There is much in the life record of the subject of this sketch worthy of
commendation and admiration, and his public career is especially notable.
Like many other brainy, energetic young men who have left their impress upon
the magnificent development of this part of the great Prairie state, he did
not wait for a specially brilliant opening. Indeed, he could not wait, for
his natural industry would not have permitted him to do so. In his early
youth he gave evidence of the possession of traits of character which have
made his life exceptionally successful and he is today admittedly one of
Clay county's foremost and best known citizens.
John A. Bateman was born in Richland county, Illinois, September 20, 1863, the son of Thomas Bateman, who was a native of Queenstown, Ireland, where a sister, aunt of our subject, still resides. He came to America when he was eighteen years old, first settling in Ohio, near Cincinnati, where he lived about three years, after which he came to Richland county, Illinois, locating on a farm, having lived in Richland county two years, when he moved near Sailor Springs, Clay county, where he lived until his death, June 24, 1879. He was a man of much sterling worth and many of his praiseworthy traits seem to have been inherited by our subject. Grandfather Michael Bateman was a native of Ireland, where he lived and died. Our subject's mother was Mary A. Mitchell, whose people were natives of North Carolina. She was born near Bedford, Indiana, and is still living at Sailor Springs, Clay county, Illinois. She is a fine old lady of beautiful Christian character.
The following children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Bateman: Lucinda Jane, died in infancy; John A., the subject of this sketch; William, deceased; Charles, a well-to-do farmer at Sailor Springs, this county; Susanna, deceased; George P., living at Sailor Springs; Abraham, deceased; Robert, deceased.
Mr. Bateman spent his early life on the farm and received his primary education in the schools of Sailor Springs. He later attended Hayward College at Fairfield, Illinois, for two or three terms. He also attended the Teachers' Normal of Clay county, having made a splendid record for scholarship in all these institutions. Not being contented to leave school before he received a high education, he borrowed money of old Uncle Jim McKinney, and attended the Mitchell College, at Mitchell, Indiana; completing the course.
His father dying when he was fifteen years old, Mr. Bateman became the head and support of the family, and although the struggle was hard, it merely tended to develop the sterner side of his nature and spurred him to achievements that he otherwise would never have known. After leaving school he taught for five years in the country with great success, becoming known as one of the leading educators of the county and his services were in great demand. After his experience in teaching he went into the real estate and insurance business at Sailor Springs, also buying and shipping wool and grain. He also opened the first furniture store in that town and while there he was elected the first Mayor of the town, having become one of the leading men of the community and who did a great deal for the town's development. This was in 1893. He remained there for ten years, making a success of whatever business he engaged in.
In 1898 Mr. Bateman was elected County Clerk on the Republican ticket, living at the time in Sailor Springs. On June 22, 1899, he moved to Louisville. He was elected to this office by twenty-four majority. He was counted out, but was finally seated by the Supreme Court. He was re-nominated in 1902, and re-elected by a majority of three hundred and fifteen. Having made such a splendid record he was re-nominated in 1906 and re-elected by a majority of four hundred and twenty-seven in the face of a strong fight. The Democratic party took their regular nominee off the ticket and placed the strongest man they could in the race against him. He is now (1908) serving his third term, and is regarded by everyone concerned as an exceptionally good officer, being careful and painstaking, courteous to all and giving his attention to the duties of the same with the same keen discernment that characterizes his own business affairs; in fact, he is said by his many friends to be the best County Clerk Clay ever had.
Mr. and Mrs. Bateman are the parents of four children, namely: Dolores, who at this writing is fifteen years old; Chloe Irene is twelve years old; Mark Hanna is deceased, having died October 6, 1908; the fourth child died in infancy.
Mr. Bateman was very much attached to his baby son, Mark Hanna, whose untimely death at the age of nearly eleven years greatly grieved him. The little boy was the pride of his father's heart and upon him he lavished his affection and care of an indulgent father.
Fraternally Mr. Bateman is a member of the Masonic Order, the Knights of Pythias, and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows; also the Modern Woodmen, Ben Hur, the American Home Circle and the Rebekahs. He is a member of the Christian church and a liberal supporter of the same.
Our subject is a purely self-made man, winning success by overcoming many obstacles, and he deserves the high esteem in which he is universally held, and is one of Clay county's most popular men, claiming a legion of friends in all parts of the county and throughout this district. He has a modern and elegantly furnished home, a good driving horse and many other conveniences. His home place consists of five acres. Mr. Bateman enjoys the fullest measure of public confidence, because of the honorable business methods he has ever followed, and he is one of the most successful, prominent and honored men in this portion of Illinois.
Extracted 27 Apr 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay & Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 91-93.