The Tattersfields have made good emigrants! During the 19th and 20th centuries, many individuals, and sometimes families, left the shores of England. Many settled down to successful careers such as farming and textiles. Others are less easy to trace.
The most common destination was USA, sometimes via Canada. One large branch now lives in Mexico, having moved there from USA.
Three family groups have lived in New Zealand for a century or more. Two are descended from brothers from Heckmondwike, and the other from the London family. My own family went to Northern Rhodesia in 1947 and some remain in Southern Africa today. Canada, Australia and South Africa also attracted emigrants.
Some of those who left England were single men, of whom little is subsequently known. By contrast, some became the founders of large families. The most prolific of all were AKED and CATHERINE. They were first cousins who married in the Dewsbury area in August 1865 and emigrated from Heckmondwike in 1881. They settled around Flandreau, South Dakota. Names have been plotted on their family tree of some 173 descentants, excluding spouses, and there are certainly many more. Only a small proportion today have the surname Tattersfield.
Some families who emigrated changed their surname in their new land. Prominent among these are the FIELD family of Alberta, Canada, and the MONTHAN family of Tucson, Arizona. The two families are descended from two brothers from Heckmondwike called ROBERT and JEREMIAH who emigrated to Alberta, Canada in 1900 and 1902 respectively.
The history of a Massachusetts family called TATTERFIELD is being studied. They have been traced back to Newfoundland, Canada, in the 1840s, but a connection with the English Tattersfields has not yet been found.
Set out below are the stories, as far as they are presently known, of some of the emigrant families. The order in which they appear is not significant, but merely reflects when they were written. It is hoped to add many more as they become available. As far as possible their stories will be as written by descendants of the emigrants, to give both authentic historical accounts and actual recollections of some of the personalities involved. It is also hoped that these stories below will stimulate anyone reading them whose Tattersfield ancestors emigrated from England, to send in the stories of their own families for inclusion on this website.
Written by John Tattersfield
The earliest "emigrant" of whom record has been found was called DANIEL TATERFIELD (or possibly TATESFIELD). He appears in the United States census of 1790 (it is interesting to note that the first National Census of England and Wales was not until 1841).
In 1790 DANIEL was recorded as being in an "Unknown Township" in the County of Washington, State of Pennsylvania. The printed transcription of the Census spells his name TATERFIELD. The original Census, which is handwritten, might possibly be read as TATESFIELD.
Unfortunately the Census of 1790 recorded very little detail. All we know was that the household included "1 free white male of 16 years and upwards" (DANIEL himself), "1 free white male under 16 years" (a son perhaps?), "1 free white female" (presumably his wife), and "0 slaves"! The household just contained three people.
It is not yet known who DANIEL was. It is only a presumption at this stage that he was a TATTERSFIELD from England. One UNPROVEN POSSIBILITY is that he was the DANIEL TATTERSFIELD who married Sarah Burley on 17 September 1780 in the village of Campsall, some seven miles north of Doncaster, Yorkshire, and 19 miles east of Dewsbury. Both signed their name with a X.
Sarah gave birth to a girl, also called Sarah, who was christened in Campsall on 5 January 1781. The record states she was the "daughter of DANIEL and Sarah TATTERSFIELD of Norton" (a hamlet one mile north of Campsall, and in the same Parish). On 19 June 1784 Ann, "wife of DANIEL TATTERSFIELD of Norton" was buried in Campsall.
It seems reasonable to believe that Ann and the Sarah who married DANIEL were one and the same. She had been baptised as Ann Burley in Campsall on 12 June 1751.
On 18 June 1801 Sarah TATTERSFIELD, spinster, married William Dixon in Finningley, Nottinghamshire, which is 12 miles from Campsall.
No further trace of DANIEL has been found in English records. Nor do we know where he came from or who his parents were, as his marriage certificate gives no details.
Could it be that a Yorkshire DANIEL married, had a daughter, lost his wife, emigrated to America soon afterwards leaving his daughter behind, married again, had a son, and was recorded in Pennsylvania in 1790?. Over such quandaries as these, family historians spend many happy hours!
What became of DANIEL, his wife and presumed son after 1790? No trace has yet been found. If any reader finds any record, please let me know.
Since the above hypothesis was written, it has been discovered that one DANIEL TATTERSLEY of Norton was buried in Campsall Churchyard, having died on 16th April, 1798. No further details were recorded, and no headstone exists. It now looks most probable that this DANIEL was the husband and father of the two Sarahs.
On this presumption, the origin of the DANIEL TATERFIELD who was in Pennsylvania in the Census of 1790 remains a complete mystery.
This account is written by Cunitia Evelyn Wilkinson, of Warkworth, NZ Her ancestry is Joseph 1747-1795, Joseph, Jeremiah, Frederick James, James Walker, Peter Abbott.
One of the TATTERSFIELD families in New Zealand traces its line back to JOSEPH TATTERSFIELD (1747-1795) of "The Heights", Heckmondwike in the West Riding of Yorkshire. His eldest son, also JOSEPH (1779-1851), who married Martha Brook, is described as a clothier; in 1848 he is listed as a blanket maker. In turn, his son JEREMIAH (1812-1886) was also a blanket maker, living in Heckmondwike. He appears to have had a substantial business, as the blankets were manufactured at Kilpinhill Mills, and his business was registered as Messrs JEREMIAH TATTERSFIELD & Sons. He lived nearby at "The Hollins" with his wife Martha Hirst. (In recent years The Hollins was used as a workingmen's club).
One of JEREMIAH's sons was FREDERICK JAMES who worked in his father's business as a wool buyer and valuer. He married Frances Mary Walker, and on 13 May 1877 the first two of their eight children were born - twins MARTHA AGNES and JAMES WALKER. JAMES was to become the founder of our New Zealand family.
In early life JAMES earned pocket money by keeping poultry, at first selling eggs, and then breeding and selling hens and ducks. When he was in his teens, possibly as young as 13, and already 6 feet tall, he started work at Kilpinhill Mills. In order to gain experience of the business, he worked successively in each department. He father taught him how to classify and value wool, a skill which would benefit him later in life. He also attended night school to refine his handwriting skills.
The reason for his decision to travel to New Zealand and the exact date of his arrival in the country are not know, but it seems that when JAMES turned 21 in 1898, he decided to explore prospects overseas. He travelled as a steerage passenger on the S.S. Kumara, and arrived at Auckland with £104 with which to begin his new life.
In Auckland JAMES found employment with Messrs Murgatroyd Limited, a firm of wool buyers. One of the partners, Joe Murgatroyd, took an interest in the new recruit, and he was taught the special characteristics of New Zealand wools, which were different from those he had known at home. In time he became a wool buyer for the company.
After some years in New Zealand, JAMES returned to England to visit family and friends. His brother JOE's wife introduced him to Evelyn Abbott, whose family she knew well.
Evelyn Sophie Abbott was the eldest of Henry Abbott's and his wife Sophie Watson's six children. The Abbotts were an old Debenham (Suffolk) family, whilst Sophie was a descendant of the Wentworth-Watsons who were distantly connected to the Rockingham family. A shop in Debenham was an inherited family business but Henry took little interest in it, leaving it in his wife's capable hands, while he stayed at home, busy in his garden and greenhouse. Their eldest daughter, Evelyn, was talented and hardworking. She had been "finished" in Belgium, and on her return to England had embarked on a nursing career. When JAMES met her she was working at the prestigious Guy's Hospital in London, where a young doctor had expressed his interest in becoming a suitor.
JAMES returned to New Zealand and wrote to Evelyn proposing marriage, sweetening the offer with a promise of being able to eat "strawberries all year round" in New Zealand. Evelyn accepted and came to Auckland where they were married on 5th December 1904. Year-round strawberries indeed! Then, as now, these fruit had a short season in her new country, and JAMES' bride was heard to comment that he had lured her there "by false pretences".
In the early days of their marriage, JAMES may have worked briefly in the building industry, but the couple soon set up a haberdashery shop on the ground floor of the A.B.C. (Ashley's Busy Corner) at the intersection of Pitt Street and Karangahape Road in Central Auckland. Evelyn supervised the shop somewhat imperiously, taking over the serving of important customers from the assistants. JAMES travelled throughout the country taking orders and selling goods from the shop. The linen they imported is believed to have come from Belgium, was said to be the best quality available in the colony, and was probably supplied to Government House.
Mrs Christiana Winder and her daughter Mrs Sarah Atwood were at this time living at Titirangi, a rural settlement on the outskirts of Auckland. JAMES called on them to display his wares, as he did on his other customers of note in Auckland. Young Cunitia Atwood went to work in Evelyn's shop briefly, probably lured by the excitement of the city compared to quiet life in the country. She could not guess that many years later her own daughter Joan Hambling would marry JAMES' and Evelyn's son PETER, and their first child would be named Cunitia Evelyn after her two grandmothers. (The writer of this article.)
On one of JAMES's trips away, the owner of a boardinghouse where he was staying asked him to obtain for her a new mattress, a request which would have far-reaching consequences. When the mattress duly arrived (ordered, it is said, from Harts of Wellington) it was felt by Evelyn to be of poor quality. "Bag of feathers" was her comment, and she suggested that they could make a better product themselves.
Accordingly the first steps were taken to set up a factory to do this: land was purchased in the Auckland suburb of Grey Lynn. Two adjacent sections - one on the corner of Sackville Street and Richmond Road and the other on Sackville Street - cost them £150. An iron shed measuring 50 feet by 25 feet was erected on the lower section and housed a gas engine bought on time payment, and a teasing machine from the Onehunga Woollen Mills. A home was built on the top section.
The first commercially manufactured mattress in New Zealand was made by JAMES in 1906, and in that same year Evelyn gave birth to their first surviving child - a son whom they named FREDERICK GUY. The following year J W Tattersfield & Company was established. The three founding partners were JAMES and Evelyn and Howard C Abbott, one of Evelyn's brothers who had joined them in Auckland. JAMES put up the capital of £1217.8.11d. and business officially commenced on 8 August 1907 at the premises in Richmond Road. The next year they took on their first apprentice, Harry Barker. Sadly the partnership with Howard lasted only a few years.
Growth was the hallmark for both family and business in the next couple of decades. Five more sons were born at regular intervals: in 1908 JAMES NOEL, LEONARD WALKER (LEO) in 1910, then PETER ABBOTT in 1912, followed two years later by FELIX MAXWELL. The success of the business meant that Evelyn and JAMES were able to acquire a large home with spacious grounds in Mount Albert, and it was here that the last son, JOHN WATSON, was born in 1916.
The property was named "Puriri Puke", a Maori name signifying that it was a small hill graced with beautiful puriri trees, whose berries were favoured by many native birds. It would remain the family home until JAMES' death in 1961. The extensive grounds enabled Evelyn to follow in her father's footsteps, and she gradually developed a gracious garden which included a rockery, vegetable garden, orchard, greenhouse, hothouse, fernery, and a large sweeping drive, as well as wonderful trees. JAMES indulged his youthful interest in poultry once again, and there was enough flat land for tennis courts and croquet, as well as FELIX's aviary.
The boys enjoyed an unrestricted and healthy childhood outdoors and roamed around the district, making friends with nearby children and having many adventures, such as exploring the volcanic caves near the summit of the mountain. One story they told in later years relates to a small duckling which hatched on a wet and windy night. In an effort to save its life, the boys placed it in the still-warm oven and went off to bed. The next morning an unknowing parent awoke early and lit the range as usual, only to be perplexed a while later by the strange smell pervading the kitchen. Horrified young lads raced to rescue the bird, which, amazingly, survived the experience, but was for ever after ill-disposed towards people, and attacked the bare feet of the boys whenever they went to feed the ducks.
The Great War took the lives of 16,000 New Zealanders, a considerable loss to a small country. JAMES and Evelyn grieved at the loss of JAMES' younger brother ALLAN (killed on 21 November 1917 at Ypres, Flanders. Buried at Vlamertinghe New Military Cemetery).
At the end of the war a returning troopship brought an influenza epidemic which swept the country. Hospitals overflowed and Evelyn turned their home into a small nursing home, where she could care for some of the sufferers. Fortunately, none of the family became ill, but the epidemic cost the country 6,000 lives.
Tattersfield's mattresses sold well, and down pillows and quilts were the next items to be produced. In 1912 the business became a public company - Tattersfield Limited - the tin shed being replaced with a 4-storey building to accommodate the growing number of men and machines required. The house on the top section now became the registered office of the company. In addition to mattresses, pillows and quilts, by the 1920s the firm was manufacturing wire bases, bedsteads and underfelt. Things were looking good.
