Onward Bates Family, St. Charles County, Missouri

Letter from Onward Bates

In soliciting historical facts from the descendants of the pioneers of the county, the author wrote to Onward Bates, son of two of his dearest friends. Judge and Mrs. Barton Bates. Mr. Bates, who is an eminent civil engineer of Chicago, sent this reply:

"Dr. J. C. Edwards, O'Fallon, Missouri

My dear Dr. Edwards: When I read your letter of May 30th, I felt so sympathetic an interest in your task of writing a history of St Charles County, and withal such a desire to respond to any call for service from an old and valued friend, that I consented to do what I could to aid you. Since then I have been absent from home much of the time and have been unable to give consideration to the subject. Now that I take it up in earnest, I find myself so limited by the absence of reliable data, which should be the foundation of all history, that it is very difficult to keep my promise. You ask for my family record as it relates to this history, and as I am the oldest of my generation, I am the proper person to supply this information; and yet my records are so incomplete that I must depend mainly upon my memory of the conditions as they existed when I was a boy, and upon what I am able to remember of the incidents related to me by older people, most of whom have gone to their reward in the next world. Early impressions are the strongest, and these are emphasized by the stirring events which occurred during my boyhood.

''I can distinctly remember Dardenne Prairie and its people, dating back for several years previous to the distressful Civil War. The picture of this prairie land which lingers with me, shows one of the most desirable places for living that I have seen in any country. Family life was patriarchal. Residences were scattered and located according to the desire of the owners. Sufficient land was under cultivation to provide subsistence for the people who were privileged to live upon it, and the remainder, which consisted of undulating prairie and timber lands, was unenclosed as if it were intended that homesteads should be separated by natural parks. Nature was lavish in its provisions for man and beast, grass was plentiful for the latter, and an abundant variety of wild fruits and nuts, with an apparently unlimited supply of four-footed and feathered game, would maintain life and provide clothing for men, if they chose to live as did their predecessors, the Indians. Flowers blossomed on the prairie stretches and in the woodlands in many varieties, which seem to have disappeared as the country became fully settled. There was no rugged scenery, but Dardenne Prairie was a lovely and restful country designed for the use and enjoyment of its inhabitants, and an ideal location for homes. And such homesteads, buildings in primitive and simple style, occupied by large families with quarters never too small nor too crowded to interfere with an unbounded hospitality. Such friendships as existed between families, and such recognition of neighborly obligations do not exist in our more 'advanced' condition. Slavery is indefensible, and was properly abolished, but there was a friendship and a recognition of human obligations between the whites and the blacks that never ought to be forgotten. Slavery on Dardenne Prairie was a name rather than a condition, and the visitor to one of these homesteads was sure of a genial welcome from white and black, as the Negroes adopted the names and held all things in common with their masters, including their virtues and their manners. The conditions in those days for enjoyable living cannot be duplicated under those which maintain at the present day.

''The Civil War came on with its bitterness and all of those good people were ranged, some on one side and some on the other. Some of them moved away, and among them all lines of separation were strictly drawn. The war exhausted the country, and when its bloody term was ended the old conditions were not restored. There were new methods of living, and more or less new people in every locality, and a new era was established.

"We may be grateful that the enmity of those war days was buried with those who so bravely took part in that great struggle, and that those who were willing to meet at one time in mortal combat, are now reconciled in a friendship made strong by remembrance of the trials which led to it. The war and all that preceded it is but a memory, and we live under the new conditions which are, doubtless, better than the old ones. We must not, however, forget that the people of the old times are the parents of those who now occupy their places, and the historian must deal with the ancestry of people and of conditions. We may enjoy the personal comforts of this 'age of progress,' due to the increased conveniences at our command; but it is to be questioned whether people are happier or worthier than when you and I were young, Doctor. (This remark is made with due respect to the fact that you are a contemporary to my parents.) You did not ask me for an eulogy of our county, but being a Missourian, born on Dardenne Prairie, in St. Charles County, the one place in all the world I would choose for such an event, I cannot be expected to refrain from offering my tribute, unworthy as it may be, to such a favored portion of the earth's surface.

The history of Missouri, and, indeed, the history of the great West cannot be written without taking into account St. Charles County. This county was a starting point, being one of the first localities settled in the territory of Louisiana. Its historical importance is perhaps due to the character of its settlers more than to any other cause. The county should be noted, not only for the people who occupied it, but as well for the people and the influence it gave to other parts of the West. Daniel Boone explored and lived for a time in St. Charles County. The road skirting my father's place was called the Boon's Lick road, or in the vernacular of ante-bellum days, the 'Big Road.' After him came a host of good people, many, perhaps most of them, from Virginia, bringing their families, their slaves, their household goods and their livestock, making a new home without expectation of returning to the places from whence they came.

A country is blessed by the goodness of the people who inhabit it, and no better people ever emigrated than those who settled in this fair county. I know many of the old families personally, and if I name some of them it is because of this personal knowledge, and not that they were any different from those I did not know, and I name them in the order of acquaintance and without respect to particular merits. Such people as Coalter, Woodson, Hatcher, Randolph, Watson, Wilson, McCluer, Muschaney, Howell, Pitman, Gill, Naylor, Edwards, Bates, and so on throughout the list of Dardenne Prairie settlers were fit to build a community characterized by honor and righteousness. It is amongst such people that a minister may preach in the same church for forty-odd years, making his preaching effective by his blameless life, shepherding his flock, holding the love and veneration of each member, and then to be followed in his office by a worthy son. And in what other community can be found one who has been physician and friend and counsellor in the same families for more than fifty years? I may name the minister whom I have described, since we have only his beloved memory, the Reverend Thomas Watson, but out of consideration for you. Doctor, I will not name the physician.

