Centennial History of Arkansas (1929)

David Allen Gates

David Allen Gates, filling the office of state inheritance tax attorney for Arkansas with office in Little Rock, was born in Alto, Texas, February 2, 1861, a son of David Allen and Sarah (Howell) Gates, both of whom were natives of North Carolina, the former born in 1830 and the latter in 1832. They were married in Hardeman county, Tennessee, in 1850, and resided for a considerable period in Alto, Texas, where the father engaged in merchandising. In 1861 he responded to the call of the Confederacy, becoming a first lieutenant and brigade quartermaster and was on active duty to the time of his death, being killed on the battlefield of Mansfield, Louisiana, April 8, 1864, thus giving his life for the cause in which he believed. He was a democrat in his political views. His wife's death occurred in Texas, in September, 1861. They were the parents of three sons and three daughters, of whom two sons and two daughters reached adult age. David Allen and his sister, Mrs. Annie E. Stanley, a widow, are the only ones now living.

David A. Gates was but three years of age at the time of his father's death and when a lad of but seven years he was brought to Drew County, Arkansas, where he attended the country schools. He afterward became a student in the University of Arkansas, from which he was graduated in 1884, with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Determining upon the practice of law as a life work, he afterward studied in Monticello, Arkansas, and was admitted to practice at the bar of this state in 1885. He then located in Arkansas City, where he opened an office and continued in practice for eight years. He was also owner and editor of the Arkansas City Journal and on leaving Arkansas City in July, 1893, he entered the employ of the United States government as revenue inspector. In 1895 he became agent in charge, being at New Orleans, Louisiana, at Louisville, Kentucky, at St. Louis, Missouri, at Chicago, Illinois, and afterward again at Louisville. Subsequently his duties called him to Atlanta, Georgia. In 1906 he was made chief of revenue agents with office and headquarters in Washington, D.C., where he remained for two years. In 1908 he came to Little Rock as agent in charge and in 1909 was appointed a member of the tax commission by Gov. George W. Donaghey. Thus he served until November, 1914, and during the last two years of that period acted as chairman of the commission. On the 7th of November of that year he was reappointed internal revenue agent and on the 14th of December, 1914, he was appointed first deputy commissioner of internal revenue, with office in Washington, D.C. There he served until May 15, 1918, and from that date until the 1st of November, 1919, was supervisor of internal revenue in charge of the territory west of the Mississippi river, with headquarters in Little Rock. On the 1st of November, 1919, he was appointed supervising federal prohibition agent in charge of the southwestern department, embracing Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas and New Mexico and at the same time was made federal prohibition director of Arkansas. On the 23rd of April, 1921, he was appointed inheritance tax attorney for Arkansas and retired from the other positions which he had filled in order to give his entire attention to the work of his present office. He has devoted much of his life to public service and has ever been most faithful to the duties and trust reposed in him, his efficient work receiving the strong endorsement of all his superiors. Mr. Gates also has important business interests. He is officially and financially identified with some of the leading corporations of the state and of the southwest, being now president of the Southern Telephone Company of Louisiana, president of the South Arkansas Telephone Company, and director of the Desha Bank & Trust Company of Arkansas City, a director of the Desha County Bank at Watson, Arkansas, a director of the Home Life & Accident Insurance Company of Fordyce, Arkansas, and a member of the life insurance company, operating under the names of Gates & Franklin, at Dermott, Arkansas. He is also interested in the R. W. G. Stock Farm at McGehee, Arkansas. His business connections are thus broad and varied, and capably controlled they have placed him among the men of affluence in the state.

On the 21st of June, 1888, in Monticello, Arkansas, Mr. Gates was united in marriage to Miss Kate Matthews, who was born in Monticello, November 13, 1867, a daughter of the Hon. Samuel J. and Anna (Wilson) Matthews. Her father died in December, 1903, while her mother's death occurred in 1918. Mrs. Gates was educated in the graded schools of her native city. By her marriage she has become the mother of four children: Stanley M., born January 31, 1890; David Allen, Jr, born June 22, 1892; Dorothy, now the wife of Park A. Gallaher; and Paul Wilson, who was born May 20, 1909.

Mr. Gates give his political endorsement to the democratic party, which he has supported since age conferred upon him the right of franchise. He is a Royal Arch Mason and in religious faith, a Presbyterian, serving as an elder in his church. These associations indicate the nature of his interests and the rules which govern his conduct in all the relations of life. He has ever stood for those forces and projects which make for the uplift of the individual and the betterment of the community at large. He is a stanch advocate of the cause of temperance, a believer in law and order at all times and is one who never deviates from a principle which he believes to be right nor from a course which his judgment dictates as one that is fair and impartial between himself and his fellowman.