But JAMES remained a wool man at heart. He felt there must be a way to utilise the crossbred wools produced in New Zealand. His new venture would be into woollen rugs. At first, plain reversible rugs were made and proved so popular that patterned ones soon followed. A new division, Tattersfield Textiles, was started to handle the rug manufacturing. Many of the patterns were Evelyn's original designs.
With the family growing up, Evelyn and JAMES purchased a property at French Bay on the Manukau Harbour to the west of the city. The seaside cottage was used for holidays and weekends and the boys became keen sailors. PETER for one would sometimes disappear on his yacht for the entire weekend, surviving with whatever rations he had managed to sneak out of the pantry - tins of sweetened condensed milk were favourites. Evelyn planted native trees and shrubs on the steep slope in front of the cottage, and JAMES wrote to the local authority complaining about the rough and winding gravel road in the area. For their part, members of the local council felt Mr TATTERSFIELD might be well advised to drive more slowly on it!
Regular trips back to England to visit family and friends were used by JAMES to do business. One trip must surely have been in 1924 when the British Empire Exhibition was held at Wembley, and included an exhibit of Tattersfield Limited rugs. Advertising blurbs speak of this "bold and audacious move" - boldness which paid off, for the company gained the Wembley Award of Merit (Honours), and was further honoured when Queen Mary purchased the complete set of one design of the rugs. It is believed that further awards were gained later at an exhibition in Chicago.
In August 1928 the firm celebrated its 21st birthday and an expedition to view the Arapuni Hydro Electric Scheme, which was then under construction, was arranged. Directors, employees and their families left Auckland on the 8.30 am train and didn't arrive back until 10.30 that evening. Several days later the company paid for everyone to enjoy a more sedate trip to a picture theatre.
Despite the celebrations, the success of the firm was under threat from an economic downturn which would result in a world wide depression. JAMES battled to keep the company viable, and by February 1929 several key workers had left the firm whom it was difficult to replace. By 1930 things were so bad that the staff had their wages reduced, and many only worked alternate weeks. Vegetables were distributed from Evelyn's large garden. Personal economies were made by the family, and the younger boys were withdrawn from the expensive King's College where they were being educated, and enrolled at the local state establishment, Mount Albert Grammar School. But the business remained operational throughout the Depression and ultimately survived without any workers having been laid off, according to JAMES.
This feat must have been appreciated by the workers concerned. Thirty years later, a staff member commented on the fact that Tattersfield's employees were very loyal to the firm and seldom left the company before retirement age. Staff members frequently recommended their friends and relatives for positions at the factory. Consequently, there was little need to advertise for staff when vacancies arose. Customers must have been equally loyal, for there was little advertising of the comany's products - JAMES' philosophy being "a good product will always sell itself".
As the boys got older, Evelyn was able to take part in the social life of Auckland, and was an active member of the prestigious Lyceum Club. Her gardens were the scene of various garden parties, usually in aid of a good cause, and tennis parties were enjoyed by the boys and their friends. In 1920 a fete was held at Puriri Puke which was opened by the Countess of Orford, the proceeds going to the Seamen's Mission.
Dorothy Monkman was the wife of a dyer whom Tattersfields had brought
out from England to work at the factory. Throughout her stay in New
Zealand she wrote to her close friend back in Britain, and these letters
have now been published in a book, titled "To Win ... with love". She
described her visit to Puriri Puke in 1929:
This afternoon I was invited to Mrs Tattersfield's - always pleasurable
and informal. She was busy darning and mending ready for the boys to
go back to school tomorrow. They all came in one by one - first Felix,
aged fourteen, Peter, sixteen, then John who is twelve. They are all
free and easy, chatting away as if I really knew them well. Mrs
Tattersfield has little time to bother with small details. She does a
great deal of work in the garden because Yates Reliable Seeds of
Auckland, London and Manchester beg her to sell them some of her seeds.
Apart from which she designs all Tatts. rugs, is a director, then
there is her family to look after with only daily help.
The garden is all the result of her efforts for fifteen years
culminating in a wonderful selection of trees asnd plants renowned
By the mid 1930s the worst was over, and JAMES and Evelyn left on the Rangitikei for an extended visit to England. Evelyn spent time with her sister Trixie (Beatrix) in Suffolk and visited another sister, Olive, who lived in Paris. It is possible that she and JAMES had intended to remain permanently in Britain, as they purchased a home there - Glebe House, once a parsonage, in the village of Stratford St Mary near Colchester. However, the call of the family, home and business drew them back to New Zealand in 1938.
By now, the boys had all finished school and were working, the three eldest being married. GUY, LEO and PETER worked at Tattersfields; NOEL, a qualified solicitor, was with the company's law firm Duthie Whyte & Co. FELIX was in a bank and had completed his banking diploma. JOHN was in the town of Hamilton in the Waikato region, working at South British, an insurance company.
When war broke out in 1939 the two youngest, unmarried sons, FELIX and JOHN went to England and enlisted in the Royal Navy. FELIX served on an E-boat and JOHN served as a radio operator on a Corvette. JAMES and Evelyn left for England again to be close to the boys, and GUY and LEO were left in charge of things in New Zealand. GUY and NOEL were in the Coastguard and PETER was in Civil Reserve of the RNZAF. While in England JAMES became an air raid warden.
Michael Abbott, son of Evelyn's youngest brother Duncan, tells of an occurrence at Glebe House, when he called there on his way home from leave from his RAF posting. On this occasion he found JAMES alone at home. Earlier in the evening news had been received that a German prisoner-of-war had escaped from a nearby hospital after threatening the nurses with a knife. A New Zealand navigator staying at Glebe House had immediately rushed off into the night to hunt the escapee. JAMES then had to inform the relevant authorities that there were now two dangerous armed men roaming around the area instead of just one! However, despite this excitement, Michael found JAMES to be very unhappy, probably due to the recent news that FELIX was missing. He would later be confirmed lost at sea. JOHN survived the conflict and was mentioned in despatches.
Life was different when JAMES and Evelyn returned to New Zealand at the end of the war. Baby grandchildren had grown into toddlers, new ones had arrived and more were on the way - there would be 17 in all. As the years passed it became a family tradition to join together at Puriri Puke a few days before Christmas for a festive lunch. The large table in the dining room would seat 14 at a pinch and the children ate at a smaller table in the window annexe. After lunch the adults retired to the drawing room for coffee and liqueurs while the children played hide-and-seek and other rowdy games outside in the sunshine. One year a bold granddaughter discovered where the drinks were stored in a spare bedroom and led her more naive cousins astray, assuring them that Creme de Menthe was not alcoholic! Each Christmas every family received a large tin of ginger nut biscuits and a crate of L & P - a soft drink unique to New Zealand and officially named Lemon & Paeroa water. Grandma gave the children books - sometimes the Little Grey Rabbit series and others written or illustrated by Margaret Tempest, who it is thought was a friend or acquaintance of hers.
Over the year the firm changed. GUY left and lived in Christchurch for a while before returning to Auckland and setting up his own business. NOEL joined Tattersfields; LEO became an independent wool buyer and moved to Wellington, but retained his links with the company. PETER worked at the factory and was joined by JOHN who did not consider his prospects at South British very good.
Encouraged by the rug-making success, a carpet manufacturing plant in nearby Livingstone Street was started, and two underfelt plants were set up in Christchurch and Woodville. In 1947 Axminster body carpet was produced for the first time. New methods of mattress-making were adopted, one being a spring assembly; knitting wool with the brand name Victory was a new product. Waste wool was sold to New Zealand Railways for stuffing boxes and axles. The scouring plant operated 24 hours a day, six days a week, but plans for a maquette factory did not eventuate.
In the late 40s Evelyn's health began to deteriorate. On a trip to Britain she underwent a mastectomy operation, and she needed to be vigilant about her diabetic condition. From a rather buxom figure she lost condition and became somewhat frail and slight. JAMES became increasingly protective of her. She had to take life more quietly and did much tapestry work. Each of her sons' families received a glass-topped occasional table featuring her tapestry work, which have become treasured family possessions. As convenor of the Lycum Club's garden circle, she was in charge of making an enormous floral carpet which covered the ground floor of the Auckland Town Hall. Her garden continued to be a great love and she watered it every Sunday evening. In later life, Evelyn still did the occasion rug design and could sometimes be found with a huge sheet of draft paper spread over the smaller of the two tables in the dining room with brushes and saucers of paint nearby. At least one young granddaughter found it fascinating to watch her filling the tiny squares with colour.
In 1954 Evelyn and JAMES left on another trip to England. Evelyn collapsed and died on board ship and was buried at sea. JOHN flew to join JAMES at the nearest port and they continued on to England, but it was the last trip JAMES was to make.
On his return to New Zealand a housekeeper was engaged to care for JAMES. Each day he spent the morning at the factory and in the afternoons he pottered in the glasshouse with his orchids and fed the poultry. The family visited frequently, especially at weekends, and once a week he dined at his club. JAMES was an avid reader with a substantial library. The grandchildren were fascinated by the fact that his large wing chair was carefully positioned with its back to the television set, which he steadfastly ignored throughout his lifetime.
But without Evelyn his life was not the same. He used to say that he could never have done as well as he did if he had not come to New Zealand, and that he would never have done all he did without Evelyn beside him. His memory and health both declined, although his 80th birthday was a happy occasion and is recorded in a photograph of the family gathered together in Evelyn's beautiful garden, where his funeral service would be conducted four years later, in 1961.
Tattersfield Limited continued under able leadership, with NOEL and JOHN heading the bedding and carpet divisions respectively. Economic conditions were changing rapidly and in 1960 the carpet division amalgamated with a British company, Brintons. There was great pride in the factory when Queen Elizabeth II visited the carpet division in 1963. In 1967 Feltex Limited made a takeover bid for Tattersfield's which was accepted by shareholders on the Board's recommendation.
Almost 40 years after JAMES, Evelyn and Howard had founded the enterprise, Tattersfield's ceased to exist as a trading company, although the name Tattersfield has been retained until the present for a popular brand of mattress.
More than 40 years after JAMES' death, all his sons have also passed away. Fifteen of his seventeen grandchildren are still living, many being grandparents themselves. It would seem that there will be TATTERSFIELDs in New Zealand for many generations to come.
This account was written by Jocelyn Tattersfield, younger sister of Cunitia Wilkinson.
In Feb 2002, 13 grandchildren of JAMES and Evelyn Tattersfield-together with partners/spouses, children, children-in-law and grandchildren-gathered at French Bay, a small sheltered beach on Auckland's Manukau Harbour. It was here about 75 years ago that the Tattersfield bach (holiday home) was situated, and JAMES' and Evelyn's six sons spent their youthful summers learning to sail. A keen gardener, Evelyn planted the clay slope below the bach with a fine selection of native plants. This delightful area was later gifted by JAMES to the Waitemata County Council, and remains as a public reserve for all to enjoy.
Around the beginning of the 20th Century, JAMES' brother CLIFFORD had also left Yorkshire for the milder climes of New Zealand, establishing himself as a farmer on the East Coast of the North Island. His daughter-in-law and three grandchildren-along with most of their families-travelled north to join JAMES' descendants. This was much appreciated as there had not been much contact between the two branches of the family in recent years.
The tables groaned with delicious food contributed by those present, but of greater interest were the family photographs and momentos on display. Anecdotes were related and childhood memories relived.
The reunion was unanimously judged a success, and another is planned for 2004. This time the venue will be the lovely old house which was JAMES' and Evelyn's family home in Grey Lynn around the time of the Great War. Later it served as the office for Tattersfield Limited, and eventually JOHN (JAMES' and Evelyn's youngest son) had it moved on to his beautiful rural property at Makarau, north-west of Auckland. JAMES Junior (elder son of JOHN) and his partner Jill now live there, with their two children, and are caring for the home.
We are hoping for another good attendance at the next "meeting", and any overseas Tattersfields who may be visiting New Zealand will be warmly welcomed.
Written by John Tattersfield. Details regarding THOMAS in Tasmania have been kindly researched and supplied by my cousin, once removed, Susan Lewin (nee Whittingham), who lives in Tasmania. Her descent is JOSEPH, JOSEPH, GEORGE, JOSEPH, CHARLES PICKERING, DOROTHY->George Cook, Betty->Bryan Whittingham, Susan->George Lewin.
Surely the most reluctant emigrant of them all must have been THOMAS. He was born in York on 17 April 1815, the sixth child of JOB Tattersfield and Mary (nee Bradley), and the grandson of THOMAS and Mary (nee Crossley), who were married in Dewsbury Parish Church on 30 December 1770.
