James W. Bates, US Congress

Is your surname Bates?

Research the Bates family

James W. Bates, US Congress's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


James Woodson Bates

Birthplace: Sebastian County, Arkansas
Death: Died
Place of Burial: Bates Family Burying Ground at Moores Rock Van Buren Crawford County Arkansas
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas Fleming Bates and Caroline Matilda Bates
Husband of Elizabeth Bates
Brother of Frederick Bates, 2nd Governor of Missouri; Fleming Bates; Charles Fleming Bates; Tarleton Bates; Fleming Bates and 6 others

Managed by: Terry Hubert Brown
Last Updated:

About James W. Bates, US Congress




James Woodson Bates (August 25, 1788 – December 26, 1846) was an American lawyer and statesman from Sebastian County, Arkansas. He represented the Arkansas Territory as a delegate to the U.S. Congress. He served in 1828 as a judge of the superior court of the territory. In 1835 he was a delegate to the constitutional convention for the new state of Arkansas.

Bates was part of a political family, the younger brother of Frederick Bates, second governor of Missouri; and older brother of Edward Bates, who served as US Attorney General to President Abraham Lincoln.

Early life and education

James was born in Goochland County, Virginia at his parents' plantation known as Belmont. He was the ninth child of Thomas and Caroline (Woodson) Bates. He started his advanced education at Yale but soon transferred to Princeton, where he graduated in 1807. He read law and then went west.


His older brother Frederick had been appointed in 1807 in St. Louis as the Secretary to the Missouri Territory. James and his younger brother Edward also moved to St. Louis, where James began the practice of law (Edward would follow him in this profession).

In 1819 the Arkansas Territory was created. James Bates moved to its capital, Arkansas Post, to become one of the first lawyers in the new territory. That fall he was elected to be the non-voting delegate for the territory in the United States House of Representatives. He served two terms, from December 21, 1819 until March 3, 1823, and chose not to stand for re-election in 1822.

While serving in Congress, he had moved to the small settlement called Poke Bayou. When the town plat was laid out in 1821, it was renamed Batesville in his honor. When his Congressional term ended, he returned to Batesville and resumed practicing law. He became a local judge in 1824, riding the fourth circuit through the western part of the territory.

In 1828 President John Quincy Adams appointed him to the superior court of the territory. Bates served until 1828, when President Jackson named judge Charles S. Bibb to the post.

Marriage and family

In the late 1820s while serving as a circuit judge, Bates met a wealthy widow, Elizabeth Moore. After they married, Bates moved to her Moore Farm near Van Buren in Crawford County. He later served as a probate court judge and a registrar in the land office.

Later life

In 1835 Bates was a delegate to the state convention that drew up the first constitution of the new State of Arkansas. He died in 1846, and was buried in the family plot on the Moore farm near Van Buren, Arkansas.


view all

James W. Bates, US Congress's Timeline

August 25, 1788
Sebastian County, Arkansas
December 26, 1846
Age 58
Bates Family Burying Ground at Moores Rock Van Buren Crawford County Arkansas