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Monday, November 24, 2008

George Battershall

The name Battershall may be familiar to folks in central Lake County, since the Battershalls had general stores in Hainesville and Grayslake.

George Battershall was born in Columbia County, New York in 1837. He came to Lake County with his parents in 1854 by rail to Chicago and then "drove out" in a wagon to Justus Bangs’s residence in Wauconda. (The railways did not extend into Lake County until 1855). Battershall worked for the Marble Nursery grafting trees before settling in Hainesville.

George, and his wife Magdelena, lived in this house along Route 120. A portion of this residence was built by Elijah Haines for his mother Charlotte Haines Bowen, probably in the early 1840s. It was Elijah Haines who platted Hainesville and ensured its incorporation in 1847, making it the first village in Lake County to do so.

Battershall worked as a farmer, and also operated a general store in Hainesville (shown at right). In 1900, Fay Hamilton, a fourteen-year old boy from Wisconsin worked as a clerk at Battershall's and boarded with the family.

Battershall was elected the president of Hainesville, and also its postmaster from Nov 2, 1885 - April 26, 1891, and again in 1894 to 1912. The post office was located at the general store.

It is believed that George opened his second general store in Grayslake in the 1890s. The bustling Grayslake with its train depot made it a prime location for business. Unlike tiny Hainesville which by the turn of the 20th century was already stagnating. This photo shows George at about 80 years of age, standing in front of his old store in Hainesville.

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