THOMAS was baptised in York St Mary on 20 April 1815.
Nothing else is known of the early life of THOMAS, except that he was a "waterman", as was his father JOB. York straddles the River Ouse, which would have been a major transport artery in the days before steam trains. THOMAS was not married.
The Gaoler Records of the Castle of York show that, on 16 Dec 1843, a delivery of prisoners was received. They included THOMAS Tattersfield, aged 23, and James Sayear (sic), aged 22. A record in York Reference Library states:-
It was usual to record, on the same sheet, the outcome and penalty. In this case nothing is shown.
They were brought to trial on Dec 29, 1843, in the Crown Court, which dealt with serious cases, before Mr. Justice Maule. The Northern Star and Leeds General Advertiser, Leeds, of Jan 6, 1844, records their trial under the heading Burglary Near York, as follows:- "James Sayer, 22, and Thomas Tattersfield, 23, were charged with a burglary at Fulford, near York, on the night of the 4th of December. Mr. Matthews and Mr. Overend were counsel for the prosecution; the prisoners had no counsel. His Lordship, in summing up, stated that much of the evidence on the part of the prosecution was of a very loose and unsatisfactory character. The Jury, after being absent from the Court two hours returned a verdict of Not Guilty against both the prisoners."
But, the law was not to be thwarted!
On 8 April 1844, THOMAS was tried at the York Quarter Sessions, used for lesser crimes, with the same James Sayer (sic), age 22, a shipwright and sawyer from Boroughbridge. Sayer was married, and THOMAS was single. This time they were charged with larceny, for breaking into a stable of Mr Butler of Middlegate, York, and stealing six fowl. Both were found guilty. Although it was THOMAS's first offence, and although he gave his age as only 23 (he was actually almost 29), THOMAS and James Sayer were each sentenced to seven years' transportation.
THOMAS was convict Number 14076. They were transported on the second convict voyage of a ship called Barrosa, which departed from Downs Port on 17 May 1844, and arrived in Tasmania on 6 September 1844. A copy of the record of his transportation on Barrosa to Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania), as one of 322 males, is shown below.
Thanks to the convict records kept in Tasmania, more is known about the physical attributes of THOMAS than about any other Tattersfield of those days. He was single, and the Surgeon's report on him was "good". He could read and write. His trade was waterman, height 5-3 1/4 in, age 26 (still an under-statement!), complexion ruddy, head oval, hair sandy, whiskers red, visage broad, forehead medium height, eyebrows sandy, eyes light blue, nose medium, mouth medium, chin medium! (Surely an identikit picture could be prepared from all that.) He was a native of York, his father was JOB, brothers JAMES and JOHN, and sister SARAH ELIZABETH. There was no mention of his mother who had probably died. Thanks to the magnificant online collection of Tasmanian State records, the arrival record of Thomas may be viewed in its original form at http://search.archives.tas.gov.au/ImageViewer/image_viewer.htm?CON14-1-8,218,196,L,80 and on the page following. The particular entry pertaining to Thomas, which occupied a 2-page strip in a journal, is shown below:
On THOMAS's left arm was a tattoo of a woman and boy and the letters TTST. On his right arm was a "large brown mark and crucifixion".
In an article entitled "Identity in the Indents: the Significance of Convicts' Tattoos" in the Genealogists' Magazine of December 2001, the author David Kent states that, from a study in 1831, the most common tattoos were an anchor, a woman, a cross/crucifix, a heart, and (equally) a man or a mermaid. Of men with tattoos, 45 per cent had their initials. These were often coupled with the initials of a loved one or family members. Tattoos were often done while in gaol or on the hulks, when a man knew he was to be transported for many years.
THOMAS had a crucifix, a woman and a boy (or was it a man?). Could the letters TTST have been his own initials TT and those of a girlfriend ST whom he had left behind?
THOMAS first served 12 months of "Gang Probation" at St Mary's Vale. He is recorded in the Australia Convict Musters in 1846 and 1849. In the latter, under a column headed "Position", Thomas is shown as having a "Ticket of Leave".
In his seven years of servitude he committed a few offences. On 6 September of an unstated year he "emerged from gang". On 2 May 1846 he "disobeyed orders in not proceeding to the depot according to his pass". On 4 August 1847 he was given seven days' solitary confinement for "refusing to go to work" and on 28 May 1849 he was fined 10 shillings for being "drunk and making use of abusive language". Sadly the "Remarks" alongside these misdemeanours cannot be deciphered - perhaps it is just as well!
Despite the above he was given his "Free Cert" on 15 April 1851, seven years and seven days after his trial. Did the seven days of solitary confinement get added to his sentence?
What he did immediately is not known, but he left from Launceston for Melbourne, Australia, on the City of Melbourne, on 12 December 1851, travelling steerage class. His status was "Free by servitude".
Records show that he again sailed from Launceston to Melbourne on 12 September 1852, this time on the Yarra Yarra. Why, when and how he returned to Tasmania in the nine months between these dates is not known.
No trace has been found of THOMAS in Australia. However, on 15 April 1864, 13 years to the day after he was freed, he was back at Spring May in Tasmania doing one month's hard labour for being intoxicated (?) and disorderly.
Alas, there the trail ends. No later record of THOMAS has yet been found in Australia or Tasmania or anywhere else. The search goes on!
And what of the accomplice, James Sayer? It is difficult to read all of his record, and whether he committed any offences. He received his Free Cert on 22 April 1851, one week after THOMAS. Although married before conviction, it seems he either stayed at or returned to Port Cygnet, where he served his sentence, and may have become licensee of the Culloden Hotel and then the Bush Inn.
Were those six fowl really worth it? Perhaps one can derive some comfort from the thought that, if the offence had been committed 12 years earlier, before the liberalising Reform Bill of 1832, the penalty might have been worse - perhaps even hanging!
There is a post script to the story of Thomas, arising from studies completed in 2008.
On 23 April 1844, just 15 days after the conviction, and presumed imprisonment, of THOMAS, a woman called Sarah Sunderland gave birth to a boy at an address at Bartliffe's Yard, St. Lawrence, York. The Birth Certificate gives no name or occupation for the father. The child was named Thomas Tatersfield Sunderland (sic). He was baptised with the same name and spelling in the Parish Church of St. Lawrence, York, on 30 June 1844. The baptism register describes the mother, Sarah Sunderland, as a widow.
Sarah was born Sarah Ann Holmes, about 1810, in either Coventry or Birmingham. She married Arthur Sunderland, probably in Pocklington, East Yorkshire, on 6 Nov. 1826. They had a son, John, about Jan 1827, and then three daughters, the last born about 1835. In June 1836 Arthur died, and was buried at St. Margaret, Walmgate, York. Written records variously describe him as a soldier, shoe maker and labourer.
On 5 Feb 1839, Sarah had another son called James Michael. His Birth Certificate does not name the father, and describes the mother as Sarah Ann Sunderland, formerly Holmes.
In the Census of 1841, Sarah and the two year old James have the surname Carroll, the four earlier children being called Sunderland. The reason for this is not clear. In the 1851 Census, Sarah had two of her original four children with her, plus James and the six year old Thomas, all called Sunderland. In all later written records relating to the young Thomas, the second christian name Tatersfield did not appear.
At this time glass manufacture employed about 25% of the entire work force in York. Young men could be found places as apprentices for 7 years, typically from age 14 to 21, and would then be "freed". The list of Freemen of York 1680-1986, compiled by John Malden, has two interesting entries:-
Evidently, despite the absence of their fathers, the two boys could be given an education and training into the trade of Glass Blowers. They were "freed" at ages 21 and 22 respectively. Why they were registered with different surnames is one of the many mysteries of this family!
Thomas, described as a Glass Blower, married Sarah Gibson in Scarborough, East Yorkshire, on 20 Aug 1865. They had four daughters, and then a son called Albert. He was born in 1879 in Savile Town, part of Dewsbury. Apparently this branch of the family, being descended from the Thomas Tattersfield who married Mary Crossley in Dewsbury Parish Church on 30 Dec 1770 and whose sons moved to York, had come full circle back to Dewsbury. No trace of them since 1881 has been found.
All the foregoing is strong evidence that Thomas Tatersfield Sunderland, born 23 April 1844 in York, was the natural son of THOMAS Tattersfield, convicted on 8 April that year. Was THOMAS, the father, ever allowed to see his baby son?
And what of those tattooed initials TTST? Was THOMAS displaying that Sarah Sunderland would have become Sarah Tattersfield, if only he had managed to keep his hands off those six fowl?
This section was written by John TATTERSFIELD, researcher of the TATTERSFIELD Family Tree.
My parents were JOSEPH ALFRED (descent JOSEPH, JOSEPH, GEORGE, JOSEPH, CHARLES PICKERING, JOSEPH ALFRED) and Annie, the daughter of Joseph and Louise Crabtree of Deighton Lane, Batley. They had the unusual record, for those days, of emigrating twice!
Father was one of six children whose father, and generations before him, had worked in the heavy woollen industry of West Yorkshire. Father followed in their footsteps.
The early family appear to have achieved some prosperity during the lifetime of JOSEPH (1747-95). He left a will, apparently the first Tattersfield to do so, and his assets on his death came to nearly £300.
The next generation, in the early days of the Industrial Revolution, became employers of both male and female workers, and were generally described as Blanket Manufacturers. Some of them were very affluent. One son, WILLIAM, left some £1500 at his death, and a grandson left £16.000.
Apparently our family branches' woollen business called Tattersfield & Co, in or near Mirfield, went bankrupt during a depression in the 1880s. The young CHARLES PICKERING, my grandfather, left school and started work at the age of 13. From being an office boy, he rose through the ranks of his employer, to become managing director.
Father and two of his brothers, GEORGE CHADWICK and CHARLES PERCIVAL, entered the textile industry and Father became a master dyer.
In 1930 his employer George Hurst wished to open a branch in Canada. Father was sent as the dyer, and his younger brother GEORGE CHADWICK (called GEORGE) as the mill manager.
Not long after their arrival, the Great Depression caused the closure of the branch and put ALFRED and GEORGE out of work. Both scoured the country for new jobs. GEORGE was successful in finding one, and lived the rest of his life with his wife Denise in Canada, for many years in Lachute, outside Montreal.
Father did not find another job, so he and Mother, together with my brother JOSEPH REX (called REX), who was born in 1932, returned to England in 1933, where Father carried on as a dyer.
In the 1930s Mother's only sister Phyllis Crabtree visited an aunt and cousins in Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). There she met and married her cousin Edward Kendall-Smith (known as Ken), and never returned to live in England.
During the Second World War the Kendall-Smiths suggested that my parents should join them after the war in a tobacco farming venture in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). Though my Uncle Ken was a railway engine driver, he had been brought up on a farm near Bulawayo but had never grown tobacco, as far as I am aware.
My parents decided they could not go if it meant leaving Mother's parents, the Crabtrees, behind, with their only two daughters living together in Africa. A decision was made that they, now aged about 70, would come too.
It was nearly impossible, after the war, to get a passage out of Britain by sea or by air. After much persistence and two visits to London, Father obtained air passages for the family. A new airline called Mercury was ferrying two aircraft to Johannesburg to begin a scheduled service. The planes were not intended to carry passengers on their first outward journey, but my father secured seats on one. Accordingly my grandparents, parents, brother REX, younger sister PHYLLIS, and I took off from Black Bush airfield, London, in August 1947 and had a 26-seater Dakota (DC3) to ourselves!
As the aircraft was not yet flying to a schedule, we landed each day for lunch, and again for the night. The journey to Bulawayo lasted 10 days. Our co-pilot was arrested in Cairo where there was anti-British sentiment at the time. Luckily the pilot persuaded them to release him.
In Malakal, Sudan, we landed at the "airfield" which was a strip of ground with shorter grass than the general surroundings and with a small empty galvanised hut at one end. As we walked to the hut a gang of workmen formed a ring and danced around us, wielding huge grass-cutting pangas round their heads. They were all start naked! We, small family of seven staunch Yorkshire Methodists, kept together in a very tight huddle!
We completed our journey by train to Choma in Northern Rhodesia, where Uncle Ken had by now bought two farms totalling some 5,500 acres of virgin woodland. Our family brought the total number of Europeans who had settled in Choma and the surrounding farming area to 205.
A week after arrival, Father, the master dyer, found himself heading a gang of scores of labourers, trying to beat back a massive bush fire which swept through the farm.
