George Gordon Battle, a New York lawyer, is a representative of the Battle family of North Carolina, one of the most distinguished and numerous families of the state.
(I) The American ancestor and founder of the family in this country was John Battle, of Pasquotank county, North Carolina, who was a planter on the Pasquotank river as early as 1663. Very little is known regarding the events of his career, or regarding his origin. He was probably from Ireland.
(II) William Battle, son of John Battle, was born in Pasquotank county, North Carolina, in 1682, early left an orphan and reared by his guardian in Nansemond county, Virginia, and resided there for the greater part of his life, esteemed and honored in the community. By his marriage to Sarah Hunter he was the father of a number of children, among whom was Elisha, of whom further.
(III) Elisha Battle, son of William Battle, was born in Nansemond county, Virginia, January 9, 1724, died in Edgecombe county, North Carolina, March 6, 1799. He resided for the greater part of his life in Edgecombe county, North Carolina, removing to Tar river in 1748. He was active and prominent in the public affairs of North Carolina, representing his county in the legislature for twenty consecutive years; was state senator during the revolutionary war, and afterwards, until 1787, with the exception of two years, was a member of the provincial congress which met at Halifax, and which formed the state convention at Hillsboro, in 1788, which met to deliberate on the ratification of the constitution of the United States, and was often chairman of the committee of the whole; was an active factor in drawing up the constitution of North Carolina, and for a number of years served in the capacity of justice of the peace and also as chairman of the court of common pleas and quarter sessions. About the year 1764 he joined the Baptist church and continued a consistent and zealous member of this organization until his death, serving for twenty-eight years as deacon. He married, in 1742, Elizabeth Sumner, granddaughter of William Sumner, a planter in Virginia, whose grandson, Jethro Sumner, was a brigadier-general in the continental army under General Washington. Children of Mr. and Mrs. Battle: 1. Sarah, married (first) Jacob Hilliard, (second) Henry Horn Jr.; had a daughter Elizabeth, who married William Port. 2. John, died in 1796; married Frances Davis. 3. Elizabeth, married Josiah Crudup, third son, Josiah Crudup, was a member of congress from 1821 to 1823. 4. Elisha, born in 1749; married Sarah, daughter of Benjamin Bunn. 5. William, born November 8, 1751, died in 1781; married, about 1774, Charity Horn. 6. Jacob, of whom further. 7. Jethro, born 1756, died in 1813; married Martha Lane. 8. Dempsey, born 1758, died 1815; married, in 1784, Jane Andrews.
(IV) Jacob Battle, son of Elisha Battle, was born in North Carolina, April 22, 1754, died April 1, 1814. He married, July 21, 1785, Mrs. Penelope Edwards, nee Langley. Children: James Smith, of whom further. Lucy; Marmaduke; Thomas; Elizabeth, married, in 1814, Dr. Cullen Battle.
(V) James Smith Battle, son of Jacob Battle, was born June 25, 1786, died July 18, 1854. He married (first) January, 1812, Mrs. Temperance Fort, daughter of Jethro Battle (Tempy Battle), and (second) December 3, 1812, Sally Harriet Westray, daughter of Samuel Westray. Children: Marmaduke; William S., married Elizabeth Dancy; Turner Westray, of whom further; Cornelia, married John S. Dancy; Mary Eliza, married (first) William F. Dancy, (second) Dr. N. J. Pittmann; Martha, married Kemp P. Battle; Penelope, married W. R. Cox.
(VI) Turner Westray Battle, son of James Smith Battle, was born in Nashville, North Carolina, February 6, 1827. He was the owner of "Cool Spring Plantation," Edgecombe county, North Carolina, and was a man of prominence and influence in the community. He married, May 1, 1850, Lavina Bassett Daniel, daughter of Judge Joseph J. Daniel, who was for sixteen years judge of the superior court of North Carolina, and later, for the same period, was a judge of the supreme court of that state. He was a distinguished jurist, and was held in high esteem throughout the state. He was a member of the Daniel family of North Carolina and Virginia, representatives of which have been noted in the professions and in commerce, and have filled many important offices in the nation and state. Among the children of Mr. and Mrs. Battle was George Gordon, of whom further.
