THE LEADING CITIZENS OF MADISON COUNTY

CONTENTS
Preface
Names Index
Portrait Index


  SOLOMON B. GATES, of the town of Lebanon, N.Y., was born there May 22, 1826. Far away in his New England home the grandfather, Aaron Gates, heard of the beautiful country so productive and so much milder in climate than his own native State, and, becoming imbued with the same spirit of adventure that had brought his ancestors from far across the seas to this land of liberty, he decided to seek a new home in this lauded section. It was in the latter years of the last century that he left Connecticut and came to New York State, settling in the town of Lebanon. As it was with many pioneers, the results of his anticipation were not nearly so rosy-hued when found as when imagined; and dreary and desolate enough it was, when they reached this "promised land," to find it an untrodden forest, where their very pathway had to be marked by blazed trees, and their fitful slumbers in the wild woods broken by the weird cries of the denizens of the forest and the treacherous step of the lurking Indian. His first work, on seeing the unpromising condition of things, was to make what protection he could for himself and family. He built a log cabin, and at first cleared enough of the land to raise what would about support them in cereal food, for their meat having to depend on the game which abounded in the forest. He afterward teamed to Albany for his livelihood. He spent his last days on the original farm he had laid out. The father of our subject, Silas A. Gates, was born in the town of Lebanon, and was a carpenter by trade. In his boyhood days he lived near Syracuse, N.Y., when it was little more than a village, and it was no uncommon thing to see fights between the dogs and bears, the latter of which were very plentiful at that time. He married Miss Caroline Baker, daughter of Solomon Baker, who lived in the eastern part of the town of Lebanon; and they resided on the farm where Mr. Gates was born, and which is now owned by F. D. Seymour.
  Solomon B. Gates grew up on the home farm, and received a good education in the district schools. When he reached the age of manhood, he made a most fortunate marriage in his union with Miss Ursula Watrous, daughter of Harry Watrous, of Lebanon, himself a descendant of one of the pioneer settlers of the town. There were four children given them by Providence to bless their household, namely: Nellie, wife of Frank Purdy, of Sherburne, N.Y.; Della, residing at home; Frank N., an employee of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad, and now residing in Utica, N.Y.; and Lena, wife of Charles Burd, and the mother of one child, Harry Solomon.
  Mr. Gates resides at present in Earlville, N.Y. Realizing the importance of a correct position in politics, he considers that in the Republican party the best safeguard for the prosperity of the country is to be found, and therefore is to be found in its ranks. In his domestic life and worldly affairs he enjoys peace and prosperity, and fully deserves all the blessings he has received.

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