and contacting relatives; I was

anxious to hear from you. I was not concerned because I was assured by

Mrs. Rosina Bateson that I would be hearing from you in the near future.

No apology required, and I thank you sincerely.

In my second letter to Mrs. Bateson, I enclosed sheets with

information similar to the attached sheets, on your immediate family.

I requested that if she felt so inclined would she attempt to fill in

the necessary information relating to your grandparents (Charles E.),

her husband and herself. I was sure that she would be in a better

position to give dates, places, etc. As I have not heard further from

her, perhaps you can assist in obtaining the information that I requested

from her. I would also appreciate if you would take the time to correct

my mistakes in the attached sheets of your family, add in the missing

information, and return one copy please.

I wrote to Farrar Jr. and Philip Briscoe Bateson. They acknowledged

my letters and will be forwarding similar information on their immediate

families. I, in turn, will complete and compile the information and will

send copies to you and other interested members of the family.

I am also enclosing my latest information on great aunt Florence

Amelia and her family. Florence’s daughter, Dorothy Talbot, age 95,

passed away on the 16th July 1970, in Victoria. She was cremated. I

have been corresponding with our cousin, Althea (Mrs. Hugh Aylmer) who is

Dorothy’s daughter.

I have some more requests to make from you:

(1) Would you please forward to me, Cousin Richard Humphrey’s

address – if available.

(2) Can you obtain more information for me on great uncle Horace’s

family. Did he have sons and daughters? Where are they living?

What are their names? From the chart you sent, there are two

names that are not legible to me. The first, Great uncle

Horace’s wife Sophia H. LAMEROUX. Is that correct? Second,

Great uncle Richard Henry’s son, FREDRICK __________? I

could not make out his second name.

(3) Our great aunt Polly (Mary Jane) who married Arthur Widdows

and had two sons; I believe the father and one of the sons

were lawyers. If this is so, through you Law connections,

perhaps you could attempt to trace their family without too

much difficulty. Hope that you will be able to pursue this



I have a lead on information relating to two of our great-great

uncles who went to the USA from England before the Civil War. Like

yourself, the gentleman is very busy and is unable to devote too much

time to this project; but he informed me that I should be hearing from

him soon.

My daughter, Lynda, went to England for a visit. She left home

on the 3rd Sept and is spending the first couple of weeks in Coventry,

doing volunteer work at Coventry Cathedral. It is an inner city program

and involves youth from all over the world. From there she will visit

friends and relatives, then find work for awhile. She may stay a year.

I hope to have Lynda do some research for me. I would like to confirm

some of the information that we possess. I want to know the birthplace

of our great aunts and uncles; Richard’s family. I saw great aunt Ada

when I was in England in 1940. Aunt Ethel was looking after her at the

time. I am certain that Ada dies in 1940-41 but I am not sure where she

was buried. My father was in England around 1930 and had a picture taken

with great aunt Clara. My sister may have the snap. I may make a trip

to the UK within the year. When in England in 1940, my Aunt Ethel gave

me Farrar Sr.’s and Geoffrey Widdows addresses. Being young and not

interested in genealogy, I did not attempt to write. Now, I regret not

having contacted members of your family because most of the generation

before us have passed on, and so much valuable information that could

have been recorded is lost.

On the 8th July, my wife, we call her Ella (Catherine Isobel) and

I drove to Winstead, Connecticut, to attend the funeral of Mr. Judson

LeGeyt. He was a former member of the General Assembly, State of Conn.,

representative for Barkhamstead County. Time was so short on this

occasion or I would have at least telephoned Mrs. Farrar Bateson Sr. We

were not too far away from your firm’s address in Stamford, as mentioned

in your letter.

My son Walter and daughter Shirley were in England last winter. I

was just getting started in genealogy so could not give them any direction

as to where to look for information on the family. Walter worked and

travelled around England, Scotland, Ireland, Gibralter and Europe. He

came home the end of April and went to work with the Dept. of Lands and

Forests at White River, Ontario. It is over 600 miles from Alliston.

