The Bateson Brothers: A Final Tribute

Sugar and I were asked to deliver a eulogy for Thomas and Christopher Henry Bateson at the Laurel Grove Cemetery with the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Sugar, being a recluse, couldn’t do it. I figured I’d have to say a piece for them. After all, they have been unrecognized since Christopher died in 1870 and Thomas in 1877. Somebody needed to speak. I enlisted help from other family members who contributed remembrances and lists of Thomas’s descendants, and I decided to create a eulogy from that.

Less than 24 hours before the ceremony, Sugar volunteered that he is compelled to give a eulogy.

*****

If you want to discuss states right, this is not the place to do it.

If you want to talk about slavery, this is not your forum.

If you want to debate on the economic impact the the war made upon the South, you’ll want to go somewhere else.

This was a funeral service and a tribute to two brothers, whose two little sisters died young in 1853, whose father died when the brothers were teenagers in 1855, whose mother remarried and tried to hold their father’s business together before she died. Christopher died young, Thomas’s wife Martha Mann died young, Thomas died young, and Thomas’s son Thomas Remington died in 1879 at age 7.

*****

I drove so Sugar could practice his speech on the way. When we pulled into the cemetery gates, he had a mini-meltdown. There were people in re-enactment garb gathering. We didn’t know what was planned, but we weren’t really expecting this. It’s hard for a recluse to be around people.

We convoyed over to Lot 322, where the markers had been draped. The soldiers gathered under the trees across the way.

The decision was made to start a few minutes early. The soldiers were wearing woolen uniforms.

An introduction was made, a prayer was said, we made the Pledge of Allegiance and a salute to the Confederate flag, Sugar said his piece, I read a letter by Thomas in 1873 and a tribute from LaRoy Bateson Dunster. I couldn’t read the tribute by LaRoy’s daughter Liz because it was so beautiful that I kept snotting up and crying when I practiced it.

To the Bateson Brothers

by Leslie Bateson

The brave Bateson family buried here originated in Lancashire, England, came to New York City, and then to Savannah by 1852. For 25 years they ran an import goods store downtown at the southeast corner of Drayton and Congress specializing in children’s toys. Misfortune after misfortune finally extinguished most of this family, and they were forgotten and even unknown by other branches of the family who also moved to North America.

My branch entered in New Orleans, where my great-grandfather, a nephew of this Christopher Remington Bateson, married a great-niece of Jefferson Davis and eventually went to New York City to engage in textiles. My father married a Savannah girl, and here I am.

By chance, two years ago a previously unknown cousin in Belgium contacted my friend Ruth about an ancestry.com search and told us of Batesons in Laurel Grove. Astonished, I felt compelled to place a marker here. Then, a cousin in Canada found Mrs. Piechocinski, and now we must heartily thank the United Daughters of the Confederacy for commemorating the Civil War service of these young Bateson brothers.

Ruth will read a copy of a letter given to us by my Canadian cousin Walter Bateson, from Thomas Bateson in Savannah to his Uncle Henry in England.

*****

(Insert my reading the letter here. It’s already on the blog, so I have to go find it and transfer it.)

*****

From Africa with Love

by LaRoy Bateson Dunster

My father, Roy Liston Bateson was 1 of 7 children. He was the first son of Richard Liston Bateson, who came with his brother from Australia to fight in the Anglo/Boer War in South Africa in the late 1800’s. The family saying goes that his brother fought for the Boers & returned to Australia. My grandfather remained in South Africa. My father and his siblings were all proud of their background and at family gatherings held at our home (called Roybo in Vereeniging) we heard the family history. My father died rather young (1913 -1966), which caused a split. He would be so delighted to know about these developments.

Thank You to everyone involved.

LaRoy Dunster (born Bateson), June 25, 2016

Westville, near Durban, South Africa

*****

(Now Liz Dunster’s tribute, which I could not read during the ceremony and had to read to the brothers after the ceremony.)

25 June 2016

To the Bateson Brothers

Dear Christopher and Thomas:

Growing up as a little girl outside of Durban, South Africa, I remember seeing the Bateson family tree – and remember seeing your names in “Savannah, USA”. I had no idea where that might be, and I was curious as to what had happened to you – and where “Savannah” might be.

Fast forward to early 2015. Now living in Wilson, North Carolina, I and my husband and son were less than a month away from our American Citizenship being granted when I discovered that I had Bateson relatives in South Carolina, Canada, and Belgium – and they wanted to know me (you would like them too). That discovery led also to knowing that the Batesons of Savannah USA that I had seen on the old family tree as a child – was in fact your family – from Savannah, Georgia. All of this was an incredible gift at that time – because I felt the , that I truly did have roots in my new country – because they are here, and you were so long ago.

I think that you would be happy to know that although your Bateson family is scattered around the globe – on virtually every continent now – remarkably many of us – nearly 150 years later – are delighted to be in contact with one another. We are honored also to be thinking of you, and honoring you today. Though time and space might separate us, the family bond remains.

Rest in peace.

With love,

Liz Dunster


A wreath was placed at the family marker that Sugar had commissioned two years ago.

The markers are revealed.



The flags are placed on their graves.




The flag known as theStars and Bars is placed on the family marker.


Did I say that the predicted weather was a high temperature of 99*F. and storms? It was perhaps only 95 with a slight breeze. We stood in the shade of a mausoleum across the lane.

 

Mrs. Piechocinski, Sugar’s cousin Emily, and Sugar



A rifle tribute by the soldiers.







There was a total of 3 shots fired. I have a video that I will attempt to load. If I am unsuccessful, just know that now I understand why the soldiers stood so far away. It was a loud tribute. I can’t even imagine how loud an actual battle would be.

Well done, everyone. It was an honor to be present.

I wonder if this Bateson chapter is over.

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One Response to “The Bateson Brothers: A Final Tribute”

  1. Emily Garrard Says:

    Very nice write up of this event. I had no idea that Leslie was so anxious. He mentioned that he was a bit nervous. He did a great job, as did you!

    Liked by 1 person

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