Biography of R. W. Cates

R. W. Cates is a director and assistant cashier in the First National Bank of Independence. By profession he is a lawyer and practiced for a number of years with his father, Joseph B. F. Cates, who is one of the oldest members of the legal profession in Kansas.

Joseph B. F. Cates, who is now general attorney for the Prairie Pipe Line Company, with residence at Independence, was born in Grainger County, Tennessee, April 19, 1840. His parents were Charles and Elizabeth (Lloyd) Cates. Charles Cates was a native of North Carolina, where he was reared and educated, and his English ancestors had settled in the Carolinas when they were English colonies. Charles Cates was a farmer, and from his native state emigrated to Tennessee and became a pioneer settler. His wife, Elizabeth Lloyd, was also a native of North Carolina, and of Welsh ancestry.

The only survivor in a family of three sons and three daughters, all of whom reached maturity, and the youngest of the family, Joseph B. F. Cates, gained his high rank in the profession as a result of many years of constant application and the over-coming of difficulties when he was young. His boyhood was spent in Tennessee, where he attended the common schools, his schooling being mingled with the performance of duties on the home farm. In 1860 he graduated from an old institution of higher training in Eastern Tennessee, Newman College, in Jefferson County. His classical diploma was hardly in his possession when he set out for the West. Before the Civil war broke out he helped survey some of the lands of Nebraska territory, and then took up the study of law at Platte City, Missouri. He was admitted to the bar there in 1867 and soon afterwards moved to Humboldt, Kansas, where he did his first work in the profession as a pioneer lawyer, nearly half a century ago. During his ten years’ residence at Humboldt he built up a living practice, but left there in 1877 and opened an office in Kansas City, Missouri. With the exception of a few years spent in Florida he lived at Kansas City until 1892. Returning to Kansas, he located at Chanute, and enjoyed a large practice commensurate with his abilities in that city until 1907. Since then his home has been in Independence.

Since 1900 his time and services have been devoted first to the Prairie Oil & Gas Company as general attorney, and since its organization to the Prairie Pipe Line Company. His has been a successful legal career, and he has had an especially wide range of experience in professional work. He is a scholarly lawyer, a man of broad and generous character and for years has associated with many of the prominent men of Kansas and other states. He is a member of the Episcopal Church and fraternally is affiliated with Fortitude Lodge No. 107, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Keystone Chapter No. 22, Royal Arch Masons, St. Bernard Commandery No. 10, Knights Templar, all of Independence, and Mirzah Temple of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine at Pittsburg, Kansas. He has never sought any honors beyond those connected with his profession.

In 1869 Joseph B. F. Cates married Nettie Wilhoite, daughter of J. H. Wilhoite, of Platte County, Missouri. To their marriage were born five children: Charles Henry received his education in the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington and is now a traveling salesman for a New York house. Lloyd R., who died at Independence July 6, 1913, had for several years previously been egaged in farming in Oklahoma. Philip F. is a graduate of the Kansas City Dental College and is now practicing at Cedarvale, Kansas. The fourth among the children is Mr. R. W. Cates. Ada E. graduated from the University of Kansas in 1906, afterwards specialized by two years of work in the Platte Institute in Brooklyn, New York, and is now a teacher in the public schools of Independence.

R. W. Cates was born at Humboldt, Kansas, in August, 1876, a short time before his father moved to Kansas City to practice. Most of his education was acquired in the public schools of Fredonia and Chanute, Kansas, and he attended the high schools of both places, being graduated from the Chanute High School with the class of 1894. For another year he attended the Kansas State Normal School at Emporia, and later began his preparations for the law, graduating LL. B. in 1900 from the University of Kansas Law Department. In the same year he went East and did post-graduate work in the New York Law School, from which he received the degree LL. M. in 1902. He continued in New York City for a year acquiring additional experience in the profession, and thus well equipped took up active practice at Chanute with his father in 1903. He has been a resident of Independence since 1907, and in 1908 he took his present post as assistant cashier of the First National Bank. While at Chanute he served as city attorney.

Mr. Cates is a democrat, is affiliated with Fortitude Lodge No. 107, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Keystone Chapter No. 22, Royal Arch Masons, and is past commander of St. Bernard’s Commandery No. 10, Knights Templar. He is also a member of Lodge No. 780, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks at Independence, belongs to the Country Club, and is a director in the Commercial Club.

In October, 1904, at Independence Mr. Cates married Miss Edith Allen. Her father, the late E. P. Allen, was one of the most prominent citizens of Montgomery County, and his career is sketched on other pages of this publication. Mr. and Mrs. Cates have two children: Catherine, born September 3, 1906, and Allen, born May 23, 1908.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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