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Alfred Bennett Gates  



Alfred Bennett Gates born 13 Nov 1823 - Fayette County (Fayette), Indiana died 30 Jun 1902 - Indianapolis, Indiana son of Avery Gates & Mary 'Polly' Toby married 1856 Elizabeth M. Murdock born 1838 Kentucky died 1920

Alfred B. Gates, who died at his home in Indianapolis in 1901, was for may years of the men of distinction in the commercial and civic life of that city. A great many people entertain most kindly memory of this Indianapolis merchant, and worthy place he enjoyed in business and civil life is now being filled by his sons.

A Periods of almost eight decades separated his death from his birth. He was born in Fayette county, Indiana, in 1822 a son of Avery Gates and a grandson of Joshua Gates. Joshua Gates spent the greater part of his life in the state of New York. Avery Gates, who was born in that state May 22, 1780, married Polly Toby. Together they came west, traveling by flatboat down the Ohio river and located near Connersville in Fayette county, Indiana. The date of their settlement was about 1807. Those familiar with the history of Indiana need not be reminded of the wilderness and desolate conditions which prevailed over practically all of Indiana from the Ohio river to the Great Lakes. Indiana had been a territory but a few years, and nearly ten years passed before it was admitted to the Union. Fayette county, was sparsely settled and much of it unexplored, and its dense woods had been broken only here and there by the work of the axe man, and was filled with Indians and wild game. Avery Gates lived the life of a typical pioneer, and died honored and respected, January 4, 1865. His widow passed away September 9, 1873.

It was in the stim ulating period of pioneer things in Indiana that Alfred B. Gates spent his early youth and manhood. Though country born and country bred he made his abilities count in a larger business way. He was a resident of Indiana practically all his life except four years from 1864 to 1868, during which time he was engaged in business in Philadelphia. In the latter year he took up the grocery business at Indianapolis, and now for fully half a century, the name Gates has been identified with that department of commerce. His retail establishment he built up and broadened out into a wholesale concern, and remained active in its management until he retired in 1894. Alfred B. Gates was a stanch republican and was a Scottish Rite Mason.

Aside from the success he won in business he is remembered and deserves to be remembered especially for his predominant characteristic of an unfailing good humor. He had a pleasant smile and word for every one, was generous to a fa ult, was always helpf ul to the needy and believed in and practiced the Golden R ule. Throughout a long and busy life he never lost his faith in humanity.

Alfred B. Gates married Elizabeth M. Murdock, who was born in Kentucky in 1838. She survived her husband. They were the parents of five children:

    • Charles M., who was born at Connersville, was educated at Butler College in Indianapolis and after graduation became associated with his father in business. He married Maria Frazee and died at the age of twenty-eight, when success was coming rapidly to him.
    The next two in age are:
    • Harry B. who died October 10, 1916, and
    • William N. Gates.
    The daughter,
    • Mary Alice, born at Philadelphia, is Mrs. William H. Lee of Minneapolis.
    The youngest son is Edward E. Gates.


Indiana and Indianans : a history of aboriginal and territorial Indiana and the century of statehood Chicago: American Historical Society, 1919, Dunn, Jacob Piatt, pg. 1700-1






Harry B. Gates, son of the late Alfred B. Gates, was an active business man at Indianapolis thirty-five years and had many association with the large life and affairs of this city.

