Monday, May 26, 2014

A Journey to Norfolk to Look for John Bates

A couple of weeks ago Alisa and I went to England on a family history search. We met many wonderful people on our journey that we now call friends. Rural England is very friendly, and beautiful.

Alisa was looking for her great grandmother. Her grandfather was born in Liverpool. We found sources for both of them, and many likely clues which she is diligently pursuing. After 3 days in Lancashire, it was off to Norfolk to look for our ggg grandfather John Bates.

After pursuing all the leads that I am aware of, below is the current facts that we know about his early life:

From the book "The King's Passengers to Maryland and Virginia," by Peter Coldham, it appears that our grandfather, John Bates, was an indentured servant that was sent from England in 1770 and he was born in either 1744 or 1748.

On page 267, we find the following:

Runaway Felons:

Bates, John, English, age 27. From Benjamin Howard, Anne Arundel Co MD (MG 8 June - 13 July 1771)
Bates, Rowland, age 23. From Caleb Dorsey, Anne Arundel Co. Md (MG 10 Jun 1772).

In the Maryland Gazette, 20 June, 1771, we read, in part: Twenty Pounds Reward
   Ran away from the subscribers plantations, near Elk Ridge Landing, the four following convict servants ...
   John Bate, about 23 years of age, 5 feet 5 inches high, of fair complexion, with short straight brown hair. Had on when he went away a blue halfthick jacket, a felt hat, about half worn, a new Ofnabrig shirt, old crocus trousers, no shoes or stockings
   John Bates, about 27 or 28 years of age, a stout well looking fellow, of fair complexion, about 5 feet 8 or 9 inches tall ...
   They were all Englishmen.

From this we know that there were two different John's, one younger than the other.

From the Norfolk Assize Court files in the UK National Archives, we read about these two men's cases:

ASSI 33/4 Lent Session, 1770

Verdict - John Bates, Laborer, 13th January, Last, at Biggleswade. Stealing 1 live drake and 6 or 4 live ducks, goods of John Britton.

ASSI 33/5 Summer Session, 1770

Reprieved ---- Now ordered to do Transport for 14 years. John Bate Laborer. 24 June Last at Morningthorpe. One mare price 10 pounds. Goods of William Cole and James Cole, Executors of John Cole, deceased.

Both men were indentured servants of Benjamin Howard. Mr. Howard was a prominent landowner in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland, and the son of Phillip Howard. However, before John's seven to fourteen-year servitude was completed, he ran away. Indications are that he ran away in the first year of his servitude, before the Revolutionary War broke out. About 5 years later, he got married and joined the Continental Army. Anne Arundel County is about 20 miles from Prince George's County, where I believe he met and married Rebekah Beall (b. 1762), daughter of James and Elizabeth Beall. They were probably married around 1776. John C,. Mary and Zachariah were born abt. 1777, 1780, and 1781 in Maryland or Virginia.

So, after hours of searching through the parish records of Norfolk, Suffolk, and Bedfordshire, as well as the National Archives, who are the most likely persons to be our grandfather? In no particular order, here goes:

I am fairly confident that the John Bates, age 27 in 1771, that stole the ducks in Biggleswade one of these two persons:

John Bates, born 1746, in Old Warden, Bedfordshire, chr. 15 Feb 1747. Here is what was reported about his family on Ancestry, and verified by parish records:

John Bates. b. 18 Jun 1717, Old Warden, Bedfordshire
Mary Bareford, b. 1721, Wilshamstead, Bedfordshire
     Thomas Bates, b. 1742, Old Warden, Bedfordshire
     Mary Bates, b. 1744, Old Warden, Bedfordshire
     John Bates, b. 1746, Old Warden, Bedfordshire
     Ann Bates, b. 1754, Old Warden, Bedfordshire

The decedents of Thomas and Mary have been documented, but I could not find a death, burial, marriage, or other information for this John.

