Jasper County, Iowa
Historical and Genealogical Data Exchange
It would be hard to find, within the borders of the locality of which this history treats, a man better beloved by his neighbors and his community than Beriah Battels, a sterling and honored pioneer, who, now that he has reached the advanced mile-posts of the years "where cool and long the shadows grow" before the mellow evening twilight, is serenely passing his last days in retirement in his cozy home in the city of Newton.His life since boyhood has been an exemplary one, and he is now nearing his four score years.Kindly in his nature, gentle in his judgments, broad in his sympathies, he has long been known in truth to be "a- friend in need and a friend indeed."Although the sunshine for him has been darkened during the past few years, owing to some affliction of the eyes, he bears his lot with rare fortitude and cheerfulness.His optimism of character, his gentleness and kindliness have made him ever a welcome guest in the homes of his fellow men and have endeared him to all who know him.
Mr. Battels was born on April 9, 1833, in Trumbull County, Ohio, the son of Beriah and Elizabeth (Fisher) Battels, both natives of Pennsylvania. His father was a veteran of the War of 1812, and his grandfather, who was also named Beriah, was a soldier in the Revolution.When the subject of this sketch was but a small boy he moved with his parents to Hancock County, Ohio, and there, in the district schools, he received his education.His father first engaged in the foundry business in Pennsylvania, later took up farming in Ohio, and in 1855 moved with his family to Iowa, locating in Hamilton County, where, as a pioneer, he engaged in farming until his death, in 1863, at the age of sixty-five years.Upon coming to this state the subject came on to Jasper County, in 1855, selecting a farm in Poweshiek Township, being among the early settlers there, with neighbors few and far between. Here he remained until the outbreak of the Civil War, when he proved his patriotism by enlisting, in September 1861, in the state service, and on October 21st following was sworn into the United States service at Camp McClellan, as a private in Company B, Thirteenth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, under the command of Capt. Thomas H. Miller and James Wilson, first lieutenant, the latter finally becoming a general.E. E. Dungan was second lieutenant.They were quartered at Jefferson barracks, near St. Louis, and at Jefferson City, Missouri, for the winter, and in March following they were ordered down the river, ostensibly bound for Savannah, but they were turned aside at Pittsburgh Landing and ordered into active service.During this engagement Mr. Battels had a portion of his hand shot away, which incapacitated him for further duty, and he was discharged at St. Louis on August 12, 1862, and sent home.
After his return from the army he bought one hundred and sixty acres of land in Malaka Township and, with the exception of two years, 1881 and 1882, when he owned and conducted a general store at Mitchellville, he remained upon this farm until he retired in 1890, in which year he removed to Newton, where he has ever since resided, owning here a commodious and pleasant home, neatly furnished and well kept.
Mr. Battels was the second child in a family of eight children, namely: Hiram Newton was a member of a company recruited at Homer, and he served in the Second Iowa Cavalry during the Civil War; he had a family of thirteen children, eight of whom were boys, who have now reached maturity and are successful business men.Mrs. Margaret E. Russell lives on a farm near Webster City, Iowa; Jane, who married George Stover, died in Kansas; Hiram, the second, died in Polk county, Iowa; Mrs. Mary Tucker lives in Pueblo, Colorado; Mrs. Amanda Bell, now a widow, lives at Brush Prairie, Washington; Mrs. Rhoda Brandon lives in Des Moines; Mrs. Ellen Abernathy lives in Arkansas City.
On February 22, 1853, Mr. Battels was united in marriage with Eliza J. Myers, daughter of John and Matilda (Groves) Myers.Not having any children of their own, they took a child to raise when only two months old, Charles F., the son of Lucetta Roberts, now Mrs. Albert B. Kitchel.They educated him and reared him to manhood, and although never legally adopted by Mr. Battels or his wife, he has always borne their name.
Mr. Battels' first wife died in 1882, whereupon he retired from the mercantile business, turning the same over to the young man he had reared. On April 11, 1883, he was married again, his last wife being known in her maidenhood as Mary E. Carper.Her father, a well-known farmer in Poweshiek Township, this County, died in 1864, when only thirty-four years old; his widow survived him many years, dying on her seventieth birthday in Seattle, Washington.There were five children in the family who grew to maturity, namely: Dr. P. D. Carper, a well-known physician of Seattle, Washington, died six years ago; T. E. Carper, now engaged in the transfer business in the last named city, is married and has two children; Mrs. Kathryn Hinton, now deceased, left one child, Mrs. Andrew Christensen, wife of one of Seattle's progressive business men; Mrs. Clara Kircher died at Columbus, Ohio; the two brothers, mentioned above, were the first two from this country to set foot into the Klondike, and they enjoyed the distinction of being the first to discover gold in paying quantities on Bonanza Creek.Their mining venture was very successful, the two having mined out several hundred thousand dollars worth of gold, and they finally disposed of their claim for two hundred thousand dollars.At his death Dr. P. D. Carper was the owner of the Goodlope mine of Nevada, which he left as a legacy to his brothers and sisters and it is still in the family.
The first coal discovered in Jasper county north of the river was on the farm belonging to Mrs. Battels mother, and there the little town of Oswald was builded. Mr. and Mrs. Battels are both members of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Newton, the former having been converted at the age of eighteen, and he has been a consistent member of that denomination ever since.He has been class leader in the church since he first moved to Newton; he has held most every office in the church, including that of steward, and as lay pastor he visits the homes of the afflicted and those who need his help and he is ever a welcome visitor, for he believes in scattering sunshine about him as he goes through life.Mrs. Battels has been a teacher in the church for a number of years and was a charter member of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Colfax.When but fifteen years old she and her sister were baptized in the Skunk River at Colfax, being the first to receive baptism in the river there, and united with the Christian Church, in which faith their mother had been baptized by Alexander Campbell at Massillon.
Mr. and Mrs. Battels have no children.He is a member of the Masonic order at Newton, also belongs to the Garret Post, Grand Army of the Republic, of which he has been past commander and chaplain.In 1862, after his return from the army, Mr. Battels was commissioned captain of the Home Guards by Governor Stone of Iowa.Politically, he is a Republican.Mrs. Battels is a member of the Eastern Star, also the Woman's Relief Corps, having been president of the latter for three years, also served as chaplain. Personally, Mr. Battels is a very pleasant gentleman and he and his wife have long been prominent in local affairs, especially in a social way, and among the most influential in club and church matters.
The Past and Present of Jasper County, Gen. James B. Weaver, Editor-In-Chief, 1912 B.F. Bowen Co., Indianapolis, IN, p.519.