The house we were to live in was not ready, as the corrugated iron roofing sheets had been stolen while on the railway system. The Kendall-Smiths and our family shared a small cottage. Each family had only one room, and the two families ate together on an open veranda. At the same time the mosquitos ate us, and malaria was rife.
By dint of much hard work the farms were developed. Trees had to be dug out by hand, complete with roots, to create fields for ploughing. The main cash crop was Virginia tobacco, which is very labour-intensive and required a workforce of some 100 people. In those early days life was very basic for everyone. Labourers did not wear shoes, had clothing full of holes and were given food by law as part of their earnings. They lived in traditional pole and thatch huts.
As well as 100 acres of tobacco, the farms were built up to produce maize, cattle, pigs, chickens, vegetables, beans, and a little cotton. Work was hard, holidays were rare, and there were few of life's luxuries. REX and I had to go away to boarding schools, as our nearby village Choma only had one school for junior girls.
The small community had to provide its own social entertainments. Such time as was spare was spent visiting local farmers, playing tennis at the social club and hunting for our own and workers' meat. Every week we screened a 16mm film in a large farm shed for the enjoyment of ourselves and our 100 workers and their families. Cowboy films were the favourite. The hero was readily identified and cheered on by the crowd of workers, who did not understand one word of it!
After six years of developing the farm, Father and my uncle decided to go their separate ways. The latter stayed on the farm, and Father embarked on a third career. He went into local government and became the Secretary/Manager of a village some 100 miles further north called Mazabuka. This was a post rather like a town clerk, but in a smaller community. The duties covered everything necessary to keep Mazabuka running, with its thousands of local and hundreds of European inhabitants.
After 11 years in that role he was obliged to retire by health problems, exacerbated by the uncertain political climate which then prevailed and in which he had to work. Our parents retired to Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe), where they lived near to REX and his wife Sheila. These were happy and untroubled times, but Mother's health declined and she died in 1971.
In the same year my wife Judy and I returned from Zambia to live in England. A few years later Father, who suffered from emphysema, came to live with us, his health being much better at low altitude. He passed away in Kent in 1979.
REX and Sheila, and sister PHYLLIS whose husband George Prior died in 1990, continue to live in Southern Africa.
My wife Judy and I still live in Kent, where I spend many of my retirement hours studying the Tattersfield family history, extending the family tree, and corresponding with interested members of the various family branches.
Written by John Tattersfield
JOHN was a soldier in the American Civil War. He enlisted as a private in B Company, 1st Infantry Regiment Maryland on 4 January 1864 and was "mustered out" on 13 July 1865, after the war ended.
JOHN is an individual of whom the records have only shown us glimpses so far. It is not known where he came from or who his parents were.
There was a JOHN Tattersfield in the Dewsbury Workhouse, who was recorded in the Census of 1841, with no personal details, except that he was aged 13 (i.e. born about 1828). He had no occupation.
There was also a JOHN who enlisted in the 83rd Regiment of Foot of the British Army, in Leeds, Yorkshire, on 9 December 1848. He was born in Dewsbury, aged 20 (ie born about 1828), unmarried, and a tailor by trade. He enlisted for a "Bounty" of four pence! He had not had previous military service and was not apprenticed.
Unfortunately no information is given in his military records as to the next of kin. He was 5 feet 6 inches tall, sallow complexion, hazel eyes, dark brown hair, and had small-pox marks.
He served in the Army as a Private for 4 years 125 days, including almost 3 years in the "East Indes". Although he had signed up for 10 years originally, he was discharged at Chatham, Kent on 12 April 1853 aged 24. He was given a good character and conduct reference, but was ruled to be medically unfit.
He had been invalided from the East Indes on account of epilepsy, although his Attestations on joining up declared that he was free from "fits". According to his Medical Report after his return to England in April 1852, "He has had several severe Epileptic Fits, which were certified to as having been genuine attacks of the Disease. The origin of the complaint seems owing to Constitutional Infirmity, aggravated by residence in a hot climate and unfits him for Military Duty."
Could this JOHN have taken his military skills to USA and joined up there? That is only a hypothesis at this time, but the dates all fit well, as does the incidence of Epilepsy (see below).
In the England Census of 1861, JOHN was in the Dewsbury Union Workhouse, age 31, unmarried, and a tailor in the Workhouse. He was said to have been born in Mirfield, which is immediately adjacent to Dewsbury.
No later record of JOHN has been found in England.
The description of the JOHN who enlisted at Baltimore with the 1st Infantry Regiment, Maryland in 1864, was that he was aged 33 (i.e. born about 1831), born in England, and a tailor by occupation. He was 5' 7" tall, with dark eyes, dark brown hair and a dark complexion. The similarity of description with that of JOHN who joined the 83rd Regiment of Foot sixteen years earlier, is very striking.
The Maryland 1st Infantry Regiment seems to have been started on 27 May 1861 and disbanded 2 July 1865. It fought on the Union side. The Regimental history records its involvement in seven battles between August 1861 and July 1863, six of them in Virginia. Then, in a hectic 11-month period from 4 May 1864 to 1 April 1865, it fought in no fewer than 28 battles, all in Virginia. Some are recorded as taking place on only one day, while others lasted days or even weeks. In the "Battle at Petersburg" alone, the Regiment was recorded as having fought on 28 days during the period 12 June 1864 to 31 March 1865. The battles included the Wilderness Campaign, which was the first time General Ulysses S Grant used the strategy of "attrition" against a smaller force. The Union side lost 18,000 lives in that battle on May 5 and 6. This was followed by 14,000 lost at Spotsylvania Court House between May 8 and 18, and then 13,000 fell at Cold Harbour between June 3 and 12.
The Maryland lst Infantry Regiment lost eight officers and 110 enlisted soldiers from the fighting. To that can be added one officer and 148 enlisted men who died from disease or accident.
JOHN survived the dreadful slaughter, but his war service was not without incident.
Company Muster was held every two months to check the presence of the soldiers. JOHN was present at the Musters covering Jan/Feb, Mar/Apr and May/June 1864. There is then a Descriptive List of Deserters dated 31 July 1864, which reported that JOHN deserted at Petersburg, Va, on 26 July. However, the Company Muster Roll at the end of August states Erroneously marked deserted. Absent sick in Annapolis, Md. Stoped (sic) for Enfield Rifle and accoutrements $23.25. Due US for Haversack 33 cts. Sadly there is no explanation as to how he came to lose his rifle.
The above Company Roll for July and August 1864 states that JOHN was absent. A separate Memorandum from Prisoner of War Records shows that Private JOHN TATTERSFIELD, Company B, Regt 1, State Md. was captured at Petersburg Va on 25 July 1864, and confined at Richmond Va from the same date. The same document states he was paroled at Aikins Landing Md on 22 Aug, 1864. He reported at Camp Parole on 25 Aug.
No information has been forthcoming about how JOHN was captured, the conditions of his imprisonment, whether he was wounded, and what the terms of his Parole were.
He was admitted to the Camp Parole Hospital on 16 Sept 1864, it being noted that he was a "Paroled Man". This was recorded in the Detachment Muster Roll. The Company Muster Roll for Sept and Oct still recorded that he was "Absent sick at Annapolis". Had they not heard that he was taken prisoner?
JOHN was "furloughed" for 5 days from 12 Oct 1864. In the Nov and Dec 1864 Company Muster Roll, he was once again recorded as present. It was still on record that he would have stoppages of $23.25 for the loss of his gun and accoutrements, and 33 cts for his Haversack! This seems to have been more important than that he had been taken prisoner!
In the Jan and Feb 1865 Company Muster Roll he had incurred another bill for $2.30, relating, apparently, to a tent.
Then came a Charge and Specification against JOHN for being absent without leave from 8 April 1865 to the evening of 23rd April "when he again joined his Company". The Company Muster for Mar and Apr 1865 records him as absent "in Arrest". It is not known whether John was found guilty and punished. It is tempting to think he might have been in hospital again!
The Company Muster-out Roll was at Arlington Heights, Va, on 2 July 1865. JOHN was recorded as being 32, last paid on 31 Dec 1864, had been paid no Bounty, was absent sick, and owed - you've guessed it- $23.25.
The Individual Muster-out Roll took place at Washington DC on 13 July 1865, and JOHN ceased to be a soldier. He was now said to be 34. He was owed $14.63 in back pay, but again there was reference to the small matter of "Stoppage for Gun and Equipments". JOHN was mustered out in compliance with G.O.77 A.G.O. April 28/65.
There is then another yawning gap in the available records. JOHN cannot be found in the US Census of 1870. However, in the US Census of 1880, JOHN TATTERSFIELD was recorded as being in the National Military Hospital, Montgomery County, Ohio. He was a soldier, aged 50 (i.e. born about 1830) and single. The Hospital seems to have been a vast establishment with a population of some 3,500, according to the Census. JOHN was one of a very large group suffering from epilepsy. He appears (the writing is not fully clear) to have been a Disabled Volunteer Soldier (DVS), and had not worked in the preceding 12 months. JOHN and both his parents were recorded as having been born in England.
JOHN seems to have had one more, final, move. A list of Headstones for Deceased Union Civil War Veterans 1879-1903 shows that a headstone was supplied for JOHN TATTERSFIELD, Private, B Company, 1st Regiment Maryland Infantry, who died on 6 Mar 1888. The contract for the supply of the headstone was with Cress Brothers, Lee, Mass., and was dated 5 Sept. 1891. He was buried in the Cemetery of the General Hospital for the Insane, Washington, DC.
The above separate incidents relating to JOHN TATTERSFIELD can only be brought together in a single life by circumstantial evidence. However, the two appearances in the same Workhouse, three references to occupation as a tailor, two army careers, repeated reference to his being unmarried, frequent sickness and epilepsy seem strongly to point to the same man, who led an interesting, but, apparently, rather sad life.
This section was written by Philip Walter TATTERSFIELD himself. Philip, who has contributed a graphic account of his experiences outside England, is descended from the London family of TATTERSFIELDs. His great grandfather, James (Ware?) TATTERSFIELD, moved from London to Leamington in Warwickshire in about 1844, where he raised nine children. He has been variously described as fishmonger and grocer. Philip's grandfather, Walter, moved to Brentford, West London in the early 1900s. Philip's father, Walter Harold, had two sisters, who seem to have emigrated to East London in South Africa. Philip's ancestry is: John (d.1790) | James Ware (1787-1848) | James (Ware?) (1817-1896) | Walter (1854-1919) | Walter Harold (b. 1887, d. 1969 in Vancouver). Philip's account is as follows:-
I was born in Beckenham, south of London, England, on the 5th of June, 1917 during a bomber raid by German zeppelins. My brother Anthony William Tattersfield was also born there in 1922. He was killed in action while serving in the Canadian 404 squadron of Lancaster bombers operating out of England in 1944 and 1945. He was shot down in March of the latter year, and is buried near Brunswick (Braunswick) in Germany.
I was educated at the Beckenham Grammar School and graduated from there in 1934. My mother, a schoolteacher, and my father, a mechanical engineer, had their residence in Beckenham and lived there continually, although they had to move 3 times during the 2nd World War as they were bombed out, and had to be allocated with temporary residences. After graduation in 1934, I was apprenticed to a landscape nursery in New Beckenham, south of London. This lasted for 2 years. I was then successful in attaining a position as a tour guide with Thomas Cook and Son, and visited France, Belgium, Austria Switzerland, Italy and Hungary. This gave me experience of some of the magnificent landscapes of these European countries which served me in great benefit in later projects. I was later employed in 1937 by the Federation of British Industries to organize travel for their major members. Meanwhile, in 1936, I had joined a Territorial Army unit called the Surrey and Sussex Yeomanry, which, at that time, was horse artillery. In August 1939, all members of the Territorial Army were mobilized and directed to detailed training on Salisbury Plain, in Southern England, for the conflict to come.
In 1939 horses and 4 inch Howitzers were withdrawn, and we were equipped with the new 25 pounder, motorized, and formed into batteries in support of the Divisions detailed for service overseas. The word came in 1940 to proceed by troopship to the Middle East by way of West Africa, South Africa and the Red Sea to Suez, where we arrived by late 1940. We sailed without escort in a fast motor ship called the Highland Brigade, normally used to transport refrigerated beef from the Argentine to the English market. The voyage was uneventful except when we noticed tracks of a torpedo that was fired at us as we passed Sierra Leone on our way south. The other memorable part of the voyage was the welcome given to us in Cape Town, where were shown the Stellenbosch valley and the wonderful vineyards.
