DAVID HENRY BATES. Of those whose initial settlement in Clay county antedates the close of Indian incursions in North Texas, David H. Bates is among the very first, for his advent here was March, 1873, when, in pursuance of a previous arrangement, a colony of Indiana people accompanied him hither to become permanent settlers. The year prior the choice of location was made by Mr. Bates near the center of the county and his own site for a home was selected about one and a half miles south of the county seat.
Theirs was the first settlement in that whole country and it was made prior to the existence of public surveys and when not a house yet marked the site of Henrietta. The best that settlers could then do was to “squat” on land and await the coming of the surveyors to tell them where they were. This was Mr. Bates’ plan and when the lines were finally run it was found that his location was adjoining a tract of school land.
His first efforts put forth in the county were in the erection of a stockade in which to keep himself and stock safely from surprise and attack against Indians and every night his padlock went on his gate as regularly as he closed his cabin door. The history troubles south of Red river in those days shows them to have overrun all this country every full moon and much stock was driven off all around Mr. Bates but nothing of his was ever molested.
He began life here at a species of farming, raising feed chiefly, which he sold to the government troops and to stockmen. He cultivated the place three years and tiring, no doubt, of his lonely life on the frontier, he returned east and located in Jasper county, Indiana, where he became a merchant at Remington, and was so engaged there for eight years, when he removed to South Dakota and became extensively identified with business affairs near Huron. He owned an elevator, was in the grain business and had, also, farming interests, and was a prominent citizen of that locality until February, 1901, when “on to Texas” again loomed up before him and he returned to Clay county. Since his return to the Lone Star state trading in lands has occupied him in the main, and his possessions in real estate consist of about fifteen hundred acres around and near Henrietta.
David H. Bates was born in Butler county, Ohio, April 11, 1846. His father, Ozro Bates, was a farmer and was only a youth when he accompanied his parents to Cincinnati. Laben Bates, our subject’s paternal grandfather, was an Englishman born, and moved into the Ohio valley from Brattleboro, Vermont. He brought his family down the Ohio river on a raft, stopped at Cincinnati, where he established the first line of drays in the city. His settlement there was made about 1806 and he died of cholera in 1810. Of his family of children, Smith died near Indianapolis, Indiana; Nathaniel S., died near Council Bluffs, Iowa, being one of the pioneer stage men of our country and following the business on the frontier until overtaken by the construction of the Burlington railroad when he made his home in Council Bluffs and called his work finished; Anne, who married John Borling, died in Greenville, Ohio; Mrs. Sarah Allen, died in Marion county, Indiana; Peter, died at Peobilo, Mexico, a soldier in the Mexican war.
Ozro Bates made his settlement, on beginning life, in Butler county, Ohio, where he followed the plow and wielded the cradle, and about six years later he migrated to Marion county, Indiana. He lived on a new farm there for several years and then changed his location to Carroll county, Indiana, where he purchased a farm on the Susquehanna river in Pennsylvania, in an early day, but who finally settled in Wayne county, Indiana. Mary Bates died near Delphi, Indiana, the same year her husband passed away.
Mr. Bates, of this review, is the second in a family of seven children, the others being: Nathaniel S., of Renssalaer, Indiana; William M., of Delphi, and Susan, wife of John Brown, of Terre Haute, Indiana (the two latter children are twins); Smith, of Bates county, Missouri; Mary, who died at Delphi, married George Rohrback, and Dr. Joseph W., of Broadripple, Indiana.
With a country school education to equip him for life’s duties, David H. Bates began the struggle as a farmer on a small farm in Jasper county, Indiana. After an experience of four years he embarked in the mercantile business at Remington and was so engaged until he decided to come to Texas, when he disposed of his interests and began the career of wandering in which we have already traced him. May 3, 1876, he married Rachel A. Hughes, a daughter of Michael Hughes from Gallatin county, Kentucky. Mr. Hughes’ wife was Elizabeth Edwards, whose home is with her daughter in Henrietta. Mr. Hughes was born in Gallatin county, Kentucky, in 1814 and died in 1871, while his wife was born in 1826. The Hughes children were Margaret McIntyre, who died in Indianapolis, Indiana; Mary James, who died in Jackson county, Missouri, leaving five children, and Rachel, Mrs. Bates, born October 26, 1846. Nellie is the only child of Mr. and Mrs. Bates and her birth occurred February 21, 1877. She is a close companion of her invalid mother and is a bright spot in the life of her worthy father.
The Bates of this record are and have been Democrats, but he has at no time had aspirations for public office. David H. united with the Odd Fellowship some years ago and his name is on the rolls of the Christian church.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 61-62.