I was up there for a few days on August 1st holiday. He came home a

couple of weeks ago and is getting ready to take off for the West Coast

of Canada, down through the USA to South America, then hopes to fly to

Australia. Last Saturday he went to the Maritimes to visit my Mother

in Dartmouth and his sister Shirley in Escumanic, Quebec. He plans to

return next year and resume his studies. Shirley taught school, and for

two years taught the Eskimos at Pond Inlet, Baffin Island, North West

Territory. She completed a world tour, and arrived home by way of

Vancouver, 8th May. She married the Rev. Ross Routliffe on the 27th

June in Ottawa. I was planning on visiting the newlyweds on our Thanks-

giving weekend, the 12th Oct., but Ella is deeply involved with meetings

at that time, and therefore will have to postpone it until later. The

children have travelled on their own resources without any assistance

from me (the kids).


Colin MacDonald must have been a very sick man between the years

1965-68. In his letter to you he mentioned having eye trouble. I hope

that you are successful in reaching him now.

I would like to know the whereabouts of Liston’s family in South

Africa. As a boy I corresponded with one of the sons, but we do not

possess an address. There were 5 boys and 2 girls, the opposite to my

family. There was Sarrah (Jarrah) Sybil, Seth, Serb, Sewell, Sidney.

I am not sure of all the names. I will have to write to the Registry

Office in Johannesburg, S.A., to try to locate them. Do you have any

suggestions of a quick and sure method of locating these cousins?

In his letters to you, Colin did not amplify on his family. He

did not enlighten you too much. No dates, places, etc. I certainly

wish that he had done so. Colin wrote to my brother Richard, Sardis,

B.C., in 1965. This past May or June Richard wrote to me and said

that Colin wrote to him but that he in turn did not write to Colin

because he misplaced the letter, and when he did find it, was too

embarrassed to write after such a long delay. I wrote to him in June

in care of his Australian address – no response. It appears that the

Batesons are notorious procrastinators when it comes to corresponding

with one another. I am trying to avoid the pitfall, hope that you

will do the same. Poor Colin did not fare too well in 1965. Are there

other relations left in Australia?

At a later date I will accept your kind offer to provide copies

of family pictures. I will make the same offer to you. At present I

do not possess many pictures but with the help of my sister, Dora, will

try to obtain more. She is working on our Mother’s family tree, at the

same time I asked her to do a write up on our Father, so that I can have

it recorded.

One more request before signing off. The sheet of Sundry Batesons

before 1600. If you have time and can make out the writing, would you

mind forwarding a typewritten copy. It will help to make sure that we

have recorded it properly.

Once again I thank you for your assistance; and hope that you will

find the time to correspond at regular intervals. I also hope that one

day we will be able to meet. I expect to have lots of questions to ask,

and you in turn feel free to ask the same from me.

How is your Mother? Is she living near you? I am looking forward

to hearing from you son with the information on you immediate family,

and my questions. In the meantime, my regards to you and your family.


Cousin Walter

The two great uncles that he refers to are Robert Remington Bateson and Christopher Remington Bateson. If you have been reading this blog for longer than 15 minutes, you’ll probably know that Christopher Remington Bateson’s family is buried in Laurel Grove Cemetery, and Sugar had the plot marker made and installed only a few months ago. Robert Remington Bateson is buried in New York in Green-wood Cemetery.


Why is so important that I need to write about Walter John Bateson right now?

Because Sugar and I met his son and daughter-in-law just a few days ago. I’m going to break my self-imposed blog rule now and post our faces, not just side shots or tops of heads or shoes…

But who is whom?

But who is whom?

A Cemetery Photo From 1901: Or Do My Eyes Deceive Me

January 23, 2015

Clever reader Leo found a photo of Bonaventure Cemetery online.


We wondered where this was exactly. Bonaventure is made up of many long, sandy lanes. When I enlarged the photo, I saw a tall statue, like a woman holding a torch in her right hand.

While taking Sugar’s Canadian cousins on a tour yesterday, I said, “Stop the car.”

I thought I knew where I was. Not sure, not precisely sure, but something felt right. I didn’t have a copy of the photo with me, except on the smartphone, so I winged it. I took a lot of photos to see if something matched up.

Bonaventure 1901


I took the original, and added an oval outline around the torch-bearer and an obelisk to the left of it.

Bonaventure 1901 (2)


I loaded my photos onto the computer to compare the new to the old.




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Minna Holcombe, wife of D.C. Bacon, born January 27, 1818, and died February 18, 1878.

Since she died in 1878, the marker was probably placed by 1901, so it will be in the photo.

Her hand and torch, if indeed she was holding a torch, are missing, so the silhouette doesn’t exactly match the 1901 photo.

