The following evidence is definitive:
- His name was Thomas Yates and in 1819 he lived at 14 York Street, Bolton as evident from his letter to Col. Fletcher on 5th October, 1819. (HO 42/196 folio 76).
- In the letter to Col. Fletcher on 5th October, 1819 he says he has a wife and that she formerly lived at Raikes. (Raikes was situated in Great Lever.)
- He was secretary of the Bolton Union.
- He was present at Peterloo and was on the hustings at the time the cavalry rode down the crowd. (HO 42/197 folio 533).
- The 1821 Bolton Census lists a “Yates, Thomas. York Street.”
- In 1822 “Thomas Yates of York Street, Great Bolton, Weaver and Thomas Thorpe of little Bolton, Weaver” were sureties for Joseph Ramsden of Great Bolton, Rope Maker. (QSB/1/1833/Apr/pt4/174).
- The 1829 Bolton Directory lists a “Yates, Thos. weaver, 14 York St.”
- The 1831 Bolton Census lists a “Yates, Thomas. 14, York Street.”
- In 1833 “Thomas Yates, 14 York Street, Bolton in le Moors, Lancashire” provided a character witness for John Horrocks, 37, Manufacturer of muslins then keeper of a retail beer house. (HO 17/95/11). See dreadful notes on John Horrocks below.
- In 1833 “Thomas Yates, 14 York Street, Great Bolton, Weaver and John Hampson of Anderton, Calico Printer” were sureties for “Thomas Hampson of Horwich, Labourer to answer a Bill of Indictment for Felony.” (QSB/1/1833/Apr/pt4/174).
- In 1833 “Thomas Yates, 14 York Street, weaver” was signatory to a petition to Lord Melbourne for leniency toward John McQuirk who was convicted for Riot during the Bolton Election. It appears from the handwriting that Yates had written the correspondence. The request first went to Magistrate James Norris who referred them to Lord Melbourne as it was beyond his power to assist. (HO 17/99/99).
Bolton Map, 1824 (York Street circled)
The following is conjecture but I’m fairly confident this is the same man:
It’s possible that the Thomas Yates, cotton weaver, (age approx. 40) who appears in the 1841 Census living at York Street is the same person? If this is the same person he was married to a Grace Thomasson in 1817. Grace Thomasson was the daughter of James Thomasson (husbandman) and Betty Hunter. James Thomasson (husbandman) died at Great Lever in 1818 and left a will. (Lancashire Wills 734A/23). It’s possible that this will is the one Thomas Yates mentions in his letter to Col. Ralph Fletcher on the 5th October, 1819?
“…If you wish to see me there could not be a more convenient place than Mr Watkins as My Wife comes from Raikes and they would think if seen that I was after this Will as Mr JJ Watkins Signed and there is some difference about it…”
Update: I’ve viewed the Will of James Thomason which was witnessed and signed by James Watkins and also Thomas Gardner Horridge, who from further research, owned the bleach works at Raikes. There was also an error in the name of one of the executors. The will listed the name as George Grime but when the will was proved there was a note stating the actual name as George Graham. This could be the difference that Thomas Yates mentions in his letter to Col. Fletcher. James Thomason did not leave any land but only possessions and money. I’m guessing he was farming at Raikes on the land owned by Thomas Gardner Horridge. James Thomason’s children are mentioned in the will – Ephraim, Alfred, John, Grace, Esther. For some reason Grace was singled out and received 10 pounds less than the other children. So based on this evidence it’s looking highly likely that the Thomas Yates appearing in the 1841 Census at York Street is ‘Alpha’.
Click here to see Will of James Thomason. (You will need a logon to familysearch.org. Don’t worry, it’s free.)
The Thomas Yates and Grace Thomason from the 1841 Census had at least two children:
- James Yates, born 1818, Bolton. (Father’s occupation weaver.)
- Mary Thomason Yates, born 1821, Bolton. (Father’s occupation weaver.)
His wife Grace Yates died in 1841 from typhus. His daughter Mary Thomason Marsh (Yates) died from typhus a month earlier.
“On Tuesday, the 15th inst, Grace, wife of Thomas Yates, of York-street, being the sixth person out of the same home, since the 18th of May, of Typhus Fever. Her resignation to the Divine will, and her anxiety to depart and be with Christ was highly conspicuous; and the kind attention of an affectionate son and husband, who never left her for eight successive nights and days, was highly creditable to the disconsolate relatives.” (Bolton Chronicle of 26 June, 1841.)
After 1841 we lose track of Thomas Yates aka Alpha.
In the 1841 census, living with Alpha there was also a child named Grace Yates, aged 10. I don’t believe this was Alpha’s child but maybe a relative? Further research reveals her to be the illegitimate daughter of Elizabeth Yates. It appears Grace had a sister named Frances Yates who was also illegitimate.
There was also a boy in the 1841 census named Thomas Yates, aged 14 who also seems to have been a relative of Alphas.
“Among the persons transported from Salford, were there any who were keepers of beer-shops ?—Yes; John Horrocks was committed from Bolton, with a woman of the name of Mary Miller, a prostitute; he kept a beer-shop, and adjoining his house he had another house belonging to him, which was a brothel; the beer-shop was a kind of decoy to the unwary country people; when they had got them in, they were frequently robbed; they got a man who was apparently half-witted; Miller held him up to the wall, being a powerful woman, whilst Horrocks rifled his pockets; they were both tried and convicted of this felony, and transported for 14 years. Horrocks, who went by the name of Beau Horrocks, had been a tradesman, and commenced keeping a beer-shop when the new Act passed; was a married man, his wife living with him, and carrying on both the beer-shop and the brothel; he had a daughter about 12 or 13 years of age; his daughter was prostituted in his own house, in the room under which he gave a feast, out of the money received for this iniquity, and made a boast of what was transacting in the room above. I have found in several instances children brought in, who have been given to habits of drunkenness and prostitution, where it was almost impossible to conceive that any person in the shape of a man could have so degraded himself as to have made them the instruments of their lust…”
(Evidence of the Rev. Charles Frederick Bagshaw. Page 462. taken from “Evidence on Drunkenness [taken in June and July, 1834] presented to the House of Commons, by the Select Committee appointed … to inquire into this subject, etc.“)
Note: It’s possible that the wife of John Horrocks was Jane Yates. They were married in 1827 at Bolton. Could this be Alpha’s sister?