by Maud T. Bateman
Alfred Bateman was born in the town of Orsett, England on 8 December 1825. He was the son of James Bateman and Charlotte Dalliday. In the year of 1848, Alfred Bateman and Esther Elizabeth Wiffin were married. She was born 17 July 1830 at Stafford, England. She was the daughter of James Wiffin and Rosmand Green.
News of a new religion was coming to England at the time. In their own home they accepted the [messages of the] Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints missionaries, despite the fact that Esther's parents were opposed to the Mormon Church and warned her that she would never be welcome to enter their home again. They chose to become members of what they felt was the true church on April 1, 1854 and were baptized by [Apostle] Charles W. Penrose.
The uppermost thought in Alfred's mind was to move his family to Zion. By the year of 1872, they had a family of ten living children. They had saved enough money to send their eldest son, George Bateman, his wife and baby to America. He was twenty-two years old. The following year they sent their fourth child, a son who was eighteen to join his brother George at Evanston, Wyoming.
In the year of 1874 Alfred and his wife Esther Elizabeth with six of their children sailed on the old Wyoming from Liverpool to America. They had sad hearts when it became necessary to leave their two oldest daughters who were married in England. They spent three weeks on the ocean.
Alfred spent the next four years as stable boss at Evanston, Wyoming where horses and mules used for freighting were cared for.
In January 1878 they left by team for Bloomington, Idaho. He spent his time raising garden produce and freighting it by team to Evanston.
Esther, his wife, died 7 February 1904 [in] Bloomington at the age of 70. Alfred died December 8, 1928 [in] Bloomington on his 103rd birthday. He was one of the oldest pioneers. The children born to them were: George, Eliza, Esther, Alfred James, James Alfred, Charlotte Wiffen, Elizabeth, Herbert, Alice Elizabeth, and Mary Ann Rosamond.
(History of Bear Lake Pioneers, pp. 62-63)
Bear Lake County lost its oldest resident Sunday, December 9, 1928 when Alfred Bateman, 103 years of age, passed to the great beyond, but one day following his birthday, December 8, 1825. He retained a clear memory to the end and fell into a sleep without any great deal of previous illness, thus closing the last chapter of not only the County's oldest citizen but perhaps the oldest member in the L.D.S. Church. He was born before the introduction of the steam railroad into building and developing of this valley, and many other developments of great not have developed since his birth.
Like a mighty oak in a forest weathering the storms of ages, so had this distinguished pioneer been preserved against life's adversities until the day of his death. He commanded the respect and enjoyed the friendship of all, and he leaves to the present generation an example that is indeed worthy of emulation. He has left the impress of his life upon the history of the valley. Mr. Bateman was born in Essex, England and embraced the faith of the Mormon Church when a lad. His life has been varied and interesting. He crossed the Atlantic on the steamship Wyoming, and came west when it was a vast unbroken country of mountain and plain, of hill, and valley, and its lands were largely uncultivated. The deceased took up his abode within its borders, locating first at Evanston, Wyoming, and later at Bloomington, where he contributed largely towards this county. Matches and coal oil lamps were unknown.
In Wyoming he was engaged in mining, being employed by the Union Pacific in the old Wyoming mine, one of the oldest coal mines in that state. He assisted in opening mine number four.
In England he worked in chalk mines, cradled wheat, as modern farming machinery was not even dreamed of at that time, and trapped mole rats, a rodent similar to squirrels in this country. He operated a trapping line a distance of twenty miles for various farms. Following these various occupations, he made a substantial living while still a native of England.
He was married to Miss Esther Wiffin, who preceded him in death by twenty-eight years. Their direct descendants number four hundred and fifty. The deceased has seen five generations and his eldest son, who is still living, is seventy-eight years old. An idea of his advanced age is best obtained when history made during his life is brought to mind. Fulton's steam boat had made its first trip up the Hudson River but ten years before his birth. All the country west of the Missouri River was considered worthless; there was not a single established city in all this part of the country. It was regarded by senators and statesman as "worth but a pinch of snuff." Jim Bridger had trapped in Bear Lake but a year before and this valley was not settled until he was 38 years old.
Impressive and large funeral services were conducted yesterday afternoon from the Bloomington Ward chapel. Bishop June Hulme presided.
Church incidents during the life of Alfred Bateman: two years after his birth Joseph Smith was to received the golden plates; two years before his birth he had been shown where they were; four years later, the Book of Mormon was translated; five years later the Church was organized; he was nineteen years old when the Prophet was martyred; he was twenty-two years old when the saints first went into the Salt Lake Valley; he was sixty-three years old when Brigham Young died; and thirty-eight when the Civil War closed; he was twenty-eight years old when the construction of the L.D.S. Temple was begun at Salt Lake City, Utah.
(Paris Post, December 1928)