Tattersfields in Dakota Territory

From Blankets to Horses to Malting to Farming, Aked and Catherine Tattersfield and their Descendants

This account was written and kindly contributed by Joel Kevin Hendrickson, who is descended from the Dakota Territory family. Joel’s ancestry appears in the Heckmondwike Chart 2&3, and is as follows : Joseph (1747 – 1795) | Joseph (1779 – 1851) | William (1806 – 1869) | Aked (1844 – 1902) & Catherine (1844 – 1926)| Richard (1866 – 1954 ) | Charles Richard (1893 – 1981) | Carol Ann m. Hendrickson (1930 – 2020).

It will be noticed that Joel is doubly descended from Joseph (1747 – 1795), both through his great great grandfather Aked and through Aked’s wife Catherine who was Aked’s first cousin.

Joel’s mother, the late Carol Ann Hendrickson née Tattersfield, visited England in 1988 and took photographs of many Tattersfield gravestones at Upper Chapel, Heckmondwike. These photographs have been used in the article about the Upper Chapel graveyard elsewhere in this Website.

AKED TATTERSFIELD was born 8 February 1844 in Heckmondwike, Yorkshire, the 5th child of William Tattersfield (1806-1869) and Martha Crowther Kitson (1807-1874), blanket manufacturer.  Aked was christened 23 June 1844 at St Peter’s Church, Birstall, Yorkshire, England.

William and Martha had five children who survived beyond birth:

  • George Crowther Tattersfield (1832-1873)
  • Matilda Tattersfield (1833-1899)
  • Robert Tattersfield (1836-1854)
  • Benjamin Tattersfield (1841-1841)
  • Aked Tattersfield (1844-1902)

In the 1861 census for Aked, the household is at Upper Height House, Heckmondwicke, Yorkshire:

  • William Tattersfield, age 55, Blanket Manufacturer
  • Martha, age 53, wife
  • George, age 28, Clothier
  • Aked, age 17
  • Sarah Hatton, age 26, servant
  • Charles Willey, age 33, son-in-law, Wool Stapler employing 8 hands
  • Matilda Willey, age 27, daughter
  • Henry Willey, age 9 months, grandson
  • Anne E Coy, age 23, servant

Aked Tattersfield, at age 21, a blanket maker, married his first cousin CATHERINE TATTERSFIELD at St Peter’s Church, Birstall, Yorkshire on 30 August 1865.  Catherine Tattersfield was born 19 August 1843 in Heckmondwike, the 4th child of Samuel Tattersfield (1817-1853) and Lydia Tattersfield (1818-1858).  Samuel was also a blanket manufacturer, and brother of Aked’s father William.  Catherine was christened 27 December 1844.

At the time of the 1861 census for Catherine, both of her parents had died, and she was living in a household headed by her sister at Kilpin Hill, Heckmondwike, Yorkshire:

  • Frances Tattersfield, age 21, Housekeeper
  • Sarah Tattersfield, age 18, Assistant Housekeeper
  • Catherine Tattersfield, age 16, Scholar
  • Mary A Tattersfield, age 12, Scholar
  • Eleanor Tattersfield, age 9, Scholar

Catherine (1843-1926) and Aked (1844-1902). (Photo kindly given by Claudia and Alan Eugene Beyer-gggrandson).

Aked and Catherine had 9 children, all born in Heckmondwike, Yorkshire:

  • Robert Samuel born 16 September 1865, and died there in early 1866
  • Richard, born 9 September 1866
  • William, born 22 November 1869
  • Frank, born 4 March 1870
  • Julia, born 26 August 1871
  • Martha, 14 January 1874
  • Bertha, 11 April 1875
  • Ethel, 5 September 1877
  • Aked, born February 1881

By the 1871 census, Aked and Catherine are at the Heights, Heckmondwike, Yorkshire:

  • Aked Tattersfield, age 27, a Blanket Manufacturer employing 26 men and 20 women
  • Catherine Tattersfield, age 26
  • William Tattersfield, age 2
  • Frank Tattersfield, age 1
  • Clara Smith, Nurse Girl

Dick (Richard), age 4, was next door at his grandmother Martha Tattersfield’s house at the Heights in the 1871 census.

At the Doncaster Agricultural Society in July 1873, Aked won first place for his colt sired by Blazeaway.  It appears that he had acquired the horse from Mr. M. Waxe, a prominent horse breeder.  By 1874, Aked was trying to sell offspring.

Aked then tried his hand at a new business. In the Heckmondwike directory of 1881, Aked Tattersfield, is on Watley Lane, a Maltster.

In the 1881 census, Aked and Catherine are at Kilpin Hill, Heckmondwike, Yorkshire:

  • Aked Tattersfield, age 37, a Maltster employing 8 men
  • Catherine Tattersfield, age 36
  • Richard, age 14, scholar
  • William Tattersfield, age 12, scholar
  • Frank Tattersfield, age 11, scholar
  • Julia, age 9, scholar
  • Martha, age 7, scholar
  • Bertha, age 6, scholar
  • Ethel, age 3
  • Aked, under one month
  • Agnes Stone, age 20, general servant
  • Polly Bucknell, age 17, general servant

Things Get Dicey

On 20 June 1883, maltster Aked Tattersfield was forced into bankruptcy with liabilities of £15,000 , driven by a debt to a corn merchant.  At the court hearings, it was reported that his wife said he was out of town – he never attended any court hearings and his location was still unknown in late 1884.