I am related to some of the families whose names I have mentioned, and such information as I am able to collate is at your service to be used in any way you think best in preparing your history of the county. I shall not be able to suppress a proper pride of ancestry and of family connections, but will try to tell the truth according to the best of my understanding. I will also try to be as brief as possible, and will ask you to revise and condense my notes. In biographical notes it will be impossible to separate St. Charles County from the state at large, or even from a greater territory, for our characters moved from their home states into the Mississippi Valley and, while their families are represented in the county, their sphere of activity and influence was not confined to the county limits.

Beginning with the family whose surname I bear, It has been said that the family name of Bates is one which the state of Missouri delights to honor and as that statement refers particularly to members of the family not numbered among the living, it may with propriety be quoted by their descendants.

"Thomas Fleming Bates, son of Fleming Bates and Sarah Jordan, was born in York County, Virginia, November 1, 1741. He was a man of peace, born and bred in the doctrines of the Quaker sect and so imbued with these doctrines that they were illustrated in his whole life and transmitted to his posterity. But this did not deter him from fighting for his country in the War of the Revolution. The old flintlock musket, which he carried throughout the war, and which is said to have been used by his son, Edward, in the year 1813, in the second war with England, is still possessed by his oldest great-grandchild. In the stock of this gun there is a silver plate placed there by Edward Bates, which bears the inscription, Thomas F. Bates, Whig of the Revolution, fought for liberty and independence with this gun. His descendants keep it to defend what he helped to win. On August 8, 1771, he was married to Caroline Matilda Woodson, who was born in Henrico County, Virginia, October 17, 1751, and who was the daughter of Charles Woodson and Agnes Parsons. There were twelve children born to this pair, seven sons and five daughters. The first three children were born in Henrico County and the remaining nine at Belmont, the family seat in Goochland County. From the family letters which have been preserved it is apparent that the seven sons were all exceptionally able and enterprising, taking active parts in the public affairs of the Old Dominion State and in the settlement of the Mississippi Valley. They attracted the attention of President Jefferson, who commissioned several of them to perform important duties in the country west of the Ohio. The performance of these duties was so satisfactory that these young men won the confidence of the president, who increased their responsibilities and their honors. It was remarkable that great trusts were given to men who were so youthful, and it is related of Frederick that during his journey from Virginia to the Northwest, at the age of twenty-one, he was so youthful in appearance that a man with whom he wished to lodge mistook him for a runaway from home. Of these seven sons, three were identified with the history of their native Virginia, and of the four who moved west, some mention is due them in this account.

"Tarlton, second son of Thomas Fleming Bates, was born at Belmont, May 22, 1775, and was killed in a duel near Pittsburg, January 7, 1806. At the time of his death he was prothonotary of the county of Alleghany. The following account of the duel and the circumstances leading up to it is copied from a Pittsburgh newspaper published nearly a hundred years later than the incident:

'Bates' antagonist was a young man named Thomas Stewart, about whom little information can be found, except that he was a partner in a small store in Pittsburgh for the sale of dry goods and groceries. The origin of the trouble leading to this event may be traced to the violent newspaper controversies of that day. The "Democratic," or, as it was generally called, the "Republican" party, at that time had for several years carried all before it in this state. The Federalist Party, formerly so strong under the leadership of Washington and Hamilton, who were both dead at the time, was in a state of hopeless collapse. History repeats itself always, and this great success of the party was followed by dissensions within itself. The spoils of office were not sufficient to satisfy all, and a faction whose organ was a paper called the Commonwealth was formed in this vicinity. The columns of this sheet teemed with abuse of the regular "Jeffersonians," who were styled ''Quids." The origin of this designation is wrapped in obscurity, but it was probably equivalent to the modem "mugwump." Of course, they were also styled "apostates," "traitors," etc. The most conspicuous members of the regular Jefferson party in the county at this time, 1804-05, seem to have been Henry Baldwin, Tarlton Bates and Walter Forward, the latter having been editor of the Tree of Liberty, the regular Democratic organ.

''Henry Baldwin attained later eminence as judge of the supreme court of the United States, and Walter Forward also became a great lawyer in after years, and was minister to Denmark at one time. The opposition paper, under the conduct of a young man named Pentland, was unsparing in its attacks on these men, and finally Bates was provoked into making a personal assault on the editor, who promptly sought safety in flight. Bates, a day or two afterward, inserted a card in the Tree of Liberty, of which he was associate editor, giving his version of the occurrence, and saying that he had been traduced, and also his father and grandfather, so often in the pages of the Commonwealth that he had been provoked into correcting "the licentiousness of the press with the liberty of the cudgel." He also stated in his card that the editor had challenged him, but that he would pay no attention to it, as he considered the editor as merely an apprentice, and of no social standing. This was not, unfortunately, the end of the matter, for it would appear that the clique of personal and political enemies who had inspired these attacks on Bates and his associates succeeded in putting forward the obscure individual, Stewart, as another challenger, in place of the editor. This challenge was accepted, and on the afternoon of July 8, 1806, the parties went out to about where Craft avenue is now located in Oakland. They were placed at a distance of twelve paces apart, and fought with pistols. The first fire was ineffective, but at the second fire Bates fell, shot through the body, and died within an hour."

"His friend, Walter Forward, wrote a few days after: 'Thus perished one of the best of men, who by a long series of systematic persecution was drawn to this dreadful fate. The public has lost an invaluable servant, society one of its brightest ornaments, the poor their best friend."

"Tarlton was never married. Letters which passed between him and different members of the family indicate that he possessed a brilliant mind, and had begun a career of great promise, which was cut short by his untimely death."

