Among the prosperous and well-to-do citizens of Macoupin County, the subject of this brief notice occupies a prominent position as an esteemed and successful agriculturist. He is president of the Macoupin County Agricultural Association, a position which he efficiently fills. He resides on his well cultivated 220 acre farm in Bird township, not a foot of which is not tillable. He was born in Macoupin County July 1, 1848, and is a son of William J. and Martha Jane (Mays) Bates, and a grandson of Hampton Bates, who was named after Wade Hampton.
William J. Bates, who was a native of Tennessee, came to Illinois in 1819, locating in Greene County, where he remained for some time and then removed to Macoupin County, where he rented land from the government and cultivated it until 1852. In 1852 he removed to Bird township, where he owned 1,000 acres of land which was later divided among his children. He was prominently identified with the leading stockmen of southern Illinois, having bought as high as three car-loads a year of feeding stock. Politically he was a Democrat, but never took an active part in any political affairs, devoting his time to his business. He attained a high position in his community and his word was considered as good as his bond. He married Martha Jane Mays by whom six children were born, namely: George W.; Sarah J., who married John Morris; John H.; James C.; Francis M., and Atison. She was a native of Tennessee. Religiously they were members of the United Baptist Church of which church he was a deacon. The father was in his 73rd year at the time of his death; the mother was in her 82nd year when she was called to her reward.
Atison Bates received his education in the common schools of Macoupin County, and after reaching the years of manhood engaged in the pursuits of general farming and has continued in that independent calling all his life. He now owns a well cultivated and well watered farm, and takes pride in keeping his property in the best condition possible. Mr. Bates is a Democrat, and has served as a school director.
On November 26, 1873, Mr. Bates was married to Ella B. Carr, a daughter of Abram and Nancy (Keller) Carr, natives of Greene County, Illinois, and Grayson County, Kentucky, respectively. Mrs. Carr came to Macoupin County, Illinois, in 1834 with her parents, who settled on a farm in Western Mound township. She was a daughter of Jacob and Levina (Davis) Keller, and a granddaughter of George and Sarah (Hedges) Keller, the former a native of Switzerland and the latter of English descent. George Keller was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, being recruited in the Continental service from Cecil County, Maryland. Mr. and Mrs. Bates are the parents of two children, namely, Flora A., who is a successful music teacher; and Leroy C.