Maj. Silas Battey was born in Providence County, R. I., July 10, 1815, to Sampson and Abigail (Phillips) Battey. The father was a native of Warwick, R. I., and of an old family of that State.
The life of Maj. Battey has been quite varied. He was reared on a farm, but soon after starting for himself became interested in an iron foundry, and there learned the business of moulder, and later years followed his trade in Providence, Bristol and Pawtucket, until coming to Bureau County in 1854, where he purchased a farm, upon which he lived until the fall of 1862, when, having been elected Sheriff of the county, he moved to Princeton. After a term of two years as Sheriff, he, in the early part of 1865, recruited a company of soldiers for the war, and was mustered into the service as its Captain in February of that year. They were assigned to the One Hundred and Fifty-first Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, as Company H, whereupon Captain Battey was almost immediately commissioned Major of the regiment. During most of his service the regiment was stationed at different points in Georgia. They were mustered out in January, 1866, at Columbus, Ga. Maj. Battey also had four sons in the army: F. A., who enlisted on the 12th day of September, 1861, as a Private in Company F, Fifty-seventh Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and passing through all the successive grades, except that of Lieutenant, became Colonel of his regiment, one of the youngest of that grade in the army. He served through the entire war, and participated in all the battles of his regiment, being twice wounded at the battle of Shiloh, and once a prisoner, captured at Dalton, Ga. In command of his regiment he was with Sherman on his famous “march to the sea.” After the close of the war he was commissioned First Lieutenant in the Regular Army, and served as such until he resigned, October 31, 1870. Marshall enlisted in the same regiment and company with F. A. in the fall of 1861, but was afterward promoted to a Lieutenancy, then to a Captaincy in the One Hundred and Eleventh United States Colored Infantry, serving through the entire war, and participating in some of the most sanguinary battles of the West. George and Alonzo each served about six months toward the close of the war, the former as Orderly Sergeant.
After retirement from the army Maj. Battey moved to a farm about one mile west of Sheffield, which he had purchased, and upon which are extensive coal deposits. For a number of years he varied his farm pursuits with coal mining, operating at times quite largely. His valuable farm consist of about 500 acres, well improved. In March, 1884, he moved to Sheffield, retiring from active life.
Maj. Battey has ever taken an active interest in the political matters of the day, and since the Republican party was organized has been identified with its principals. While still in his native State he was a participant in the Constitutional troubles of Rhode Island, and was on the side of the people. He also served as Deputy Sheriff of Providence County for some time, and besides being Sheriff of this county has held various township offices.
November 9, 1833, he was united in marriage to Miss Mercy Bennett, who was born November 23, 1814, in the same township as her husband, and the daughter of George and Martha (Wilcox) Bennett, both natives of Providence County, R. I. Mr. and Mrs. Battey are members of the Unitarian Church of Sheffield. Mrs. Battey is a woman of sterling qualities, her life and energies having been dedicated to the good of those about her. To the interest of her large family she has been especially devoted, and to her husband she has been a helpmate indeed, a reliance in the weary strife of life. They are the parents of fifteen children, viz: Sanford W., born January 8, 1835; Martha M., March 12, 1836; George, July 4, 1837; Frederick A., November 21, 1838; Cryean, August 27, 1840; Bernard, November 17, 1841; Marshall, February 26, 1843; Silas Alonzo, October 19, 1844; Betsey M., July 7, 1846;, died in Providence, R. I., December 27, 1852; Linnaeus A., February 28, 1849, died in Providence, R. I. May 25, 1853; Linnaeus A, the 2d, May 14, 1853; Edson T., September 19, 1854, died April 28, 1862; Jared, April 29, 1856, died April 5, 1882; Herbert O., October 26, 1857, died November 3, 1882, and Elmer E., born June 11, 1861. Sanford is in the mercantile business at Creston, Iowa; Martha is the wife of C. W. Abbott, of Bureau County; George is in Portsmouth, Iowa, dealing in grain, etc; F. A. is an extensive publisher in Chicago, Ill.; Cyrean is a teacher in Bureau County; Barnard if railroad agent, etc., in Dexter, Iowa; Marshall is in business at Sabetha, Kan.; S. Alonzo, a farmer in Nickerson, Kan.; Linnaeus A. is a farmer in Bureau County; and Elmer E. is with Col. Battey, of Chicago.
Source: History of Bureau County, Illinois, H. C. Bradsby, Editor. World Publishing Company Chicago 1885