He was born in Fayette county, Indiana, September 5, 1858, and when he was six years of age his parents moved to Philadelphia, where he received his early instruction in the public schools. After 1868 he attended school at Indianapolis and in 1871, at the age of thirteen, went to work in his father's grocery and coffee store. He was admitted to a partnership in 1882 under the name A.B. Gates & Company. He continued to be associated with his father until 1894, when the later retired. Mr. Harry Gates when organized the Climax Coffee & Baking Powder Company. As its president he built up the manufacturing and wholesale branches of this business to extensive proportions and made it one of the largest concerns of its kind in Indiana. Harry b. Gates was also largely responsible for organizing the New Telephone Company and the New Long Distance Telephone Company of Indianapolis in 1897. He was secretary of both companies until 1893, and before selling his interests he had the satisfaction of seeing the plants thoroughly organized and modernized and the business firmly established. Among other business interests he was president of the American Color Company, manufacturing dyes, was a director of the Columbia National Bank and other corporations. He promoted, owned and operated before his death the Hotel Severin, Indianapolis, and the Hotel Miami, of Dayton, Ohio. He was succeeded upon his death, by his son, A. Bennett Gates, who is now president of both these well known hotels.

As a republican Mr. Harry B. Gates was quite active in local affairs, as was a delegate to the National Convention of 1900. He was a member of the Columbia, Commercial, Marion and Country Clubs, the German House, and was affiliated with Pentalpha Lodge No. 54, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons>

Harry B. Gates died at Indianapolis October 10, 1916, at the age of fifty-eight and when still in the high tide of his powers and usef ulness. November 6, 1881, he married Miss Carrie E. Patrick, daughter of E. W. Patrick of Evansville, Indiana. Mrs. Gates died in 1901, leaving one son. This son
    A. Bennett Gates
was associated with his father in the coffee and baking powder business. He married Lena Hemmingway, daughter of James A. Hemmingway, United States Senator from Indiana. - - Indiana and Indianans : a history of aboriginal and territorial Indiana and the century of statehood Chicago: American Historical Society, 1919, Dunn, Jacob Piatt, pg. 1701-2






Harry B. Gates. Numbered among the veritable captains of industry in Greater Indianapolis, where he has varied and important capitalistic interests, is Harry B. Gates, who is president of the Climax Coffee & Baking Powder Company, one of the important wholesale and jobbing concerns of the city, and who has bee prominently identified with other lines of business enterprise in the capital city of his native state.

Mr. Gates was born in Fayette county, Indiana on the 5th of September, 1858, and is the son of Alfred B. and Elizabeth M. (Murdock) Gates, the former of whom was born in Fayette county, this state, in 1822, before the county was organized under this title, and the latter of whom was born in Kentucky, in 1838. From the date and place of the father's nativity it will be seen that the Gates family was founded in Indiana in the early pioneer epoch of its history, and the name had since been prominently identified with the progress an upbuilding of this sovereign commonwealth of the Union. In 1864 Alfred B. Gates removed with his family to the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he was engaged in business until 1868, when he returned to Indiana and located in Indianapolis, where he engaged in the retail grocery business. He later broadened the scope of his enterprise by the establishing of a wholesale business in the same line, and her continued to be identified in an active way with this substantial business until 1894, after which he lived retired until his death, which occurred in 1901. He was long one of the representative business men of Indianapolis and his course, characterized by inviolable integrity and honor in all the relations of life was so directed as to retain to him the unqualified esteem of all who knew him. His venerable widow still maintains her home in Indianapolis, and all of their four children are living, the subject of this review having been the second in order of birth. In politics Alfred b. Gates was a stanch adherent of the republican party, he was affiliated with the Scottish Rite bodies of the Masonic fraternity.

Harry B. Gates, was six years of age at the time of the family removal to the city of Philadelpiha, and to the public schools of that city and Indianapolis he is indebted for his early educational discipline. In 1871 he found employment in his father's wholesale grocery and coffee establishment, and in 1882 he was admitted to partnership, in the business, which was thereafter conducted under the title of A. B. Gates & Co. Upon his father's retirement from the business Mr. Gates continued to be indetififed with the same until 1894, when he disposed of his interests and organized the Climax Coffee & Baking Powder Company, of which he is presidennnt, to conduct the manufactory brands of their business, and through his wise administrative policy and progressive ideas the enterprise has been pushed forward with ever increasing success, until it is now one of the leading concerns of the kind in the middle west, controlling a substantial trade throughout the territory normally tributary to Indianapolis as a distributing center.

