William M. Batson was the 4th born child in a family of 7 children. Born to the parents William Batson Sr. and Nancy Skinner (daughter of Benjamin Skinner and Charity Davis) in White County, Illinois.


Children of Benjamin & Charity Skinner


Childs Name

Date of Birth


October 4th, 1819



Mary Jane

March 24th, 1823

William M

October 30th, 1825


October 14th, 1829


August 27th, 1833

Nancy Jane

August 9th, 1839


William left the family homestead in about 1850. I find him first in Pottawattamie County Iowa in 1852 and then Marshall County, Iowa by 1854.


Catherine Powers was the 2nd born in a family of 9 children. She was born in Illinois to parents James Z. Powers and Sarah Mann Powers (daughter of Michael & Elizabeth Mann).

        Children of Michael & Elizabeth Mann


Childs Name

Date of Birth


June 1832


Nov. 2nd, 1833

Silas d.

Nov. 11th, 1834

Francis A.


John L.

Sept. 5th, 1835




Aug. 17th, 1840

Jesse Kelsey

May 31st, 1842

William G.



James Powers died May 1st 1845 and shortly thereafter Sarah Powers moved her family to Marshall County, Iowa.


William and Catherine met and married in 1852.  I believe they married in Marshall County, but unfortunately records are not available to verify this. William & Catherine lived in Marshall County until some time between January of 1866 and January 1868. 7 of their children were born in Marshall County. (**Note: June 4th, 1900 census listing shows Catherine to have had 12 children born to her and 9 living. James Riley died in 1898, but no record is found of the other 2 children. If in fact the census is correct, which I believe it is, they most likely were born and died in Marshall County.)



The family moved from Iowa to the Green Township of Worth County, Missouri. As you can see from the list below, Eliza was the first child born in Missouri. Shortly upon their arrival William purchased 400.74 acres along the West Fork of the Grand River in Section 5 and an additional 40 acres in Section 8. This land was prime bottomland. Rich tillable soil, ample water, perfect for farming.


William set to work and built the family home up near the main road.  He supplied some of the funding as well as donated a portion of the 40 acres in Section 8 to construct the “Batson School” which stayed in operation until the early 1940’s when budget cuts required consolidation of the outlying schools in the district. A gravel road was cut through his land to allow access to the school, and a bridge built to cross the river (the portion of the 40 acres William donated for the school was on the far side of the river). The road was called Batson Avenue, in a “tongue-in-cheek” sort of way as it was only a gravel road, but the name stuck, and is still the name used today. Of course the bridge crossing the river was called the “Batson Bridge” It was damaged in the mid 1930’s due to a change in course of the river and was removed. I recently received photos of William’s land as it is today, still prime producing farmland. I will scan and add the photos soon!



Children of William Batson & Catherine Powers


Childs Name

Date of Birth


Sarah Elizabeth

January 20th, 1854


John Benjamin

July 1856


Mary Jane

December 8th, 1859


James Riley

August 31,st 1860


Cleracy Catherine

February 16th, 1862


William A.

January 20th, 1864


Margaret Ellen

January, 1866


Eliza Ann

January 19th, 1868


Charles Edward

April 15th, 1871


Effie A.

June, 1873




As time went on and William & Catherine’s children grew to adulthood. Most were married at the family home.  They started having families of their own and stayed and built their homes along Batson Avenue and farmed the land. Son William A. bought a 40-acre parcel adjoining his fathers land and built his home there. Eliza Ann is the only child to leave the area completely after her marriage. She lived in Nebraska and then Kansas.  Cleracy lived in Nebraska and then Oklahoma for a while (family history says she and her husband were part of the “Great Oklahoma Land Run”, but this has not yet been proven), but still maintained a home on the homestead. After her fathers death she lived permanently in Oklahoma. Sarah Elizabeth moved away to Kansas in her early years of her marriage, but moved back to the homestead. As the children came and went, some of the homes became vacant for a short while, but were then occupied by extended family members. Sarah Elizabeth’s in-laws, Joseph and Rachel [Dickerson] Robison and also her brother-in-law, John Logan Robison and his family, lived on the Batson land for several years.


William had also purchased 3 lots in the town of Parnell, Worth County, Missouri. I don’t know if they already had homes on them at the time of purchase or if they were built later. By 1900 William and Catherine had moved into town and were living in a home on one of the city lots. William did not sell his acreage; instead he passed it down to his children before his death.


William and Catherine were active members of the community, April 13th, 1899 the Nodaway Democrat Newspaper (pg. 24) noted “William Batson, age 73 voted Democratic in the election”. They were successful in farming and business and equally so in the raising of their children and were a close-knit family.


Catherine Powers Batson died July 22nd, 1902 and was buried in the Rose Hill Parnell Cemetery next to her son James Riley who had died July 13th, 1898. Almost two years after Catherine’s death son William A. died on January 28th, 1904. He too was buried in the family plot. April 7th, 1913 William M. Batson died of “Chronic Bright’s Disease” and was laid to rest next to Catherine.


William’s probate shows him to be a fairly wealthy man, but I think the life he lived and the closeness of his family made him a much richer man than what is reflected in his financial papers. Even today, though the school and bridge are gone, the road still gravel and the land sold out of from the family,  (a few of the houses are still standing, but in bad repair), local residents still call the area next to the West Fork of the Grand River “Batson Bottoms” and still drive down Batson Avenue to get to the river. Most are not aware of the history, the man or the family but the name still lives on today.


For additional information of this family, please see listings below.


Family Photo Index

Wills & Probate Index

Cemetery Index


Birth, Marriage & Death Records

Census Index

Family History Reports





Home Page  |  E-Mail  |  Guest Book  |  What’s New

Family Tree |  In-depth Bio’s  |  Documents  |   Local History  |  Photos |  Postcards

 Truth & Lore  |  Research Tips  |   Favorite Links  |  Bit ‘O Humor  |   Entry Page


All content © Copyright of Connie Spindel
Site created March 20th, 2001.