We duly arrived in Suez in 1940 and were sent through Egypt to its Western Frontier with Libya and we joined the Desforce under Generals OíConnor and Wavell. After several skirmishes we were then formed into an expeditionary force called Gazelle Force, and proceeded to Southern Sudan to engage the Italians who had occupied Ethiopia and Eritrea. The campaign was memorable because of General Wavellís capability of creating an impression of tremendous military strength with very small forces ó towing trees to create large clouds of dust. To me the memorable part of that campaign in 1941 was the battle before the Eritrean town of Keren, where our 25 pounders were attacked by the Italian Cavalry, which rode their horses right into the gun pits at point blank range. I have always regarded this as an example of the magnificent, but futile, bravery of the Italian Army of East Africa at that time.
Another memory is that of the mountain on the Eritrean table land Amba Alagi, some 14,000 feet high, which formed the basis of our observation posts for our assault on the Italian infantry. It took 3 days to climb the mountain and we had to send about half of our party back due to the effects of extreme exercise in very thin air. At this time we were part of the 4th Indian Division, together with Probynís Horse, the Bengal Lancers, Central India Horse and other elite Indian Army units which had been motorized on leaving India for East Africa. Another memorable happening was the epidemic of what was then called jaundice, which hit the British, Indian and Italian Armies and severely limited all our activities.
We duly arrived in Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, to accept the surrender of the Italian armies in East Africa. My personal interest at that time was the period when I was attached to the French Foreign Legion (the Brigade d'Orient) as artillery support and met my first American who was acting as adjutant to the French commander. America at that time, in 1942, had not declared war, but my friend felt that he had to make a contribution.
We then made the long trek back through the Sudanese and Nubian deserts, navigating by sun compass mounted on the vehicle hood. This brought us to Almaza, near Cairo, the main British base in Egypt for reequipment to support the 7th Armoured Division and its attack through the frontier to deal with the recently-arrived German Africa Korp. Our forces suffered victories and defeats through Libya and Tripoli, and the tank battles were absolutely nerve-wracking for those who had not experienced desert warfare.
My unit was moved into Tobruk to join the Australian 8th Division after its encirclement by Rommel and the Africa Korp. At that time I was told I had to report to the Officer Cadet Training Unit in Egypt. This course took 3 months, and in 1941 I emerged as a brand-new 2nd Leiutenant in the Royal Artillery.
I was posted to the 3rd Field Regiment as Information Officer and Assistant Adjutant. We were then ordered to join Paiforce (Persia and Iraq Force). With this body I spent time in Palestine, Iraq, Iran and Syria, and as far north as the Russian frontier in Azerbaijan. My experiences in Syria were centered in Beirut, a delightful city called the Paris of the Middle East. I had become Adjutant of the 3rd Field Regiment in 1943 with the rank of Captain. We were then ordered back into the desert in preparation for the final engagement of Rommelís Army as far West as Tripoli. As history records, we were left to defend Tobruk.
After the battle of Alamein, eventually, we got back into Egypt for the invasion of Italy. I was promoted to Major, commanding 18 Battery. Subsequently, we were successful in overcoming German resistance with certain notable battles like Casino and Ortona. Arrival in Venice was followed by the armistice of May, 1945. I was ordered to take my battery back to Naples to await transportation to San Francisco as a token force to join the American assault on Japan. American bombs solved that problem for us. We were then shipped back to England as the war in Europe had run its course. I was offered a post in military government in Germany, which I declined.
In 1947 I married Ellen McInnes, who I had known for many years as a school friend. Daughter Janet was included in our emigration papers. A legacy of my war service of 6 over years, apart from minor wounds and loss of hearing, was acknowledged by the award of the Military Cross, a Mention in Despatches, the 8th Army clasp, among other campaign medals. I was demobbed in 1948, and went back to the Federation of British Industries as their Southern Regional Secretary.
We sailed for Canada with Janet and our first son, Andrew James, age 2, and our bull terrier in June 1952 on a very old Cunard Liner which originated in Germany, destination Canada. We arrived in Quebec in June, 1952, and were subjected to meticulous Customs inspection by the officers in Quebec, apparently looking for hidden weapons. We had been invited, meanwhile to stay with former friends who had emigrated before us and were living in Toronto. After a short stay with them, we boarded what I understand became one of the last steam trains across Canada by CPR with stops in Winnipeg and Calgary. At the latter city we saw the magnificent outline of the Rockies, and we thought that this would be the place that we might like to settle. We were rewarded by traveling down through the Kicking Horse Pass to the Fraser Valley and Vancouver.
Our first problem was income as we were only allowed to bring $612 with us from England. We were very lucky to secure accommodation in South Vancouver. I was employed as an assistant to a Customs Agent, metering the caliber and quality of coffee imports. Meanwhile, we had arranged for many agencies of well-known European firms with a wide range of products from pharmaceuticals, sports and confectionary, and we endeavoured to make these profitable. But this was to be a lost cause, as most of the large department stores had their own European agents, and they would not wish to be superceded by a Canadian agent.
I therefore went to my first love, which was the landscape concept of design of residences, parks, etc. In keeping with the development of the Province of British Columbia in the post-war era, we operated as a ìDesign-Buildî office, as at that time there was no professional organization for Landscape Architects or for site development. To our great pleasure, we found that there was an enormous potential in this respect, and eventually I was able to concentrate on Design. I was lucky to secure projects in California, Washington, Alaska, East and West Africa, Israel and the Caribbean, together with licenses to practice in California, Arizona and Washington.
Meanwhile our second son, Nicholas William, was born in September, 1954. In the same year, my mother Florence and father Harold joined us in Vancouver and added to the Tattersfield family group. We eventually secured a lot in West Vancouver for the price of $250, and built our first house with 5 bedrooms to accommodate the children. This period lasted nearly 20 years, until 1981 when I first contemplated retirement.
During this time we contacted our family members in New Zealand, and Noel Tattersfield from Auckland visited us when appointed Commissioner to Canada. During my subsequent appointment as Canadian Delegate to the International Federation of Landscape Architects, a position I held for a period of 10 years, I visited the family in New Zealand as a side trip from my meetings in Canberra. Also we had received in the post-war period in Vancouver a visit from our Tattersfield family members in England and who gave us a very fine genealogical chart of our family since 1780.
In 1964 I had initiated the process whereby a Chapter of the American Institute of Landscape Architects was established in British Columbia. This resulted in the Provincial proclamation of a first Canadian Landscape Architects Act in 1968. My official stamp bears the number 1: the membership to date is 347.
Today, as an octogenarian and life member of both the BC and Canadian Societies of Landscape Architects, I now live with Ellen in a small apartment in West Vancouver. I am involved in environmental concerns relating to landscape architecture, and am a Certified Arborist and expert witness in many court actions. I enjoy painting with acrylics and water colours, as well as producing very bad poetry. In 1976 I was appointed a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.
In spite of the many problems with starting life in a new country, our decision to emigrate to Canada has been vindicated many times over. Ellen and I look at our wonderful family group, which includes 7 grandchildren ranging in age from 11 to 27, and we have no regrets concerning a decision made in England in 1951. Through the Department of Veteransí Affairs, Canada has been very good to us. After receiving citizenship in 1955, I served as a scout master, volunteer fireman, Arts Council Vice President, member of many University and Municipal Advisory Design Panels, and a member of several environmental groups.
When Ellen and I celebrated our Golden Wedding Anniversary on 11 August, 1997, we looked back with gratitude on becoming Canadian citizens.
This article on the Monthan family, who changed their name from TATTERSFIELD in 1917, was contributed by Margaret Rae Monthan. Her ancestry is Joseph TATTERSFIELD (1747-95) | Joseph | Jeremiah | Jeremiah | Guy (changed surname to Monthan) | George Rae Monthan
A 1910 historical reminiscence from "The Dewsbury Reporter" described JEREMIAH TATTERSFIELD (1812-1886) as "a grand old man, tall and comely, fine to look at, fond of a good horse, and knew how to drive it. He had a generous soul with it all, and many an old body received a weekly dole in time of stress. And what a family he had, five stalwart sons and four daughters." Unfortunately, after his death the declining blanket manufacturing business challenged the family fortunes. While his two eldest sons, JOSEPH and HENRY, died fairly wealthy, two younger sons, JEREMIAH and ROBERT, chose to leave England.
The younger JEREMIAH left England in his mid-fifties to build a ranch in Canada. JEREMIAH soon settled with his wife and his own five sons in the United States, where their descendants still prosper. Old JEREMIAH's youngest son, ROBERT, also emigrated with his family to Calgary, Canada, arriving at Ellis Island in 1899, and has descendants still living in Canada today.
The younger JEREMIAH was born on Christmas Day, 1844, and baptized on January 6, 1846 in Upper Independent Chapel, Heckmondwike. He was listed as a Blanket Manufacturer in the 1881 census, and is mentioned in Kelly's Directory for the West Riding in 1897 as a resident of Dewsbury.
JEREMIAH married a Swedish lady, Alma Monthan, in 1876. Their five sons were born between 1877 and 1885. Alma was proud of her heritage and gave their sons the middle name of Monthan. The three oldest sons (HAROLD, ERIC, and GUY) emigrated first, about 1898, settling at Horse Creek Ranch in Cochrane, Canada, to the west of Calgary. A few months later, JEREMIAH, Alma, and their two youngest sons (CARL and OSCAR) joined them.
The TATTERSFIELDs, however, found Canada to be COLD! After living there for less than two years, the family left Canada to start a cattle ranch in a warmer climate. Their original destination was Argentina, by way of Mexico and Panama. Alma wrote to a friend, "I have now sold the rest of my never-to-be-forgotten old home, all my fine clothes, furs, etc., anything that could be turned into money, so as to get our outfit. In a week I hope we shall start for the States en route to Mexico. We shall have two teams of horses and eight riding horses, two tents and one wagon and a demokrat [small wagon]." Their small wagon train entered the U.S. in 1900 at Sweetgrass, Montana, and traveled south through what are now the national parks at Yellowstone and Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
JEREMIAH'S grandson, GEORGE MONTHAN of Tucson, Arizona, tells a story he heard from his father GUY, who was 19 at the time: "When entering Jackson Hole, you're up on a high plateau, and you have to go down a very steep road into the town. It was a one-way road, and all the wagons were loaded. Local people advised, 'you gotta brake 'em, or you'll wear your brakes out just using the wagon brakes, and the horses can't hold the load.' So they cut down trees and dragged the trees so they acted like brakes. They're heading down this long hill, maybe three or four miles, and here comes a wagon coming up, and it's empty, and there's no room to pass, so what they had to do was stop and help this guy dismantle his wagon. They carried it around their outfit, reassembled it, and went along their way."
From Wyoming the TATTERSFIELDs cut across the Rocky Mountains at Donner Pass, and traveled south through San Francisco and Santa Barbara before cutting southeast toward Mexico. A newspaper article of unknown date and source states that "Mr. and Mrs. Jeremiah Tattersfield, formerly of Kilpinhill, near Dewsbury, had arrived in San Francisco. Mr. Tattersfield, who was a blanket manufacturer, went out to Canada, and his relatives and friends in the Heavy Woolen District are not aware that he has left the Dominion. No letter has, however, been received from him for some time."
While working in California for about six months to earn money, the five boys took various jobs, including lumber jacking in the redwood forests and working in a sugar beet mill. While in Santa Barbara, the boys would race their horses up and down through the surf, riding bareback. Continuing their journey down the coast to Los Angeles, they then headed east toward Arizona.
According to GEORGE MONTHAN, "They couldn't go through sand dunes west of Yuma, Arizona, with the wagons, so they had to go north of the sand dune area. Crossing the desert from Indio, California, to Yuma, approximately 100 miles, took them two weeks. It was pretty rough going, and they had to push the outfit to get it through. I don't know what time of year it was, and I don't think it was summer, but my dad said they ate nothing but raw eggs for a couple of weeks, cracking them on the saddle horn. Then they crossed the Colorado River, and, of course, there were no bridges there then, so they loaded the horses and wagons on a little ferry."
"Then the story was that they got to Naco, Arizona, where there's a border crossing, and the Mexicans wanted a lot of money under the table to give the outfit clearance into Mexico. And they didn't have that kind of money. And they looked around, and said, heck, this looks like a nice area. So they backtracked a little bit, and went to Tombstone, Arizona, the famous frontier town. The boys worked in the Tombstone mines, and at that time probably Tombstone was THE town in southern Arizona! The mines were petering out as they'd been flooded by underground water. Tombstone was on its decline. But anyway, I know my dad worked in the mines, and he said it was a wonder none of them were killed. Very dangerous working conditions!"