If she had been cleaned recently, she would be gleaming white like the 1901 photo.





Sugar, at first glance, didn’t think my photos match the 1901 photo.

But he respects the blog’s opinion, so opine away…

What Was Tangled Becomes Less Tangled: A Letter From Thomas Bateson, 1873

January 22, 2015

I’ve talked about the Bateson family a lot here on the blog. It started when Sugar and I learned that there was a Bateson family in Savannah, Georgia, that died out 135 years ago.

We’re so close to Savannah that we can be there in under an hour.

But what about people that live far away, like Julie in Belgium? She can’t just hop a freighter and pop in to say hello. However, we do have our friend the internet, and we can chat in fragmented pieces, allowing a bit of downtime for sleep and the time difference. It takes a while to discuss things.

Like Batesons. We want to talk about the Batesons. It appears that the earliest Batesons in America were not Sugar’s ancestors. Julie in Belgium figured out last year that it was one generation before, that being the Christopher Remington Bateson family. He was married to Mary, and they came to New York City, and then later moved to Savannah. They had four children, Alice, Christopher H., Mary Jane, and Thomas.

Through the magic of the internet, a Bateson cousin from Canada found the blog, and commented that he had a copy of a letter written by Thomas Bateson to his uncle Henry back home in England. And Henry? Just happened to be Julie’s ancestor. And just to make this all a bit more remarkable, none of these descendants knew of each other before the blog.

And when the Canada Batesons come to town to meet us, do they bring a copy of the letter?








Musical Instruments, fire-works, Confectionery, fruits, Nuts, etc.,


Savannah, Ga.     April 23, 1873

Dear Uncle Henry,

Some years have elapsed since

my last writing to you, and no doubt you may won-

der what it is that now prompts me after such

long silence. At my last writing which I think

was shortly after the close of our late civil

war, my Mother and Brother Christopher was

alive and well. Since which time death has

claimed them. Mother after an illness of

six days died April 10th, 1869 of Typhoid

Pneumonia and Brother Christopher Henry died

Oct. 12th, 1870 of Pulmonary disease.

I am now the only one that is living of your

brother Christopher’s family. I hope that on

your side of the Atlantic that death has

not been so sure a reaper and that your

own family as well as my other Uncles

and Aunts are in the enjoyment of good health.

Respecting myself I will state that I am

now 31 years of age, married, and have three

children named, respectively, Alice, Georgia Agnes,

and Thomas Remington, and am continuing the

business established by Father in 1852 at

the same stand.

Shall be pleased to hear from you; also

from my Aunts.

Your affectionate Nephew,

Thos. Bateson

Original Letter held by Mrs. Bess Blagden (Col William Blagden).

Granddaughter of Henry Bateson, Overdene, Brighton.

Copy given to Walter J. Bateson 15 April 1973.


Goodnight, Bateson people. We’re thinking of you.



An Unexpected Quilt Comes My Way

January 21, 2015

A series of texts…

Employer: Do you like quilts?

YoursTruly: Yes!!

Employer: Ok, I have 3 antique amish quilts for you

YoursTruly: Was that a trick question?

YoursTruly: Eeeee total score.

Employer: I’ll bring them tues

YoursTruly: Thanks!


I never look a gift quilt in the mouth. It’s just general good advice. If they’re not well done or falling apart or whatever, someone here besides myself will enjoy them.

Using that self-advice, I was totally unprepared for what I received. There are three quilts of the same vintage, no doubt, but who would give these away? They are remarkable works of art and craftmanship.


Cat is not to scale.



This beauty, when unfolded, measures about 64″ x 64″.






This quilt is in pristine condition. One of the other quilts has a stained spot on it, so I’m just going to say that that was where the Yankee bullet shot through the cabin wall and hit Great-Grandma in the side, and she used the quilt to staunch the bleeding.


The back is as good an example of perfection as the front, which is the mark of a great quilter and a marvelous quilt.



Y’all, these rows are less than an inch apart. Mind. Blown.



When I said “Total score!”, I had no idea. I’m still shaking my head.

The Gold Mine in the Closet: Crossing the Ocean in 1915

January 15, 2015

My last post needed more research. And I found myself still awake after midnight, even though the alarm was set for 5:30.  That’s A.M., people, not P.M. Ah, sadness for lack of sleep, but big happys for research.

