Biography of Edward M. Gates


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Gates, Edward M. Among the citizens of Watertown who are digtinguished for their public spirit, one of the most conspicuous is Mr. Edward M. Gates. A master of diplomacy, a princely entertainer and the possessor of an ample fortune, he stands forth clearly as a type of those self-made men who have made their way from obscurity to distinction by their own efforts. Mr. Gates was born in Lewis county, N. Y., February, 1843. When he was five years of age his parents removed to Watertown, where he attended the public schools and at an early age a position was offered him and accepted in the employ of Mr. A. M. Utley, where he remained for ten years in a clerical capacity. In the mean time he had saved up a large portion of his earnings and in 1861 he removed to San Francisco, Cal., and engaged in the clothing business on his own account. This business was continued until 1864, when Mr. Gates sold out and returned to Watertown where he engaged in the grocery business on Court street for a period of four years. In 1873 the hardware firm of Gates & Spratt was formed and was successfully carried on for seventeen years. Mr. Gates has always taken an active part in politics; the first political office held was in 1869, when he was elected city clerk. Three years later he was appointed deputy collector of internal revenue; in 1882 was appointed postmaster by President Arthur and re-appointed by President Harrison in 1890. During his second term as postmaster he secured an appropriation of $75,000 to erect a building, which was completed in 1893 and is one of the handsomest government buildings in Northern New York. Mr. Gates is a director in the Jefferson County Bank, a stockholder and director of the Watertown Spring Wagon Co. and one of the instigators of the Watertown Street Railroad. He has been honored times without number with positions of trust and responsibility and in all his relations with the public has been a source of benefit to the city.

Our County and it's people
a descriptive work on Jefferson County, New York
Edited by: Edgar C. Emerson
The Boston History Co., Publishers, Syracuse, N. Y. 1898