Samuel Pearly Gates, of Bridgewater, probably best known in the business world as treasurer of the Eagle Cotton Gin Company, in which he holds the controlling interest, has been so intimately identified with the expansion of the various activities of that place during the fifty odd years of his residence there that he is justly ranked among the leaders in the development of manufacturing, banking and civic interests. Though well past the three-score and ten mark his faculties are undimmed, his energy unabated, his zeal unflagging, and he not only keeps pace with the times but is still in the van in the matter of progress in any line which enlists his attention or sympathy. Bridgewater is the home of his adoption, however, for he was born at Ashby, in Middlesex county, this State, and is a descendant of a family which has been settled in that county from early Colonial days. We herewith give the following records concerning the family since the emigrant ancestor landed this side of the Atlantic.
Stephen Gates, the first of the name in New England, was a native of England, born at Norwich, in the County of Norfolk, son of Thomas Gates. Stephen Gates came to New England in 1638, in the ship “Diligent,” from Hingham, England, and settled first at Hingham, Mass. He was accompanied by his wife and children. In 1652 he located at Cambridge, and later at Lancaster, where he was one of the largest proprietors of the town, and was one of the petitioners for its incorporation, 1654; he was constable there in 1657. Returning to Cambridge he spent the remainder of his life, dying there in 1662. His family consisted of seven children:
- Elizabeth Gates, born in England, was married in Hingham, in 1647, to John Lasell
- Mary Gates was married in Hingham in 1658 to John Maynard, of Sudbury
- Stephen Gates is mentioned below
- Simon Gates was born in England and baptized in 1646 in Hingham
- Thomas Gates, baptized in Hingham, May 3, 1646, married in 1670 Elizabeth Freeman, of Sudbury, and they settled in Stow, Mass.
- Isaac Gates, baptized in Hingham, in 1646, died in 1651
- Rebecca Gates, baptized in 1646, died in 1650
Stephen Gates Family of Stow Massachusetts
Stephen Gates (2), son of Stephen, was born in England and came to the New World with his parents, locating in the town of Hingham. Later he moved to Boston and from there to the town of Stow, Mass., where he spent the remainder of his life. He and his wife Sarah became the parents of eight children:
- Stephen Gates
- Simon Gates
- Thomas Gates
- Isaac Gates
- Nathaniel Gates
- Sarah Gates
- Rebecca Gates
- Daniel Gates
Daniel Gates, son of Stephen (2), was born April 25, 1685, in the town of Stow, Mass., where he settled on a farm, on land which was purchased from the Indians in 1684 by his father. Here Daniel Gates made his home all his life and took quite ah active part in town affairs. He died there March 22, 1759, and was buried in the town of Stow.
Silas Gates Family of Stow Massachusetts
Silas Gates, son of Daniel, was born in the town of Stow July 10, 1718, and made his home at the old Gates homestead, where he followed farming and spent his life, dying there June 16, 1779. During the Revolutionary war he did his part in the ranks of the patriots. We find in the records of Massachusetts soldiers and sailors in the Revolution that Silas Gates was among the men belonging to the alarm list of Capt. Benjamin Monroe’s 6th Company, 4th Middlesex County Regiment, endorsed a few years before the close of the great struggle. Silas Gates married May 8, 1769, Mary (Graves) Brown, widow of Jonas Brown, and daughter of Peter and Lydia Graves. She was born in Stow Aug. 10, 1735, and died at Ashby June 19, 1831. Their children were:
- Silas Gates, born March 27, 1770
- Paul Gates, born Dec. 16, 1772
- Reuben Gates, who died in infancy
- Thomas Gates, who died in infancy
Paul Gates Family of Ashby Massachusetts
Paul Gates, son of Silas, was born in the town of Stow Dec. 16, 1772, and there grew to manhood. After his marriage he moved to the town of Ashby, where he bought a tract of ninety-one acres on which he made extensive improvements, enlarging the dwelling-house and other buildings. On that property he spent the rest of his life, engaged in general farming, and prospered by hard work and close application to business. He died on the farm Aug. 28, 1819, in the prime of life. Mr. Gates married in Boxboro, Feb. 13, 1800, Elizabeth Hayward, daughter of Paul and Anna (White) Hayward. She was a native of Boxboro, born Oct. 7, 1776, and died May 8, 1855. After the death of Mr. Gates she became the wife of Samuel Whitcomb. To her marriage with Mr. Gates were born nine children:
- Howard Gates, born Feb. 20, 1801
- Elizabeth Gates, born Dec. 8, 1802, who died Feb. 19, 1820
- Paul Gates, born Jan. 6, 1805, who died March 2, 1805
- Pearly Gates, born Jan. 19, 1806
- Mary Gates, born March 13, 1809
- Ann White Gates, born Oct. 16, 1811
- Susan Hartnell Gates, born June 28, 1814, who died Nov. 3, 1828
- Paul Gates (2), born April 8, 1817, who died March 26, 1893
- Byron Pierce Gates, born Nov. 21, 1819, who died Sept. 20, 1884
Pearly Gates Family of Ashby Massachusetts
Pearly Gates, son of Paul, and father of Samuel Pearly Gates, was born on the farm in the town of Ashby Jan. 19, 1806. He received his education in the home neighborhood, and grew to manhood on the farm, and after his marriage he bought a tract of land in another section of the town. Settling down to farming and stock raising, he met with continued success and was able to make material improvements on his property, on which he remained to the close of his life. He reached a good old age, dying May 13, 1888, honored and respected by all who knew him for his honesty and high standards. He was a stanch Republican in politics. He was a member of the Unitarian Church, of which he was deacon for a number of years.
