Biography of Howard C. Gates
Iowa County, IA Biographies





Howard C. Gates is one of the prominent men in Iowa county and one of the foremost citizens of Ladora. He is cashier of the Ladora Savings Bank, vice president of the Millersburg Savings Bank and is identified with many other corporations and with many movements for the public good. A native of Oswego county, New York, his birth occurred on the 15th of July, 1866, his parents being Samuel E. and Sarah L. (Cleveland) Gates, also natives of that state, where they continued to reside until 1866. In that year they came west with their family and arrived in this county on the 8th of December, that year. The father bought a farm in Honey Creek township, known as the old Middlesworth farm, but not having sufficient capital to pay for it, he borrowed the money, for which he paid ten per cent interest. He gave the man who loaned it his note without a mortgage, and in time paid off his indebtedness in full. He resided upon his farm until February, 1888, when, his health failing, he traded his land for city property in Grinnell, Iowa, and removed there. Some time after taking up his residence there he engaged with his son Elmer D. in the mercantile business and, although he had had no previous experience in merchandising, he was very successful in the conduct of his store. For a number of years he was identified with mercantile interests in Grinnell but is now living retired in that city, enjoying the fruits of his many years of labor.

Howard C. Gates was reared under the parental roof and learned lessons of industry and integrity that have since proved of great value to him. His scholastic education was acquired in the public schools and he was graduated from the Marengo high school with the class of 1884. The next two years were devoted to teaching, but in 1886 he came to Ladora and entered the employ of Whitlock & Fields, dealers in lumber, grain and live stock. He was bookkeeper for the concern and had been with the company but three years when he acquired a sixth interest in the business. Two years later he was a third owner Of the company and when, three or four years afterward, Mr. Whitlock dropped out of the business, Mr. Gates acquired a half interest therein and the firm style was changed to Fields & Gates. While that partnership was maintained they built the present bank building and organized the Ladora Savings Bank. They contracted for a stated sum to pay all of the clerical help and conduct the bank for five years and were also given the privilege of conducting their own business at the same time. After the expiration of that period the bank was conducted on much the same plan under yearly contract for two years longer. At the end of that time Mr. Gates bought Mr. Fields' interest in the grain and lumber business and has also continued to operate the bank under the contract and is known as cashier of the institution. A number of years ago, however, he sold the bank building to the bank. The agreement under which he conducts the business of the institution for a stated sum has proved satisfactory to both the bank and to Mr. Gates. and the success of the plan is a high tribute to his astuteness as a business man and to his unquestioned integrity. In 1911 he sold his live stock business and in 1913 sold his grain and lumber interests and has since given his entire attention to banking, to the supervision of his farm, which is located on the Iowa and Benton county line, and to his duties as an official in a number of local companies.

In 1908 Mr. Gates organized the Newburg Savings Bank at Newburg, Iowa, of which he was a director for three years, after which he sold his interest therein. In 1909 he organized the Millersburg Savings Bank, of which he was later made vice president, in which capacity he is still serving. During the years that he has resided in Ladora there has scarcely been an enterprise of any importance inaugurated in the town in which he has not been a dominant factor. He was a leader in organizing the Farmers Mutual Telephone Company and the Ladora Northern Telephone Company and served as treasurer of both companies until a short time ago. He still occupies that important position with the Ladora Northern Telephone Company. He was one of the prime movers in the incorporation of the Ladora Lumber & Grain Company, of which he is treasurer, and was one of the leaders in the organization of the Karsten Clothing Company, an incorporated concern, of which he is treasurer. He is secretary and treasurer of the Ladora Gas Company, which he aided in organizing, and he was one of the organizers of the Genoa Bluff Creamery Company, of which he is treasurer.

On the 15th of September, 1887, Mr. Gates married Miss Minna Whitlock, a daughter of Samuel and Mary E. (Pike) Whitlock. Her father first came to Iowa some time in the '50s but returned to Ohio, where he continued to reside until in the '60s, when he removed with his family to this county, where he has since resided. He spends the summer months with his children but lives in Florida during the winter. He retains many business interests, which he manages personally. To Mr. and Mrs. Gates have been born two children: Muriel, a registered nurse: and Harry S., a farmer of Saskatchewan, Canada. Mrs. Gates has been at all times a true helpmate to her husband and Mr. Gates says that whatever success he has attained in life is due in large measure to her wise advice, encouragement and helpful influence.

The family are all members of the Methodist Episcopal church and are important factors in furthering its work. Fraternally Mr. Gates is a member of Sharon Lodge, No. 287, A. F. & A. M., of Victor. He is a man of progressive spirit and has always been among the first to take advantage of the perfection of any new device that promises to add to the comfort and joy of living. He himself installed the first telephones put in for the Ladora Northern Telephone Company at the time of the building of that line and put in the first telephone installed in the town of Koszta. There are a number of thriving companies in the county that in all probability would not have been organized if it had not been for his initiative and leadership and they owe much of their prosperity to his continued connection with them and to his power of executive control. He is not only one of the most successful and able men in the county but is also highly esteemed personally and has many loyal friends.

From:
History of Iowa County, Iowa
And its People
By: James C. Dinwiddie
Vol II
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1915


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