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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



MARTIN BATTERTON, one of the earliest settlers of McLean County, came here as early as January, 1834. The journey from his home in Madison County, Ky., was made on horseback. He rode up through the State of Indiana and then westward into Sangamon County, Ill., afterward coming into McLean County and here joining his mother's brothers who had preceded him. He at once purchased a claim in Lawndale Township which he began to improve, and has been a resident of this vicinity since that time, making for himself a most honorable record as an honest and upright man and a useful member of the community.

Mr. Batterton was born in Madison County, Ky., Sept. 29, 1807. His father, Abraham Batterton, of Virginia, was born in about 1775, and died in Kentucky in 1858, at the advanced age of eighty-three years. His grandfather, Henry Batterton, was of English birth and parentage and emigrated with his brother to America, but after their arrival became separated and the brother was lost to his relatives.

Abraham Batterton was a soldier in the War of 1812, having volunteered under Gen. Hopkins, and was sent to the frontier to look after the Indians who were creating disturbances. When he went to Kentucky he was a young man still living with his parents, and he was there married to Miss Susanna Hainlain, of Madison County. Her father was George Hainlain, who was of German ancestry. After marriage they settled on the homestead of his father in Madison County, buying out the interest of the other heirs, and continued to reside there the remainder of his life, dying in 1858. He left a wife and seven children, all of whom lived to mature years and all remained in Kentucky except one brother, Curtis, who settled in McLean County, Ill., and of whom a sketch is given in this volume.

Martin Batterton passed the days of his boyhood and youth in his native State, and received a common-school education. He was a natural mechanic, and without serving an apprenticeship became carpenter, cooper and shoemaker, so that when he moved to McLean County he made his own boots and shoes, and after settling down upon his homestead saved many a dollar by his skill in the use of tools.

After locating upon his claim as above stated Mr. Batterton, in October, 1836, was united in marriage with Miss America, the daughter of Samuel Taylor, of Knox County, to which he had removed from Boone County, Ky. in about 1835. Mr. Batterton, when he came to this county, had about $400 in cash and in due time he added to his landed possessions until he is now the owner of 280 acres of choice land, finely improved and under a good state of cultivation. The farm residence is a shapely and substantial structure and the barn and out-buildings of first-class description. The homestead invariably attracts the attention of the passing traveler and marks one of the attractive spots of McLean County.

Mr. and Mrs. B. became the parents of three children Ira A., Mary E. and Zerilda. After the war Ira edited a paper at Vicksburg, Miss., and it was reported was accidentally shot, although there are grave doubts in regard to the matter; he was a stanch Union man and enlisted for a term of three years in Co. K, 8th Ill. Vol. Inf., in which he served until being mustered out, in April, 1863, to take the rank of Adjutant in another regiment. Owing to some misunderstanding, however, he found the place occupied by another man and, returning to his regiment remained with his comrades, sharing their fortunes and the vicissitudes of war until after the siege and capture of Vicksburg. He afterward remained in that city as a private citizen, and clerked in the office with which he subsequently became connected as editor. After the capture of the city by Union troops the Government took possession of the printing press and during the excitement of that occasion Ira Batterton was killed as above stated, in July, 1865, and his father removed his remains to this vicinity for burial. Mary E. Batterton became the wife of Thomas B. Kilgore, a resident of Lawndale Township; Zerilda J. married A. J. Moon, of Lexington.

Mrs. America T. Batterton departed this life in March, 1883, and since her death our subject has made his home part of the time on the farm and part of the time with his daughter, Mrs. Moon. He still looks after the affairs of the old homestead, although eighty years old. He enjoys remarkably good health and is active for one of his years. In earlier years he was quite prominent in the affairs of the township, and served as Assessor and Collector. He always took a deep interest in its prosperity and welfare. He has been a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church for over forty years; his wife also belonged to that church, having made a profession of religion when a girl. In politics Mr. B. is an ardent Republican.

In the portrait of this venerable and revered pioneer of McLean County, many of the old residents with their children will recognize the features of one of those dauntless and courageous characters who assisted to make permanent in this region the institutions which were inaugurated in this country by the sturdy spirits of 76, whose children have just cause for revering their memory and their deeds, and helping to cherish and preserve the history of their lives. There sprang upon the soil of Kentucky many of the resolute men, who in early life looked toward the Northwestern Territory as a desirable field for their future operations and who, coming here, have played no unimportant part in its prosperity, both as agriculturists and financiers. Among these Martin Batterton occupies a conspicuous and honorable position, and no better monument to his virtues can be erected than the history of his life, although briefly given, which may be handed down to his children who will peruse it and in turn teach the lesson of his worth to their descendants.

Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 682. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards.


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