Samuel B. Gates



Samuel B. Gates, one of the honored pioneers of Jo Daviess County, is the owner of a valuable farm in Berreman Township, of which he has been a resident for more than half a century. During this space of time our subject has witnessed wonderful changes in this section of the country. Near the log cabin, which he built here in early times (which was the first dwelling to which he possessed a title) stood an Indian wigwam; and scaffolds made of posts with stocks placed crosswise over them, for smoking and drying venison, stood quite near them. Deer, wild turkeys, and such game have disappeared; the Indians have taken their departure and the unbroken tracts of prairie and timbered land have been superceded by busy cities, thriving villages, and productive farms. Our subject has rendered efficient aid in bringing about this grand transformation, and takes genuine pride in the present prosperous condition of his adopted township.

Mr. Gates is a native of Wayne County, N. Y., born June 4, 1822. John Gates, the father of our subject, was born in Massachusetts, Oct. 26, 1777, and when a young man emigrated to Wayne County, N. Y., of which he became a pioneer. He served in the War of 1812, and after his term of enlistment expired, he returned to New York and bought sixty-six acres of timbered land from Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, a resident of England, and began to improve a farm. He was married June 9, 1821, to Mrs. Phebe G. (Cramm,) Tenney. She was a native of New Hampshire, born in Hancock, Hillsboro County, April 21, 1797, and removed with her parents to New York when a girl. She subsequently became the wife of N. C. Tenney, who died leaving her with one child. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Gates established themselves on his land in New York, and remained there engaged in farming until October, 1836. They then removed to Trumbull County, Ohio, thence proceeded to Blackberry, a town five miles west of Aurora, Ill., and the following September came to Jo Daviess County, and once more began the life of pioneers as early settlers of Berreman Township. Mr. Gates bought 160 acres of Government land, and in the busy years that followed was actively engaged in improving a fine farm, and on this he and his wife passed their declining years, and, dying, left a record behind them of worthy, well-spent lives. N.C. Tenney, the half-brother of our subject, and the only child in the family besides himself, married Olive Strong, of Stephenson County, and subsequently removed to Iowa, and thence to Arizona, where they spent their remaining days, he dying in 1881, and she in 1880, leaving their children: Alma, John, and Samuel.

The subject of this sketch was reared in the Empire State until fourteen years of age, then removed with his parents to Ohio, and came from there to Illinois in September, 1837, and has ever since been a resident of Berreman Township. He assisted his father in breaking up and improving a farm, thus becoming in reality one of the pioneers of the place, and has from that time been largely instrumental in developing its resources and in bringing it to its present prosperous condition. After attaining his majority he took up land from the Government, the first tract containing sixty acres, to which he has since added more, and inheriting besides his father's homestead, has now a valuable farm of 325 acres finely improved, on which he has erected a substantial set of buildings, which are beautifully situated ant command an extensive view of the surrounding country. Mr. Gates has always been an energetic, industrious man, and to his own persevering efforts, frugality, and wise management is due his present affluence. Besides raising the products common to this part of Illinois, our subject has fine herds of horses, cattle, and hogs, in which he takes much pride and pleasure. He is a man well worthy of the high respect and esteem in which he is everywhere held, and is a valued and influential citizen of this community. In politics he is a true Republican, and works earnestly for the interests of his party.

The marriage of Mr. Gates with Miss Mary Mahoney, was solemnized Sept. 15, 1851. She is a daughter of Arthur and Elinor Mahoney, of Kentucky, and she was born in Greencastle, Ind., Nov. 8, 1827. To her and her husband have been born ten children, five of whom are now living: William W., John, Alice A., Resella M., (and) Thomas M. William, now a resident of Pullman, Washington, married Nora Brennan, of Jackson, Amador Co., Cal., and they have four children; John, a farmer in Stephenson County, married Mary Agnew, and they have five children - Michael, Edith, Laban, and an infant; Alice married Frederick Keefer, a farmer in Sibley, Osceola Co., Iowa, of which he is a native, and they have two children - Albert and Winnie; Rosella married William Everhardt, of Mt. Carroll, now a farmer and freighter in Pullman, State of Washington, and they have two children - Otto and Clarence; Thomas M., who has just attained his majority, assists his father on the home farm.

Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Jo Daviess Co., IL (1889)