Daniel Taterfield, 18th Century Pennsylvania

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.

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 speculative 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 in American record. 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.

Header Image: The statue of William Penn looks out over Philadephia.  Although this statue would not have existed when Daniel Taterfield purportedly visited Pennsylvania, the image captures some of the pioneering spirit that bought emigrants to this extraordinary city in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  PhotosForTheFuture / Shutterstock.com