On 28 July 1883, it was reported in The Leeds Mercury that the trustee of the bankruptcy estate of Aked Tattersfield obtained an order of the Dewsbury Bankruptcy Court that Aked Tattersfield be declared a debtor by fraud as the debtor had absconded.  On 30 July the Court issued an arrest warrant for Aked Tattersfield for absconding with £20 or less, “and that he attempted to quit the country without leaving the affairs of his estate in a satisfactory state”.

From the Huddersfield Chronicle and West Yorkshire Advertiser

A year later, a certain Arthur T Thompson, in his First Papers for Naturalization filed in Moody County, South Dakota, USA on 14 October 1884, stated that he arrived at the Port of New York in July 1883. It will be noted that he misspelt his “new” first name Arthur in his signature – maybe this suggests he had only recently adopted the name!

Aked’s naturalization paper, 1884

In 1884, Catherine and the children followed, emigrating to Flandreau, Moody County, South Dakota.

Farm Land

By family lore, Aked’s father sent solicitors to America buy land for Aked.  This cannot be confirmed, only that there are land deeds unto Aked, under the name Arthur Tattersfield Thompson, starting at the beginning of 1883.  It is likely that Aked was still in England at the time, so someone did in fact make the first purchase of land in his name.  In 1894, Arthur Tattersfield Thompson deeded his lands to his wife Catherine Thompson, and at some point Catherine deeded the lands to her daughter-in-law Anna Tattersfield.  Richard’s granddaughter Carol Tattersfield Hendrickson recounted that she used to go to her grandfather’s house on Sundays, and sat in his office reading the National Geographic magazines while her grandfather, father Charles and siblings “discussed family business”, likely the farm lands they still owned in South Dakota.

A search of the Moody County records revealed these conveyances:

T107N-R49W, Section 12: E2, NW4 (480 acres):

            1 Jan 1883: Colmar D. and Alvida Lombard to Arthur Tattersfield Thompson ($1,600)

            2 Apr 1894: Arthur Tattersfield Thompson to Catherine Thompson

T107N-R48W, Section 7: SW4 (Lots 3, 4, S2SW4, 160 acres m/l):

            20 Sep 1883: Hiram Barber to Frank H. Bortle (Bortle was a land salesman in the area)

            20 Sep 1883: Frank H. Bortle to Arthur Tattersfield Thompson ($1,000)

            2 Apr 1894: Arthur Tattersfield Thompson to Catherine Thompson

T107N-R48W, Section 7: NE4NE4, and Section 8: NW4NW4 (80 acres):

            20 Aug 1889: James and Sarah Parsley to A T Thompson ($900)

            2 Apr 1894: Arthur Tattersfield Thompson to Catherine Thompson

Land allocations in Flandreau, from a Library of Congress map, 1896

In 1909, the property was held by “Mrs. Catherine Thompson”, and in 1956 by Anna Tattersfield (Sections 7 and 8 show Anna Tattersfield on the area map of 1956).  This is likely Anna Cornelia Tattersfield, wife of their son Richard Tattersfield, though the reason for the subterfuge is unclear.

In the 1 June 1885 census, Arthur and Catherine Thompson were living in Moody County, Dakota Territory:

  • Arthur Thompson, age 41, a farmer, born England
  • Catherine Thompson, age 40, born England
  • Richard Thompson, age 18, born England
  • William Thompson, age 16, born England
  • Frank Thompson, age 15, born England
  • Julia Thompson, age 14, born England
  • Martha Thompson, age 11, born England
  • Bertha Thompson, age 10, born England
  • Ethel Thompson, age 8, born England
  • Aked Thompson, age 4, born England

In the 1 June 1900 census, Arthur and Catherine Tattersfield were living in Moody County, South Dakota:

  • Arthur Tattersfield, born February 1843, farmer, England
  • Catherine Tattersfield, born August 1843, England
  • William Tattersfield, November 1869, England
  • Frank Tattersfield, born March 1871, England

About in early 1902, Aked returned to England.  In immigration records, on 19 February 1902, Mr. A. T. Thompson arrived at Philadelphia aboard the “S.S. Westernlands” from Liverpool.  He was returning from Heckmondwike to his farm in Flandreau, South Dakota.

Besides his farms, Aked late in life became a land agent.  He died away from home a few months after his trip to England, amidst no small amount of confusion caused by his use of the name Thompson.

At the time of death, it was reported in the Milwaukee Journal (19 September) that A. T. Thompson was found dead in the Great Northern Hotel in St Paul, and “was in employ of Burk Brothers of Spooner, Wis, land agents of Milwaukee and Omaha Railroads, as inspector of lands.”

