Prof. James Anderson Yates. From England to North Carolina, in colonial times, the Yates family may be traced by generations as it extended into Tennessee and Kentucky and 1916 finds it firmly and honorably established in other states. For two decades this name in Kansas has been connected with the educational field, the scholastic attainments of Prof. James Anderson Yates, the head of the departments of chemical and physical sciences, in the State Manual Training Normal School at Pittsburg, having won recognition in this and in other large institutions of learning. Professor Yates enjoys a wide acquaintance with the leading scientists of the country and is valued as a member of numerous scientific bodies.
James Anderson Yates was born October 24, 1865, at Bush, in Laurel County, Kentucky, and is a son of James F. Yates and a grandson and namesake of Anderson Yates. The latter was born in 1810, in North Carolina, and died in 1885, in Grainger County, Tennessee, in which he had been an early settler and farmer. He married a member of the Mitchell family.
James F. Yates was born in 1835, at Rutledge, Grainger County, Tennessee, and died at Bush, Kentucky, in August, 1903. He was reared in Tennessee but during the Civil war went to Kentucky. When the war opened in 1861 he enlisted for service in the Union army, entering the Third Tennessee Volunteer Infantry, and during his three years of military service met with many of the serious hazards of war. He was first wounded in an engagement at London, Kentucky, and subsequently was captured by the enemy but was paroled and later exchanged. He was wounded again at Resaca, Georgia, and was sent to a hospital. As long as he lived he took pride in remembering that he “marched with Sherman to the sea.” After he returned to Bush, Kentucky, he engaged in agricultural pursuits and they interested him until the close of his life. In politics he was a republican but never a seeker for office. As a consistent member of the Baptist Church, his fellow men found him true to his faith and a man honest and upright in all his dealings. He married Temperance Smith, who was born in 1835, in Laurel County, Kentucky, and died at Bush, in March, 1903. They had children as follows: James Anderson; Sarah Jane, who is the wife of Israel Howard, a farmer near Goodman, Missouri; George W., who is a farmer, cattle raiser and stockman and lives at Bassano, Alberta, Canada; William F., who lives at Bush, Kentucky, is a merchant and farmer; one child who died in infancy; and one child who lived to the age of five years.
James Anderson Yates attended the common schools at Bush, Kentucky. Following this he taught in district schools in Laurel and Clay counties, Kentucky, for six years and then entered the Kentucky State University, at Lexington. He was graduated from that institution in 1890, with the degree of B. S. and immediately became principal of Laurel Seminary, where he remained for two years. Professor Yates was then called to Cumberland College, where he organized a science department and remained there as its head for five years.
In 1897 Professor Yates became identified with Ottawa University, Ottawa, Kansas, as head of the department of natural sciences and continued in that relation for ten years. It was in 1907 that he came to Pittsburg as head of the chemical and physical sciences departments in the great industrial and normal college here, and since then he has bent every energy in making progress along these lines for the benefit of the state’s future men and women. For this work he is equipped by natural bent and training, by experimental study and association with those whose aims and talents are like his own. He has attended the Chicago University for six summer quarters and has won many quiet honors, and in 1899 received the degree of M. S. from the Kentucky State University.
At Somerset, Kentucky, June 19, 1895, Professor Yates was married to Miss Elizabeth Bryant, of that place, and they have three children: Julia Anna, who belongs to the graduating class of 1917, in the Kansas State Manual Normal Training School; Charles Robert, who is in the sophomore year in the same institution; and Gladys, who is a student in the high school at Pittsburg.
In his political attitude, Professor Yates is a republican. While residing at Ottawa, Kansas, he filled the office of city chemist, as he does at Pittsburg. In 1915 he was made president of the board of welfare, at Pittsburg, organized in large measure for the supervision of public entertainments, and through him the society was largely instrumental in obtaining the passage of the law giving cities rights to maintain such boards of welfare and to license exhibitions and other civic enterprises. In many other ways he has shown the sensible, unselfish public spirit that indicates the good citizen.
For many years Professor Yates has been identified with Masonry and has served in high offices. He belongs to Pittsburg Lodge No. 187, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Pittsburg Chapter No. 58, Royal Arch Masons; Pittsburg Commandery No. 29, Knights Templar, and Mirza Temple, Mystic Shrine, Pittsburg. He is a past high priest of the Chapter and a past eminent commander of the Commandery. He is a deacon in the Baptist Church and is chairman of the advisory board and a leader in the benevolent enterprises and wide charities that distinguish this religious body.
Since 1896 Professor Yates has been a member of the American Chemical Society. He is a member of the National Geographical Society, is a life member of the Kansas Academy of Science and past president of the same, is a Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, in 1899 was a member of the Union Pacific Fossil Field Expedition, and is a member of the National Educational Association. He has never made the accumulation of wealth a leading impulse in his busy life but, nevertheless, has shown the foresight that leads to comfortable independence, just as needful for the scientist as for the ordinary individual, and has secured some valuable property in the way of desirable real estate at Pittsburg, this including his attractive residence at No. 115 East Fourteenth Street. He is also the fortunate owner of an apple orchard of ten acres, situated at North Yakima, Washington.