"In Fergus' History of Early Illinois, Frederick Bates is mentioned as follows:

'Frederick Bates, third of seven sons of Thomas Fleming Bates, merchant, was born at Belmont, Goochland County, Virginia, June 23, 1777; after receiving a rudimentary education, was, when about seventeen, apprenticed to a court clerk, thereby supporting himself, by doing the practical duties of the place, and studying law, intending, as was then the common practice in Virginia, to go through the clerk's office to the bar. About 1795, he obtained employment in the quartermaster's department of the Army of the Northwest on the frontier, intending to return as soon as he was able to the study and practice of his profession. He was stationed at Detroit but was often on business at Mackinac and other posts. In a few years he acquired some capital as a merchant but lost the greater portion of it by the fire of 1805, which was a lucky turn, as it forced him from a business that was unsuited to his taste and talent. Having by this time acquired a large experience of frontier character and business, he was about to enter the profession when in 1805 he was appointed senior associate judge of the territorial district and land commissioner by President Jefferson, who with his secretary of state, James Madison, were friends of his family. In 1807 he was transferred to St. Louis, Upper Louisiana, as secretary of the territory and United States recorder of land titles; these offices he held many years, as secretary till the admission of Missouri in 1820, and the recorder ship till 1824, when he was elected the second governor of Missouri, and died in office August 4, 1825. Edward Bates, Lincoln's attorney-general, was his youngest brother. '

''Frederick Bates was the first member of his family to settle Upper Louisiana, at that time a village whose inhabitants were principally of French descent. It is to be remarked that he was in the government service at the age of eighteen, and as indicating the principles which guided his life and may be of value to young men who read this, the following extracts are taken from a letter written him by his father:

Belmont, Virginia, 27th December, 1793.
My Dear Frederick: Having written frequently to you in the early part of your residence at Detroit, and not having an acknowledgment of the reception of one of my letters, made me despair of a conveyance to you, but having lately received your very acceptable favor of the 7th October, and finding that Tarlton is still at Pittsburgh, this is intended for the next post. Though I lament your separation to such a distance it is a pleasing consolation to hear that you enjoy good health, and possess the esteem and confidence of the worthy Captain Ernest, whose polite and friendly attention to you demands my warmest acknowledgments, but I cannot doubt of your steady attachment to business, or your inflexible adherence to principles of honor, which will insure the esteem of the good and virtuous, and afford lasting comfort to the man conscious of the rectitude of his conduct.

I must once more entreat you, my Dear Son, to omit no opportunity of writing to us, that being all we can expect at present; indeed I believe a partial visit and to lose you again would add poignancy to my present feelings. All here have you in tender remembrance, and join me in best wishes for you, be assured of the hearty prayers and warm benediction of your ever affectionate father, Thomas F. Bates.

"Frederick Bates married Nancy Opie Ball, and had children as follows:

(1) Emily Caroline, born January 5, 1820, who married Mr. Robert Alfred Walton, by whom she had eight children, and whose family home was the city of St. Charles.
(2) Lucius Lee, born March, 1821, who married Dulcinea Conway, daughter of Samuel Conway, of St. Louis County. His widow and his children, Conway Bates and Lucia Lee Bates, are living in St. Louis.
(3) Woodville, born July 29, 1823, died, unmarried, February 12, 1840.
(4) Frederick, born February 1, 1826, died October 18, 1862.
(5) James Woodson, sixth son of Thomas Fleming Bates, was born at Belmont, August 25, 1787, died December 26, 1846. He left no descendants. He followed his brother Frederick to Upper Louisiana, and Batesville, Arkansas, is said to be named for him. The writer has no further record of his life.
(6) Edward Bates of Missouri, the seventh son and youngest of the twelve children of Thomas Fleming Bates, was born at Belmont, September 4, 1793. He died in St. Louis, March 25, 1869, in the seventy-sixth year of his age.

"Edward attained more prominence as a public man than others of the name and the full account of his life which follows is from the pen of another of Missouri's distinguished men, the Hon. Wm. F. Switzler: 'Edward Bates, Lincoln's attorney-general, one of Missouri's greatest citizens; his career as lawyer, farmer, statesman. Among the many memories of a long and active editorial, political and official life in Missouri, during which he personally knew nearly every one of its public men, living and dead, of two generations, and performed services with them in parliamentary bodies, none are more pleasant to the writer of this sketch than those connected with the late Edward Bates. Anterior to the Civil War they were old Whigs together, entertaining many of the same convictions of public questions and worshipping at the same shrine of public duty.

"Measured by any of the approved standards of civilized life, Mr. Bates was no common man. First of all, and better than all, he was a Christian gentleman, and, therefore, a loyal friend; sweet-tempered, complaisant, obliging, polished in manner, and one of the most entertaining conversationalists of his day. In short he belonged to that illustrious line of gentlemen, who, alas! are not as numerous as they ought to be, who dignified the bar, the legislative hall, and the executive chamber; who made the street brighter, home happier, and mankind better by their presence. With all, he was a natural orator, master of the most elegant diction and beautiful imagery, and gifted with all the graces of elocution. His voice was as musical as a lute, and words fell from his lips without effort. He did not write and memorize his speeches, but spoke as moved by the inspiration of the occasion, trusting to the occasion for arguments and illustrations and the most befitting words.