Alma TATTERSFIELD wrote, "We are now a few miles from Mexico, close to the frontier. The boys are studying mining engineering by correspondence in their spare hours and have come here to get to know it practically, at the same time receiving remuneration. There is here a large company operating 60 goldmines. HAROLD, ERIC, and GUY have succeeded in getting employment at the mine. CARL and OSCAR, they study all day waiting for a chance to be taken on."
After raising some money, the family backtracked further and settled in the Tucson area, first at a ranch at Tanque Verde, then at a ranch on the Cienega Creek east of Tucson and just east of the tiny Sonoran desert town of Vail, Arizona. They called their land the Vail Ranch or (later) Rancho del Lago (in the early 2000's the land's current owners began turning it into a golf course and expensive houses). Initially they cultivated and raised fruits and vegetables. With increased competition after the advent of refrigerated rail cars from California, they began growing nursery stock that they could sell year round in Tucson, eventually opening a retail nursery business in Tucson.
Unfortunately, the eldest brother, HAROLD, went back to Mexico to work in the mines and died there. HAROLD was the most educated of the five brothers. He had the equivalent of a college engineering education before leaving England at the age of 21, and he became a mining engineer. According to a newspaper account, "HAROLD was accidentally killed when being lowered down a mine shaft in Mexico while on a tour of that country in 1909."
After her husband JEREMIAH died at the age of 72 in 1916, Alma marched her four remaining grown, unmarried boys down to the court house on April 18, 1917 and dropped their surname TATTERSFIELD for two reasons: WWI had just started for the USA and the boys wanted shorter names for military service, and Alma was happy to have them take up her maiden name because she was very proud of her Swedish heritage. After all, she grew up in the shadow of the Swedish Royal Court, where her mother was a lady-in-waiting to the Queen and her father was secretary to the King. Little is known of Alma's family except that her daughter-in-law (GUY's wife) believed they emigrated to Sweden from France with Jean Baptiste Bernadotte in the early 1800's when he left Napoleon's service to be adopted by the aging, childless King of Sweden.
Although she had her sons use their middle names of MONTHAN as their new surnames, Alma kept the name TATTERSFIELD until she died many years later in 1943 at the age of 88. According to GEORGE, "She was famous around Tucson. She had a little black carriage and a fancy horse; she was dressed up in black, fit to kill, and pranced around town like that, and she was called Madame TATTERSFIELD."
All four surviving brothers wanted to serve their new country when World War I broke out. According to family history, they drew lots to see which brother would remain to run the ranch and nursery business. GUY lost and stayed behind, while ERIC, CARL, and OSCAR went off to fight in the war.
ERIC and CARL joined the U. S. Army in 1917, one as a captain in the infantry and the other as a balloonist, but the war ended by the time they completed training so they never went overseas to France. Both married and started their own nursery businesses in the late 1920's in Phoenix and Tucson, respectively. GUY continued working the original Tucson ranch and later opened his own nursery business in Tucson. ERIC had no children, and CARL's only son CHARLES settled childless in Tucson.
The youngest brother, OSCAR, also joined the U. S. Army Air Service in 1917 and married a beautiful Army nurse, although he died young and had no children. However, he found fame as an aeronautical engineer and early aviator. OSCAR became a pilot too late to fly in the war, but he worked with General Billy Mitchell in the development of military bombing aircraft. A family story is that Billy Mitchell once caught 400 fish in the lake on the Tucson ranch. He released them, so he probably caught some fish twice.
In 1923, OSCAR was sent to "foreign" service in the Territory of Hawaii, where on March 27, 1924 he was killed in the crash of a Martin B-2 bomber in the Honolulu area. In 1927, Col. Charles A. Lindbergh dedicated the civilian field in Tucson as Davis-Monthan Field (the same year he flew solo from New York City to Paris non-stop). GEORGE MONTHAN, then 6 years old, remembers viewing Lindbergh's airplane, the Spirit of St. Louis, at the dedication. When the Army Air Corps officially became the U. S. Air Force after the end of World War II, the field became known as Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.
Davis-Monthan Air Force Base is still an operational base today and the headquarters for the Twelfth Air Force, which is charged with commanding, administering, and supervising tactical air forces west of the Mississippi River. Davis-Monthan Air Force Base is also known for its large military aircraft storage facility that contains over five thousand mothballed current and obsolete aircraft. This storage facility is internationally known as a supply source for flyable combat aircraft, scarce aircraft parts, and vintage airplanes.
Today's MONTHANs descend from JEREMIAH's middle son GUY, whose two sons are GEORGE of Tucson and GUY of Albuquerque, New Mexico. GEORGE continued Oscar's military tradition, spending a career in the U. S. Navy as an aircraft carrier pilot and test pilot. His three daughters served in the Navy, and a granddaughter is currently a career U. S. Coast Guard officer who just returned from commanding a cutter in the Persian Gulf; another granddaughter is at the U. S. Air Force Academy. One of his two grandsons works in computer technology and the other will enter college this fall with a major in music.
During World War II, GUY also served in the Navy (on an LCI in the South Pacific). After the war he became a successful artist and photographer and taught both subjects at Northern Arizona University for twenty years. His work was exhibited at various galleries and museums in the Southwest. He collaborated with his writer wife on three books and numerous articles on American Indian art. His son, William, recently compiled biographical information on his great uncle, Oscar Monthan, and his place in aviation history. William is currently a Hospital Administrator in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The eldest of William's three sons is an engineer, the middle son is a student in the College of Architecture at the University of New Mexico, and the youngest is a pre-med student at Florida State University at Tallahassee, Florida. All are continuing the Monthan (i.e., Tattersfield) name in America.
This article was written by John Field, son of Robert Henry Field whose mother changed the family name from TATTERSFIELD to FIELD after about 1905. John Field's ancestry is Joseph TATTERSFIELD (1747-95) | Joseph | Jeremiah | Jeremiah | Robert | Robert Henry (surname changed to Field)
A thank you to cousin John Tattersfield of Ashford, Kent England as well as to my sister Elsie Cooper for their extensive research into the Tattersfield genealogy. It was this bank of information, as well as verbal input from my older sisters, that formed the basis of this article.
My Grandfather Robert Tattersfield was born to Jeremiah and Martha Tattersfield, on July 16, 1854 at Kilpin Hill, Heckmondwicke. He had four older brothers: Joseph, Henry, Jeremiah Jr. and Fredrick, as well as two living sisters. Robert's father, Jeremiah, was a manufacturer of woollen goods and had a mill close by, which allowed Robert and his brothers the opportunity to gain experience in the industry.
Robert married Martha Ann Furniss on March 25, 1886. He was 31 and she was 21 years old. His residence at the time was still at Kilpin Hill, Heckmondwicke. Robert was listed as a wool dyer and later, in 1897, as a soap manufacturer. He had gained further insight into the woollen manufacturing industry overseas by a visit to the USA in September of 1883, prior to his marriage. During this visit he toured the woollen manufacturing factories of the south, and went on to visit the cotton manufacturers of Massachusetts as well.
In the early 1890s, Robert's brother Jeremiah Jr emigrated with his wife and family to Canada and began to ranch at Cochrane Alberta, just west of Calgary. Later toward the end of the 1890s, they left Canada and travelled into the USA where their descendents still live today (see Article #8 in this series: The TATTERSFIELD (MONTHAN) Family of Arizona, USA). The father, Jeremiah senior, passed away in 1886 and his manufacturing business went into decline which seemed to cause a split in the family.
Why the two brothers, Jeremiah and Robert, emigrated to North America within a couple of years of each other may never be known. There are a couple of theories which have been tossed about over time. One is that the original business went into decline after the older Jeremiah's death and that somewhere in the process a fire occurred, (and perhaps this was why Jeremiah Jr left). Another is that Robert had been accused of having a relationship with someone for quite some time prior to his marriage. This may have caused controversy within the family - perhaps due to the culture of the day. One has to wonder if this had any bearing in Grandmother's decision to drop the "Tatters" from the name after Grandfather's death. Curiously, after younger Jeremiah's death, his wife also dropped the Tattersfield surname and changed it to her maiden name, Monthan.
Records indicate that Robert and family arrived on the ship Lucania at Ellis Island, USA from Liverpool, England on 9 December, 1899. The ship's manifest shows passengers Robert 44 yrs, Martha 34 yrs, Constance 11 yrs, Hereward 9 yrs, Robert Henry 7 yrs (my father), Hugh 6 yrs and Montague 7 months. After being processed, records indicate they travelled to Iowa and stayed with a Mr. George Furniss and wife in the township of West Branch. George apparently was Martha’s brother and also a practising Presbyterian minister. Upon leaving the brother’s home, it can only be surmised that Robert and his family travelled to the closest Canadian railway station and took a train across the prairies to Calgary, arriving in 1900. A photograph shows Grandfather and Grandmother and family, shortly after arriving, standing outside their home on the outskirts of Calgary. The area today is known as Inglewood and is just east of the main business district.
My father, Robert Henry, never spoke of his early life (apart from a small amount to Mother after their marriage) to any of us and the tidbits that did filter down came from what Mother had heard. It was only in the last stages of life when he was suffering with terminal cancer that he shared some information with a couple of the sisters A) so a birth certificate could be acquired for pension purposes and B) he wished to visit his birth place. He said he had lived with his family in a large house called Highfield house which was located up on a hill in the district of Mirfield and that his father had owned a mill there. It was from this kind of information that we learned Robert (Grandfather) had a future plan to start his own woollen business in Calgary, but in order to provide for his family in the short term began working for the Loughheed family. His spare time was spent training horses for a Colonel James Walker, who supplied them to the army. Unfortunately, time was not on his side and he passed away in 1905 from what is now called Nephritis. Grandmother was left in a land which seemed foreign to her, with a month old baby girl and the five older children who had accompanied her from England.
Grandfather is buried in Union cemetery in south Calgary with son Robert H and Robert H's wife Lola. Grandmother chose to be buried across the road in Burnsland cemetery with her daughter Constance. The photographs below capture the transition of the family name across the two generations.
Robert H was born to Robert and Martha Tattersfield on 25 November, 1891 at Highfield House, Mirfield, England. In 1899 the family left England and sailed to New York USA. They travelled through to the state of Iowa and then onward to Calgary, Alberta, Canada arriving there in 1900. Records indicate the family consisted of the parents, daughter Constance, brothers Harry, Hugh, Monty and Robert H. Later, in 1905 a daughter Ruby was born. The family settled in a rather modest house in an area on the edge of the city which today is known as Inglewood.
Robert (Grandfather), it is thought, chose Calgary as their destination because his brother Jeremiah and family had migrated there a few years before and started a ranch west of Cochrane (a town west of Calgary ) before moving back to the USA (see Article #8: The TATTERSFIELD (MONTHAN) Family of Arizona, USA).
Just prior to Robert H’s 14th birthday on August 9, 1905 Grandfather passed away. This was the turning point in Father’s life as he and his older brother Harry had to go out to work to provide for the family, Harry to work for the city of Calgary and father to find work on the ranches to the south of Calgary. Pictures from father’s old trunk, show him breaking horses on a ranch belonging to one John Nelson which was located in the first range of foothills west of Granum, Alberta. According to Mother, that would have been between years 1910 and 1915.
In the fall of 1914, my father who was riding a semi broke horse, rode to a neighbours place to borrow a book called Father Lacombe which he wanted to read. As he rode to the house, his horse was startled by a girl and promptly threw him off. The girl found this quite amusing, which did not sit well with my father. The girl, Lola Remington, later became Father’s wife and in time related the incident to one of my older sisters.
Now the Remington family dates back to the 16th century and were from Wales. They emigrated to Massachusetts, USA where they used their inventiveness to manufacture smooth bore muskets, later rifled, which led to the Remington Arms Company. Later, Remington offspring travelled west along the Oregon trail (I have a diary of the trek) and settled in Oregon, California and the state of Washington. It was from Anatone, Asotin County, Washington that my Mother's branch of the Remington family trekked to Alberta in a covered wagon around 1909, settling on a 320 acre place west of Granum, thus enabling the meeting between my Mother Lola and my Father. On the 28th of November 1915, Lola and Robert H were married in Calgary, returning to a quarter of land Father had purchased not far from the Remington’s home place.
Father and Mother lived in this area where 5 of the 8 girls were born. Sadly, one of the girls caught pneumonia and passed away, aged just 42 days. It came about that Grandmother and brothers Hugh and Monty talked father into returning to Calgary, as it was pointed out that there was a lack of schooling in the foothill area.
