Frederick Bates, 2nd Governor of Missouri

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Frederick Bates, 2nd Governor of Missouri's Geni Profile

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Frederick Bates

Birthplace: Belmont, Loudoun County, VA, United States
Death: August 04, 1825 (48)
Chesterfield, St. Louis County, Missouri, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas Fleming Bates and Caroline Matilda Bates
Husband of Nancy Opie Bates
Father of Emily Caroline Walton; Lucius Lee Bates; Woodville Bates and Frederick Bates, Jr.
Brother of Margaret Bates; Ursula Luddington; Charles Fleming Bates; Tarleton Bates; Fleming Bates and 10 others

Managed by: Martin Severin Eriksen
Last Updated:

About Frederick Bates, 2nd Governor of Missouri

Frederick Bates (June 23, 1777 – August 4, 1825), older brother of Edward Bates and James Woodson Bates, was an American attorney and politician. He was elected in 1824 as the second governor of Missouri and died in office in 1825. Before that he had served as a Justice of the Territorial Supreme Court for Michigan Territory, was appointed by Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of the Louisiana Territory and started to build his political base in St. Louis.

Early life and education

Born in 1777 into the planter class in Goochland County, Virginia, Bates was schooled privately at his family's Belmont plantation by tutors. Later he went to college and read the law with an established firm.


After working as an attorney, Bates started his political career when appointed as a Justice of the Territorial Supreme Court for Michigan Territory in Detroit, Michigan. He received a significant promotion when the Aaron Burr conspiracy was uncovered. In February 1807, while Bates was in Washington, President Thomas Jefferson appointed him to be Secretary of the Louisiana Territory, as well as a recorder of land titles. He held this position in St. Louis until 1812. Bates helped determine whether conflicting French, Spanish, and American land claims in the territory would be upheld, as it had been subject to three differing political systems.

Jefferson had already decided on the returning explorer and fellow Virginian Meriwether Lewis as governor of the huge new Louisiana Territory, which approximately equaled the size of the existing United States. Bates preceded Lewis to St. Louis and became a powerful political force in the new territory; he was a political rival of Lewis until the latter's death while traveling from St. Louis to Washington on business in 1809. Later, as Secretary of the newly formed Missouri Territory (1812–1821), he became acting governor in the frequent absences of Territorial Governor William Clark.

In 1824, Bates was elected the second governor of Missouri. He died in office in August 1825 in Chesterfield, Missouri, due to a short illness thought to be pneumonia. Bates was buried at the family cemetery on the Thornhill estate near St. Louis.

Marriage and family

In 1819, Bates married Nancy Opie Ball (1802–1877), daughter of a wealthy Virginia colonel. The couple had four children, Emily Caroline (1820–1891), Lucius Lee (1821–1898), Woodville (1823–1840) and Frederick Jr. (1826–1862).

During his time in Missouri, Bates acquired nearly 1000 acres (4 km²) of land, which he called Thornhill. He had built a Federal-style home with high ceilings for summer ventilation, fine woodwork and a sophisticated floor plan; all this would have been familiar to Bates from his childhood home, Belmont, in Goochland County, Virginia. The Thornhill estate still exists today and can be viewed by the public. It is located in Faust County Park in Chesterfield, Missouri.

Legacy and honors

Bates County, Missouri is named after Frederick Bates.


Frederick was a well-educated man & became a distinguished member of society. Our cousin, President Thomas Jefferson, appointed him Secretary of the Territory of Michigan, he afterward became Governor of the Territory of Missouri & was the second Governor of that state after its admission. In one source is listed as Secretary of the Treasury for Missouri. Another that he was: congressman, judge, Attorney-General in Lincoln's administration...

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Frederick Bates, 2nd Governor of Missouri's Timeline

June 23, 1777
Belmont, Loudoun County, VA, United States
January 5, 1820
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
August 4, 1825
Age 48
Chesterfield, St. Louis County, Missouri, United States