"Edward Bates was born at Belmont, Goochland County, Virginia, September 4, 1793, and died at his home in St. Louis, March 25, 1869, in the seventy-sixth year of his age. His father, Thomas F. Bates, was of old English stock and a Quaker; but, on the occurrence of the Revolutionary war, his love of country and hatred of tyranny caused him to break faith with that sect and he enlisted as a soldier, and continued as such until the patriot armies of the colonies conquered a peace. Mr. Bates was the seventh son of a family of twelve children, and his father died while he was very young. Books were scarce, and schools in that part of Virginia were almost unknown. Benjamin Bates, a kinsman, lived at Hanover Court House, Virginia, and was a good scholar. To some extent, the education of Edward, who early evidenced a fondness for study, was committed to him. He taught him the elementary branches, instructed him in mathematics, some philosophy and a little history. Finally he entered Charlotte Hall, a Maryland Academy, where he acquired a good knowledge of the higher branches of English and the classics. He desired to enter the American navy, and, through the influence of a friend, was appointed a midshipman, but his mother objecting to his becoming a sailor, he declined it. He did, however, enter the militia service at Norfolk, and served from February to October, 1813. His brother, Frederick Bates, of St. Louis, who had been appointed secretary of the territory of Missouri, wrote him of the bright prospects of the great country west of the Mississippi, and he resolved to "go west and grow up with the country." Frederick Bates was the second governor of the state of Missouri, elected for four years in August, 1824, and died in office August 4, 1825. In the summer of 1814, Edward came to St. Louis, in the twentieth year of his age. He resolved to study law, and, with this view, entered the office of Rufus Easton, then an eminent lawyer, and from 1814 to 1816 a delegate to congress. He died in St. Charles July 5, 1834. In 1816 Mr. Bates was admitted to the bar and rapidly rose to distinction as an attorney and speaker; so rapidly indeed, that in 1818 Governor William Clark (of the celebrated Lewis and Clark expedition), then governor of Missouri territory, appointed him attorney-general of the territory. In May, 1820, the fifteen counties then organized in Missouri elected forty-one delegates to a convention to form a constitution for the prospective state. Of this number St. Louis elected ten, namely, David Barton, Edward Bates, Alexander McNair, William Rector, John C. Sullivan, Pierre Chouteau, Jr., Bernard Pratte and Thomas F. Riddick. The convention met in St. Louis, June 12, 1820, and elected David Barton president, and framed a constitution for the state, which remained its organic law for forty-five years, till it was supplanted by the "Drake Constitution" of 1865. Mr. Bates took an active interest in the proceedings of this body and rendered valuable service to the state.

"When the state was admitted into the Union in 1821, Mr. Bates was appointed attorney-general by Governor McNair, but held the office only a short time, and was succeeded by Rufus Easton. He resumed the practice of his profession and prosecuted it with distinguished ability and success. In 1822 he agreed to serve the people of the county in the lower branch of the legislature and was elected. In 1824 he was appointed by President Monroe United States attorney for the district of Missouri and discharged the duties of that position with acknowledged fidelity and ability till 1827, when he resigned and was elected a representative to congress, serving from 1827 to 1829. His opponent was Hon. John Scott, of Ste. Genevieve, who had served the previous term. Both were Whigs.

On May 29, 1823, Mr. Bates was united in marriage to Miss Julia D. Coalter, a daughter of David Coalter, who moved to Missouri in 1818 from South Carolina, where Miss Coalter was born. Gen. John D. Coalter, deceased, was an able lawyer and well known Whig politician of St. Charles, was a brother of Mrs. Bates. Mrs. Hamilton R. Gamble, of St. Louis, and Mrs. William C. Preston, of South Carolina, were her sisters. Mrs. Bates died in St. Louis about twenty years ago. Very few of her children, one of whom was Barton Bates, once a judge of the Supreme Court, survive her. John C. Bates is now a distinguished officer in the United States army. In 1828 Mr. Bates was a candidate for re-election, but was defeated by Spencer Pettis (in honor of whom Pettis County was afterwards named) by a large majority. Political parties were not organized in Missouri until 1828, at which time, under the influence of Andrew Jackson, who was elected president, the Democrats and Whigs of Missouri met each other at the polls for the first time as forces drilled for such an encounter. Bates was an old-time Henry Clay Whig; Pettis, a Jackson Democrat.

"In 1834 Mr. Bates was elected as a Whig to the Missouri house of representatives, and was regarded as the ablest and most eloquent member of that body. It was at this session that he practiced a laughable but harmless joke on a Democratic member from a southwest county, whose name, like Mr. Bates', commenced with the letter "B. " The member was a very clever but uneducated man, who really didn't know half the time how to vote. Some of his friends advised him that as Bates' name on a roll-call was called first to watch how he voted and vote the other way, "agin Bates," and he would vote all right. This came to Bates' ears, and, not being averse to a little harmless mischief, he resolved at the next call of the roll on a political question to vote against his opinion and for the Democratic side and afterwards ask leave to change his vote. And he carried out the joke, and the old fellow from the southwest voted "agin Bates," and against his party, for his "idee was so he voted agin Bates it was sartin to be Dimicratical."