At this juncture it may be the time to bring up an interesting bit of information my mother related to the older girls. The information pertained to the question of Grandmother's economic status after Grandfathers passing. As we know, older brother Harry and my father went to work and contributed to expenses as did the other two boys when they entered the work force. After Mother and Father's marriage (I don’t know how long) they were told that Grandmother didn’t need further assistance.
Apparently, so the story goes, in Great Grandfather Jeremiah's Will (I have a copy), he stipulated how the business and land holdings were to be handled on his death. It was also stipulated, that should the family partners in the business have problems and wish to get out of the business, that said share of the business would be paid out to them. Now we know from my previous writings here that Grandmother was not too happy with, it seems, the folks back home (a cause for dropping the "Tatters" from the name although this was never legalized). However, under the law, Will directions had to be carried out. Mother’s information indicated that in fact two individuals arrived from England so as to carry out the Will's requests. Mother said they asked if the boys could go back to England to finish being educated, which Grandmother refused. It is not known what else took place, but that was the point at which Grandmother did not require any more funds.
After Father’s return to Calgary, he started a dairy on the outskirts of north Calgary, which today is 1 mile west of the international airport and close to the expanded downtown area. He was subjected to a rumour from someone that his dairy herd had TB. He was instructed to ship them for slaughter. It was later proven that the herd had been healthy and the rumour had been started in order that the land could be utilized for other endeavours.
This was in the early stages of the 1930 depression, and Father had also been working part time for the city. At this time the government introduced a deal regarding untitled Government land that could be had. Father applied and was able to obtain a quarter section located 25 miles south west of Calgary. The land was hilly and mostly bush but the price was right. He started to clear the land by hand cutting the brush with an axe, as well as building a small house for the family. In 1934 he moved the family out of the city. Most of the land work was done with horses. A small dairy herd was started. The milk was separated and the cans of cream were sold. Eggs from the chickens, along with a few broods of pigs and raised calves supplied the money to pay off the land and provide operating expenses.
By 1940 the family consisted of 7 girls and 2 boys. School was a one room affair with classes from grade one through nine. One had to either walk the 2.5 miles to school or ride our horses. The curriculum was well taught, despite being a one room school house, and some of the younger sisters even went on to higher education in the city.
My four oldest sisters married into surrounding families. At harvest time everyone pitched in to help with the threshing, making for a large amount of cooking which was done by mother and my remaining sisters. Two of the remaining sisters married business men and lived in Calgary. The youngest sister married a chap in the Air Force and also settled in Calgary after his tour was over.
In 1968 my father passed away from prostate cancer, leaving the working of the farm to Robert H. Jr, my brother. Robert H. Jr. had worked in other agriculture jobs as well as on the farm all his work life, and after the passing of our Mother, he went to work for a ranch where raising polo horses is still the main priority. A nephew took over the agriculture work on the farm. My brother still works for the polo ranch and probably will till his 80th birthday.
As for yours truly, I joined the Canadian Airforce after high school and worked 8 years in the electronics field in radar systems, as well as going to university. At the tender age of 18, I married a lady also in the Air Force. I was too young and on the immature side and subsequently the marriage failed. The positive side however is that we were blessed with two children, a boy and a girl, who grew up to be self sufficient and strong individuals.
On leaving the armed forces I joined an International corporation, rising to positions of management while being involved in national and international assignments.
During this time I had remarried, and we raised three girls. In 2002 my wife was killed in a car accident. It was difficult for a time and in 2003 I retired after 39 years with the corporation. Time goes on, and through my youngest daughter, I met another lady whom I married in the latter part of 2005. She and I moved back west to build up an acreage that was part of the old farm. My four daughters still reside in the east and my son lives not far from us. Who would have thought………
Written by John Tattersfield. I am grateful to Mr. John A. Doerner, Chief Historian of Little Bighorn Battlefield, for providing photographs of the cemetery, historical literature and his own expert interpretation of some aspects of the death and burial of THOMAS.
At the time of writing, this is a story with an end, but no beginning!
On 1st October 1873, THOMAS Tattersfield enlisted with the U.S. Army. In his Oath of Enlistment and Allegiance, he gave his age as 22 years and 11 months, his place of birth as "Manchester in the State of England", and his occupation as a Pattern-maker.
Such specific information should lead to his easy identification in England. Not so! No record has yet been found of his birth or baptism, nor has he been found in any census. No sea passage to America has been discovered.The search will go on!
THOMAS enlisted in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was 5 feet 5 inches high, with blue eyes, light hair and a fair complexion.
It is interesting to note that in many ways he was exactly like JAMES Tattersfield, whose story is given in Article No 11. Both were born about Oct/Nov 1850, and their stated place of birth was Manchester. Both joined the U.S. Cavalry, and their physical descriptions were virtually identical. However, JAMES was a tin-smith. There is no evidence to suggest they were twins.
THOMAS was recruited by 1st Lieutenant R. Norwood of the 2nd U.S. Cavalry. The Enlistment document is held by the National Archives, Washinton, D.C. THOMAS signed the document with an elegant copperplate signature. He enlisted for 5 years. A medical surgeon affirmed that "in my opinion, he is free from all bodily defects and mental infirmity which would, in any way, disqualify him from performing the duties of a soldier".The accompanying Declaration confirmed, inter alia, that he had "neither wife nor child".
Although registered by an officer of the 2nd Cavalry, a later Register of Enlistments shows that THOMAS became a Private in G Company of the famous U.S. 7th Cavalry.
No details have come to hand of the early months of THOMAS' military career in the 7th Cavalry. However, G Company took part in the 1874 Black Hills Expedition. According to a history of the 7 th U.S. Cavalry called "Custer to MacArthur", Troop G and other troops moved into a camp two miles south of Fort Lincoln, Dakota Territory, on 20 June 1874. This was part of a move "to secure a strong foothold in the heart of the Sioux Country, and thereby exercise a controlling influence over the Indian people". The book goes on to say that an expedition was organised at Fort Lincoln in June 1874, "for the purpose of reconnoitering the route from that post to Bear Butte in the Black Hills and to explore the country south, southeast and southwest of that point, and to study the question of establishing army posts to control the Indian. (Lieutenant Colonel George) Custer was detailed to command the expeditionery force, which consisted of ten troops of the Seventh Cavalry........"
A military document of 1876 gives a physical description of Fort Lincoln, DT. Of the Indians in the region it says, "The nearest Indians are on their reservation at Standing Rock Agency, between 50 and 60 miles from the post.Their number is estimated at 6,000, composed of different bands of Sioux. While rated as friendly, they are more or less constantly engaged, during the summer months, in hostile expeditions".
For THOMAS, a war record of fighting alongside Custer, and, perhaps, dying with him at the Battle of Little Bighorn in June 1876, was not to be. The Muster Roll for Company G for June 1874 records that Private THOMAS Tattersfield "accidentally drowned in Missouri River near Fort A. Lincoln Dakota Territory June 21, 1874, while watering his horse at morning water call".
It will be noticed that THOMAS' drowning was the day after arrival in the new camp. In correspondence, Mr. John A. Doerner, the Chief Historian of Little Bighorn Battlefield has highlighted the dangers of the Missouri River- "treacherous banks with unsuspecting drop-offs and a swift current, especially in the spring and early summer after the snow melt. I suspect that THOMAS may have slipped off the bank into the swift current, and his body recovered some time after......"
THOMAS was interred at Fort Lincoln.
Two separate entries in the Record Book of Interments in the Cemetery of Fort Abm Lincoln raise questions. One gives the date of death as 4th Nov, whereas the Muster Roll taken on 30th June had clearly shown that the date of drowning was 21st June. The other says the date of death was "Unknown", and the body was "found drowned in the Missouri River". It seems likely that THOMAS' body was only found and buried some 4 months after his death.
Unclear as the record of his death might be, military records show with clarity that THOMAS was last paid on 30 Apr 1874. Amounts were due to him of $7.41 for clothing and $1.38 for tobacco!
There was public recognition of the death of THOMAS. On July 2, 1874, The Yankton Press and Union and Dakotaian, (Yankton, SD), Issue 13 and 46, col B, under the heading of Territorial Affairs, wrote "The Tribune says Thomas Tatterfield (sic) of Troop G, 7th Cavalry, while watering horses in the Missouri at Ft. Lincoln, was thrown off his horse, kicked, trodden upon and drowned.
Mr. John A. Doerner has also written "Ironically had he lived, THOMAS may have been killed in action at the Little Bighorn as his company suffered heavy casualties during Reno's attack on Sitting Bull's village, timber fight, and subsequent retreat across the Little Bighorn River. His Company Commander Lt. Donald McIntosh was killed during Reno's retreat. 13 enlisted men of Company G were also killed and 6 wounded in the battle".
There is a puzzle concerning THOMAS' military record, in that the Fort Lincoln Interment Lists show THOMAS as having been enlisted on 1 October 1873 at Cincinnatti, Ohio, by Sgt. Kramer. It is not understood why the date agrees with the Oath of Enlistment and Allegiance, but not the place.
Twenty years after his death, the public were reminded of THOMAS. The Bismarck Daily Tribune, (Bismarck ND), on Saturday, June 23, 1894, on page 2, col B, published an article under the heading Twenty Years Ago. Information Gathered from the Files of the Bismarck Tribune of June 24, 1874. Among many other events it included "Thos. Tattersfield, G Troop, Fort Lincoln, thrown while watering his horse at the river, kicked, and finally drowned".
Fort Abraham Lincoln and other northern forts were abandoned in the 1890's. Bodies interred in the fort cemeteries were transferred to the Custer Battlefield National Cemetery at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.
The remains of THOMAS were transferred in 1892 and re-interred in Sec.A-527. His final resting place is shown below.
As there are no known descendants of the James TATTERSFIELD referred to here, this article has been written by John Tattersfield
In the 19th Century America was a haven for Europeans wanting to change their lives completely for whatever reason, good or bad. JAMES appears to have been such a man.
He was the fourth of eight children, born in Heywood, Bury, Lancashire. Two of his siblings did not reach adulthood. His father was ELLIS Tattersfield, whose occupation as a tailor was the one most common among the men of this Lancashire family.
JAMES' early life seems fairly uneventful. He was born on 17 Oct 1850. No record of a baptism has been found. He is shown in the Census of 1851 when 5 months old, and in that of 1861 at the age of 10. In 1871, aged 20, he was still living at home. By this time he was a "tin plate worker"- a very significant fact in piecing his history together.
On Christmas Day 1875 he married Ann Lauretta Melbourne (or Malbourne) from nearby Bedford Leigh. They married in Bamford Independent Chapel, Bury.
From here on life was less plain-sailing.
A son FRED was born in 1876, but died within three months. A second son JOSEPH SMITH was born in Sept 1878, but died in the spring of 1879 in nearby Prestwich.
In the Census of 1881, Ann Lauretta, aged 26 and "married" was making tenter frames, on which newly woven cloth was hooked and stretched (hence "tenter hooks"). She was with her mother and sister, with no children, and no JAMES. He was neither with her, nor anywhere else in the Census.
In the Census of 1891, Ann Lauretta was with her sister and brother-in-law,in Oldham, still calling herself "married", but still with no sign of JAMES.
At this point it is interesting to divert to JAMES' younger brother ELLIS, who, like his father ELLIS was a tailor. The lives of the two brothers show some parallels. The young ELLIS was born on 17 June 1855 in Heywood. By 1871 he was a tailor, and in 1877 married Alice Leach. They had a girl in 1877 and a boy in 1879. In the Census of 1881, Alice was living with her parents, siblings and two children. ELLIS was absent, but seems to appear in Nottingham, calling himself JOSEPH Tattersfield, age 24, and "unmarried". He was living as a lodger, working as a tailor, and gave his place of birth as Manchester.
One wonders how much collusion there was between the two brothers in leaving their wives at about the same time in the late 1870's.
ELLIS went on to marry again, in Barnsley, Yorkshire, on 11 Apr 1886. He called himself JOSEPH ELLIS Tattersfield, and his bride was Annie Johnson. The couple had two children, in Aug 1886 and Sept 1889, after which ELLIS disappeared again, this time without trace. In 1891 Annie described herself as "single". Had she found out that her "marriage" to ELLIS was bigamous?
But that was a digression- we were considering the history of brother JAMES!
In the US Federal Census of 1880, one JAMES Tattersfeild (sic) was staying as a boarder at 73 Richmond Street, Philadelphia. He was 29 (ie born about 1851), born in England, married (though no wife was with him), and a "Tin Smith"!
