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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Rynier Van Evera Yates

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[This information is from Vol. IV, pp. 30-31 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 Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Among the notable business men of Utica whose commanding forms loom large through the mist of years, none stood higher in public regard nor played a more conspicuous or honorable part in the upbuilding of the city than Rynier Van Evera Yates, who was called to his final rest on the 9th of February, 1879, when seventy years of age. He was one of the pioneer clothing manufacturers of Utica, a power in financial affairs, and in all of his labors the welfare and advancement of his city and the increase of her prestige was his motive and inspiration, his dearest and most cherished wish.

Rynier Van Evera Yates was born in Van Everaville, Montgomery county, New York, March 12, 1809, a grandson of Christopher Yates, and the eldest son of Abram Yates, who was one of the well known educators of the city during the formative period in its history. At an early age R. V. Yates came to Utica and in 1836 he began the manufacture of ready-made clothing, being one of the first to establish an industry of that character in the Mohawk valley. He was very successful in his undertaking, building up a prosperous business by judicious management and untiring application, and in the course of time decided to retire. He then established his home in New York city, but a life of inactivity soon proved irksome to one of his energetic nature and alert mind, and returning to Utica, he reentered the business arena. He continued his operations as a clothing manufacturer until death terminated his labors and became the owner of one of Utica's largest productive industries. He realized that the city was destined to become an important manufacturing center and wisely invested a portion of his capital in local real estate. In the organization of the Utica National Bank he took an active part and for many years was prominently identified with the conduct of that institution, writing his name large upon the pages of its history.

Mr. Yates married Miss Margaret Hadden and four children were born to them: Emma E. Yates, who died in 1917; Georgiana (Yates) Cramer, who passed away in 1922; J. Dwight Yates, whose death occurred in 1894; and Charles Hadden Yates, who passed away April 10, 1923. Modest and retiring by nature, Mr. Yates seldom ventured outside of business circles, preferring to discharge his civic obligations in a private capacity. His actions were ever characterized by a fidelity of purpose born of the desire to have every duty well done and his genuine worth won for him the unqualified respect of all with whom he was associated. He was a communicant of the First Presbyterian church, serving for an extended period as one of its trustees, and for many years was chairman of the board. At a special meeting of the directors of the Utica City National Bank, held February 10, 1879, it was unanimously resolved that the following record be entered upon the minutes of the board:

"The directors of the Utica City National Bank have learned with profound regret of the death of their honored associate, Rynier Van Evera Yates, which occurred on the 9th inst. Mr. Yates was early identified with the interests of this institution and in 1857 became associated with the board as a director. In that capacity he served with rare zeal and fidelity for twenty-one years, when he was chosen its vice president. During the long term that rounded his active service in our midst he was ever distinguished for conscientiousness of purpose and firmness in all that pertained to justice and right. He was estimable in his character, spotless in his integrity, unostentatiously benevolent, and kind in his intercourse with all men. Upon all subjects vital to the prosperity of the bank he was an adviser careful and discriminating, while his earnest endeavor was enlisted in favor of such action as would promote its welfare, stability and permanent good. We shall miss his attendance at the board meetings, and that kindliness of disposition which he at all times evinced, either in social or business intercourse. The directors of the bank extend to the sorrowing family of the deceased their heartfelt sympathy, and as evidence of respect for the memory of their friend, they will attend his funeral in a body."

"At a meeting of the clothing merchants of this city, held on the morning of the 10th instant, a committee was appointed to prepare a suitable expression upon the occasion of the decease of one of its earliest members, and the following report was unanimously adopted: 'Resolved: That by the death of R. V. Yates our city has lost one of its enterprising and useful citizens, society one of its most exemplary members, and the community one of its early and active business men, whose life has illustrated that success is the result of industry and integrity, and whose virtues are cherished by the many to whose support he has ever contributed. Resolved: That as a mark of respect to the deceased we will close our respective places of business during the hours of the funeral obsequies and will attend the same as a body.'"

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