William A Gates (c1803-aft 1850)
Father Allen Gates (1775-1864)
Mother Elizabeth Allen
Vital Information
Born c1803 in North Carolina
Married Jerusha A. Willingham (1813-?) - c1828
Died after 1850
1 David Allen Gates (1830-1864) m. Sarah Howell
2 Sarah G. Gates (1833-?)
3 Julia A. E. L. Gates (1848-?)


William A. Gates was born in North Carolina in about 1803, the son of Allen Gates and Elizabeth Allen. He is listed among the children of Allen and Elizabeth Gates in a deed of sale of a "Negro George" in 1823. This man George had been given to Elizabeth by her father, William H. Allen, in his Will and was now being sold as part of the division of her estate to her children. I believe that William was married twice. William A. Gates married Jerusha Willingham and had at least three children, David Allen Gates, born 1830, Sarah A. Gates, born 1833, and Julia A. E. L. Gates, born about September of 1848 in Fayette County, Tennessee. The family can be found living in Fayette County together in the 1830, 1840, and 1850 census. In 1852 William invented, patented, produced and sold a new type of cotton seed planter. But as of yet, nothing after that point is known about him.


Census Records

  1. 1830 Census: Fayette County, Tennessee
  2. 1840 Census: Fayette County, Tennessee
  3. 1850 Census: Fayette County, Tennessee


  1. Bedford Co Deed Book R, page 33, dated 1823, recorded 30 Aug 1823.
    1. "Daniel Dryden, guardian of Nancy Gates, William A. Gates, Benjamin D. Gates, and Alexander Gates, minor children of Allen Gates & wife Elizabeth, and Thomas Powdrell & wife Eliza, and Abram Lorance & wife Susan Lorance, Eliza and Susan also being children of Allen & Elizabeth Gates, sells Negro George for $455. Negro George was left to Elizabeth Gates during her life by the Will and Testament of William H. Allen and after her death to go to her children." This seems to imply that a William H. Allen died in Bedford County (as no other location is given) sometime prior to 1823, that he had a daughter, Elizabeth, who died about 1823, and that this William H. Allen left a will. If so, this will would have been burned in the 1863 Bedford County courthouse fire.


  1. Commissioner of Patents, Issue 667, Part 1
    1. "Classified List of Patents Granted During the Year 1852, With the Names of Patentees, Places of Residence, and Date of Patents. Class 1, Agriculture, including instruments and operations. (on next page is listed:) Planters, cotton seed - William A. Gates - Mount Comfort, Fayette co., Tenn. - Nov 16, 1852."
  2. The Southern Cultivator, Vol 11, Page 87 (original Vol. XI, No 3, March 1853), Atlanta, Georgia
    1. "Gates' Cotton Seed Planter - Patented Nov. 16, 1852 - Messrs. Editors - Above you have an engraving of my newly invented Cotton Seed Planter, an explanation of which I append: Explanation - a, frame; b, handles; c, coulter to open drills; d. board or slide, to smooth the drill; e, central beam; f, drum for holding seed; gg, appertures through which the seed drops; i, roller for covering see; j, axle of drum; m, door, for putting in seed. Persons wishing to purchase machines or rights for counties or districts will please address William A. Gates - Mount Comfort P.O., Fayette Co., Tenn.
  3. List of Post Offices in the United States with Names of Postmasters on the 1st of July 1855
    1. Listed: Mount Comfort, Cherokee, Texas - William A. Gates. (Separate from the listing for Mount Comfort, Fayette, Tenn - William A. May)