John L. Bates, Governor

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John Lewis Bates

Death: 1946 (86-87)
Immediate Family:

Son of Reverend Lewis Benton Bates, D.D. and Louise Derry (Dary) Field

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About John L. Bates, Governor

John Lewis Bates (September 18, 1859 – June 8, 1946) was born in North Easton, Massachusetts to Rev. Lewis Benton Bates, a Methodist minister, and Louisa D. (Field) Bates. He attended public school in New Bedford, Chelsea, Taunton, and eventually the Boston Latin School. He then attended the Methodist-affiliated Boston University, earning an A.B. in 1882, and went on to graduate from Boston University School of Law in 1885. Over the next decade Bates practiced law in Boston. He married Clara Elizabeth Smith on July 12, 1887.

Bates, a Republican, served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1894 to 1899; from 1897 to 1899 he was Speaker of the House. From 1900 to 1903 he was the 38th Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts. In 1902, Bates was elected the 41st Governor, holding office from 1903 to 1905. At the time, Boston's Police Commissioner was appointed by the Governor. During his first term in office, Bates generated controversy by disregarding city requests and appointing to the position an outsider, Judge Emmons, who promised to reform the department. He won re-election but was defeated in his bid for a third term in 1904. Bates then retired to his private law practice in Boston. From 1917 to 1919 Bates was president of the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention, which enacted a significant number of changes to the state constitution.

Bates was a member of the American Bar Association, the Freemasons, the Odd Fellows, and Beta Theta Pi.


Biographical: Massachusetts

By Conrad Reno, Leonard Augustus Jones



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