John Betts, Maulden, Bedfordshire
     Mary, chr. 18 Jul 1740
     Fanny, chr 28 Nov 1741
     Susan, chr. 28 Jan 1743
     William, chr. 15 Jul 1744
     John, chr. 21 Jul 1746, Maulden
     Susan, 1748

As far as Betts, Bates, Bites, etc., this is what I learned. I found members in the same family that were both Bates and Betts. I found 2 individuals that one pastor recorded them at Betts, and later as Bates. This makes our search more difficult. But after being there, and realizing that many of these people could not write, and signed their name with an X, and perhaps the spelling was up to the interpretation of the person writing it down. Maybe some preferred one, and some the other. Regardless, I believe that many Bates and Betts in Norfolk are of the same family. Incidentally, there are 8444 individual baptisms recorded in Norfolk from 1550 to 1879 with persons bearing a name that sounds like Bates (

The John Bate(s) arrested at Morningthorpe has a few more possibilities. Here are the ones I see as the highest probability. I should mention, however, that I did an England-wide search for a John Bate, and did not find any likely candidates.

John Bates, of Tibenham, Norfolk
Letitia, of Tibenham, Norfolk
     John, chr. 6 Dec 1745, Tibenham
     Ann, chr. 20 Dec 1747
     Elizabeth, chr. 1 Jan 1750
     Letitice, chr. 26 Nov 1752
     Mary, chr. 2 May 1766
     Thomas, bur. 21 Apr 1765, Tibenham

The second:

John Bates,chr. 17 Feb 1748, the base son (illegitimate child) of Mary Bates, Yelverton, Norfolk.

Mary may be the daughter of Edmund and Martha Betts of Yelverton. Based on parish records I found, they appear to related to Betts in Tivetshall St. Margarets. Edmund and Martha may have 4 children I can identify, Ann, b. 1735, Edmund, Mary, and Sarah. However, Mary may not be related to Edmund. Both families have the same file number in the parish records, but the file number may be the same for all individuals recorded at that time. This bears further research.

As I stated, however, Mary may not be a daughter of Edmund, but rather a sister-in-law. It has been suggested that since the have the same file no. they may have lived in the same house. I did find a Mary that married a John Bates in 1744 in South Norfolk. John Bates of Banham (3 miles from Tibenham) married Mary Law of Bressingham by license in 1744 in Tivetshall St. Margarets. Perhaps John died and Mary lived near or with Edmund, her brother in law. Edmund's possible son, Edmund, lived in Tivetshall St. Margaret at least from 1749 to 1766.

There is a John Bates, son of Thomas Bates or Betts of Woodton, but he passed away in 1774 in Tivetshall, St. Margarets. There is also a John Bates, son of William and Elizabeth Bates of Tivetshall, St. Margarets, b. 1748, but he only lived two days after he was baptized.

There was also a John Bates of Hoxne, Suffolk, just across the countyline. He was fined for having a base born child in the Norfolk Quarter Sessions in 1770. However, the last entry dealing with his case was in Jan. 1771, leading me to think that this is not him, because our John was already in Maryland by then. There is a possibility that it could be him, however. It is unfortunate that the Assize files on the cases on both John's neglected to state their residence or give other helpful information. Which one is our grandfather is also unknown, however, given the ages, it seems more likely that he is the one arrested in Morningthorpe.Our grandfather was between the ages of 80 and 89 in 1830, while living in York, S.C. He died in 1833, so either could be him, but the younger seems more likely.

This sums up what I have found. I did look at a lot more John Bates, Betts, etc., and there may be more that I did not find. However, with these four, none of them seemed to leave a forwarding address, leading to the likelihood that two of them could be the John's sentenced and sent from England to Maryland. If we tie into these families in South Norfolk or Bedfordshire, we will be able to push our lineage back several generations. If anyone can shed any more light on any of this, please make a comment or contact me at

Bill Bates
Price, Utah

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Thomas Jefferson Bates Family Reunion

Decendents of Thomas Jefferson Bates met at the Blue Lake Regional Park near Portland on June 15, 2013. About 50 of us were there. The similarities were striking. It was a wonderful day. Here are a few pictures.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

  • Ogden Jingles

  • Below is an article that was published some years ago by  Louise Pettus a York Co, SC historian. The article concerns the beginning of the Antioch Methodist Church in Ogden York county, South Carolina… The article goes to mention our great-great grandfather “Thadeus K. Bates."  Thadeus was the grandfather of our grandmother Carrie Comer. 