"His health becoming impaired and his law practice neglected by active participation in political and official life, he concluded to move to St. Charles County, where he owned a farm on the Dardenne Prairie, and regularly vibrate between his farm and law office. He did so, but the experiment ran its course in a few years, and in 1842 he removed back to St. Louis. The writer of this once asked him at his home in St. Louis what success he had as a farmer, to which he replied that "it took all the money Lawyer Bates could make to support Farmer Bates." In 1847 the great internal improvement congress met in Chicago, and Mr. Bates was one of the delegates from Missouri. At that time he was comparatively unknown outside of the state, but at that convention in a single speech he leaped at one bound into national prominence and fame. He was chosen president of the convention and delivered the opening address, in which he electrified the members by the great ability and eloquence he displayed in combating the doctrine that the constitutional power of congress to make appropriations for internal improvements was limited to the tide waters of the ocean. No single speech delivered during the last generation produced a more beneficial or lasting effect upon our national internal improvement policy. In the West especially it was electrical; and it was not long thereafter until the great states in the Mississippi Valley were admitted to be entitled to a share of federal patronage in the construction of their interstate railroads and improvement of their rivers and harbors. Upon the accession of Mr. Fillmore to the presidency in 1850, Mr. Bates was nominated by him and immediately confirmed by the senate as secretary of war, which he declined. In 1853 Mr. Bates was elected by the people of St. Louis judge of the St. Louis land court, the important duties of which he discharged with marked ability and to universal public approval. In 1854 he cooperated with the Free Labor, or Emancipation, party in St. Louis in opposing the repeal of the Missouri Compromise and the admission of Kansas into the Union under the Lecompton, or pro-slavery, constitution. At the Republican national convention at Chicago in 1860, his name was favorably mentioned by conservative Republicans for the presidency, and on the first ballot he received forty-eight out of the 465 votes cast. But Mr. Lincoln being regarded as the strongest compromise candidate between the friends of Mr. Seward and the conservative element, his name was withdrawn, and Mr. Lincoln was nominated. After his election and inauguration he tendered Mr. Seward the place of secretary of state, and to Mr. Bates his choice of the remaining positions in his cabinet. He accepted the office of attorney-general, the duties of which he, of course, discharged with distinguished ability. Near the close of the year 1864, his health failed under the great strain of of Social duties and responsibilities, and believing the interests of the country demanded the services of a younger and more robust official, he resigned and returned to his home in St. Louis. His official life ended here. Although rid of the cares and labors of public station, his health continued to wane, and near the close of 1868 it assumed a dangerous form, and he died as above stated. An immense concourse attended his funeral, Reverend Doctor Niccolls pronounced an appropriate and eloquent funeral discourse, and the remains of the illustrious citizen were laid to rest in Bellefontaine Cemetery. At a meeting of the St. Louis bar held a few days thereafter, Hon. John F. Darby presided and a feeling address recalled many of the civic and Christian virtues and most important services of the deceased. Speeches were also delivered by other members of the bar, Shepley, Hunton, Broadhead, and others, after which Mr. Broadhead offered resolutions, one of which was as follows:

"He has filled high places of trust, both in the state and nation, and following the example of Sir Mathew Hale, he discharged those trusts uprightly, deliberately and resolutely; so that no man could say that he did not confer more honor on the office than the office did upon him; and he retired all the poorer for his public services, except in that esteem which follows the faithful discharge of duty.

"He was a firm believer in the Christian religion, and a ruling elder in the Presbyterian church at the time of his death."

''Reference to the memorable speech of Edward Bates at the Chicago River and Harbor Convention on July 7, 1847, is made by Horace Greeley, reporter for the New York Tribune, as follows: 'Previous to putting the question, however, the president of the convention, Hon. Edward Bates, of Missouri, returned thinks for the honor done him in a speech which took the convention completely by surprise, so able, so forcible, and replete with the soul of eloquence. I will not attempt to give an account of this wonderful speech, of which I regret to know that no full notes were taken. No account that can now be given will do it justice. In the course of it, Mr. B. remarked that when he emigrated in 1814 to the French village of huts called St. Louis, which has now 50,000 inhabitants, he was obliged to hire a guard against hostile savages to accompany him across the unbroken wilderness which is now the state of Illinois, with a civilized population of 600,000 freemen. His speech was greeted at its close by the whole convention rising and cheering long and fervently. '

"A like reference was made by Thurlow Weed, reporter for the Albany Evening Journal: 'Wednesday morning. Convention met pursuant to adjournment. Provisions were made for the publication of the proceedings and their distribution among the people. Hon. Thomas Corwin, of Ohio, then offered the usual resolution of thanks to the chairmen. Thereupon, the chairman, Mr. Bates, of St. Louis, arose and in one of his most appropriate speeches, returned his thanks to the convention. The speech, if ever published as delivered, will be pronounced one of the richest specimens of American eloquence. He was interrupted continually by cheer upon cheer; and at its close, the air rung with shout after shout, from the thousands in attendance. The convention adjourned at half-past eleven today, with more harmony, if possible, than it commenced. Never have we witnessed such a harmonious meeting, from beginning to end. Its proceedings have been worthy any people and any cause. And the interest of the people was continued' throughout all the sittings. Up to the last hour the crowd was a dense one, and every delegate stayed to the end. This convention must rank as one of the most respectable and we hope it will prove one of the most useful ever assembled on the continent. This is a strong expression, we know, but we ask those who may be inclined to doubt it to hear before they judge.

"The family life of Edward Bates and his wife, Julia Davenport Coalter, was ideal. Both lived to an advanced age and they were the parents of seventeen children. The oldest child of their first born hesitates to speak in his own words of the virtues of his ancestry, and prefers to enter here the tribute of a family friend, the Hon. John F. Darby, to the widow of Edward Bates, upon the occasion of her funeral services:

Mrs. Julia Bates, Widow of the Late Edward Bates, Esq.

[For the Republican

Yesterday, the widow of Edward Bates, deceased, Mrs. Julia Bates, was buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery, an account of which has already been given in your widely circulated journal. One who has so long and so prominently been connected with the past history of St. Louis, as has been the widow of Edward Bates, is entitled to a passing notice, and I propose to give you a short and very brief sketch in relation to her. The writer hereof has known Mrs. Bates in the city of St. Louis for more than fifty years. As a friend of her husband and as a devoted personal friend of the family, he has been a visitor of that amiable, accomplished and refined domicile for more than half a century, and has shared in the hospitality and partaken of the kindness of the household at the board of that devoted and pleasant establishment full many a time and oft. Edward Bates was married to Julia Coalter in the year 1823, the same year that his partner, Joshua Barton, was killed in a duel by Rector. I have known Mrs. Bates ever since. Mrs. Bates bore her husband seventeen children, surviving her husband more than eleven years. She was, when young, a most beautiful woman. Modest, gentle and retiring, she was calculated to impart happiness around the domestic circle. When she went with her distinguished and talented husband to Washington City, she did it as a matter of duty, and not of pleasure, where she lived four years, while her husband was attorney general of the United States, without ostentation or display of fashion. Mrs. Bates was one of the noblest and best of women. The father of Mrs. Bates, David Coalter, came to the territory of Missouri in the year 1817 from South Carolina while Mrs. Bates was a child. He was a man of distinction and wealth, and purchased a large tract of land in the Dardenne Prairie, St. Louis County, in the Missouri territory, for which he paid at that time $20,000, money enough in that day to have purchased more property than the Lucas and Lindell estates, which have since been counted by millions, were worth.

