Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

Alice V. Bateman

MRS. ALICE V. BATEMAN, of Meade, is one of the real pioneer women of Western Kansas, and deserves all the praise that can be bestowed upon a member of her sex.

She began her residence in Clark County in 1884 and the following year moved into Meade County and homesteaded the northwest quarter of section 26, township 33, range 26. She was at that time a young widow with three small children, and it was to provide them with a home and means of education and home comforts that she took upon herself the heavy responsibilities of ranching and homesteading on the frontier. In Clark County she pre-empted a claim on the old Tuttle trail. Cattlemen passing remarked that she was the first woman they had seen in fifty miles. In Meade County she built a soddy of one room, a very rude habitation, though floored and plastered and roofed with boards and dirt. She drove into this region with a team and wagon. While occupying the new sod house in Clark County a three-day rain set in, and water came through the roof so abundantly that they had to abandon the house and return to the covered wagon. It was a situation that tried to the utmost the courage and resourcefulness of Mrs. Bateman. The rain interrupted the regular routine of household cooking and before it ceased the children became violently hungry. Eventually a camp fire was made and preparations were begun for a meal. In order to sustain the courage of her children Mrs. Bateman told them the experience of Doctor Tanner, who fasted for thirty days and at the end of that time broke his fast with watermelon. The story had an unlooked for turn, since immediately it was ended her children began to cry "we want watermelon, mother."

On her claim and little ranch in Meade County Mrs. Bateman lived while her children were growing up. Her chief source of reliance was forty head of cows which she had brought from Burnett County, Texas, where she had lived from 1874 to 1883. Besides the profits coming from the increase of this herd she also made some money by teaching winter school for several terms, beginning this work even while she was in Clark County.

Mrs. Bateman is a native of Champaign County, Illinois, and her maiden name was Alice V. Rees. As a child she was taken to Stony County, Iowa, and lived there for eight years. Her father, Ira H. Rees, was born in Guernsey County, Ohio, May 26, 1825, a son of William Rees, a native of Wales. Ira H. Rees was a Baptist minister. In 1863 he brought his family to Kansas, establishing a home in Greenwood County and later moving to Chautauqua County, where he and his wife spent their last years near Grenola. He served in the Kansas Militia during the war. The death of this good man and early Kansas settler occurred March 6, 1889. His widow, who survived until 1914, was before her marriage Lydia Carter. She was born in Warren County, Kentucky August 3, 1828, daughter of John Carter, who afterwards lived in Bloomington, Indiana. Lydia Rees as a young woman taught school. She reared a large family and saw them grow up and fill honorable stations in the world. These children were: Cary, Mrs. Bateman, Charles E., Rosa B., Ira C., Lizzie and Spencer, all of whom are still living.

Mrs. Bateman was accompanied to Meade County by her three brothers and a sister. The sister was Miss Rosa B. Rees, who was a teacher and became well known over the county. Her brothers who came with her were Cary, now in Florida, Charles E., of Cash, Arkansas, and Ira C., of Fowler, Kansas.

Mrs. Bateman received only such educational advantages as the frontier schools supplied her, and most of it was gained in country communities. When little more than a girl she did some work as a teacher, thus preparing her for a work which she resumed when she returned to Kansas. On March 9, 1875, she married in Burnett County, Texas, William S. Bateman. Mr. Bateman was a native of Wisconsin, spent some years in Minnesota and from there went to Texas. He was accidentally killed while turkey hunting on December 26, 1880, leaving Mrs. Bateman with three children hardly more than infants. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Bateman are Charles H., Worth A. and Grace. The son Charles was a stockman until he volunteered for service in the World war, being in Company K of the Sixteenth Infantry, and was sent to the front with the American Expeditionary Forces, reaching the war zone in November, 1917. The son Worth is a stockman at Miles City, Montana. Grace married John R. Painter, of Meade County, their children, grandchildren of Mrs. Bateman, being named Robert Bateman, William Hackworth, Edith Alice, John Fred and Gwendolin.

After rearing her sons to manhood and after they had left home Mrs. Bateman moved from the farm and established her residence at Meade. While in the country she took an active part in administering the rural schools of district No. 26 and was a member of its board for many years. She was also interested in the work of the church and the social life as it developed in that community and witnessed the organization of three separate congregations by an early-day Congregational minister of that rural region. She is a member of the Baptist Church. When given an opportunity to vote for President Mrs. Bateman appreciated this importance and was the first woman to present herself at the polls on election morning. Her vote was cast for the republican candidate. Having had to manage her affairs alone, she perhaps more than most Kansas women appreciated the value of the right of expressing choice of men and measures at the elections, and has always advocated that other women take the same attitude.