Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Bateson’

More Than One Hundred and Thirty-Eight Years Later: the Bateson Brothers at Laurel Grove

June 12, 2016

I’ve written about Christopher Henry Bateson and his brother Thomas quite a bit. They both served together during the Civil War. They lived to return to Savannah, but both died young. 

And a strange turn of events happened. 

Julie in Brussels found their death records in the City of Savannah Cemetery database. She contacted me online using the messaging system. 

I contacted Sugar, and we went to Laurel Grove where we found that the graves were not marked. Sugar ordered a marker for the whole family which was placed in 2014. 

Another cousin found the blog, and he and his wife came to see us and visit the Bateson plot in January of 2015. Almost a year later, that same cousin contacted the president of the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy to see if she had any info about these brothers.

She located their records, and ordered a military marked for each man. 

This past week, those stones were set. 

Today we find…

I’m actually quite speechless. 

Batesons United by Death

May 20, 2015

I’m not sure how to write this post.

There are many twists and turns. Everything is important. This post could go on for days.

I think I’ll just start throwing words out into the internet, and perhaps the story will evolve.


A woman in Brussels sent a message to me last year that she was interested in Charles Edward Wagstaff Bateson, a relative of hers who just happens to be Sugar’s great-grandfather. She further said that there are Batesons buried in Savannah.

We found the cemetery plot where the family of Christopher Remington Bateson was buried, and Sugar ordered a marker for the plot.

We found more references to the Bateson family.

And then, one random Sunday after Christmas, Sugar and I were on our way to lunch. Since PetSmart and Michael’s Craft Store (yarn on sale perhaps!) was on the way, we stopped first at PetSmart, then Michael’s, where I DIDN’T buy yarn.

When we left the craft store, my smartphone jingled in my pocket.

Sugar has a love/hate relationship with my phone. He loves how we can look something up SO easily. He hates dislikes strongly how it jingles to let me know there’s a new email or a blog comment or whatever it jingles for. I learned how to suppress the email jingles, and I learned how to tell the phone to not ring. Sometimes I forget to suppress the not-ringy part.

I pulled it out of my back pocket to give it a look anyway, even though Sugar was exhaling with exasperation. He’s needy like that.

Oooh, it was a comment on the blog! I love those.

But this one was confusing. It was from someone named Walter Bateson.

Sugar has a cousin named Walter, who has also commented on the blog, but he’s not Walter Bateson. In my confusion, I wondered if SugarCousinWalter had changed his last name.

That’s how things work with me. My brain compartmentalizes things, and it something doesn’t fit neatly into a compartment, I automatically look for a reason why it’s not neat. It can’t be helped.

So I stopped on the sidewalk, and said, “Sugar, it’s a comment from Walter Bateson.”

Sugar:  Who’s Walter Bateson?

YoursTruly: I don’t know. Is that your Cousin Walter changing his last name?

Sugar: Why would he do that?

I read the comment to him.

The Rev. Christopher Bateson is my great, great, great, Grandfather. I have been working on the family history for a number of years. Have a letter from Thomas Bateson, of Savannah,Ga. written to his uncle Henry in England on April 23,1873 on the business stationary
In this letter he says he has taken over the business from his father, and that he has three children,Alice, Georgia Agnes,and Thomas Remington.
I am trying to find out more about this branch of the family.I  am visiting in Florida his winter and am planning a trip to Savannah.
Any help you can give me would be appreciated
Walter Bateson

So now we’re standing on the sidewalk outside Michael’s Craft store and PetSmart, staring at the iPhone, then to each other, then to the iPhone.

A letter? A LETTER?! From 1873 on business stationary? We can’t wait to meet Walter Bateson!

Because Thomas Bateson is buried in the Christopher R. Bateson plot in Laurel Grove Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia. Remember? Ah, yes, the plot that was unmarked until Sugar came along.


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.



In Which We Find Thomas Remington Bateson, 1872-1879

January 9, 2015



SMT September 28, 1879: 2/7 – The friends of Wm. Spears and Wm.

Ebbes and family, are respectfully invited to attend the funeral

of Thomas Remington Bateson, youngest child of Thos. Bateson,

deceased, from the residence of the former on Thunderbolt road,

this morning at 9:30 o’clock.

Oh, he was just a baby. He rests with his parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles.



(Incidentally, this is my 900th post. Who knew I’d write this many? I certainly didn’t.)

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.

One Hundred and Thirty-Five Years Later…

July 20, 2014

Earlier this year Sugar and I discovered that several of his cousins moved from Lancashire, England, to New York City, and then to Savannah, Georgia.  The most remarkable thing about this discovery was that the information came from another unknown cousin, Julie, in Belgium.

Julie knew that the Christopher R. Bateson family were buried in Savannah, Georgia, from 1855-1879, because she found them listed in the City of Savannah’s online cemetery index.










We found that when we went to view their cemetery markers that there were none.

So Sugar ordered one to mark the spot, and it was installed this week.  Can you spot it?  The photo below is taken from across several aisles.

IMG_7007 (2)




Now from the same location using the zoom lens.



















A few lanes over, we see the Densler brick mausoleum under the trees.  We visited there in February when we discovered a Densler/Starr/Basinger connection.









This has been quite the most remarkable journey of my life.  I understand now how easy it is to order a marker, and how easy it would be for something to be mis-communicated or misspelled. You write out what you want the marker to say, the monument company produces a computerized image, and you change or approve the sample.  The company goes forward with the marker, and it is installed.

Thank you, Julie in Brussels, for reaching out.  Why doesn’t everybody do this?

Thomas Bateson of New York & Savannah, 1841-1877

June 9, 2014

(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?