Bio: Daniel Gates (1818  - 1885)

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----Source: 1918 History of Clark Co., WI, by Franklyn, Curtiss-Wedge, Photos provided by Natalie Erpenbach.

                                                     Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Gates

                                                     Photos provided by Natalie Erpenbach

DANIEL GATES. Among the pioneer settlers of Clark County, who have long since passed away there are few held in better remembrance than the subject of this sketch, who, in his day, was one of the most active workers in various lines of enterprise then living in the county. The record of his career is one well worth preserving in any history of Clark County, and will be here briefly but carefully narrated. Daniel Gates was born in Washington County, New York, July 11, 1818, a son of Jerry and Hannah (Balt) Gates. The father, who was of Scotch ancestry, was a farmer who came to Clark County, Wis. Daniel was educated in the schools of Essex County N. Y., and after leaving school found employment in the iron works there, subsequently becoming a contractor.

In his thirtieth year, April 23, 1848, he was married to Jane Hewett, who was born in New York, Dec. 4, 1828, daughter of Sheldon Hewett. He and his wife continued to reside in Essex County until the year 1856, by which time they had three children: Adelaide, James L. and Charles H. At this time there was a considerable migration going on from the Eastern States and from Europe to the great states of the Northwest, then opening up for settlement, and Mr. Gates, with his wife and children, joined the movement, coming to Wisconsin and locating at the mouth of Wedges' Creek, Clark County. Here he kept a tavern until 1861, he erecting the building, which was constructed partly of logs and partly frame. This tavern, which was in Levis Township, went by his name and during the years he conducted it, it was a well-known and popular resort and resting place. It has long since disappeared and even the site is now covered with water, owing to the erection of the dam. The horse team with which Mr. Gates hauled his freight from Sparta, Wis., were among the first horses seen in the county, he and his family traveling by stage. In 1861 he removed to Neillsville, or vicinity, buying twenty acres of land on a site adjoining the suburbs of the city. On this he erected a log house, sided over,16 by 24 feet, and a frame barn, then considered large, and which is still standing. The land was all wild but he at once commenced to clear it, subsequently buying other land until he had fifty-six acres.

He also engaged in logging to quite an extent.. In 1868 he built on the home place a frame house which is still standing, and is now occupied by his son Edwin. While he was engaged in logging his wife cook, in the camps and helped materially to get the family established here on a firm basis. Mr. Gates soon formed a wide acquaintance in the county and his force of character made him a man of mark. He also took an active part in public affairs and served successively in numerous offices, being a member of the Pine Valley township board and school board and sheriff of the county two years. He aided in the construction of the railroad to Neillsville, contributing $6,000 for that purpose, though he only used the road personally a few times. His aid was thus generously given for the sole purpose of benefiting the people of the county, as he realized the value of such an important improvement and its use in developing the county. He also aided in the erection of the court house and continued to be active in school affairs for a number of years. He rendered good service also on the board of county commissioners and as justice of the peace in Neillsville. Aside from his farm interests Mr. Gates took part in other business activities. With Joseph Head he started a feed store and meat market on the corner now occupied by the Neillsville Commercial Bank, and which was the first meat market in Neillsville; later they added a grocery store---to their business.

At a somewhat later period, with his son, James L., he founded the Neillsville Bank, of which he was president, and was a director of the Clark County Bank. He was by this time recognized as one of the foremost business men in the county, as well as one of its most public-spirited citizens, and when his death took place, on June 28, 1885.  His loss was regretted by practically every member of the community in which he lived and by many outside its borders.

Of the children previously mentioned who accompanied him and his wife to this county, Adelaide is now the wife of the Hon. R. J. MacBride, of Neillsville; James L., died in 1910; Charles H., or "Charley," as he is popularly known, is a resident of Neillsville. The other children, born in Wisconsin, were Edwin H. (first), who died at the age of 5 years; Edwin H. (second), of whom special mention is made in this volume; and Nellie, now deceased, who never married, and was a teacher for some time in this section of the county.

Mr. Gates was a member of the Presbyterian Church, to which he contributed largely. Though he has passed away the good that he did lives after him and has borne fruit in many ways. Mrs. Jane Hewett Gates died June 8, 1916, aged
87 years, 6 months and 4 days.



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