For the next three weeks, we will take a look at the Gates family of Patrick County. While there are very few folks with the surname Gates in the county now, many locals can trace their ancestry back to the Gates brothers, Thomas and John, who moved here from Halifax County.
On October 20, 1827, Thomas Gates purchased 224 acres of land on the waters of Jack’s Creek from James and Frances Chaney; this was the first deed for a Gates recorded in Patrick County Circuit Court. Thomas and John Gates must have moved here shortly after this land purchase because in 1830, the minutes of Jack’s Creek Primitive Baptist Church lists Tom, William B, Martha, Lucy, and Judith Gates (From The Gates Family of Patrick County, Virginia by Carol Leonard Snow).
Thomas (1788-1870) and John Gates (1790-1835) married sisters, Sallie and Lucy Richardson. Thomas and Sallie had three children: John Wesley, Martha (Patsy), and Thomas Gates, Jr. I have not had any luck finding out anything about what happened to Thomas Jr. who was twenty years old in the 1850 census, after that, the trail gets cold.
John Wesley Gates married Iwanonna Ayers of Rock Castle on the 11th of October 1839 and became a very successful merchant in Ararat; they had seven children that we will learn more about next week.
Martha (Patsy) Gates married miller Gabriel DeHart Jr. of Rock Castle Creek and they had nine children: Sarah married Henry Tuggle Brammer; Stephen who married his cousin, Judith Gates; William married Louisa Texas Dillon; Henry Clay married Nancy Frances Dillon; Lucinda married Tazewell Perry Brammer; Green Washington married Louisa Ellen Ayers; John Wesley married America Ann Brammer; Martha Emmaline married Jesse Weaver; and Nathaniel Clayburn married Malinda Georgia Dillon.
Lucy already had a son, James W. Richardson, when she married John Gates (1790-1835). Lucy and John had three more children, William Benjamin “Billy” Gates, Judith, and Martha.
In 1834, John Gates signed a marriage bond in Patrick County Circuit Court for his stepson, James W. Richardson to marry Miss Sarah Bowling of Lone Ivy, the daughter of Gabriel Peyton Bowling and Elizabeth Tuggle Bowling.
John and Lucy’s daughter, Judith, married her cousin, Stephen Hubbard DeHart in 1856. They had one son, Thomas before Judith died in 1858. John and Lucy’s daughter, Martha, married William McGhee in 1854. The couple had three children before Martha passed away in Floyd County in 1869.
John and Lucy’s son Billy married Miss Zilpha Ingram of Franklin County, the daughter of James Ingram, Jr. and Elizabeth Hall Ingram. Billy was working as a hired hand on the Ingram farm where he met Zilpha, my 3x great aunt. Sixteen-year-old Zilpha and twenty-five-year-old Billy eloped to Surry County, North Carolina and got married. Billy and Zilpha set up housekeeping in Ararat where Billy became a much beloved Primitive Baptist Elder.
Billy Gates’ grandson, Joseph Daniel Vaughn, wrote down his memories of his grandfather in 1957; Vaughn was 78 years old and was living in Salt Lake City, Utah… “William B. Gates was born in Patrick or Franklin County, Virginia in 1824. He lived about nine miles north of Mount Airy, North Carolina on the Willis Gap Road. His farm was on Owen or Cistern Creek and reached up to the Willis Gap Road at a point known as the High Knob. His wife, Zilpha Ingram’s father, James Ingram deeded her 150 acres of land on Smith River near Franklin County, Virginia. They lived there in the early 1850’s, then she sold it to her brothers William P. and Solomon Ingram about 1855. They then moved to Ararat, Patrick County, Virginia and bought 100 acres of land from John Eaton’s executor, Martin Cloud, for $112.00 at a sale. In 1857, he bought the Dodson place adjoining his land. This land was a tract of 150 acres. From Robert and his wife Ony Clark, he bought more land. He had in all over 380 acres. After his death, the land was divided amongst his children.”
“Elder William B. Gates was a Primitive Baptist Minister. He was ordained to the Baptist ministry when he was a young man at Jacks Creek Meetinghouse near Smith River. My father, Daniel Sanders Vaughn, was reared in the same community as his Grandfather Gates. Grandfather always rode a horse in his travels. He was a small man, only 5’6” tall and about 145 pounds. He had dark hair, wore a beard, and died at the age of 72. He was buried on his farm by his wife’s side and some others of his family. No tombstones mark their graves. The old home is gone now, but some of the buildings remain.” (From The Gates Family of Patrick County, Virginia by Carol Leonard Snow).
Next week, we will take a look at Thomas and Sallie Richardson Gates’ son, John Wesley Gates, a merchant and farmer in Ararat, Virginia. Woody may be reached at email@example.com or (276) 692-9626.