Reuben Columbus Bates 

Reuben Columbus Bates was born September 27, 1847 in Murray County, Georgia. He was the 6th of thirteen children born to Reverend William Bates and Rosa Keith.  His father was a Baptist preacher and a farmer.  He spent his early years growing up there in Northwest Georgia, which bordered near the Tennessee state line. 


With the onset of the "War Between the States", his education and youth were cut short in 1861, after his uncle came to get him join the volunteer guard, which was called the home guards, and Reuben enlisted at age fourteen. His brother Andrew Jackson Bates, joined at the same time. They trained and drilled for 6 months never seeing any real battle, just a few skrimishes, and after six months Reuben and Andrew returned home.  Soon he enlisted in Company I, 1st Regiment, Georgia State Line, with his brother Andrew.  Two of his older brothers, Jasper Milton Bates and William Martin Bates, had already enlisted in the regular Confederate Army and were off fighting.  The Georgia State Line guarded railroad bridges and depots, and protected the community from guerillas,  sabotage and looting.  When they weren’t doing their duty,  they spent most of the time running the farms and doing the chores of all the men that were off fighting. This continued until the Yankees attacked Georgia. Upon the invasion of the Union Army into Northern Georgia, all of the Georgia Regiments were called on to fight to defend Georgia. The Confederates actually won more battles than most people think here in Georgia, they just couldn’t hold their positions for lack of resources – mainly men, being constantly outnumbered and out supplied.  He was hospitalized for several months with the measles sometime in late 1863 into early 1864, he survived them, but his brother Andrew Jackson Bates died of measles, while serving in the army.  The battles mentioned by Reuben that he fought in were; Chickamauga, Resaca, Lost Mountain, Kennesaw Mountain, Atlanta, and Lovejoy’s Station. Jasper Milton Bates was wounded five time during the war, and William Martin Bates died of disease in Knoxville, Tennessee, on July 12, 1862. Reuben Bates surrendered at Kingston, GA on  May 17, 1865 with his brother Jasper.  Reuben Bates had three brothers, eleven uncles, countless cousins, relatives and in-laws who were Confederate Soldiers.


After the war times were hard in Georgia, with the federal occupation and the Carpetbaggers. In 1869, at age 22, Reuben left Georgia alone in a wagon with a family and headed for Texas.   The trip took over 2 months and they settled in Wood County, Texas.  After a spending some time there, Reuben went to Coryell County, Texas, where his uncle Jefferson Bates had been living since late 1863.  In 1873 in Coryell County, Texas, he meets and marries Miss Mary Margaret Lanham, daughter of Captain Bedford Lanham and Georgia Louisiana Friend.  Mary's ancestors and relatives were also Confederate Soldiers


He moved to Comanche County, Texas after 1876, and farmed there with his father, and also engaged in carpentry. Reuben and Mary raised nine children, eight of them living to be adults, only one, Doctor Keifer Bates, died at the age of two in 1887.  After his father died in 1899, he moved to San Angelo, Texas, in June of 1900.  Some of his children have told stories of him walking about the house, not talking to anyone in particular, reciting verses from the Book of Revelation, saying "you had better start changing your ways or you will be forever damned".  He worked as a carpenter there until he couldn’t do it anymore, which was well into his seventies.  He was still working as a carpenter in 1923 when Reuben and Mary celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. 


He received a Confederate pension in Texas, and after Reuben’s death in 1935, Mary continued to receive his pension until her death in 1938.  He was one of two last members of the Schuyler Sutton Camp of the United Confederate Veterans in San Angelo. There were 19 original members in the camp, and they disbanded it when there were only two left, of which Reuben was one.   Reuben Bates died on March 4, 1935 at the age of 87.  Mary Lanham Bates died on November 13, 1938 at age 83. They are buried next to each other in the family plot at the Fairmount Cemetery in San Angelo, Texas. Mr. Gary E. Bates, placed a Confederate marker on Reuben's grave in the summer of 1999, and Richard Bates placed a Confederate memorial marker for his brother, William Martin Bates, next to Reuben's marker in July of 2000. 


Johnny White, a grandson of Reuben and Mary, said that Reuben had red hair and freckles, and didn't drink, smoke or swear, and that he was very proud of his teeth, never having a cavity, because he cleaned them with salt and a rag. Two of Reuben and Mary's sons, Luther Edwin Bates and James Carroll Bates were Texas Rangers. Carroll Bates was also the police chief of San Angelo, and  Luther Bates was a Fort Worth, Texas, policeman, and worked many years for the U.S. Department of Justice as a railroad detective.


Reuben Bates Family - 1908 San Angelo, Texas


Reuben Columbus Bates - Mary Margaret Lanham



Children of Reuben and Mary Bates


Beulah Ann Bates




Luther Edwin Bates




Flora Alice Bates




James Carroll Bates




Doctor Keifer Bates




Isaac Whitt Bates




Mary Elizabeth Bates




Fannie Mae Bates




Harriet Lanham Bates



Any comments, corrections or additions please contact Richard Bates

Richard Bates © 2002

Last updated May 2, 2002