Ralph McKindry Bateman


The following material was submitted by Sharon Kisley, sak67205@cox.net

Ralph McKindry Bateman died ╩9 December 1991

This is an article written by Mary Alice Trimmell-Bateman for ╩"Wilson County People of the Southwind" ╩

(Copied as it was printed)

Ralph had taught four years in Cherokee County before coming to Wilson County, Kansas to teach and coach baseball in Coyville for five years. The fall of 1937 found Ralph beginning 34 years of leadership in the Fredonia schools. ╩He served as teacher, coach and principal at Lincoln Grade and Junior High and Mound school. ╩He was principal at the senior high 12 years and the new junior high for six years. ╩He was honored in 1986 when the Board of Education of Fredonia District #484 resolved on February 10th that the gymnasium at the Fredonia High School be named Bateman Gymnasium in appreciation of his years of public service to the Fredonia school community.

Ralph was born near Hollow, Oklahoma on February 4, 1908, to William N. and Martha E. Barnett Bateman. ╩He attended grade school in Neosho, Missouri and Columbus, Kansas. ╩He graduated from Columbus High School with a Normal Training Certificate, starting him on his teaching career. He had classes at Pittsburg State University during summer terms to earn both his B.S. and M.S. degrees.

Ralph's maternal grandfather, George McKindry Barnett, a carpenter, was a homesteader in the "run" into Oklahoma. ╩He built houses in Perry, Oklahoma. In a dispute over boundaries, he was shot but a watch in his pocket deflected the bullet and prevented serious injury. ╩Ralph's paternal grandfather, Lorenzo Bateman, from Illinois, homesteaded one-half section of land in Bates County, Missouri, eight miles from Butler, and improved three farms for his sons. ╩His paternal grandmother, Caroline Stone Bateman had a sister, Martha Bell Stone on the ill-fated Titanic.

As an avid hunter, fisher and gardener, Ralph freely shared his love of the great outdoors with family and friends. ╩Many summers were spent working with young people in a recreation program which he organized and served before and after it was supported by public funds. ╩He enjoyed watching the development of the boys and girls. ╩Ralph's enthusiastic manner was easily caught by others in work or play.

He joined the local Rotary International Club in 1952 and was honored in 1985 when he was named a Phil Harris Fellow. ╩This is given in appreciation of tangible significant assistance for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations between the peoples of the world.

Ralph served on the executive board of the Kansas State High School Activities Association. ╩He was elected to their Hall of Fame on January 20, 1978, after being nominated by the Fredonia school system.

It was while teaching in Coyville that he met and married Mary Alice Trimmell on May 22, 1936. ╩They celebrated their first 50 years of marriage in 1986 with a reception hosted by their two children and spouses and five grandchildren. ╩Their children Erma Rae (Mrs. Barry) Beeson of Naperville, Illinois and Dr. Kenneth Kay Bateman of Pittsburg, Kansas. ╩Erma has been a teacher in junior and senior high schools in four different states. ╩Ken taught and coached track at Lamar, Missouri and has been Director of Alumni Relations at Pittsburg State University since 1965. ╩Erma and Barry Beeson's children are: James Beeson of Dallas, Texas and Ann Elizabeth Beeson of Austin, Texas. ╩Ken and Barbara Monsour Bateman's children are: Kebra Ann, Ralph Shaun and Tess Kristeen of Pittsburg.

Mary Alice, the third child of Rollie S. and Elizabeth A. Spillman Trimmell was born December 28, 1912, on a farm northeast of Fredonia. Her older brothers were Herald A. and Ralph S. Trimmell. ╩The Spillmans and Trimmells were early farmers in the Coyville area. ╩Mary Alice's paternal grandparents, Anslum and Sarah Dougherty Trimmell were subjects in the 1902 edition of The History of Neosho and Wilson counties. Anslum, a twin, born November 10, 1852 in Vermilion County Illinois was a dealer in livestock as his father John J. Trimmell was before him. John J. had driven cattle to early day Chicago. ╩If there was no market for them on foot, he butchered and sold the meat for sometimes as low as three cents a pound. ╩The Trimmells in Illinois were active in election campaigns and governmental activities after 1845. ╩The family's interest and politics paralleled Abraham Lincoln's political career. He was away from home often defending cases in circuit ╩court during the 1840's and 1850's. ╩The Trimmells enjoyed him as an overnight guest from time to time.

Mary Alice's maternal grandfather, Solomon J. Spillman came to this area in 1870 from Yadkin County, North Carolina where he was born March 14, 1854. ╩He married Mary Jane Nelson daughter of Jacob and Sally Ann Mullnix Nelson in this area on March 14, 1879.

Mary Alice grew up in Coyville, attended grade and high school there and graduated from high school in 1931. ╩In those days if you passed an examination given in each county, you earned a teaching certificate. ╩She did this and was hired to teach Hartford, a rural school in Elk County, but had to pass another examination there. ╩She taught at Hartford for four years. ╩ After teaching one year at Farmington, a rural school in Wilson County, she married Ralph Bateman. ╩Five years later, after the birth of their two children, she taught one year at North Clark another rural school. ╩She ended her teaching career of 42 years in the Lincoln, Mound and Paulen elementary schools in Fredonia.

Compiling college hours in summer sessions, extension classes, correspondence courses and night and Saturday classes on campus at Pittsburg State University, she earned both B.S. and M.S. degrees. During her college work she was invited, and joined Kappa Delta Pi, an honor society in education and Phi Delta Kappa, a professional education fraternity.

She has served as president of the Fredonia Teachers Association, Business and Professional Womens Clubs, Moderne Study Club, Guild Group of the United Methodist Women, Beta Epsilon Chapter (Wilson County wide) of Delta Kappa Gamma, an international society of women educators and the 1910 Club, a part of the General Federation of Women's Club.

Ralph and Mary Alice have both been active members of the United Methodist Church and local, state and national teacher's association. They were both nominated as a Kansas Master Teacher by the Fredonia Unified District #484 Teachers Association.

Tom & Carolyn Ward
Columbus, KS

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