Monday, March 29, 2010

George V. Bates Family--Early Settlers of Big Fork

This is the earliest photo of George V. Bates, standing on the far right with a long beard.  Next to him on the far right was his second wife, Alice Celia Roberts.  On the far left, partly in the photo is his son, John Calvin Bates.  Next to Calvin is his wife, Malinda Elvira (Goss) Bates.  She was the daughter of Elijah Benson Goss and Lucretia E. (Turner) who first settled in Big Fork in 1851.  The man on the porch is Calvin and "Lindy's" son, George Benson Bates.  Next to "Uncle Benson" is his wife, Josephine (Burkhart) Bates.  The little girl on the far end of the porch on the right is Calvin and Lindy's youngest child, Nellie Bates.  The other children belong to Benson and Josie.  Their names are Elijah Argie Bates, Roger Jackson Bates, John Bethel Bates, Osie Bates and Viola Tamantha Bates (oldest daughter standing next to Nellie).

     George V. Bates was born October 6, 1820 in Pickens County, South Carolina.  His parents were Stephen and Sarah (Cox) Bates.  Stephen was born about 1778 in Halifax County, Virginia.  Sarah was born in South Carolina.   Stephen and Sarah had nine children.  George was the youngest son.  In 1835 Stephen and Sarah Bates moved to Cherokee County, Georgia.
     On September 29, 1842, George married Hortense ("Tennie") Mansina Walker, daughter of Allen Walker.  She was born about 1822 in Spartanburg District, South Carolina.  They had ten children.  The first child, a son, died in infancy.  The second child was John Calvin Bates (in the photo above).
Next was Abram Royal Bates; then Thomas Jefferson Bates (in another photo of the mill that George built on the Butcherknife Creek); Nancy Elizabeth Bates; Sarah Jane Bates; Margaret Bates; Stephen Bates; James Allen Bates; and the last one was George W. Bates.
                                                             Tennie (Walker) Bates
George and Tennie Bates traveled from Northern Georgia by way of an ox-drawn wagon train.  Calvin was the oldest child and Sarah Jane ("Sally") was the baby.   Tennie and George had four more children after moving to Big Fork.   Tennie's brother, Abraham Walker, and wife, Mary, and daughter, Harriet, also came on the same wagon train.

 Some of land that George and Tennie Bates bought on Butcherknife Creek, sometime around 1852, from a Mr. Cabler.  Part of the land, where I'm standing to take this photo, was given to build the town of Big Fork.

left to right:  George V. Bates, 86 yrs. old; Malinda E. (Goss) Bates, 61 yrs. old;  John Calvin Bates, 61 yrs. old;  George Benson Bates, 39 yrs. old; Samantha Viola (Bates) Looney, 18 yrs old, holding Floyd Looney, born May 1906; Josephine (Burkhart) Bates, 36 yrs. old;  Hotridge Lithco Looney, 23 yrs. old, son of Samuel L. and Avis F. (Boggs) Looney.


  1. Hey, there's my great-grandfather R.J., my great-great-grandfather George B. and my great-great-great grandfather George V!

  2. Yes, and Viola, 18 years old, is holding baby Floyd. Viola later had a daughter, Jewell, who now lives in Bakersfield, CA, with her son, Roger, your cousin. She is 96 years old.

  3. About two months ago I began researching my ancestry. I went to Pleasant Grove, Cherry Hill, Liberty, "Bates", and "Goss" Cemetereries in the Big Fork area to photo grave markers. I learned I am a direct decendant of George Vandiver Bates. My mother Vivian Holman was daughter of Leora (Bates) Holman who was the daughter of Stephen Bates the youngest child of George V. Bates.

    Vivian married Andrew Benjamin Foster and had four children: Amadene (Foster) Bowling, Jerry, Orvin and Andrew Foster. We all grew up in Polk County and all but me still resides there. As a child I swam in Big Fork Creek and squirrel hunted in Heath Valley and lived between Nunley and Board Camp. I drank water many times from the roadside spring and even transplanted the water plant that grows in it to my fish tank as a child.

    It appears that William Flemming and George V. are direct decendents of John Isaac Bates. On January 20, 1624 John Isaac Bates set foot in Jamestown after crossing the Atlantic on the Southampton and became the first Bates family ancestor to come to America. He was one of 21 passengers on the ship that were sevants of Abraham Piersey. Piersey's two daughters aged 11 and 15 were also on board.

    Thanks. This blog has been very helpful.

    To contact me to share further information you can email me at

    Andrew Ben Foster, Jr.

  4. Thanks for your information!

    You mentioned the first Bates immigrant to this country as John Isaac Bates. Has anyone found documented proof that his middle name was "Isaac"? I noticed this middle name being used on some sites on the internet but have never seen proof. Some time back, I asked Vera L. Looney Blake, who did years of extensive Bates research and who wrote "Bates Family History". She was in contact with the best resources such as Wayne Witt Bates of "Bates Family of Old Virginia" organization that has researched Immigrant, John Bates of York Co. VA (1598-1666). They both indicated that people in those days did not use middle names as a rule. This can be confirmed by an article, "Faire Names for English Folk: Late Sixteenth Century English Names" ( Read under the subtitle, "First Names". John was born in the late sixteenth century.
    Also I noticed in his will he calls himself "John Bates" with no middle name. The first "Isaac Bates" that I know of was a great-grandson of the Immigrant, John Bates.
    I would appreciate any newer research information about this.

  5. I believe the elderly couple on the right in the top photo is Lewis Burkhart and Martha (Pamplin) Burkhart, the parents of Josie (Burkhart) Bates. I have prepared a document containing four photographs that explains why I believe this and I can be reached at I am trying to get this cleared before I start uploading my information. Thx.