Dr. Joseph A Gates
September 11, 1870 - June 15, 1922
Joseph Gates was born in Olmstead County in 1871 and raised in the city of Rochester, Minnesota. His parents were Elnathan Johnson Gates and Susan Jane Waldron.
He then attended the University of Minnesota, graduating from the college of medicine in 1895. Joseph was the class president for his final year of University and also the student delegate to the national republican convention.
The Gopher - University of Minnesota
1896 yearbook, page 117
After graduation, Dr. Gates opened his practice in Kenyon, Minnesota.
In 1896, Dr. Gates married into the Clark family marrying Jenny Clark on June 10th in a small ceremony in the parlor at her home attended by intimate friends and family. Jenny's sister Edith was the Maid-of-Honor and a Dr. Marshall was the Best Man. They had a honeymoon tour of Minnesota.
The 1907 edition of "The Book of Minnesotans, a biographical dictionary" states that Joseph A Gates was quite involved with other activities besides being a community doctor. Dr. Gates was a
- Director of
- State Bank of Kenyon
- Farmer's State Bank of Wanamingo
- Farmer's State Bank of Nerstrand
- owner - Kenyon Telephone Exchange
- Mayor of Kenyon, 1900
- member of Kenyon School board for 20 years
Dr Gates was a republican member of the Minnesota State Legislature for Goodhue County from 1905-1914. He was so popular that he as selected as the republican nomination for Lieutenant Governor in 1912.
During World War 1, he was a captain in the medical corp of the army despite being well past the normal age for military service. He served in Texas, Kansas, and Maryland. Following the war he was involved in organizing the American Legion and was elected to a national position of senior vice commander.
Dr. Gates enjoyed the outdoor life of travelling hunting and fishing. One such adventure may have been the impetus of his desire to establish telephone service for the farmers of the area. While out fishing and camping in May 1903, their horses wandered off overnight. One of their group walked seven miles to Faribault to call Kenyon for a livery team to pick them up. The horses were found at a farmer's house the next day.
Dr. Gates was a member of the Masons, Shriners, Elks, and Woodmen, and also involved with the A.O.U.W. lodge.
Tragedy struck the family and community on June 15, 1922. Dr. Gates was only 51 years old when he died. He appeared to have lost control of his automobile and run into the side of a train while on his way to a medical house call.
from the Kenyon Leader- June 1922
Dr. Gates was so popular in the community and indeed throughout the state that there were over 5000 people at his funeral which was held on the front lawn of his home. Many prominent in public life attended, and the family received condolences from many, including the Minnesota state Governor. The downtown of Kenyon was closed down and draped in crepe for the funeral procession
Kenyon News - June 22, 1922