So I was guessing the photos of Sugar’s mother crossing the ocean was probably in 1915. Did you know I have an account? Did you know I’ll sit up all night long looking for stuff? At any rate, if you’ve read the blog before, you’ll know that sometimes I’m just not right in the head.

Here’s Sugar’s mother…


“Sailing from Bordeaux to New York”




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It was midnightish when it occurred to me that there would be travel and immigration records.

LawtonLeslie 1915


Leslie Lawton, age 41

Margaret Lawton, age 22

Emily Lawton, age 20

Leslie Lawton, age 18

Edward Lawton, age 12

William Lawton, age 10

Mary Genevieve, age 1

They live at 324 Abercorn Street, Savannah, Georgia.

Sailing from Bordeaux on September 26, 1915, to the port of New York on October 5, 1915, on the S.S. Rochambeau.

This information explains the photos on the other side of the album page…

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I just love this stuff.

The Gold Mine in the Closet: Crossing the Ocean

January 15, 2015

Sugar’s mother’s father had a military career, and he traveled the world.

His wife and children traveled with him. Sugar’s mother was born in Geneva, Switzerland, and she was named Mary Genevieve in honor of her mother and Geneva.

Finally, after years of travel, his wife refused to travel any more. She went home to Savannah. When he died of cancer, he was in Paris in 1929.

Sugar’s mother was the youngest in the family. He discovered these photos of her on board while sailing from Bordeaux to New York.


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She’s probably about a year old here. She was born in May, and I’m reading online that one doesn’t want to make a sea voyage in the winter in the North Atlantic. So, given her stature and posture, a year seems about right to me.

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This looks totally unsafe for child’s play.



I have new respect for her mother, Mary “Leslie” Basinger Lawton. Crossing the ocean with six children? Climbing mountains in a long dress and fancy hat, and the only skin showing was her face?

Remarkable. Simply remarkable.

The Gold Mine in the Closet: More Photos

January 14, 2015

Sugar informed my that he had found more photos.

I’m not even finished with the last go-round, so, really, how many more photos could there be? Ten? Fifteen?

How about ten or fifteen stacks?

Two evenings ago, I spent time with his photos and his scanner. It took 28 scans, each scan with two to six photos per scan.

It looks like I’ll have to start more posts dedicated to just one item, like Sugar’s mother or the twins, where I can add more photos as I find them. (I thought that there were no more “twin” photos, but time have once again proven me wrong.) As it goes with many things in my life, I start with one plan at organizing and it evolves as it goes, thus explaining all the plastic totes that aren’t being used.

My favorite of all is this one of Sugar’s grandmother, Mary “Leslie” Basinger Lawton in Switzerland, probably in the early 1900’s.

I start with the scan that has the photo that I want to crop out.

First I copy the scan in the computer program in order to make enough duplicates so that when I crop each photo out, I still have a copy to work with, and I don’t have to revert back to the original each time, thus losing my crop work. Kind of like, save your work. (My families were agrarian. I can’t imagine explaining to my father, and his father, etc., that I’m working with the crops.)

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Now that I’ve cropped out the image I want, leaving generous margins, I straighten the photo. Sometimes, when I want to watermark my original photos, I’ll open each with Paint, and add the watermark, and SAVE it.

Here’s my finished item.


These ladies just upped the bar for the rest of us.

The Gold Mine in the Closet: An Unidentified House, Part 3

January 12, 2015

It’s a day for a field trip!

We started with a photo of an unidentified house from Sugar’s Gold Mine in the Closet.

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Sugar’s cousin knew someone who knew where this house still stands. It’s the Whitaker-Huntingdon Inn.  The house faces Whitaker Street, but the side door at 101 Huntingdon is where Sugar’s grandmother lived.

We had a Savannah outing to the Georgia Historical Society, and after leaving there, we walked on down the sidewalk . It’s only a block to Huntingdon.




We head across Forsyth Park on the way back to the car, and here’s the path going forward.




And here’s the path looking back to Sugar’s grandmother’s house. Her side entrance is much more noticeable from this angle.



On the way to the car, I noticed that we weren’t given all the copies we’d ordered at Georgia Historical. Fortunately we went on the little side trip to 101 Huntingdon; otherwise, we’d be in the car headed to Carolina.

Back to GHS, but oh, my aching knees. The front steps of GHS are steep and imposing, and we were at the beginning of a cold snap. My knees told me so.