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Bates, Ethel Dora 1910-2008
Bates, Thomas Richard 1884-1969
Bird, Eliza Jane 1877-
Bodily, Letha 1916-2001
Brown, William Moroni 1918-2000
Burkett, Eleanor 1815-1905
Burton, Hubert Criddle 1924-2000
Buss, Walter Richard 1905-2000
Thomas Richard Bates (1884-1969)
Thomas Richard Bates (1884-1969)

Thomas Richard BatesRichard was born the third child of Thomas Bates and Rachel Fletcher Mellor.  He came into the world on January 28, 1884 in Spanish Fork, Utah.  Richard’s siblings are Rachel, Elizabeth Ann, Sarah Ellen, Mary Jane, and Alice.  Richard was born in a log cabin with mortar that had chinked the cracks.  The home had a dirt roof and bare wood floors.  Thomas’s father farmed this place of about ten acres until Richard was two years old.  The family then moved to Sublett, Idaho to a larger farm of 160 acres.  They raised grain, hay, cattle, and hogs.  The family was saddened by the death of Richard’s sister, Ellen, only four years old, while they lived on this farm.  But, there were also many happy memories to recall while there.

Richard was baptized by Daniel Horn on June 1, 1899 and confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on June 4, 1899 by William Horn.  

Richard remembered many great times with his father, especially how they used to take hogs to Brigham City every fall to have them killed and dressed for their winter meat.  The weather was always cold enough to keep the meat from spoiling.  The trip would always take them two days to travel to Brigham City and two days to return to Sublett.  At night they would make a campfire and cook their meal, then sleep under the wagon.

As Richard was the only boy in the family, he had quite a few chores.  One was to bring the milk cows home from the hills each evening.  One evening he hopped upon his horse, Old Bill to bring the cows home.   While riding along whistling and happy as only a small lad can be, he saw a big serviceberry bush loaded with juicy berries.  Old Bill and Richard rode over to get some of the delicious fruit.  As they enjoyed the fruit, they wandered around the bush to the other side and came face to face with a huge black bear that was also enjoying the juicy berries.  They all three looked each other in the eye and Old Bill and Richard hightailed it off down the hill – straight for home.  The bear took off up the hill in the other direction about as fast.  Once Richard calmed down, he resumed his chores and went back up the hill to bring the cows home, scouting the serviceberry bush and breathing a sigh of relief to see that the bear was gone.          

At that time, the neighbors were not actually next door but because the young boys had horses, they became very close and often played together.  Richard remembered they had some great times together.  He was about eight years old when a group of boys, including Charlie and Lew Kemsley and Dave Hutchinson, went into a hollow nearby where an irrigation ditch ran through.  They proceeded to build a dam on the ditch to make a swimming hole. Of course, they had to swipe someone else’s irrigation water to fill the swimming hole but it was a good one and they learned to swim there in their spare time.

Richard remembered his mother being very strict about giving her family a spring tonic every year.  This nasty stuff was made from sulphur, aspen bark, and water.  It was spring and still a bit chilly outside but the old swimming hole was calling the boys.  They wanted to go swimming but, Rachel, his mother said, “No.”  His mother was afraid he would die if he went swimming after taking his tonic and especially at that time of year.  As soon as his parents left to go into town shopping, which was an all day trip, he got a bright idea.  He brought the cat into the house to get the blame then dropped the bottle of tonic to break it on the floor and proceeded to go swimming.  It was a good many years before he ever told his parents what really happened that day.

Hunting was one of Richard’s favorite pastimes, so when he was a boy of eight, he got his first .22 riffle.  It was a great single shot and he became an expert marksman.  Charlie Kemsley and he thought they would like to be trappers.  One time they went out and bought some traps.  They really had lots of fun trapping badgers and coyotes.  He remembered his first big trade.  He traded a coyote hide for a pocketknife.  The hide was worth about $2.00 so it was quite an expensive knife, but he was pretty proud of his trade.  Richard also remembered trading hides he had trapped for .22 shells.

One morning as Richard went out to check his traps, he found a huge American eagle in one of them.  He did not know what to do with it so he took hold of its legs and when the eagle tried to take off, he nearly took the small boy with him.  The eagle was really monstrous to the young boy but he did get it home and put it in an old pigpen.  He kept him for a long time, shooting rabbits with his .22 rifle for his food.  Eventually he got out of his pen and flew off.  Richard never did see it again.