''Reasoning at every step he takes,
Man yet mistakes his way."

Mr. Coalter was a man of distinction, from what I can learn of his family; he lived for awhile in the neighborhood of Florissant Township in the vicinity of that eccentric individual, Nathaniel Beverly Tucker, who was at one time judge of the St. Louis circuit court, and who utilized a hollow sycamore tree in the country by cutting off the top of it, and making a law office of it, in which his books were stored around the shelves on the inside. Mr. David Coalter had five daughters and two sons. They were a most distinguished family. The daughters married, all of them, most distinguished and talented men of position, place and station. One of the daughters married Governor Means, who afterward became governor of South Carolina; another daughter married Chancellor Harper, who was the first and only chancellor the state of Missouri ever had; and after the constitution of the state of Missouri was amended, giving the circuit courts chancery jurisdiction, the office of chancellor was abolished, and the chancellor removed back to South Carolina, remaining the chancellor of that state as long as he lived. Another daughter married William C. Preston, who came all the way to St. Louis County to marry his wife, and married her here in Missouri. His maternal grandmother was a sister of Patrick Henry, for many years he was in the United States Senate from South Carolina. He it was who delivered the eloquent and fine oration at the founding of the monument of the battle of King's Mountain. Another daughter, Caroline, married Hamilton Rowan Gamble, of Missouri, who went to South Carolina to marry her in the fall of the year 1827. And Julia, just buried, married Edward Bates in Missouri in the year 1823. She was the youngest child. I might give further and many other interesting sketches of the Coalter family, but this will suffice.
John F. Darby
St. Louis, Oct. 18, 1880.

"Of the seventeen children of Edward Bates, only two survive; Matilda, the tenth child, was born January 21, 1840. She married Maj. Edward Best Eno, and bore him five children, one of whom, Henry, died in childhood. Another, Edward Bates, died in the prime of manhood, unmarried. She is now a widow and lives in Silver City, New Mexico, with her daughter, Matilda, and near the home of another daughter, Julia Bates, the wife of Wayne Wilson, and the mother of three children. Her eldest daughter, Christine, the wife of George Compton, and the mother of three sons, lives at Kirkwood, in St. Louis County. John Coalter, the twelfth child and sixth son of Edward Bates, was born in St. Charles County, August 26, 1842. He entered the army in 1860 at the age of eighteen, and after a long and continuous and distinguished service, was retired at the completion of his sixty-fourth year with the rank of Lieutenant General. He is unmarried and resides in Washington City.

"Barton, the first child of Edward Bates, was born in St. Louis, Feb. 29, 1824. He died at Cheneaux, in St. Charles County, at the end of the year 1892. He was a lawyer and was credited by his friends with great natural talent for the practice of that profession, having a judicial mind and an inherent sense of justice which ruled every action of his life. The writer was told by Edward Bates that Barton was the best law draughtsman that he ever knew, and his opinions as judge are cited as models of clear and explicit language. He followed the practice of law for only a few years and about 1885 established the family home on Dardenne Prairie, which he named Cheneaux, where he resided till his death.

''This home place was so dear to the father and mother and the children that no idea of exchanging it for one in the city was successfully maintained, although professional and business requirements caused the father to make frequent visits to Jefferson City and St. Louis. For many years his duties as judge of the Supreme Court of the State, and, later, as a railroad president, occupied much of his time and talents. He was a close friend and admirer of that great man and engineer, James B. Eads, and was interested with him in the construction of the St. Louis Bridge, the Mississippi Jetties, and in other business enterprises. Barton Bates and Caroline Matilda Hatcher of Oakland, St. Charles County, were married March 29, 1849, and after a few years residence in St. Louis, settled at Cheneaux on Dardenne Prairie. The Cheneaux family consisted of father, mother and ten children. Considering the latter in order of birth:

(1) Onward, a Civil Engineer, lives in Chicago with his wife, Virginia Castleman, daughter of the late Judge Samuel Miller Breckenridge, of St. Louis. They have no children.
(2) Hester is the wife of Mr. Justin R. Graves of Evanston, Illinois. They have no children, but Mr. Graves was a widower, and had children by his first wife.
(3) Cora, wife of the Rev. Edwin Brown McCluer, D. D., lives at Bon Air, Virginia. She is the mother of five children: Dr. Bates McCluer, Mrs. Edwin Pinkerton (who has a daughter), Nellie, who is a teacher, and Edward and Margaret who are at school.
(4) Tarlton, who died in his early manhood.

