FRANK W. GATES, a veteran of the late war, who fought bravely for his country on many a Southern battlefield, has done no less good work as a sturdy, capable farmer in helping to carry forward the agricultural interests of this county. His home place comprises one hundred and forty-four acres of fine farming land, advantageously located close to the city of Girard, and he also has two other small tracts of choice farm land, one in this and one in Sangamon County.
Mr. Gates is a native of Muhlenberg County, Ky., born December 23, 1838. His father, who bore the name of Henry gates, was a native of Muhlenberg County, Ky. John Gates, the grandfather of our subject was a native of North Carolina and a son of Yost Gates. The family name was formerly spelled differently. The great-grandfather of our subject went from Pennsylvania to North Carolina, and spent his remaining days in the latter State. The grandfather of our subject grew to manhood in the State of his birth, and was there married to Christina Groves, who was also a native of North Carolina. He removed to Muhlenberg County, Ky., about 1800, and was one of the pioneers of that section, buying a tract of land on the Greenville and Elkton Road bordering on the waters of Pond River. He erected needed buildings, and in the course of years improved a farm, upon which he resided until death called him hence. His wife also died on the home farm. They had four sons and three daughters, whose names were John, Jacob, Joseph, Henry, Catherine, Elizabeth and Christina.
The father of our subject inherited the old homestead, and retained it in his possession until 1855, when he sold it in the spring of that year in order to come to Illinois to avail himself of the superior advantages afforded by the rich soil of this State. He settled in Sangamon County, buying a tract of land in Auburn Township. He erected suitable buildings, and dwelt there until 1859. In that year he sold his property there at an advance, and coming to Macoupin County, took up his abode in Shaw's Point Township, where he again bought a tract of land broken and fenced, but without buildings. He erected all the buildings that he required, and in the home that he made there his life was prolonged to a ripe age, his death occurring in January, 1873. His married life with Sarah Jenkins, a native of Muhlenberg County, Ky., and a daughter of Amos and Grace (Deeren) Jenkins, was one of mutual happiness, and was blest to them by the birth of eleven children, namely: Julia A., Albert K., Frank W., Henry H., John P., Delila, Andrew, Thomas M., Leander W., Ellen and Mary J. The mother is still living at a venerable age, and makes her home with a daughter at Shaw's Point Township.
The subject of this biographical notice was sixteen years old when the family came to this State. He had attended school in Kentucky, and was well versed in farm work, as he had begun at an early age to help his father. He remained an inmate of the parental home until he attained his majority, and then commenced his chosen calling as a farmer on rented land. In the opening years of his manhood the great rebellion broke out and threatened destruction to the Union. In August, 1862 he determined to sacrifice all prospects of success in the pursuit of his vocation to join the brave boys at the front to help save the old flag at any cost. His name was enrolled as a member of Company K, One Hundred and Fifteenth Illinois Infantry, with which he served faithfully until the close of the War. He took part in the battle of Chickamauga, and started with Sherman on his celebrated march to Atlanta. On the way he helped to fight the battle of Resaca, and with his regiment was detached to guard that city. After a few weeks he and his comrades advanced to Adairsville, and then marched back to Resaca, whence they went to Nashville, and assisted in that battle. After that they followed the rebels to Huntsville, Ala., where they went into winter quarters. In early spring they were despatched to Virginia, and were near Greenville, Tenn., when they received the joyful news that peace was declared. Our subject's regiment returned to Nashville, where it was encamped for a time before it was finally mustered out and honorably discharged in June, 1865.
After the war closed our subject returned to this county, and quietly resumed the work that he had thrown aside to become a soldier. He soon bought a tract of timber land west of Girard, built thereon, improved a part of it, and in 1869 sold it. His next purchase was a lot of prairie land three miles northwest of Girard, which he farmed some years with good profit. He then sold that farm at a good advance on the purchase price, and his next investment was in land a mile and a half southeast of Girard in Nilwood Township. In 1884 he bought the farm on which he now resides near the village of Girard. It is a well improved piece of property, and the fertile soil returns abundant harvests in payment for the care bestowed upon it.
Mr. Gates and Miss Serilda Gibson entered upon their wedded life in March, 1862. Mrs. Gates is a native of Morgan County, this State, and a daughter of Cullen and Nancy Gibson, of whom see biography on another page of this volume. In her the German Baptist Church finds an active working member and the husband a faithful wife. Mr. and Mrs. Gates have eight children living, Sarah J., Emma M., Oscar, Ella, Nora, Charles Edgar and Lois.
Our subject is well worthy of the trust and consideration in which he is held, as he is honest and straight forward in all that he does, and has ever been true to his convictions of duty, whether as a soldier or as a private citizen. He is one of the leading members of the Luke Mayfield Post, No. 516, G.A.R., of which he is Senior Vice, and Past Commander and Adjutant. In religion he is liberal, allowing all to think as they please and retaining the right in that respect as private property. In politics he is a Republican although he cast his first vote for Mr. Douglas.