The Early Life of Herbert J. Bevers

Herbert James Bevers’ life begins in the county of York, in central northern England, an area where it is likely that his ancestors had lived for hundreds of years.  Some information can be gleaned about his childhood from the Bible of his parents, Alfred Cockin Bevers and Mary Naomi Bridges.  Herbert was born on March 8, 1869 in Sheepridge, which is in Huddersfield Parish.  Three children had been born to his parents before Herbert’s birth, but one sister had died when she was 16 days old.  So, when Herbert was born, his brother George, who had been born in Hull, York County, was four years-old, and his sister Ada, who was born in Bridlington, York County, was one and a half years-old.  Two months after his birth, Herbert was baptized on May 16, 1869.1

List of “Children’s Names” in the Bible of Alfred C. and Mary N. Bevers

Child’s Name    Parents’ Names    Mother’s Parents’ Names     Profession

Baptismal record of Herbert James Bevers, dated May 16, 1869

From the lists of births and deaths in the Bevers’ Bible we can follow where Herbert’s family was living during his childhood.  While living in Sheepridge, a sister and a set of twin boys were born, but none of them survived their first year of life.  The baby girl and one of the twins died while the family was in Sheepridge, but the second twin died in Barnsley.  It appears that the Bevers family had lived in Sheepridge for about four years.  The 1871 Census of England was taken while Herbert’s family was living in Sheepridge.  At that time, Herbert’s father was a “Collector and Canvasser for Prudential Insurance Company.”2

After moving to Barnsley, a town about 20 miles southeast of Sheepridge, another sister, Gertrude, was born when Herbert was three and a half years old.  Then about two and a half years later they would be in Sheepridge again for the birth of another sister, Agnes (but called by her middle name Maud).  At that time (April 1875) Herbert’s brother George was nearly 10 years-old, his sister Ada was 7 ½ years-old, Herbert was six years-old and Gertrude was about 2 ½ years-old.

The family made a longer move sometime before May 1877, for another son was born in Liverpool, on the west coast of England.  This son lived for about 14 months, dying in Bootle, a town three miles north of Liverpool.  In 1881, when the Census of England was taken, the Bevers family was located in Kirkdale, a ward of Liverpool.3  Herbert’s father was a “tailors cutter” and his brother George at the age of fifteen was a “pupil teacher.”  Herbert and his sisters were “scholars.”  At the end of 1881, another brother was born and the family was living in Bootle.  They were still living there nine months later when the baby died.  At that point (August 1882), George was 17 years-old, Ada nearly 15 years-old, Herbert was 13 ½ years-old, Gertrude 10 years-old and Maud was seven and a half years-old.

During the next several years, all the members of Herbert’s family would immigrate to the United States.  Resources give varying years for their arrivals in the USA, but I will report the years as they were recorded in the U. S. censuses.  Herbert’s father immigrated to the United States first, in 1883,4 leaving his family presumably in Bootle (Alfred’s daughter Maud wrote a letter to her father dated September 29, 1883 which identified her address as 13 Orlando Street.  An Internet search for this address locates it in Bootle, not Kirkdale nor Liverpool).  Then in 1884 Herbert’s mother and sisters immigrated5, joining Alfred in South Dakota.  Herbert would have been 15 years-old at that time.  It is not known why he stayed in England.  According to the 1940 U. S. Census, the highest grade that Herbert had completed was 6th grade,6 so he probably was no longer attending school.  His brother George immigrated in 1885,7  but Herbert didn’t immigrate until about 1888.8

When George Bevers immigrated to the USA, he settled in Philadelphia.  The first time there is an entry for him in the Philadelphia City directory is in 1886.9  He lived there nearly all of the rest of his life.  One of Herbert’s grandsons believes that Herbert spent some time in Philadelphia,10 but Herbert’s name cannot be found in the city directory.  Another source states that Herbert went to Virginia for a time.11  I have found no documentation to corroborate this either.  After Herbert traveled to the USA, the first thing that is known for certain is that Herbert was a resident of Phipps Township in Codington County, South Dakota when he married Lena Huppler in 1892.12  But the story of their life together will have to wait for another time.

  1. “West Yorkshire, Non-Conformist Records, 1646-1985” (Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011), http://www.Ancestry.com.
  2. “1871 England Census” [Class: RG10; Piece: 4372; Folio: 86; Page: 19; GSU roll: 848087]. In the repository of Ancestry.com (Provo, Utah, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2004): https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7619/WRYRG10_4369_4372-0637/25690148?backurl=https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/18041304/person/620842544/facts/citation/145258692549/edit/record.
  3. “1881 England Census” [Class: RG11; Piece: 3684; Folio: 133; Page: 23; GSU roll: 1341882]. In the repository of Ancestry.com (Provo, Utah, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2004): https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7572/LANRG11_3682_3686-0678/9137172?backurl=https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/18041304/person/620842544/facts/citation/140137474899/edit/record#?imageId=LANRG11_3682_3686-0679.
  4. “United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RGL-SS6B?cc=1727033&wc=QZZH-HGB%3A133638201%2C135920101%2C135948601%2C1589092018 : 24 June 2017), South Dakota > Kingsbury > De Smet Ward 2 > ED 257 > image 6 of 8; citing NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  5. “United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch, South Dakota > Kingsbury > De Smet Ward 2.
  6. “United States Census, 1940,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9M1-58J8?cc=2000219&wc=QZFM-WH1%3A791611401%2C793270701%2C793367301%2C951353501 : accessed 14 May 2020), South Dakota > Codington > Watertown City, Watertown, Ward 3 > 15-24A Watertown City Ward 3 bounded by (N) Kemp Av; (E) Maple; (S) 4th Av S; (W) ward line; also Barton Hospital, Codington County Jail, Watertown City Jail > image 17 of 42; citing Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 – 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012.
  7. “United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DZV6-7M?cc=1325221&wc=9B7K-NQX%3A1030550501%2C1036056801%2C1036357801 : 5 August 2014), Pennsylvania > Philadelphia > ED 976 Philadelphia city Ward 38 > image 28 of 33; citing NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  8. “United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-68DY-PH?cc=1325221&wc=9B7H-9LQ%3A1031648401%2C1033119401%2C1033119402 : 5 August 2014), South Dakota > Roberts > ED 282 Agency, One Road & Spring Grove Townships > image 4 of 11; citing NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  9. James Gopsill’s Sons, Publishers, Gopsill’s Philadelphia Directory (Philadelphia: James Gopsill’s Sons, Publishers, 1886): 182.
  10. M. E. Bevers, Willis Bevers Family History Slideshow (Unpublished, n. d.): 6.
  11. “Herbert James Bevers Family,” In The First 100 Years in Codington County, South Dakota, 1879-1979, by Codington County History Book Committee (Watertown, South Dakota: Watertown Public Opinion Print, 1979): 116.
  12. “Application for Marriage License of Herbert J. Beavers” (Circuit Court, Codington County, South Dakota, November 23, 1982).

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