To Mr. Gates also belongs the credit of having been the organizer of the New Telephone Co. and the New Long Distance Telephone Company, in 1897, and it was mainly through his energy and aggressive management that the lines of these companies were installed and its plant established upon the highest modern standard. He became secretary of the companies and held this position until 1903, when he disposed of his holdings in the corporations. He is also president of the American Color Company, a successful concern engaged in the manufacturing of Easy Dyer; is director in the Columbia National Bank and other financial institutions. He gives his active support to all measures that tend to promote the progress and material and civic prosperity of his home city.

In politics Mr. Gates has ever accorded as unqualified allegiance to the Republican party, and he has taken a zealous interest in its cause. He was a delegate to the national convention of the party in 1900. Among the representative local organizations with which he is identified may be mentioned the Columbia, Commercial, Marion and Country Clubs and the German House. He is also affiliated with Pentalpha Lodge No. 564, Free and Accepted Mason, and Keystone Chapter No. Royal Arch Masons.

On November 6, 1881, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Gates to Miss Carrie E. Patrick, daughter of the later E. W. Patrick, of Evansville, Indiana, and she was summoned to the life eternal in 1901, being survived by one son, A. Bennett Gates, who married Miss Lena Hemmingway, daughter of Hon. James A. Hemmingway, United States Senator from Indiana. A. Bennett Gates is now associated with his father in the management of the Climax Coffee & Baking Powder co. - Greater Indianapolis : the history, the industries, the institutions, and the people of a city of homes Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co., 1910, Dunn, Jacob Piatt pg. 974-5






William N. Gates , one of the prominent wholesale merchants of Indianapolis has been a resident of that city half a century, and his own career has served to make a well known family still better known and honored in this state.

He was born October 31, 1862, and at the age of six came to Indianapolis with his parents. Here he attended the public schools and also Butler University. At the age of sixteen he went to work in his father's wholesale grocery house, and his entire career has been identified with the activities and interests of the wholesale business at Indianapolis. In 1895 he embarked in the wholesale coffee and baking powder business and has built up one of the largest concerns of its kind in Indianapolis.

Mr. Gates is a republican and is a charter member of the Columbia Club. In 1886 he married Miss Alberta Byram. Her father, N. S. Byram, was in his day one of the prominent men of Indianapolis. Three children have been born to their marriage:
  • Isabel
  • William Byram
  • Alfred Gerald
The daughter is. Mrs. Kelly R. Jacoby. Both sons are actively associated with their father. in business. - Indiana and Indianans : a history of aboriginal and territorial Indiana and the century of statehood Chicago: American Historical Society, 1919, Dunn, Jacob Piatt, pg. 1702





Edward E. Gates is a member of the law firm Myers, Gates & Halston of Indianapolis. The name of the firm is sufficient to indicate his standing as a lawyer apart from which stand to his high credit. He was always bee active in Indianapolis citizenship, and also enjoys the distinction of having been an actual campaigner in the brief war with Spain.

Mr. Gates represents on the earliest families of Indiana pioneers. His grandfather Avery Gates, located in Fayette county as early as 1807, considerably more than a century ago. This is one of the few families of the state who have more than a century of residence to their credit. Edward E. Gates is the son of the late Alfred B. Gates, whose career is told briefly on other pages.

Edward E. Gates was born at Indianapolis August 23, 1871. He was educated in local schools, graduated Ph.D in 1891 from Yale College, and in 1894 completed his studied in the New York Law School. In 1895 he also graduated from the Indiana Law School, and his actual career as a lawyer covers a period of over twenty years. During the greater part of this time he has enjoyed a most enviable reputation as a lawyer. Out of his large and varied practice one partic ular case can be recited as one of public interest and which redounded much to his credit.

