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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Henry P. Gates

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 438-439 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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One of the men who has contributed materially to the advancement of Fulton county's dominant industry in the past quarter of a century or so is Henry P. Gates, senior partner of the well known glove manufacturing firm, Gates-Mills & Company, whose factory is located at No. 30 North Market street, Johnstown. Mr. Gates was born in Otsego county, New York, on Christmas Day of the year 1857 and is the son of Isaac P. and Amanda (MacFarland) Gates, natives of that county. He comes from good old American stock and among his ancestors were many soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary war. Throughout his active life Mr. Gates' father operated a farm in Otsego county and died there on May 6, 1894, at the age of seventy-three. He was survived by his widow for a few years, her death occurring on April 2, 1899, in her seventy-sixth year.

Henry P. Gates spent his boyhood on the paternal farm and gained his early education in the academy at West Winfield, New York. Later he attended the university at Rochester. His connection with the glove industry dates from January, 1882, when he came to Johnstown as a young man to accept a position as a bookkeeper for one of the local glove manufacturers. Two years later he went on the road as a traveling salesman for a glove firm and continued along this line for sixteen years. During this time he was connected with just two firms. Mr. Gates went into business for himself in 1900, at that time forming a partnership with J. E. Hays for the purpose of manufacturing a fine grade of gloves. This firm prospered and was continued without change for twelve years before Mr. Hays retired from business. He was succeeded in the firm by L. P. Mills, the name changing to the present one of Gates-Mills & Company, and a few years later, in 1915, another change in the personnel occurred when Mr. Gates's son, Forest P. Gates, was taken into the business. The Gates-Mills concern makes only the better grades of gloves. One of its specialties is fine buckskin gloves for men and another is high grade gloves for women. The firm also puts out an excellent line of cape and mocha gloves. Its product is sold direct to the retail trade through a staff of fifteen salesmen who cover the entire United States. The factory on North Market street is a three-story and basement building designed and equipped in accordance with the most up-to-date ideas in the glove industry. Some idea of the amount of work done there is gained from the knowledge that from two hundred to two hundred and fifty people are kept on the pay roll in normal times. The long experience of Mr. Gates well enables him to understand thoroughly the work that is required in manufacturing and in marketing the output of his factory, and to direct the operations of his firm so as to produce the best results with the minimum expenditure of money, time and labor.

In June of 1890 Mr. Gates was married to Miss Myra C. Case, daughter of Peifer W. and Eliza (Forrest) Case. Mr. Case was a native of Fulton county. He died in 1862 and was survived by his wife for thirty-three years, her death occurring in 1895. Mrs. Case was born in Orange county, New York. Mr. and Mrs. Gates have two children: A son, Forest P., who is associated with his father in the business; and a daughter, Rena M.

Mr. Gates is one of the prominent lay members of St. John's Episcopal church of this city, where he served for twenty-five years as a warden and a vestryman, finally resigning from the office the parishioners had so long asked him to fill. He is a republican in his politics and has served as a member of the local school board, but aside from this he has refused to take part in public life, preferring to give his undivided time and attention to his business. In that connection he maintains a membership in the National Glove Manufacturers Association. Mr. Gates has advanced steadily as the result of his industry, determination and perseverance until he has attained a high position as a manufacturer and a business man and has played an important part in furthering the prosperity of his city by building up his own establishment, which gives profitable employment to so many people. His social connections are with the Colonial Club.

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