On Oct. 1, 1834, Mr. Gates married Mary Burr, who was born Nov. 10, 1810, daughter of Robert W. and Susanna (Butler) Burr, and granddaughter of Abijah Butler, of Leominster, Mass., who was a soldier in the war of the Revolution, holding the rank of lieutenant. Mr. and Mrs. Gates had a married life of almost fifty-four years, and they were not long separated by death, Mrs. Gates following her husband to the grave Nov. 19, 1888, at the age of seventy-eight years. She was laid to rest beside him, at Ashby. Mrs. Gates was a true Christian woman, thoroughly beloved in the home to which her best thought had been devoted. Three children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Gates:
- Samuel Pearly Gates, born June 8, 1837
- George Lewis Gates, born Nov. 11, 1839
- Mary Elizabeth Gates, born July 5, 1846, married to Rev. George S. Shaw, who for forty years was a minister of the Gospel at Ashby, where he died Feb. 1, 1909.
Samuel Pearly Gates Family of Bridgewater Massachusetts
Samuel Pearly Gates, son of Pearly and Mary (Burr) Gates, was born June 8, 1837, in Ashby, Middlesex Co., Mass. He passed his boyhood on his father’s farm in the customary manner of the sons of the average farmer, assisting in season with the work on the place and attending during the winters the neighborhood schools. While yet in his teens, in his nineteenth year, desirous of furthering his studies he entered the State normal school at Bridgewater, where he was a student for a year and a half. He then accepted a clerkship in the office of Messrs. Bates, Hyde & Co., later the Eagle Cotton Gin Company, at Bridgewater, which was the beginning of what has proved a most honorable and successful business career, and in that one community. His deportment, application and all-round adaptability to the business of the establishment commended itself to his employers and it was not long ere he was familiar with all the details of the business and given the opportunity of entering the concern as an interested member. This opening he took advantage of and with it has continued through all of these years. In 1877 the Eagle Cotton Gin Company was incorporated, Mr. Gates at that time becoming treasurer of the corporation, and continuing to discharge most satisfactorily the duties of that office until 1899, when this concern with other similar plants consolidated under the name of the Continental Gin Company, of Birmingham, Ala., the latter concern being incorporated under the laws of the State of Delaware. Mr. Gates was then made a director, and has since continued in charge of the plant in Bridgewater.
It should have been noted above, perhaps, that for some five or six years in the early sixties Mr. Gates, was in the service of the government, having enlisted during the Civil war in the regular army of the United States; he was later detailed as a clerk in the War Department at Washington, receiving an honorable discharge from the government service in 1864.
Mr. Gates has established the reputation in business circles of being a man of clear, keen business insight, of good judgment, conservative and safe. The corporation with which he has been identified for so many years and of which he has the controlling interest is in a flourishing condition, and as a large employer of labor has been an important factor in the development of manufacturing interests in Bridgewater. Since the year 1872 – for now nearly forty years – since the incorporation of the institution, he has been treasurer of the Bridgewater Savings Bank. He is also president of the Bridgewater Cooperative Bank. He is a trustee of the Bridgewater Public Library and the Bridgewater Academy, also of the Bridgewater Cemetery Association. A man so well and favorably known, he has frequently been called into service in the settlement of estates.
In his political affiliations Mr. Gates is a Republican. He is a member of Bridgewater Post, No. 205, G. A. E., and of the Society of the Army of the Potomac. For many years he has been a member of the New Jerusalem Church, and in the welfare of that society has taken a deep interest; he has served for some years on the finance committee of the same. He is, also, a member of the Massachusetts Society of the Sons of the Revolution, made eligible through his great-grandfather, Silas Gates, and his maternal great-grandfather Butler, the latter of whom was an officer in the Continental army during the Revolution.
On Oct. 26, 1871, Mr. Gates married Marcia E. Jackson, who was born Aug. 16, 1843, daughter of Jacob and Joan (Holmes) Jackson, of Plymouth, Mass. Mrs. Gates died Jan. 20, 1873, and their daughter, Marcia Jackson, born Jan. 11, 1873, died when a child of six months, July 18, 1873. They are buried in Mount Prospect cemetery. Mrs. Gates was a woman of fine character, intellect and culture, and with the same doctrine which dominated their brief but happy married life Mr. Gates has kept her memory green during the many years since her untimely taking away. His pleasant home in Bridgewater is surrounded by attractive and picturesque grounds, in which he takes particular pride.