Prior to 1906 railroads had generally discriminated against the citizens of Indianapolis, giving to neighboring cities special rates and privileges that constituted a heavy if no prohibitive burden upon this city. Protests and formal procedure seemed unavailing to bring redress. Then Mr. Gates was employed as chief counsel by the Indianapolis Freight Bureau and the Chamber of Commerce to effect an equitable adjustment. He entered the cause with a determination to leave no stone unturned in the accomplishment of the object in view. When he appeared before the Interstate Commerce Commission he was fortified with an array of testimony and evidence and facts which were indisputable, and after an extended and bitterly fought trail before that commission the decision was rendered in favor of thousands of dollars to the shippers of Indianapolis and has also acquired the value of a precedent from which equal shipping treatment has since nee extended to other cities.

Mr. Gates is widely known in civic and social affairs. While at Yale College he was identified with the Berzelius Society. He is a member of the Columbian and Marion Clubs of Indianapolis, the Kiwanis Club, of which he is president, of the Athletic and Canoe clubs, Chamber of Commerce, Board of Trade, the Turnverein, the Machnerchor, the Royal Areamum, Knights of Phythias, Mystic Shrine, Spanish War veterans and the Christian church.

During the war between our country and Spain, Mr. Gates volunteered and became a member of the famous Indianapolis Field Artillery, known as the Twenty-Seventh Light Battery, Indiana Volunteers. This battery was called into actual service and was assigned to duties in the Putro Rico campaign. His service closed with a rather dramatic incident. The battery had been unlimbered and was on the point of firing upon Spanish posts when hostilities were halted by a truce pending the final conclusion of the was.

As a republican in politics Mrs. Gates has been quite active in his party and for two terms served as president of the Lincoln League. His wife was formerly Miss Dorothy Fay Odoms. He has three children:
  • Virginia
  • Edward
  • Elizabeth
Indiana and Indianans : a history of aboriginal and territorial Indiana and the century of statehood Chicago: American Historical Society, 1919, Dunn, Jacob Piatt, pg. 1702 -3






Austin B. Gates. Of the older Indiana families few have been sustained so well their pristine vigor and have shown greater ability to adapt themselves to the changing conditions, whether those of the wilderness or modern business affairs, as the family of Gates. It is widely and honorably known in several counties of the state, and a number of the family have been and are connected with the City of Indianapolis.

The older generation one of the last survivors was the late Austin B. Gates, who died at his homo in Indianapolis February 1, 1909. Throughout a long and active career he was identified with many branches of the livestock industry and was best known to Indianapolis people through having founded a livery stable at Alabama and Wabash Streets in 1864, an institution which he conducted until his death, for a period of forty-five years.

His earliest ancestor of whom there is record was Joshua gates, his grandfather, who lived and probably died in the state of New York. The father of Austin B. Gates was Avery Gates, who was born in New York state May 22, 1780. He married there Polly Toby, and early in the last century brought his wife and one child to the trackless wilderness of the west traveling down the Ohio river on flat boats, and bout 1807 located on land near Connersville in Fayette county, Indiana. As the date indicates, he was there seven or eight years before Indiana was admitted to the Union and his home was in fact on the very northern frontier of the then inhabited section of Indiana. His children grew up in the midst of the wilderness filled with wild game and Indian neighbors. Avery Gates was a farmer and stockman and also operated a sawmill in Fayette county. He died January 4, 1865, and his widow on September 9, 1873. They had seven children: Celina, who was born in New York State and came wist with her parents in infancy; Avery B., who was the first child born in Indiana, the date of his birth being January 14, 1808; Luiann, Emetine, Caroline, Alfred B. who was born November 13, 1823 and concerning whom and his branch the Gates family more partic ulars will be found on other pages of this publication; and Austin B.

