Looking Back: Family looking into its Danville connection

February 08, 2004|BRENDA S. EDWARDS

The Battertons came to Kentucky just after the end of the Revolutionary War. Some came to Danville and others lived in the Millersburg community, according to Richard B. Baldauf of Edglewood, Fla., who has been researching his family for a number of years.

William W. Batterton, born April 14, 1802, in Virginia, died July 12, 1857, in Danville. He was the son of Joseph W. and Sarah Batterton. William's parents died when he was a small child, and his aunt, Betsey Hockaday, who lived in Millersburg, raised him. His brother, Joseph, also was reared by his aunt Betsey, sister of Sarah Batterton.

William married Isabella Hope June 31, 1825. She was a daughter of Michael Hope and Martha "Patsy" Sneed. Michael was born in 1773 in England, and Martha was born May 8, 1785.

Baldauf is trying to find out why the younger William Batterton lived in Danville rather than in Millersburg.


"William bought his first house, in town, in 1832," according to Calvin Fackler's Early Days in Danville. William was 30 years old at the time. Baldauf thinks William may have lived with his father-in-law, Michael Hope, a local stone cutter. Hope is said to have been a builder of London Bridge and a "fine mill for Thomas Jefferson," according to family letters.

Michael Hope named one of his daughters, Cynthiana, the same as the town near Millersburg.

William appeared to be financially comfortable. He bought the Clemens Tavern in Danville from James Porter in 1846 and replaced it with a three-story brick hotel known as the Batterton House. In 1855, he sold the hotel to William M. Fields, who owned it until the 1860 fire destroyed the house.

The Batterton home is located at 402 W. Broadway. It is a Federal style, but has been greatly altered since that time.

After he sold the house, William moved to a "beautiful new country home on Hustonville Road, just south of town. The country place was and is quite a mansion," according to Fackler.

Little else is known about the early Battertons. However, research shows that a Betsey Hockaday raised William W. Batterton, who was orphaned as a child.

Betsey Hockaday was a daughter of Edmund Hockaday and Martha Otey. She married Col. William Irvine, son of David and Jane Kyle Irvine. Another Betsey, daughter of Samuel Fox and Rhoda Pickering, married James Hockaday.

Baldauf said either one could have been Aunty Betsey, who reared William Batterton. He said he has no proof of which Betsey it was, nor any connection to the Battertons. However, he concludes there is a connection with the Sneed family since Martha Sneed, wife of Michael Hope, was the mother-in-law of William W. Batterton.

Another connection with the Battertons is Gill's Tavern, which was in Danville prior to 1789. A model of that tavern was for many years displayed on the lawn of Isabella Batterton, which suggests that there may have been a connection between her and the Mildred Gill who married Isabella's cousin, Alexander Sneed. However, there has been no connection made between Mildred Gill and John Gill.

Baldauf has not found a Joseph Batterton among sources he has. This may suggest that there is a mistake in the given name of William Batterton's father. However, Baldauf thinks this is unlikely as Cousin Frances Trader has in one place indicated a brother Joseph for William, who himself named a son, Joseph. One genealogist has suggested that William Batterton, born 1784, the son of Amor and Sarah Harris Batterton of Lexington, may have been Joseph William, whom they are trying to find.

Baldauf thinks that part of the family may have known the man as William and some may have called him Joseph. However, the birth dates do not match.

Records also show that Amor and Sarah Harris Batterton had the following children: Benjamin, born 1767, and married in 1790 to Sus Guthrie; Abraham, 1775; Amor, 1772; Jeremiah; Moses, who married in 1799 to Ann Carlooe; Sarah; Henry, born 1770; Sanford, who married in 1810 to Eliza J. Price; and William, born in 1784.

While Baldauf continues his search for more information on William W. Batterton of Danville, he also has information on the Fox, Hockaday and Irvine families that had connections to the Danville area.

Anyone who wants to share information with Baldauf can contact him via e-mail at

Central Kentucky News Articles