Coming from a long line of New England ancestors, Luther Batten was born August 28, 1848, on the Eau Claire River, in Wisconsin, a son of John Batten, Jr. His grandfather, John Batten, Sr., a native of Massachusetts, moved to Vermont when young and there spent the rest of his life, dying at the age of seventy-three. His wife, in maidenhood Hannah Banfield, spent her sixty years of life in the Green Mountain State.

John Batten, Jr., was born in Orange County, Vt., September 8, 1805. He served a seven-year apprenticeship as a carriage-maker in Springfield, then followed the trade in various parts of the country, finally going to Maryland, where he was connected with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad as an employee. He subsequently assisted in building a canal along the Potomac River as far as Hagerstown. He then located in Philadelphia and was engaged in transporting coal from Mauch Chunk to that city. Resuming his trade he went to New York City and Buffalo, thence to Canada, where he embarked in the lumber business at Port Kent. His next move was to Michigan, settling at Monroe, then a straggling hamlet. In 1839, three years after his marriage, he moved to Galena, 111., and from there to Grand Rapids, Wis., where as a pioneer dealer and operator he ran the first sawmill. He later went to Stevens Point, remaining there until 1870, when he went to Gar Creek, Lincoln County, Nebr., where he took up a tract of raw land and improved a farm. In 1879 he sold out and bought a tract in Lancaster County, where he lived until his death in 1891.

John Batten, Jr., was married in 1836, in Monroe, Mich., to Sophia Allen, a native of New York State. She died in Wisconsin at the age of eighty-six. Her father, Samuel Allen, was a cousin of Col. Ethan Allen of Revolutionary fame. She bore her husband seven children, one of whom, Hannah, born in Galena, Ill., died in childhood. The others grew to maturity: Mrs. Mary Chapin died in Nebraska in 1903; William lived in Wisconsin; Clarissa died in Wisconsin; Luther; John, of Waupaca; and Mrs. Adaline Dunbar, also of Wisconsin.

Luther Batten attended the schools of Wisconsin, then went with the family to Nebraska in 1870. In 1872 he homesteaded eighty acres on Gar Creek, and when he sold out he bought 160 acres in Oak Precinct, Lancaster County, where he settled with his family. He became owner of 290 acres, which he broke and improved into a very productive farm and where he carried on farming for many years, also raising stock and operating a threshing machine for about a quarter of a century, first using horse-power, but later using steam power. He was prominent and popular both as a citizen and a farmer and wielded a wide influence. In 1894 he came to California with his family and bought twenty-four acres near Dos Palos, where he started an orchard and developed eighteen acres to apples, pears, peaches, apricots, walnuts, figs, etc. He had thirty different kinds of trees on one acre for experimental purposes. He owned sixty acres in all and had an interest in the local telephone company and was manager of the G. A. R. park of ten acres.

On April 19, 1874, in Lancaster County, Luther Batten was married to Helen Hermance, born in Scio, New York, a daughter of J. L. Hermance. Her grandfather, John S. Hermance, born in 1806, died in Cuba, N. Y., in 1885. His wife was Marion Bristol, daughter of a clergyman. J. L. Hermance was born in 1832 in Rensselaer County, N. Y., and was a farmer. He served in Company C, Sixty-seventh N. Y. Volunteer Infantry, and was on detached duty at the Douglas Hospital, Washington, until July, 1862, when he was discharged on account of ill health. When he had recovered he reenlisted in Company A, 188th N. Y. Infantry, in which he served as color bearer for the Fifth Army Corps. He was mustered out after the Grand Review at Washington and returned home to take up civil life. In 1872 he went to Nebraska and took up a homestead north of Lincoln and improved a farm. He served as superintendent of the poor farm for six years. He later set out a fine orchard and improved a good farm five miles north of Lincoln, and eventually became a wealthy man. He was married March 28, 1852, to Esther Hawkins, also a native of New York. They had two children who grew up: Ernest Hermance and Mrs. Batten. The union of Mr. and Mrs. Batten was blessed with eight children: Ernest LeRoy died December 8, 1904; Carrie Addie died in 1901; Winnie died in 1903; and Elmer died in 1906, all dying or being buried on their twenty-first birthdays. Three other children died in infancy. Fay is the only survivor. Mr. Batten was a Republican and fraternally belonged to the Maccabees. Mrs. Batten was a member of the Methodist Church, South. Mr. Batten died on August 29, 1911, and Mrs. Batten passed away on October 28, 1922.

History of Merced County California With a Biographical Review OF The Leading Men and Woman of the County Who Have Been Identified with Its Growth and Development from Early Days to the Present

Author: John Outcalt (1925) 

Luther Batten, page: 611