The Saint Paul Globe, 19 September 1902
The Minneapolis Journal, 19 September 1902

The Sioux Falls Argus-Leader reported Aked’s funeral on 23 September 1902:

Catherine survived him by 24 years. On 9 October 1926, the Sioux Falls Journal reported Catherine’s death:

Headstone near several Tattersfield Family graves at Union Cemetery, Flandreau, Moody County, S. Dakota

Aked and Catherine’s 8 surviving children seemed to have remained close during their lives.

Richard Tattersfield

Richard (1866-1954) and Anna (1867-1966)

Richard, born Heckmondwike, Yorkshire, 9 September 1866, died 4 June 1954, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Richard attended Askern College in Doncaster, Yorkshire from about 1878-1880. Apparently, the school was not in business long.  In about 1886 he left Flandreau, South Dakota, enrolled in the University of Minnesota, and graduated from the College of Law in 1894.  While conducting his private law practice, Richard also was the Chairman of the City of Minneapolis Board of Charities and Corrections from 1906 to 1931 – a position in which he was the frequent target of public criticism.

In March 1890, Richard moved full time to Minnesota, and in November 1890 married Anna Cornelia DeLeeuw in Glencoe, Minnesota. Anna was born in Amsterdam, Holland in 1867 and emigrated with her family to Glencoe in about 1871.  Anna and Richard raised their 5 children in the Minneapolis area.  Richard died in his home on 4 June 1954; Anna stayed in her home and passed away on 2 April 1966 at the age of 99. Although he had spent most of his life in the US, Richard retained his British accent until the end.

William Tattersfield

William, born Heckmondwike, Yorkshire, 22 November 1869, died 8 Jul 1909, Rochester, Olmstead, Minnesota, USA

William’s first wife, Leona Hill, died in Denver, Colorado at the age of 22 of consumption.  He soon returned to Flandreau and in about 1901 married Clara Herbert, a fellow English immigrant from Derby.  William opened a photography studio in Pipestone, Minnesota. William and Clara had 3 surviving children, but William soon died young at what is the locale of today’s Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota in July 1909.  Clara went on the remarry and died in 1958 in Pennsylvania.

Frank Tattersfield

Frank, born Heckmondwike, Yorkshire, 4 March 1870, died 16 November 1959, Flandreau, South Dakota, USA

Frank spent his life farming in the Flandreau, South Dakota area.  He married the recently widowed neighbor Lillian Perkins Severance in 1908 and brought her teen-aged daughters into his household. Lillian passed way in 1943, and Frank followed her in 1959.

Julia Tattersfield

Julia, born Heckmondwike, Yorkshire, 26 August 1871, died 16 February 1952, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA

Julia also spent her American years in the Flandreau area.  She married John William Athey from Tennessee in 1894.  Together John and Julia farmed in the Flandreau area where they raised their family of three daughters and one son.  John died in 1944 and Julia passed away in 1952.

Martha Tattersfield

Martha, born Heckmondwike, Yorkshire, 14 January 1874, died 18 March 1960, Brookfield, Cook County, Illinois, USA.

Less is known about Martha.  She married an Irish immigrant and policeman, John Patrick Cahill, in 1898 and lived in Chicago area for the rest of their lives.  They had one son, Bernard, who became a Catholic Priest, left his vocation and later married.  Bernard and his wife Ruth Hudson had no children.

Bertha Tattersfield

Leon Taylor (1869-1931) and Bertha (1875-1949). (Photo kindly given by Claudia and Alan Eugene Beyer-gggrandson).

Bertha, born Heckmondwike, Yorkshire, 11 April 1875, died 1 May 1949, Moody Co, South Dakota, USA

Bertha (she was Bertha Thompson) married Leon Taylor on 27 November 1895 in Flandreau. They farmed throughout their lives and raised 5 sons and 5 daughters.  A large number of their many descendants still live in the area.  Leon passed away in 1931 at the age of 61, and Bertha died in 1949 at the age of 74.

Ethel Tattersfield

Ethel, born Heckmondwike, Yorkshire, 5 September 1877, died 1 November 1963 Brookings, South Dakota, USA.

Shortly after 1900, Ethel married Englishman Richard Thomas Herbert, the brother of William Tattersfield’s wife Clara (her sister-in-law).  Ethel and Richard remained in Moody County farming and had 3 sons. Richard died in 1941 and Ethel in 1963.

Aked Tattersfield

Aked, the youngest son, was born in Heckmondwike, Yorkshire, February 1881, and died in Flandreau, South Dakota of a farming accident at the age of 8.

The Legacy

When Catherine passed in 1926, it was reported that she had 26 Grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.  That number has grown to at least:

  • 28 great grandchildren
  • 57 great great grandchildren
  • 202 3rd great grandchildren
  • 190 4th great grandchildren (likely vastly uncounted)

Through the quirks of genetics, only a handful of Aked and Catherine’s descendants carry the Tattersfield surname.

Header Image: A bird’s eye view of Flandreau, S Dakota, as it appeared in 1883. Aked and Catherine’s properties would have been just out of this view in the upper-left direction, but there can be little doubt that they would have been very familiar with the stores, streets and properties shown here. More modern maps continue to show the land apportionment using the same section numbers as in the 1880s, and as recently as 1987 there was still a Thompson living on a section adjacent to Aked and Catherine’s land. Public Domain.