Back up another limb: John Cook Gates and Adelia St. John

John Cook Gates and grand-daughter Beatrice Gates, circa 1901

John Cook Gates and grand-daughter Beatrice Gates, circa 1901

The last two posts on the Shuttleworth side of the Rust family tree (here and here) have had to do with, well, the Shuttleworth side! This one goes back up several generations on the Gates side. Gates was Beah’s maiden name, and here she is with her grandfather John Cook Gates, father of John Howard Gates (Beah’s father, introduced here) and Fanny Cook Gates (featured here). John Cook Gates was born in 1838 in New York, and Adelia St. John was born in 1841, also in New York. They both went to Genesee College in Lima New York, both graduating in 1863, after which they got married and moved … to Waterloo Iowa! The famous story about them has to do with Adelia’s involvement in the women’s suffrage movement. Here’s the story in her grand-daughter Beah’s words:

Lest we forget—–Shortly before her death in 1874, Adelia St. John Gates and her friend Sarah Whitney arranged for Susan B. Anthony to speak in Waterloo, Iowa. The day of her arrival coincided with a bad rainstorm and flood which had so weakened the bridge across the Cedar River that the train was held on the east side. Since the address was to be delivered on the west side of town, Adelia’s husband, John Cook Gates, rowed Miss Anthony across a raging river in a simple rowboat and delivered her safely in time for the meeting.

Forty-six years after that lecture in Waterloo, women did get the vote. Some of the citizens of Waterloo recalled the evening when Susan B. Anthony came to town:

It was on a Sunday afternoon in the autumn of 1874. . . . The hall was packed. . . . I remember well the look that came over my father as Miss Anthony proceeded with her argument for universal suffrage. My father was conservative. He was against women voting. . . . But it was plain to observe that Miss Anthony was opening up to him a new field of thought. When the lecture was over father shook his head mystically and said: “Well, son, Miss Anthony has given us something to think about.” (Waterloo Iowa Courier, August 27 1920)

4 thoughts on “Back up another limb: John Cook Gates and Adelia St. John

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