James G. Batterson, the son of a stone mason, was born in Bloomfield and spent his early years in New Preston. Circumstances did not allow him to attend college. Instead, he moved to Ithaca to be a printer’s apprentice. At the same time, he mastered the course of study prescribed in colleges.
At the end of his apprenticeship, Batterson moved back to Connecticut. He worked as a stonecutter in his father’s marble yard. He passed a year in the study of law, but circumstances again required he return to stonecutting.
New England Granite Works
In 1846, Batterson established himself in Hartford as proprietor of a stoneyard. He produced cemetery monuments and was an importer and dealer in stone. He was also a building contractor. After several name changes, the company became known as New England Granite Works. The business operated until 1926.
To prepare for the post-Civil War demand for monuments, Batterson brought George Keller and Carl Conrads to Hartford. Keller worked as Batterson’s designer until he opened his own architecture office in 1872. Conrads worked as Batterson’s house sculptor from 1866 to 1903.
To control access to raw materials, Batterson purchased granite quarries in Rhode Island and New Hampshire. The Westerly, Rhode Island quarries provided granite for monumental work. And the Concord, New Hampshire quarries were used for construction projects.
Batterson had stonecutting shops in both Hartford and Westerly. Batterson was also active in New York City, establishing a steam marble works there in 1860.
New England Granite Works was the leading supplier of stone for Civil War monuments. Examples include some of the largest memorials at Antietam and Gettysburg. Cedar Hill Cemetery and many other prominent American cemeteries also boast Batterson monuments.
In 1864, Batterson founded Travelers Insurance Company. He managed the company for more than a third of its first century.
To learn more about James Batterson, check out our Monumental Man video here.
Section 10, Lot 12
Hartford Courant. “James G. Batterson: Death Came at Early Hour,” September 18, 1901
Insurance Hall of Fame. Accessed at http://www.insurancehalloffame.org/laureateprofile.php?laureate=96
RootsWeb.com. James Goodwin Batterson. Accessed at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ctharbio/Batterson_James_Goodwin.html
James Goodwin Batterson, Public Domain