Volume Twenty-Four

No. 2


Spring 1983





Date:   Sunday, May 29, 1983

Time:   7:00 p.m.Civic Center (upstairs)

Place: 327 W. Wilson St.


Guest Speaker:   Marilyn Robinson


Ms. Robinson, a local authority; will present an introduction to genealogy.  


Why trace your ancestors? Where do you begin? Where can you find information? What do you do with the information you have found? Ms. Robinson will display some "family trees" she has researched and will answer questions, following her presentation. Plan to attend the spring meeting of the Society and discover the exciting world of family history. (Sketch courtesy of John A. Gustafson, titled "Two Old Cottonwoods, Main St. Road West of Batavia, Ill.”)   


INSIDE:   Special feature “The Burtons and Batavia, Illinois,” excerpts from a genealogy compiled by Joseph R. Burton.




Did you see our Newton Wagon as one of the parade entries?  Our thanks to Batavian D. Sauter who made it all possible.  He located a truck and trailer and, with the help of Chuck Kuhn from the Park District, unlocked the wagon from its storage shed and took her for a drive for all of Batavia to admire.  The wagon, purchased by the Society last February, is in such perfect condition, that our experts advised against pulling it with a team of horses until she could be properly “greased and oiled.”  So Dan, whose hobbies include wagons and windmills, has offered to get her “in shape” for next year’s parade. 



Our own Historical Society’s birthday souvenirs are now on sale at the Depot Museum for $3.50 each.  The heavy metal keychain is a replica of the Depot with “BATAVIA 1833-1983” imprinted on it. The tags have an antiqued gold finish, and are very attractive and practical. They are great gifts, too. To order keychains by mail, please add 75¢ to cover postage.



The Batavia Sesquicentennial Historical Housewalk to benefit Riverwalk Project is just days away. The $10 donation includes a tour of 6 historic homes plus lunch and crafts demonstration.  The date is May 25, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the First National Bank of Batavia, Batavia Bank, Batavia Savings and Loan, and the Batavia Park District Office.




When you next visit the Depot, be sure great Curator Carla Hill in her newly decorated office.  Carpeting and cork have replaced the floor boards and bare walls for a very professional and attractive-looking work area.  The outer work rooms, where our Friday morning volunteers continue to catalog, sort, and store, are a delight to be a part of.  We thank Carla and the volunteers for the behind-the-scenes work they have all done in making our upstairs area a model of organization.



Our insurance company has advised us that a current inventory of artifacts is needed.  A pictorial inventory was started several years ago, but never completed.  We need a camera person and someone with appraisal skills to help place values on our holdings.  If you can meet one or both of these requirements, please contact Carla Hill (879-1800) or Penny Tracy (879-7429).




Two more houses have been plaqued!

The proud owners are:


Mr. & Mrs. Mullinix (1865)

318 N. Van Buren

Mr. & Mrs. Conde (845)

210 N. Washington



The Historical Society is proud to announce the printing of a 3-page guide called “Researching Your Home.” The how-to-date-your-house in a step-by-step manner brochure is free and a must for all used home owners.  Available at the Depot or by mail.




"The Burtons and Batavia, Illinois," excerpts from a genealogy compiled by Joseph R. Burton with a quote from Arthur M. Burton. In 1975, Joseph R. Burton, now residing in Geneva, presented the Historical Society with a copy of his "family tree" which he compiled, at the request of his four children. The charm of this document lies in the personal tone and approach and lies in the accuracy, clarity, and completeness. He begins with a quote from Arthur M. Burton, who was then 85 years old:“There are many things I wish I knew about the Burtons; but when one is young, one does not think of those things.”On the next page is a list called “Cast of Ancestors” which connects family names with relationships. 


The history begins with Joseph Burton (1817-1896) who left Yorkshire, England in 1852 and eventually settled in Batavia. “He opened a store to cater to the native residents, the French Canadians, who were imported to clear the timber for the railroad right of way and for the Indian tribes whose campsites were nearby . . . the population of Batavia and its surrounding township in 1850 was only 892." The first Burton store, made of limestone, still stands on East Wilson Street.  


"In 1853, he built a limestone home on the Wilson St. hill across from the present Jr. High School". It, too, still stands with a row of small stores across the front.  Joseph Burton later opened a second store on E. Wilson.Another Burton shop in Batavia was owned by George Burton (1839-1913), Joseph's oldest child, and located at the corner of Batavia Avenue and Main Street.  George and his wife lived in a brick Greek Revival house that stood where Parkway Press now stands.  Mary Burton (1850-1946), Joseph's daughter, opened yet another store, and sold notions and dry goods.  Her store is now the north half of Johnson's Drug Store. Members of the Burton family lived, at one time, on the northeast corner of Batavia Avenue and Houston Street (replaced by a service station), on Union Avenue across from the A. F. Allens, and at 201 N. Batavia Avenue (a stucco house built by Roy Burton (1875-1928) in the early 1900's and currently for sale). Batavia's Mayor John Van Burton, who served the city in the early 1920's, was a grandson of the first Burton described above.


We will have this wonderful document, "The Burtons and Batavia, Illinois" on display at the spring meeting (May 29). It is complete with photographs, footnotes, diagrams, and acknowledgements, and may inspire you to begin researching your family's history. In his letter to the Gustafsons which accompanied the genealogy, the author wrote "Certainly there are items (here) which can be used to substantiate the records of the Batavia Historical Society."  


The last entry is dated April 14, 1975: "Yesterday, the Batavia Historical Society opened the doors of its building for the first time. Hundreds toured the premises . . . . Just inside the main entrance is a mannequin wearing Ann Benson Burton's wedding dress and bonnet -- a gift from your Mother and me.  Grandmother's picture and a short biography complete the display."