(5) Frances Barton is unmarried and lives with her mother in Chicago.
(6) Margaret married Seth Singleton and is the mother of five children: Barton, who is married and has a son; Caroline and Katherine, who are school teachers, Julian, who was drowned while swimming with some playmates, and Hatcher, a young man just entering business.
(7) Hatcher, the one boy who remained at the homestead, well known throughout the county and loved by all, died July 24, 1900, the result of an accident.
(8) Eads lives in Colorado and is unmarried.
(9) Katherine was a physician. She had a university education, then graduated in the Medical College of New York, and completed her training with a year's hospital practice. She practiced medicine for a while in Chicago, but was compelled, by failing health, to relinquish this work. For several years she was an invalid, and during this period was engaged in literary work. She died at Bon Air, Virginia, August 6, 1906. During the years of her study and practice she formed an extended acquaintance, and she seemed to possess the rare quality of getting and holding the love of all who knew her. In a beautiful tribute written by one of her college friends is to be found this sentence: "Her genius for friendship, and surely it was nothing short of this, was due to her wondrous gift of sympathy. Someone said after she was gone, "It wasn't that she listened to you, was interested in you as you talked; she became you,'
(10) "Barton, the tenth and youngest child of Barton and Caroline Matilda Bates, died in infancy.

"Barton, son of Edward, known as also his father was, as 'Judge Bates' was prominent in the history of the state. Born at the corner of Sixth and Market streets in the village of St. Louis, he was identified with the life of the state, and choosing St. Charles County for his home, he reared his large family here, he belonged to this county. In a sense he was not a public man, for he loved retirement and never sought publicity, but the citizens of the county knew and respected him and appreciated his character and qualities. The doors of the Cheneaux homestead were kept open, the old people loved their neighbors and the young people gathered their friends about them without question and without limit. It was always a holiday at Cheneaux, and yet the sense and practice of duty was taught with Quaker simplicity and insistence. After the death of Hatcher, the home could not be maintained for Mrs. Bates. The children were scattered and so bound with engagements under the new order of things that no one could attend her in the old home. She is now living with her daughter Frances (Fanny) in Chicago, in her eighty-fourth year, still active and cheerful, in a circle of relatives and friends, whom she loves and who love her in return, compelled to do so by her own lovely character.

"Nancy Coalter Bates, the eldest daughter and third child of Edward and Julia Bates, was born December 11, 1827, and died October 17, 1872. She was never married. She was well known on Dardenne Prairie, being a frequent visitor to her brother's house, and her memory is held reverently and affectionately by those who did know her.

''Julian, the sixth child and third son, of Edward and Julia Bates, was born January 7, 1833, and died in St. Louis, July 20, 1902. He was a physician, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, and practiced medicine, first in Florissant, St. Louis County, and afterwards in St. Louis. He married Sarah Friend Woodson, daughter of Charles F. Woodson, of St. Louis County. They had a large family of children, of whom there are now living four sons, George W., Fleming, Frank, and Hodgen; and one daughter, Wenona, the wife of Rev. Wm. McCluer, who is the son of the late Samuel McCluer, of Dardenne Prairie. His widow lives in St. Louis with her son Frank. Dr. Bates was a scholar and a man of refinement and gentleness, a true example of the Christian gentleman.

''Fleming, the seventh child and fourth son of Edward and Julia Bates, was born April 2, 1834, and died December 8, 1871. He married Miss Nannie Wilson, daughter of Dr. Benjamin Wilson of St. Charles County. They had three children, Allen Cumberland, Benjamin and Nannie Fay. Mrs. Fleming Bates and the two sons are dead, and Miss Nannie Fay Bates, the only surviving member of the family lives in St. Louis.

"Richard, eighth child and fifth son of Edward and Julia Bates, was born December 12, 1835, and died September 25, 1879. He married Ellen Wilson Woodson, daughter of Charles F. Woodson, of St. Charles County. They had two children, Charles Woodson Bates, who is a prominent lawyer of St. Louis, and Mrs. Annie Bates Hersman, a widow, who, with her mother, is living in Chicago.

"Charles Woodson, thirteenth child and seventh son of Edward and Julia Bates, was born November 4, 1844. He married Alice, daughter of Seth Frink, of St. Louis. They had three daughters, Ellen Coalter, Bertha and Caro, who lives with her mother in St. Louis. Charles Woodson died in St. Louis some years ago. Woody Bates, as he was familiarly called, was known on Dardenne Prairie almost as well as if he were a resident and his name is synonymous with that which is gentle and lovable.

"The children of Edward and Julia Bates not named above, Holmes Conrad, Fanny Means, Maria Fleming, Edwa, Kora Wharton, Ben Edward, Catherine Harper, Julia and David Coalter, all died in their childhood.

"Following in the lead of Frederick Bates were relatives and friends who settled in St. Charles and St. Louis counties. There were amount them men of education and means, full of enterprise and willing to endure the hardships of frontier life. Men whose patriotism had been stirred by the wars with the mother country and who were committed to the destiny of our Republic. Too much honor can never be given to this class of men, who converted this Spanish-French Territory of Louisiana, into the Sovereign States which now exist. Some of these pioneers who settled St. Charles County deserve mention here.

David Coalter, son of Michael Coalter and Elizabeth Moore, was born in Virginia, September 24, 1764. He was married to Ann Carmichael, daughter of James Carmichael and Catherine Sheiders, who was born near Orangeburg, South Carolina, on June 1, 1772, the date of their marriage being December 29, 1791. In addition to the five daughters mentioned in Mr. Darby's memoir of Mrs. Edward Bates, there were four sons, to wit:
(1) James, who died unmarried,
(2) John David, who married Mary Means and had one child that died in infancy, and who was an honored and respected citizen of St. Louis,
(3) Beverly Tucker, who married and had three children, Julia Bates, Caroline Gamble and John David, his family residence being in Pike County where he practiced the profession of medicine, and
(4) James 2nd, who died in infancy. David Coalter lived for a time on Dardenne creek, and the writer remembers that when a boy, he was shown the foundation timber's which were all that remained of a mill built by David on the creek near the place afterward owned by Mr. Samuel McCluer.