(VII) George Gordon Battle, son of Turner Westray and Lavinia Bassett (Daniel) Battle, was born at the home of his parents, "Cool Spring Plantation," Edgecombe county, North Carolina, October 26, 1868. He received his education at Hanover Academy, in Virginia; at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina; at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, and Columbia University, New York City. He was graduated at the University of Virginia in 1839 with the degree of Master of Arts. While at the University of Virginia, Mr. Battle served as the editor of the "College Magazine." In January, 1890, he began his course of study in law at the Columbia University Law School, acting at the same time as law clerk, and in 1891 was admitted to the bar. On the recommendation of the faculty of Columbia University Law School, he was appointed as an assistant district attorney by De Lancey Nicoll, then district attorney of the county of New York, in 1892, and he served in that capacity until 1897. His work consisted in the presentation of cases to the grand jury, the drawing of indictments, the trial of cases and the preparation and argument of appeals. He participated in the Carlisle Harris case and other notable prosecutions. No indictment drawn by him was ever successfully attacked on demurrer. After the termination of the term of Mr. Nicoll, he was reappointed by Colonel John R. Fellows, and on the death of Colonel Fellows the latter was succeeded by Hon. William M. K. Olcott, and Mr. Battle resigned, although Mr. Olcott requested him to continue in office.
He formed a partnership with his associate, Hon. Bartow S. Weeks, also an assistant district attorney and afterwards a justice of the supreme court of New York, under the name of Weeks & Battle. Mr. H. Snowden Marshall, afterwards United States district attorney, soon became a member of the firm, which continued in practice for some years under the name of Weeks, Battle & Marshall, and among the notable cases conducted by this firm was the case of Roland B. Molineaux, who was on trial for alleged murder. Judge Weeks withdrew from the firm, which continued as Battle & Marshall until 1911, when United States Senator James A. O'Gorman, upon his retirement from the bench of the supreme court and election to the United States senate, became a member of the firm. The firm continued as O'Gorman, Battle & Marshall until Mr. Marshall became United States district attorney and withdrew. Mr. Almuth C. Vandiver then became a partner, and the firm still continues as O'Gorman, Battle & Vandiver, at No. 37 Wall street, New York City, where it is engaged in the general practice of law.
Mr. Battle has been active in politics, having been a consistent Democrat, and was the candidate of that party for district attorney of the county of New York in 1909, his successful opponent being Hon. Charles S. Whitman. He was chairman of the committee on speakers of Tammany Hall. He has also been interested in and identified with military affairs, serving for five years as a member of the Seventh Regiment, National Guard of New York, retiring in 1896.
Mr. Battle attends the Episcopal church, and is a vestryman of the Church of the Ascension in New York. He is a member of of [sic] the Bar Association of the City of New York; of the New York State Bar Association; of the New York County Lawyers' Association; of the Southern Society, of which he has been secretary and vice-president; of The North Carolina Society, of which he has been president for two terms; and "The Virginians," of which he has been governor during the year 1912-13. He is president of Parks and Playgrounds Association of the City of New York, as well as a member of many other civic societies. His clubs are the Metropolitan, Calumet, St. Nicholas, National Democratic, The Lawyers, Stock Exchange Luncheon and the Oakland Golf.
Mr. Battle married, in Richmond, Virginia, April 12, 1898, Martha Bagby, daughter of Dr. George W. and Lucy Parke (Chamberlayne) Bagby. Mr. and Mrs. Battle reside at No. 152 East Thirty-fifth street, New York City, and have a summer home at "The Campbell Field," near Rapidan, Orange county, Virginia.
(Source: Encyclopedia of Virginia Biographies - Vol. IV. Transcriber: Chris Davis)