JOHN B. AND ALBERTA RORK BATSON
From 'Fanning the Embers', published 1971, Range Rider Reps, Miles City, Montana
By Mrs. Jake (Alice) Bircher
Mr. and Mrs. J. B. Batson and son-in-law Jake Bircher
John Batson, son of a Baptist minister, was born and raised in Minnesota, attended Minneapolis schools including the University and taught school several years. He was married to Alberta Rork there in 1902. She was born in a log cabin in Manitoba but moved to Minnesota when 11. About 1910 Mr. Batson entered the Indian Service and served some 33 or 34 years, first as a teacher, then as an office clerk. They moved to Busby, Mont., the fall of 1913 and he was principal of the boarding school. The following spring they took up a homestead near Kirby and spent about five summers there, Mr. Batson continued working at Busby and the Agency office in Lame Deer. The first summer the family lived in a tent and built a dugout for their 12 chickens. As the homestead was 18 miles from Busby they moved out in a wagon. The day after they first arrived, May 11, 1914, they woke up to find four inches of snow on the tent and three children broken out with chicken pox. Mr. Batson stayed over one day to get in some wood, then had to go back to school. In 1918, due to Mrs. Batson's poor health and the children's need of more schooling they left the homestead, though they owned the land for many years. Mr. Batson served on several more reservations and Mrs. Batson also worked for several years as office clerk and substitute teacher. She was an accomplished pianist and her fine piano followed the family by wagon and truck on many of the moves. She frequently gave music lessons. After Mr. Batson's retirement they made their home on a small farm near Joliet. He passed away in 1960 at age 83 and Mrs. Batson in 1967 at 84. They had four children. Harriet, widow of Forsyth attorney Jim McIntosh, makes her home in a nursing home in Boise, Ida.; Mrs. Jake (Alice) Bircher; Florence teaches English at Montana State University at Bozeman and is married to Dr. Adrien Hess, of the faculty. The only son, Dr. H. C. Batson teaches at the University of Illinois Medical School in Chicago. He will retire this year and is building a home in Green Valley, Ariz. The Batsons had six grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.