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James Henry Gates
THAT "man liveth not to himself alone," is an assurance that is amply verified in all the affairs of life; but its pertinence is the more patent in those instances where persons have so employed their inherent talents, so
improved their opportunities, and so marshaled their forces, as to gain prestige which finds its angle of influence ever broadening in practical beneficence and human helpfulness. He whose productive activities are directed along legitimate and normal lines, is by virtue of that fact exerting a force which conserves human progress and prosperity, and the man of capacity for business affairs of importance finds himself an involuntary steward upon whom devolves large responsibilities. To the extent that he appreciates these duties and responsibilities and proves faithful in his stewardship, does he also contribute to the well-being of the world in which he moves. The late James Henry Gates, for many years one of the progressive and well-known business men of the city of Cincinnati, was essentially a man who "did things," and this accomplishment was altogether worthy in all the lines in which he directed his energies. Asa man of ability, sturdy integrity, and usefulness, and as a representative citizen of the utmost loyalty, he merited consideration by his fellow-men, and his life record is deserving of a place in this publication, which touches the careers of many of those worthy men who have given to and sustained the material and civic prosperity and precedence of our country and its institutions.
Mr. Gates was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, January 30, 1851. He was a son of John and Elizabeth (Collingwood) Gates, both natives of England, both descendants of sterling old Anglo-Saxon families, and emigrated from their native land when young in years, locating in the city of Cincinnati. Here John Gates entered the wholesale boot and shoe business, in which he prospered by reason of his industry, sound judgment, and honesty.
James H. Gates grew to manhood in his native city and received his early education in the Chickering school there, later entering Poughkeepsie Military Academy on the Hudson River, New York. After his graduation from that institution, he returned to Cincinnati and entered business with his father, under whose able preceptorship he learned rapidly, especially the financial and executive end of the business. The father was convinced that his sons had mastered the various phases of the large mercantile house which he had established, and when he died, in the year 1878, James H. Gates at once became the financial and executive head of the concern, his brother, John Gates, taking charge of the buying and selling end. They were very successful, and the business continued to rapidly increase under the firm name of John Gates and Company. They maintained a large and modernly appointed house, carrying an extensive and carefully selected stock at all seasons, and shipping their goods over a vast territory. The rating of the company in the business world was the best, for its business was always conducted on a safe and sound basis, with honesty and prompt service the watchwords.
James H. Gates was very ambitious for the success of the firm, being industrious, persistent, faithful, and he was in every respect a worthy son of a worthy sire. His interests were his business and his home, caring very little for anything else; and thus, while he was a stanch Republican, he was never active in public affairs and cared nothing for club life or fraternal associations; however, he belonged to the Cincinnati Country Club, realizing that some outdoor recreation was necessary for a man of affairs. He was also a member of the Cincinnati Business Men's Club and the Queen City Club. He built up an excellent library and was often found among his books, being especially fond of history. He was kind-hearted, sociable, and charitable, delighting in extending a helping hand to those in need or distress. He helped many young men to get properly started in life, was always approachable, giving advice readily to all who sought it, and they were many. Those who knew him realized that he was a man of unusual innate ability and high ideals—a man to be trusted and admired. He enjoyed to the full the implicit confidence of the leading financiers and business men of his home city, or, in fact, wherever he was known.
Mr. Gates was married June 8, 1881, in Cincinnati, to Lillie Langdon, a lady of culture and excellent social standing, and a daughter of Solomon and Martha (Perin) Langdon, a highly respected Cincinnati family. Mr. Langdon was for many years engaged and interested in banking business, the baking and the wholesale flour business. Mrs. Gates grew to womanhood in her native city and was given excellent educational advantages. She is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, her paternal progenitors having fought in our war for independence. Her father and mother each had a brother who participated in the Civil War, and Glover Perin, brother of her mother, also fought in the Mexican War. Gen. Bassett Langdon, who distinguished himself in the Union army, was a brother of Solomon Langdon. Mrs. Gates is a member of the Cincinnati Country Club, also the Queen City Club, and she belongs to the Episcopal Church. She is a great home woman and still finds her chief pleasure with her family in her beautiful residence on Madison Road. She is liberal with her means and time in various charitable movements, and it is said of her that she lives her religion daily.
The union of Mr. and Mrs. Gates was blessed by the birth of two children: John Langdon Gates, who lives in Cincinnati, married Natalie Pogue, a daughter of Henry and Mary I. Pogue, her father being now deceased; Clara Gates married Henry Schell Irving, and they reside in Cincinnati. These children were given every educational advantage and they are both well situated in life and popular with their many friends.
The death of James H. Gates occurred May 5,1910, while still practically in the prime of life and usefulness, having passed his fifty-ninth birthday not long previously. He left behind him the record of a life well spent—one of which his descendants may well be proud.
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