On September 19, 1811, Joel Allen Battle was born in Davidson County, Tennessee. He was the son of Issac Battle and Lucinda Mayo Battle. Treasurer Battle’s father was originally from Edgecombe County, North Carolina, and his mother inherited a large land estate in Tennessee.
Treasurer Battle’s first wife was Sarah Searcy, who he married on December 15, 1831. Only a few years after they were married, Sarah died and she left a son, William Searcy. On July 22, 1837, Treasurer Battle married his second wife, Adeline Sanders Mosely. They established a home near Cane Ridge in the Sixth Civil District of Davidson County and raised their children there. They had six children, whose names were Joel Allen Battle, Jr., Frank, Mary Frances “Fannie,” Sarah, Elizabeth, and Ann “Annie” Watson Battle.
At the beginning of the Civil War, in April 1861, Treasurer Battle started a company at Nolensville, Williamson County, Tennessee, which became known as the Twentieth Tennessee Volunteer Infantry. Treasurer Battle served as captain of Company C, 20th Tennessee Infantry Regiment in 1861 and then became the colonel of the 20th Tennessee Infantry Regiment later that year. During the Civil War, two of his sons were killed and Treasurer Battle himself was taken prisoner at the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862. He was held prisoner at Johnson’s Island Union Prison, a Union prisoner of war camp for Confederate officers that were captured during the Civil War. He was not exchanged for release from captivity until September of 1862.
In February of 1863, the State Treasurer, William F. McGregor became sick and died. Since the state constitution allowed Confederate Governor Isham G. Harris the authority to temporarily fill the vacancy until the next session of the legislature, the governor appointed Joel Allen Battle as the State Treasurer. Treasurer Battle served in the position until the end of the Civil War in 1865.
In 1872, Treasurer Battle was appointed by Governor John C. Brown to be Superintendent of the State Prison, a position that he held until his death later the same year. Treasurer Battle died on August 23, 1872 at the age of 62. He was buried in the Battle Cemetery in Nashville, Tennessee.
Treasurer Battle’s legacy continued with a Knights of Pythias Lodge being named in his honor near Vanderbilt University. His legacy was also furthered through his daughter, Mary Francis "Fannie" Battle. Fannie was a Nashville humanitarian and social worker who was known during her lifetime as "The Angel of the Poor" because of her great humanitarian spirit and compassionate service to benefit underprivileged children. Her legacy continues with the Fannie Battle Day Home for Children, the second oldest childcare center in the United States. Its mission is to provide affordable high-quality child care, for at-risk children in a nurturing environment.
Reference: “Col. Joel Allen Battle,” Find a Grave, http://wwwfindagrave.com; “Joel Allen Battle,” Tennessee Portrait Project, http://tnportraits.org/battle-col-joel-metro.htm;
“William F. McGregor,” Chattanooga Daily Rebel, March 1, 1863; Sam Davis Elliott, Isham G. Harris of Tennessee: Confederate Governor and United States Senator (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2010); W.J. McMurray, History of the Twentieth Tennessee Regiment Volunteer Infantry, C.S.A. (Nashville, TN) 1904; Tennessee State Marriages, 1780 – 2002 Nashville, TN, Tennessee State Library and Archives; Mary Frances “Fannie” Battle, Tennessee Encyclopedia of History & Culture
https://tennesseeencyclopedia.net/; “Fannie Battle Day Home for Children,” http://www.fanniebattle.org/.