Austin B. Gates, the youngest of his father's family , was born near Connersville, on a farm in Fayette county, July 22, 18125. That he was of most hardy and long lived stock is indicated by the fact that he and all the other children were close to or past the age of four score when they died. He lived with his parent until after his marriage, attended subscription schools in the country, worked on the farm and also helped his father in the operation of the sawmill. In early manhood he carried out a plan which he had carefully considered of going to Iowa, which in the meantime had become the western frontier, and there bought up cattle and drove them on the hoof to Cincinnati to market. These early activities as a cattle drover gave him his start in life. During the Civil War period the old homestead was sold and the family removed to Dublin, Indiana. Here Austin B. Gates, through his interest in livestock, established a livery business and operated a feed and sales barn. From there he removed to Indianapolis in 1864, and continued the livery business as above stated. While the Civil War was in progress he also was a government contractor, buying up horses and m ules all over the country. Even into old age he continued operations as a livestock dealer. While at Dublin her had organized the firm of Gates & Pray, auctioneers, and this firm became widely known throughout the entire state of Indiana.

Austin B. Gates is remembered as an exceedingly reserved man, quiet but firm, generous to a fa ult. He was slow to make up his mind but when once made up he was rarely moved from his objective. He was kind and just in his family, but held a firm, governing hand. He could not resist the importunities of the unfortunate, and this failing cost him the greater part of his wealth. Few men had more friends than Austin B. Gates.

On February 10, 1863 at Dublin, Indiana he married Emily Thayer. She survived him and died in Indianapolis, May 14, 1911. They were the parents of six children:
  • Mamie E.
  • Frank, deceased
  • Frederick E.
  • Stella F. wife of Robert W. Jordan
  • Anna, deceased
  • Ernest M.


An active representative of the family in business affairs at Indianapolis today is Frederick E. Gates who was born at Indianapolis, October 6, 1866. He was educated in the public schools and when still a boy started out to make his own way in the world. His first employment was a designer of tiles in the employ of the United Stated Encaustic Tile Works. The tile business in its various ramifications has been his chief line of work ever since. A thorough ground work and experience was acquired in the six years he spent with the Encaustic Company. From that he started for himself in the wood mantle and tile business, and on abandoning this he removed to Cincinnati, where for several years he was in the marble mosaic tile business. In 1898, returning to Indianapolis, Mr. Gates founded a new industry under his individual name, and in 1905 incorporated the F. E. Gates Marble & Tile Company. In 1912 this company established at Brightwood the first and only marble mill in Indiana. It is a flourishing and distinctive industry.

Mr. Gates is a republican, a Knight Templar Mason, also a thirty-third degree Scottish Rite Mason and is affiliated with Murat Temple of the Mystic Shrine. In August 1888 he married Miss Belle M. Beatty who died November 26, 1916 leaving three daughters: Grace E., Dorothy W. and Emily. - - Indiana and Indianans : a history of aboriginal and territorial Indiana and the century of statehood Chicago: American Historical Society, 1919, Dunn, Jacob Piatt, pg. 1756-7






Indianapolis City Directory, 1889. Indianapolis, IN: R.L. Polk and Co., 1889 & 1890

Name: Alfred B Gates
City: Indianapolis
State: IN
Year: 1889 & 1890
Business Name: A B Gates & Co
Location 2: 826 N Meridian

Name: Alfred B Gates, Jr
City: Indianapolis
State: IN
Occupation: clerk
Year: 1889 & 1890
Business Name: A B Gates & Co
Location 2: r 22 Hubbard Block

Name: Harry B Gates
City: Indianapolis
State: IN
Year: 1889 & 1890
Business Name: A B Gates & Co
Location 2: 349 Broadway

Name: Wm N Gates

City: Indianapolis
State: IN
Year: 1889 & 1890
Business Name: A B Gates & Co
Location 2: b 956 N Illinois

Name: Alfred B; Harry B; Wm N Gates
Location 1: 31 and 33 E Maryland
City: Indianapolis
State: IN
Occupation: Who Coffees and Spices
Year: 1890
Business Name: Gates A B & Co






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