    Ogden, a rural community south of Rock Hill, was the home of A. L. Neely in the early part of this century. Neely wrote folksy poetry about his home, school, church, family and, more than anything, about farm life. In 1925 the State Publishing Company published Neely's writings in a slim book titled, "Ogden Jingles." Neely made no attempt to disguise Ogden or its people. One of his poems was called, "Ogden Crop News." It was written one especially wet spring when it rained so much that the farmers' fields were soggy and grassy. Part of the poem went this way: "Pearson's grass grows long and green Betchler's grows cockleburs, Garrison, and Sims grass have met And crawled across the rows. ....Strait and Nuson, Smith, and Kidd, Are soldiers brave and true. They face grass with dauntless grit, Like heroes always do." Neely recalled Ogden's first school, called Mineral Spring School, a one room log affair that had vanished by 1925 but was remembered as sitting in a field covered with cowslips and daisies. The children of Mineral Spring School delighted in playing Goosy Goosy Gander, Ring Around the Rosy and other such group play. He recounted their names as McFadden, Kidd, Byres, Dunlap, Isom, McKants, Bookout, Percival, Parish, Evans, Moore, Strait, Duncan, Bates and Neely. "Our teachers teach, our preachers preach Where once the savage stood Through thick and thin they're fighting sin And they are doing good." A rare bit of history was recorded by Neely in a short essay in which he gives the history of Antioch Methodist Church. The account was pieced together from "scraps of pages from the original church register over forty years ago. These records fell into the hands of the writer about 1910...." Antioch Methodist Church was founded by Rev. J. Marion Boyd, who served the Rock Hill circuit. In 1878 he set up the church because there was no Methodist church near. "He saw in this Black Jack Valley what appeared to be almost a wilderness with a family living here and there in log dwellings, and it was in these log houses that Rev. Boyd started a work that resulted in building Antioch.

    "The private homes used for the first services were those of Thadeus K. Bates and James H. Kidd during the months of March, April and May, 1878."
    In June the Methodists built a brush arbor.In August, 18 men brought their axes and began chopping down trees for the first church building. Not much had to be bought. Even the roof covering was oak split on the grounds. The total cash expense of building the church was $255.10. The records showed that 51 people contributed money but that 3 men contributed most of the money: Ferguson H. Barber, Arnold Friedheim of Rock Hill, and W. B. Byers. The church was completed and dedicated by Reverend Boyd September 29, 1878. Neely said it would be "hard indeed to estimate the good socially and morally that has resulting from the building of Antioch." Neely's poems were printed in the Weekly Newsletter of the U. S. Department of Agriculture, in the Woodman's maagine, "Sovereign Visitor," and in the Weekly Fairfax Enterprise. One of the most amusing poems was titled "Tax Returning Time" which ends this way: "His fertile soil is very deep Many feet to the clay He never said his land was cheap Until returning day."

    This was sent to me by Ethel Mae Kinkade. Thaddeus K. Bates was the son of David Kennedy Bates, the last child of John Bates of York, South Carolina and the only child of his second wife, Mary Kennedy Bates.

    Two years ago when Alisa and I visited York County, we were told that Thaddeus K. Bates donated the land for the Antioch Methodist Church. Above is a picture of the church building in York County when we visited. 

    It is interesting to note that another descendent of John Bates also donated land for a church. Robert E. Bates, son of Zachariah Bates, who was the son of John, donated land for the Church of Christ in Sebastian Co., Arkansas. Robert was the brother of our ggfather, Thomas Jefferson Bates, who lived next door.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Pictures of Thomas Jefferson Bates and Flora Snow Bates

Recently, Ethel Mae Kinkade sent me these pictures. The first is of Thomas Jefferson Bates about 1870. They lived in Sebastian County, Arkansas at the time. He was married to Susan Eleanor Pearson. TJ was about 34 years old in this picture. As you recall, Thomas is the grandson of John Bates of York, SC, through his second son, Zachariah.

 The second picture is also of Thomas Jefferson Bates, about 1900. He was married to Flora Snow then, and still lived in Arkansas. He was about 64 years old.


The last picture is of Flora Snow Bates with the boy's dogs Ring. This was in Riddle, Oregon, 1918. She was a widow at the time. TJ passed away in 1910.

Thanks Ethel Mae for the pictures.