JOHN A. CATES. – Among the responsible and enterprising agriculturists of Union county, there must not be failure to mention the esteemed gentleman whose name initiates this paragraph, and who has labored here since the sixties, forwarding the interests of this county, developing its resources, and conducting his business enterprises in a skillfull and efficient manner, while at the present time he is fulfilling the duties of a public official and is manifesting in this as in all of his ways a characteristic ability and integrity that stamp him as both capable and substantial.
Our subject was born to Spencer and Phebe (Cunningham) Cates, in McLean county, Illinois, on June 27, 1846, and thence, while still a child, he was removed by his parents to Livingston county, where he received his education and labored on a farm until the 15th day of April, 1865, when the entire family, having rigged ox teams and conveyances for the trip, turned their faces to the unbounded regions of the trackless west. Their journey was accomplished in due time without especial difficulty and they landed in Union county while there were but few settlers in its precincts. Pioneer hardships ere to be encoutered on every hand, and their cup of them held its share. In 1867 the father was called to lay down the burdens of life and enter the realities of another scene. On July 9, 1815, near Louiseville, Kentucky, he was born, and in this western section his remainse sleep.The moterh, born in Clark county, Indiana, on December 4, 1813, passed the river of death on August 18, 1885. Our subject lived in Union county for a few years after arriving here and occupied himself with carpenter work.
Mr. Cates married Miss Mellie, daughter of Alfred and Lydia A. Payton, on September 2, 1880, and two children have come to their home; Cecil C., born August 23, 1882; Jennie L., born October 23, 1887, and died November 27,1896. Mrs. Cates father enlisted in Company L Twenty-fifth Illinois, in May, 1861, and in May, 1862, he died from the effects of yellow fever, giving his life for his country. The mother died in Illinois, on September 14, 1899. Mrs. Cates came to Union county in 1880. In 1883 Mr. Cates entered a homestead and gave his attention to improving the same, which is at the present time well done, having a good house and barn and other accesories to a good farm. Since 1897 he has been postmaster at Telacoset, having also a long-distance telephone office and he has discharged this duties of a public nature with acceptability to all. In 1867 Mr. Cates was a member of the home guards, a body of men who acted n defense of the settlers agains the ravages of the savages. Politically, he is a Democrat and is also a member of the Pioneer Association and he is respected and esteemed by his fellows.