"Henry Hatcher, a son of John and Nancy Gentry Hatcher, was born in Virginia, December 30, 1801, and died at his residence, Oakland, in St. Charles County, January 7, 1879. He was married November 3, 1825, to Susan Matilda Ann Spears, and had twelve children as follows:
(1) Ann Maria, born September 14, 1826; died January 19, 1879; married Strother Johnson, November 13, 1850, and had children.
(2) Caroline Matilda, born February 20, 1829; married Barton Bates, March 29, 1849.
(3) Charlotte Virginia, born February 26, 1831; died in Virginia; married Daniel H. Brown, February 2, 1866, and had children. Daniel Brown was previously married and had children by his first wife.
(4) Frederick Alfred, born 1833; died; married first Julia Chenoweth, and second, Susan Nicholson. No children.
(5) Martha Powell, born January 17, 1836; died December 1, 1836.
(6) Mary Elizabeth, born September 24, 1837; died 1908; married Col. George W. Jackson, October 31, 1867, and had children.
(7) Sarah Margaret, born December 1, 1839; married Peyton A. Brown, September 21, 1858, and had children.
(8) Pamily Susan, born May 4, 1824; died March 29, 1878; married Capt. Wm. E. Chenoweth, October 31, 1867, and had children.
(9) Wortly Gay, born December 22, 1844; died December 2, 1867. Unmarried.
(10) John Henry, born April 3, 1847; married Caroline Harris, and had children.
(11) Henrietta Frayser, born February 4, 1850; died November 5, 1877; unmarried.
(12) Samuel Josiah, born March 21, 1853; died; married Irvine, and had no children.

"Margaret Maria Spears, the mother of Mrs. Henry Hatcher, was the eighth child and third daughter of Thomas Fleming Bates of Belmont, Goochland County, Virginia, and so was a sister of Edward Bates of Missouri. She married first Mr. Spears, and second, Dr. Wharton. She died in Mr. Hatcher's home at an advanced age, the great-grand-mother of numerous children.

Henry Hatcher, with his family and all his personal property, moved from Virginia to St. Charles County about 1836. He was accompanied by Judge Robert Fraser, the husband of Maria Spears, who was a sister of Mrs. Hatcher. Henry first lived at the Heald place near Fallon and moved from there to Oakland on Peruque creek, where he remained to the end of his life. It is related that in the first year of his residence in St. Charles County he killed more than sixty deer to provide meat for his household. Deer and wild turkeys were so plentiful in those days that a hunter had only to walk a short distance from his house to procure all the fresh meat that was needed. Mr. Darius Heald, himself a famous hunter, once told the writer that Mr. Hatcher was the best turkey shot he ever saw, but that he (Mr. Heald) could beat him killing deer. Mr. Hatcher was a man of great integrity, unless it could be said that he neglected himself in his generosity toward others. His mode of life was modest, but his home was never excelled in hospitality by any other, and with his large family and the almost constant presence of guests, it was always full of life and pleasure. His only living children are Mrs. Barton Bates of Chicago, Mrs. Peyton A. Brown of Saline County, and Mr. John Hatcher, who, after living in the county for more than sixty years, recently moved to Callaway County to be near his son and daughter, who, with their families, live near Williamsburg.

Judge Fraser lived and died on his farm adjoining that of Mr. Hatcher. Two of his children are living; Eliza, (Mrs. Thompson) lives in St Charles County, and Edward Bates Fraser who is a prominent citizen of Fort Smith, Arkansas.

No family in St. Charles County was better known or enjoyed greater respect than that of Charles Friend Woodson. The Woodson and Bates families were intermarried for generations and in addition to the tie of relationship, Charles F. Woodson and Edward Bates were intimate friends. Charles F. Woodson was descended from John Woodson, a native of Dorsetshire, England. He came to Virginia in 1624, as surveyor to a company of soldiers, with Sir John Harney. Charles F. Woodson was born in Virginia, November 20, 1794, and was married to Ann Thomas, daughter of Dr. Goodridge Wilson and Elizabeth Woodson Venable, who was born in Prince Edward County, Virginia, December 7, 1806; the date of their marriage being April 15, 1830.
To this pair were born:
(1) George Thomas
(2) Richard Goodridge
(3) A son who died in infancy
(4) Sarah Friend, who married Julian Bates
(5) Annie Virginia
(6) Elizabeth Venable
(7) Ellen Wilson, who married Richard Bates
(8) Julia Bates, who married Mr. Stotemyer
(9) Lilly, who died in infancy
(10) Mary Randolph, who is the wife of Mr. William Harris of St. Charles County.

The surviving members of the Woodson family of Dardenne Prairie are, Mrs. Julian Bates, living in St. Louis; and the Misses Virginia and Elizabeth, who, with Mrs. Richard Bates, reside in Chicago.

And now. Dr. Edwards, I am sure I have done my share in supplying you with biographical notes of people living in or related to St. Charles County. If other descendants of the old families have done as well, you will have a mass of data to be assorted, abridged, simplified and expurgated, until it in proper form occupies the space in the history of Missouri which is allotted to St. Charles County. Family histories cannot be impartially written by members of the family, and it is said that no true history can be written except by future generations. Nevertheless, no history can be written without the testimony of those who took part in it, and a practiced writer should be able to revise and eliminate such notes as I have furnished and make a record of interest to posterity.

"I have hardly treated you fairly in sending you all these dates of births, deaths and marriages, for I became personally interested in these people of the same blood, and resolving to keep a copy of this letter for my own records, fear that I have served myself at your expense. Still I am sure that an old Patriarch, such as you are, who has been so intimately connected with the lives of some of these families, will be glad to have these family notes, even if they do not suit your present purpose, and so I send them.

Your friend, Onward Bates


© Missouri American History and Genealogy Project
Created August 16, 2017 by Judy White

Source: History of Northeast Missouri, edited by Walter Williams, Volume I, Lewis Publishing Company, 1913