The gentleman above named, now deceased, was one of the leading old settlers of Brown county, Nebraska, where he had aided materially in the developing of the resources of this region. Mr. Bates was born in Tioga county, New York, in 1836. He was the son of Steven Bates, of mixed nationality, American born, and Catherine Kelly Bates, of American stock.
When he was seventeen years of age the family moved to Illinois, settling near the city of Rockford, and remained there up to 1866. In the later years our subject came to Nebraska, settling in Seward county, where he lived fourteen years, then came to Brown county, driving here by team. He was one of the witnesses of the great blizzard which struck this region in October, 1880, being caught in the storm on the trip here with his family. He took up a homestead in northwest section 29, township 31, range 20, building a log cabin, and at once started to establish a home and farm. He proved up on this place and lived on it until 1887, and then made a trip to Washington, looking for a place to locate. He was not successful in finding anything that suited him, so he came back, but returned there in 1888, this time taking his family with him. After spending some time traveling around they returned to this country, settling nine miles north of Bassett, in Rock county, and lived there for twelve years. While living on this place in 1898 he made a trip to Los Angeles, California, with his family for his health, stopping only seven weeks, as his health did not improve and thought it best to go back to Nebraska.
In 1900 Mr. Bates and his family settled on Pine creek on a farm, where he engaged in grain raising to a large extent, being very successful in his enterprise. At his death, which occurred December 27, 1903, he was proprietor of nine hundred and eighty acres of good farming land, and this is still owned by his family. The farm is well improved with good buildings and fences, and in first-class condition, and is one of the valuable estates in this vicinity. Mr. Bates was married January 1, 1857, at Rockford, Illinois, to Miss Ellen Whitwood, and four children resulted from this union, named as follows: Ella S., Jennie B., Levi L., and Hiram. Mrs. Bates died August 18, 1881, while the family lived in Brown county.
In 1883 Mr. Bates married Miss Columbia A. Mills, daughter of Francis Mills, one of the early settlers of this county, coming here in 1880, driving through the country with ox teams. Mrs. Bates was then thirteen years old, and the family lived in a house made on a truck wagon, drawn by three yoke of oxen, the trip taking five weeks on the road. They also had two teams of horses with them, besides other stock, and all their household goods. Their log cabin was the first house in their locality, and she was raised on that place, only attending school for three months after coming to this part of the state. Mr. Bates had four children by his second wife, who are named as follows: Mark G., Manley B., Maggie and Count C., all born in this region. Mr. Bates served during the Civil war, as a member of the Seventy-fourth Illinois Infantry. He was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and was also a member of the Masonic Lodge at Lodge Pole.
While Mr. Bates lived at Seward county he was one of the leading men in political circles, and held office of the county commissioner for some sea-wares, but after settling in this county he refused to accept office, preferring to devote his entire time to his home and farm. He was a man of sterling character and genial manners, esteemed and respected by his fellowmen, and the community suffered a severe loss in his demise.
In 1907 Mrs. Bates leased the home farm for a term of three years and now resides at University Place Station, Lincoln, Nebraska.
Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska,1909 Alden Publishing Company, Chicago, NEBGenWeb Project by Ted & Carole Miller Reproduction efforts of Bill Wever, Marilyn Estrada, Chris Geis, & Brian Tingley