On 11 Sept 1882 JAMES Tattersfield enlisted in Philadelphia with Troop C, 5th Regiment, US Cavalry, as a Private. He declared he was 27 (ie born about 1855- did he deliberately understate his age to improve his chances of acceptance?). He was born in Lancashire, England, and his occupation was "Tin Smith". He was 5' 4" tall, weighed 168 pounds, with blue eyes, light hair, light complexion, and with a vaccine mark on both arms!
JAMES was to re-enlist on 11 Sept 1887 at Fort Reno, Indian Territory, and finally on 12 Sept 1892, still at Fort Reno. The enlistment documents now mention scars on the nose. His final discharge from the army was at Fort McIntosh, Texas, on 11 Dec 1895.
Fortunately the army made copious written records, and the US National Archives have preserved them. Some 39 sheets have been obtained relating to JAMES' army career and subsequent pension.
The documents, covering some 30 years, are not fully consistent. In one he declared that his date of birth was 23 Oct 1854. Perhaps this was to be in line with his under-stated age when he first enlisted, or maybe he was just forgetting!. In another he declared he had never married, and elsewhere that he was born in Manchester. Despite these anomalies, the general thread is clear- that he was born in the early 1850's, in Lancashire, and was a tin smith by trade.
In all the military and pension records, the original signature of JAMES appears nine times. The signatures are consistent, and look very similar to those on the Marriage Certificates in the 1870's of JAMES himself, and of two brothers ELLIS and JOHN.
There seems no doubt that the young tin smith who left his wife in Lancashire was the same man who spent 13 years in the US Cavalry.
Documents show that JAMES did not take part in a battle. Sadly, however, while on "water call" (this was when the horses were taken to drink) on 6 Feb 1883, in Fort Sidney, Nebraska, JAMES was kicked by a horse. The extensive and detailed medical records report, in summary, "Injury to left side of face, fracturing jaw and nose, knocking out teeth, and affecting nerves. Impaired sight, injury to left shoulder and arm".
He received medical attention for his many injuries through to mid May 1883, and then carried on with his soldiering. Alas, his injuries had permanent effects, and from Oct 1885 to July 1893 there was a long list of illnesses and injuries, including the dislocation of his damaged left shoulder through being thrown from a horse in June 1893.
After his discharge from the army, JAMES applied through an attorney for a military pension, on 27 Feb 1896. He was living in the Soldiers' Home, Washington DC, at the time. The Application was vetted carefully, including obtaining statements from the former captain of his Troop, and also his sergeant. Both confirmed that his injuries were incurred in the course of his duties.
In Oct 1896, his former captain wrote the following sad but rather sympathetic account:- "From March 8, 1887, until November 1993, I was Captain of Troop "C", 5th Cavalry, to which James Tattersfield belonged. I spent a great deal of time giving my men individual instruction in rifle and revolver shooting, and worked very hard to make each individual a good shot with both these weapons. I found this a hopeless task with Tattersfield, for the reasons that his nerves were badly shattered and that he could not remember the instructions I gave him from one day to another. I labored with him during a period of five years, and, at times would get out of patience with him on account of his failing to remember things he had been told many times and not learning to shoot. I was told by my 1st Sergeant and other members of my Troop that this shaky condition of his nerves and the sort of dazed state that he seemed to be in was noticed by them only since he had been kicked in the face by a horse at Fort Sidney. I thought seriously of applying to have him discharged as unfit for service, but was deterred by the belief that he could not make a living outside the army, and that his injury was received in the line of duty. It is apparent from looking at him, that his nose has been broken and that some of his teeth are gone".
In a deposition his sergeant said " I am of the opinion, that the injury referred to above, had a very bad effect on his understanding, nerves, and health and that he never fully recovered from its effects, as he did not appear to be the same man afterwards. He complained a great deal of neuralgia and rheumatism".
With effect from 29 Feb 1896 JAMES was granted an army pension of $8 per month.
JAMES moved from Washington to Chicago in April 1900.
On 19th June 1918 he made a sworn declaration that his house, 2750 Lakeview Avenue, Chicago, had been burgled. Among the valuables stolen was his pension certificate. Five days later a replacement was issued to him.
It is perhaps surprising that no record has been found of JAMES' sea voyage to America, nor has his name been found, as yet, in the US Federal Censuses of 1900 and 1910.
However, in the 1920 Census is found the rather grand entry "Tattersfield Jim Esq." (This has been erroneously transcribed as Jeno and Jino). The title "Esq" in a census must surely be unique! He was aged 64, "single" and a watchman at a private house. He said he immigrated to USA in 1875, and became a Citizen in 1883. He was born in England. Was he the JAMES of the 5th Cavalry? It certainly seems so. The house where he was a watchman was 2748 Lake View Avenue, Chicago- just two doors away from the house he lived in in 1918.
On 5th March 1924, a law firm, asting as Executor of the Estate of JAMES Tattersfield, notified the army that he had died, and returned his Pension Certificate.
Despite the relative wealth of information about JAMES, much remains unknown. Did he leave for USA with his wife's knowledge? Was it his original intention to return, or to send for her?
Whatever his early life, it is worth noting that JAMES' conduct on two of the three Registers of Enlistment for his three stretches in the army was described as "Excellent", and on the other as "Very Good".
There is another remarkable parallel with the life of JAMES. On 1st Oct 1873, one THOMAS Tattersfield had enlisted with the US Cavalry (see Article 10). He gave his age as 22 years and 11 months, indicating birth about Oct/Nov 1850. He was a "pattern maker" by occupation, and stated his place of birth as Manchester, England. The date and place of birth are virtually identical with those of JAMES. Despite these specific records, no trace has yet been found in England of the origins of THOMAS. The search continues!
Also, like JAMES, THOMAS had an unfortunate mishap within a few months of joining the US Cavalry. It also occurred at morning water call, on 21st June 1874. THOMAS was, however, even more unfortunate than JAMES. He was drowned in the Missouri River.
It is not known if there are descendants of John Thomas TATTERSFIELD, and this article has been written by John Tattersfield
John Thomas Tattersfield was another young man who left England, on his own, for the advantages of the United States, which, presumably, included anonymity.
John Thomas' father, also called John, (1824-1902), was born in York, a grandson of the Thomas Tattersfield who first moved to York from Dewsbury, in the late 1700's.
John Thomas was born in York on 28th May 1853, and was baptised in York St. Dennis on 19th June. Unusually, for those times, he seems to have been an only child. Some time after 1851, when the family had appeared in the Census in York, they moved to Hull, a distance of some 35 miles as the crow flies. The father John was a labourer, and the reason for the move is not known.
John Thomas, the son, was a labourer too, as shown in the Census records of 1871 and 1881. On 1st May 1882 he married a Hull girl, Clarinda Dibnah, daughter of a joiner, in Sculcoates Parish Church. A daughter Ethel was born to them in Sculcoates in early 1883. She was to live until 1958 in Yorkshire, without marrying. A second daughter, Alice, was born, rather surprisingly, in Homerton, Hackney, Middlesex, on 31st Jan 1885. In effect this was on the eastern edge of London.
The family seem to have moved back to Hull. On 22 October 1885 John Thomas was brought before the General Quarter Sessions of the Borough of Kingston-upon-Hull, charged with larceny. It was noted he had one previous conviction, but the record seems later to have been changed to "Two Convictions". He was convicted and sentenced to 6 months in prison, presumably ending about 21 April 1886.
What effect this had on the marriage is a matter of speculation, but it broke up at about that time.
In the 1891 Census Clarinda was back in Hull, living with her parents, daughters Ethel and Alice, and another child called Charles Dibnah. John Thomas was not recorded in the 1891 Census.
Clarinda lived on in Hull . In the 1901 Census, and on her Death Certificate, she was described as a "widow". She earned her living as a shopkeeper, and is listed in Kelly's Directory for 1913, 1921, 1933 and 1937. She died on 21st May 1941.The Hull Daily Mail notice of her death reads "Loving Mother of Ethel and Alice".
John Thomas sailed to New York on the ship WA Scholten, arriving on 18th Oct 1886. His stated age was 33 (ie born about 1853). His name, possibly changed in transcription and publication, was J.J.Tattersfield. He was described as a labourer.
On 3rd Feb 1889 John Thomas married Anna Elizabeth Koertel in the Presbyterian Church, "Newport, County of Campbell, Commonwealth of Kentucky". He was 35, born in England, and she was said to be 28. In fact, she was born about 1858 in Germany, and seems to have migrated to USA about 1868.
The circumstances of the wedding deserve some examination. John Thomas paid a Marriage Bond of $100 to the Commonwealth of Kentucky, surely a very large sum for him to have raised in those days. The Bond, although taken out on the same day as the wedding, became void as soon as the marriage had taken place.
Although married in Kentucky, both bride and groom gave their residence as Cincinatti, Ohio. This is just opposite Newport, on the other bank of the Ohio River. Enquiries have been made in Newport. They revealed that it was, and still is, easier to get a Marriage License in Kentucky than in Ohio. Apparently fewer questions are asked , and less proof is required. People still cross the Ohio River to get married in Kentucky. Was this John Thomas' best way of avoiding awkward questions about his first marriage, which, as far as is known, had never been dissolved? Divorce in England was unheard of in those days, at least among the poorer classes.
A comparison between the Marriage Certificate in England and the Marriage Bond in Kentucky, shows that the two signatures of John Thomas are clearly by the same hand. It is interesting to note that he had an elegant signature for a man who was a labourer most of his life.
In the 1892 Directory of Covington, Kentucky, an entry for the couple is in the names of Thos. Tattersfield, porter of 1116 Orchard, Newport, and Mrs Lizzie Tattersfield.
A first child, also confusingly named John Thomas, was born in Newport on 19th Jan 1891. Other children, Bessie (Dec 1895), Harry (1899) and Alice (1901) followed, plus another who died very young. The parents and three eldest children were recorded in the US Federal Census of 1900 in Chicago, and again in 1910, this time with Alice. In the former the father was a day labourer, and, in the latter, a City park attendant. It is interesting to note that the last child was named Alice. His second daughter, born in England in 1885, was also called Alice.
The Cook County Genealogical Records (Deaths) show that John T. Tattersfield died on 19 Nov 1917. In the 1920 Census, his wife Anna E., stated to be a widow, was living with Harry, Alice, Bessie and her husband Arthur Baylis and daughter Margie A. Baylis, in Chicago.
John Thomas Jr married Rosina Anna Boehler before 1920. They lived, at the time of the 1920 Census, with their three-year-old daughter Charlotte, in the same street and only a few doors away from John Thomas' mother, brother and sisters. In the 1930 Census the family, still in Chicago, are in the index under Tattersall. The age-old habit in England of mixing the names Tattersfield and Tattersall seems to be alive and well in USA!
John Thomas Jr obtained a World War 1 Draft Registration Card in June 1917, but does not seem to have been called into active service. He applied for a Social Security Account in 1936.
Anna E. Tattersfield, wife of John Thomas Sr, died at the age of 88 in 1946/7.
In 1951 John Thomas Jr contacted the branch of the Tattersfield family in Philadelphia PA, and spoke to my father's first cousin, Marjorie West, to see what relationship there might be. I still have the note she made, on a small scrap of paper. John Thomas, from Chicago, said his family came from Hull, and his "father, John Thomas senior, moved from Cleveland Ohio then to Kentucky, finally Chicago". In these particulars he seems to have been correct. He thought his grandfather was "in the carpet business in England- Yorkshire", but that was not correct. He was a labourer, but did at one stage work in a "color mill". Did the younger John Thomas know his father had left a wife and two daughters in England?
What became of the family? John Thomas and his wife Rosina Anne moved to San Joaquin, CA, where he died on 11 Sept 1976. It is not known whether their daughter Charlotte married. His sister Bessie and her husband Arthur Baylis also moved to San Joaquin, where she died in 1990. It is not known whether their daughter Margie A. Baylis, born in 1915, ever married. The other sister, Alice, married John Kraemer about 1929. No children are known. Alice may have married a second time in 1936. The other boy in the family, Harry, signed Attestation Papers, in Aug 1918, for the Canadian Expeditionary Force, claiming, incorrectly, that he was born in Hull, Yorkshire, England. He was 21 and single in the US Census of 1920, living in Chicago with his mother and sisters. No subsequent trace of him has been found..
It seems very unlikely that there are any descendants of this family who still have the surname Tattersfield.
All Website content ©John Tattersfield
Last corrected: 24 May, 2008