His friends and he rode horseback to Sunday School every Sunday morning.  Then they would go hunting in the afternoon.  They hunted sage hens, rabbits, and chickens.  He became such a good marksman, he could shoot a rabbit’s eye out.  For them horseback riding in the hills and hunting were their greatest pleasures.

During his fourteenth year, the family moved from Sublett, Idaho to Plain City, Utah.  There they took up truck farming on a smaller farm.  He still drove cattle in from the hills each spring and fall and also had seven or eight dairy cows to attend to.  His mother made butter from the milk and he remembered churning butter until his arms ached.  Then his mother pressed the butter in round pound containers with the print of a rose and leaves to identify her butter.  This she traded or sold to merchants for groceries.  It was at about this time when another sad event happened.  His sister Mary Jane, only twelve years old died.

Richard grew up in Plain City and attended school there.  He used to attend all the dances with the rest of the younger set.  In fact, no one stayed home then.  One leap year dance a small, blonde girl he had known for years but never dated, asked him to take her home.  That was the first date he had with his future bride, Dora Evaline Taylor.  On their second date they went to Ogden to see the play, “The Fatal Wedding” at the old Opera House.  He remembered that Dora cried all through the show and drenched his one and only handkerchief.  To attend a play at that time they would have to leave home at 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon, drive the horse and buggy to Ogden, park them in a stable, and go to the play.  The play ran from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.  Afterwards they would go the Bon Ton Restaurant to eat.  Then they would collect their horse and buggy at the stable and trot back home, arriving home about 2:00 a.m.  So a date at that time was a date to remember.

Richard was ordained an Elder on February 11, 1906.  Richard Thomas Bates and Dora Evaline Taylor were married in the Salt Lake Temple on February 21, 1906.

After their wedding they bought a small three-room home in Plain City.  Richard worked for his father for a while then he bought his first threshing machine.  He traveled over much of Weber and Morgan Counties threshing for many, many years with the help of his sons, until the combine machine became popular and there was not enough work to keep him in business.  He then devoted his time entirely to carpentry work.

Richard had built the first home that he and Dora lived in, a small two-room house about one year after their marriage.  His father had taught him masonry and carpentry work.  He liked carpentry work best and made it his career, taking time out each fall for threshing and binding.  He continued to do carpentry work until his death.  He shared his talents with his family, also. 

Almost every granddaughter has a lovely cedar chest made for her by Richard and one or two of them have lovely doll cabinets.  He donated much of his talents to the church.  Whenever repairs were needed, Richard was one of the first to build and repair whatever needed to be done.

     Richard was also a very talented musician.  In his earlier years he made his own violin and learned to play it by ear.  He loved music and played at many dances in the local ward.  He also loved dramatics.  He took a very active part in ward dramas and plays and almost always ended up with the lead part.

While in Plain City, Richard had a serious illness, a bleeding ulcer, which caused him to sell the farm.  He then took up the threshing and binding business.  With the help of his sons, he worked from Plain City, through Weber County, Morgan County, and on up into Woodruff in Cache County.

On Tuesday, November 1, 1937, Richard entered political life in Morgan County where he had moved his family.  He ran for Morgan City Council and received 181 votes to his Republican opponent’s 175 votes.  He took office on January 6, 1938.  Being very concerned with the health of the city and county members, he worked towards making disease eradicated.  He was on the department for street lighting, also.  In 1939, the councilman’s annual salary was $120.00.  Richard left office on January 5, 1942.

On November 4, 1941, he ran for mayor but lost the election by two votes.  This was a day of losses.  Also on this day, Richard’s daughter, Ruth Mary died.

Richard then ran for a county commissioner’s seat and was elected.  He took the oath of office to serve on the Morgan County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, January 5, 1943.  He received 564 votes to his Republican opponent’s 505 votes.  His duties included working on committees of public grounds and buildings and he was in charge of the Canyon Creek Road District.  In 1944 the commissioner’s salary was $1,350 with expenses allowed up to $150.  He left office on January 8, 1945.

Richard also served as the Morgan County Chairman of the National Polio Foundation in the 1950s.

After a short illness, Richard died in the Dee Hospital in Ogden, Utah on April 30, 1969.


History compiled and written by Lucille B. Sommers, a daughter, and Ruth H. Barker, a granddaughter.

Sources: Family Records, Church Historical Department, Minutes of the Morgan County Commissioners, Minutes of the Morgan City Council, and discussions with Richard. Many of these sources in the possession of Ruth H. Barker