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May 11th

Friday, January 01, 2010

B.F. Bates and Chariton's Bates Hotel

According to the Chariton Patriot of January 14, 1874, B.F. Bates traded for property just off the northwest corner of the Chariton square with Mrs. Eliza J. Mitchell for 2 lots and a house north of Thompson's Lumber Yard and $300 in cash.  The lot, located next to the C.B. and Q. Railroad would be the site of a new hotel, the Bates House, at a cost of $12,000.
     The hotel, 50x70 feet, made of brick, was 3 stories high and was located at the present day site of Midwest Heritage Bank.  When the hotel opened in November of 1874, it had 50 rooms.  Each room had wool and wire mattresses and patterned carpet.  The furniture was made of ash and trimmed in black walnut.
     Benjamin Franklin Bates came to Chariton shortly after the Civil War.  He was born in New York to Nehemiah and Elizabeth (Barnes) Bates on February 26, 1828.  On May 14, 1849, B.F. married Emma Augusta Lounsbery from nearby Stamford, CT, the daughter of Stephen and Sallie Lounsbery.
     On arrival to Chariton, Bates ran Hatcher House, a hotel which was located on the southeast corner of the square.  After several years in this business, they moved to Creston for a time where he operated the Depot Hotel.
     Five years after moving back to Chariton and opening his new hotel, B.F. and Emma went on a trip to San Francisco.  While there, they adopted a 2 year-old named Gussie in March of 1879.  Sadly, Emma died on June 27, 1883 leaving B.F. and their young daughter to mourn her.
     On February 12, 1885, B.F. married Mary Rizer, the widow of Capt. W.L. Robison.  Capt. Robison was Mary's second husband.  She married Chariton's Dr. Henry Jay in 1859.  Dr. Jay died in 1868.  both men are buried in the Chariton Cemetery.  
     B.F. and Mary were very active in the Methodist Episcopal Church.  She was a member of the church's ladies aid society.  B.F. was on the M.E. Church Board of Trustees in 1898, when the decision to build the current church was made.  He joined the church in 1904.
     In addition to his many church commitments, B.F. was a charter member of the Lucas County Historical Society.  Along with S.H. Mallory and former Lt. Gov. Warren S. Dungan, they formed the first county historical society in Iowa.  Bates served as curator with Dungan, the first president.
     Gussie Bates married William Beaumont Buchanan in October 1897.  Buchanan was a railroad express messenger.  To them, a son, Beaumont was born in 1898.  At the age of 7, Beaumont was run over by a horse and buggy, but was not seriously injured.
     After a brief trip to Chicago, in January, 1904, B.F. and Mary arrived home to find that the steam boiler in their home had blown up just prior to their arrival.
     Mary died in Chicago in Fabruary, 1905.  She is buried in the Chariton Cemetery beside her first two husbands.
     B.F. sold the hotel to B.R. VanDyke.  Bates continued to be active in Odd Fellows, his church and the Masonic Order.
     In February, 1906, Gussie had a birthday party for her father and 20 of his friends.  The table was decorated with red and white carnations and the cake held 78 red and white candles.
     On Wednesday, February 26, 1908, B.F. celebrated his 80th birthday with his 2 daughters and 16 of his friends with a 3 course dinner.
     Benjamin Franklin Bates died October 24, 1901 at the age of 82 at his home on west Braden.  Masonic rites were held at the largely attended funeral at his home.
     Gussie Bates Buchanan died in 1950 and is buried in the Chariton Cemetery beside her parents.
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