Biography - Elder William A. Bates

ELDER WILLIAM A. BATES. The divine command "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature," has for more than eighteen hundred years been accepted by a few who felt that they would accept the humble position of teacher to the people, for their dear Lord's sake. Every religion has its fanatics, but the purpose of none is so pure and unalloyed as that of the preacher to the simple agricultural classes of America. They are one with the people and no false notions of superiority can give them prestige over their flock. They can preach the life of the Divine man in all its simplicity, because they themselves, in a degree, live the same life.

Our subject resides on section 13, of Ridge Township, Shelby County. He was born in Grant County, Ind., his natal day being December 4, 1851. He is a son of David and Elizabeth (Bradshaw) Bates, both natives of Indiana. Both paternal and maternal grandparents were pioneer settlers of his native State. The parents of our subject died in Indiana, and of a family of eight children, only three attained their majority. They are, Rebecca, John Wisley and our subject. Rebecca married C. F. Lay, and resides in Miami County, Kan. John died in 1890 in Miami County, Kan. Our subject was only five years of age when his father passed away from this life, and one year later he lost his mother, and only those who have been orphans can appreciate the bereavement of the lad. Our subject had a guardian appointed with whom he lived for a time, after a previous residence with his relatives on the home farm. He attended the district schools and derived all the advantages to be had there.

At the age of seventeen the original of our sketch came to Shelby County and purchased eighty acres of land. In 1874, he was married to Arminta Bare, a daughter of Michael and Margaret (Dillinger) Bare. The lady was born in Westmoreland County, Pa., August 11, 1847. In 1848 the family removed to Ohio and in 1872 came to Shelby County, where she and our subject met and married. After marriage, he of whom we write, with his wife, went to Kansas, where they resided for a time in Miami, and then went across the line into Missouri. While West, he purchased forty acres of land and operated land which he rented.

In October, 1882, the family returned to Shelby County and our subject has since rented the land which he now occupies, operating two hundred and forty acres. Politically. Mr. Bates is a Prohibitionist, not only living, but teaching and preaching a total abstinence from all stimulants. Five little ones have come as buds of promise to cheer the home of our subject and wife. Of these, four are now living. They are Maggie, Cora, Bertha and John. Mr. Bates has been an earnest Christian and has officiated as minister over several congregations. He preached one year at Antioch, two years at Wilber Creek, two years at Union, and two years at Zion, at which place he is now preaching. He united with the Church of Christ when twenty one years of age, and had no special preparation for the pulpit, gleaning his theological training as best he could from books and conversations with learned, good men. During the time of his ministry with the churches above mentioned, he at the same time pursued his calling as a farmer, although he has given a portion of his time to his ministerial duties. He is a member of the church of Antioch, and occasionally preaches at that place.

Extracted 17 Aug 2020 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 687-688.

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