Elder Bateman is a native of Rockingham County, North Carolina; was born August 10, 1822. The family moved to Carroll county, Tenn., in 1825. Young John had an insatiable thirst for knowledge, devoured books as he could find them. He gave himself to Christ and received baptism at the hands of Elder John Martin in 1837, uniting with Mount Comfort Baptist church. His inquiry, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do,” was answered by burning impressions to preach Christ to dying men and women. Mount Comfort church said he must preach, and John Martin and English Autry set him apart to that work March 24, 1844. He entered the classical school at Denmark, Tenn., and took charge of the Big Black church near that place. His teacher, Dr. Wm. Slack, was a scholarly Presbyterian preacher. Together they studied the Greek New Testament; and as they did so Dr. Slack became convinced that the Greek verb, baptizo, could in no instance mean “sprinkle” or “pour.” Accordingly the doctor presented himself to Big Black church for membership, and the teacher was baptized by the pupil.
Bro. Bateman spent a short while in Georgetown College, Kentucky. Returned to Tennessee, married Miss Emily J. Roberts, daughter of Elder L. C. Roberts, November 15, 1848. He graduated in medicine at Memphis, Tenn., and practiced medicine in Memphis a short time after the war, though he did not quit preaching. While in Tennessee he served Beal Street church, Memphis, and many country churches.
In 1884 he moved with his family to Coryell county, Texas. He was missionary of Leon Baptist Association one year, and afterwards pastor of several churches. He was pastor of East Waco church four and one-half years, and was two years the Associational missionary pastor of Second Waco church. After this he served the Second church, Galveston, fourteen months. His health was good and his work prospering, when one evening, alighting from a street car, he was thrown violently to the ground and sustained serious injuries. He was compelled to resign. He returned to his home in Waco and at this writing has been confined to his bed two months. Sister Bateman writes: “During his long illness he has been completely happy, rejoicing amid the most excruciating pain, perfectly resigned to the will of God.” His life has been one of meek submission and consecration to his Savior.
Source: J. L. Walker and C. P. Lumpkin, History of the Waco Baptist Association of Texas (Waco: Byrne-Hill Printing House, 1897), pp. 231-233.