Muscatine County, Iowa


Submitted by Kate Simpson
January 24, 2019


In January, 2019 Kate was exploring Jefferies Antique Mall near Findlay, Ohio. She found a photo of a man and a woman that was taken by a photographer named W.R. Reinecke. The address of the studio was 117 & 119 West Second Street, Muscatine.

On the back of the photo it was written:

George Gates
(My grandmother's brother)

Probably with their sister. He was not married. When a young man, he left for the Black Hills to strike it rich in the gold mines and was not heard from for many, many years. His family thought he had been killed in South Dakota. Some time after my parents moved back to Iowa (1944), a relative who worked at the Muscatine Court House told them a letter had been received by George Gates who was 90 years old and lived in Alaska. He wanted his birth certification so he could get Social Security.

Kate purchased the photo because she thought his story was interesting. She shared it with Muscatine Co. IAGenWeb so others might view it too.

We believe George is the son of Seth and Eve (Fitzgerald) Gates.

The family is found in the 1870 Federal Census as living in Cedar Township, Post Office Atalissa, Muscatine County, Iowa, on page 10, beginning on line 1.

    Gates, S.G. 54 yrs Farmer born in NY
    Gates, Eva 48 yrs born in PA
    Gates, James B. 19 yrs born in WI
    Gates, Horotia 17 yrs born in WI
    Gates, Cornelia 14 yrs born in IA
    Gates, Jessie A. 12 yrs born in IA
    Gates, George 10 yrs born in IA

George’s father dies on 7 Feb 1878.

In the 1880 Federal Census his family is still living in Cedar Township, Muscatine County, page 10 beginning on line 31.

    Gates, Eva 58 yrs she and parents born in PA
    Gates, Elmira 22 yrs dau. Born in IA, father born in NY, mother born in PA
    Oaks, Eve 85 yrs mother. She and parents born in PA
    Parsons, Jeff 24 yrs employee – laborer, b. MO
    Gates, George, 19 yrs son born in IA, father born in NY, mother born in PA

Found in the History of Muscatine County Iowa, Biographical Section, 1879, page 661 is a piece on Mrs. Eve Gates.

MRS. EVE GATES, Sec. 13; P. O. Letts; Mrs. Gates is the widow of the late Seth G. Gates, who died Feb. 7, 1878; her maiden name was Fitzgerald; she was born in Pennsylvania in 1822. She married in 1840 Mr. Reuben Fry, who was born in Somerset Co., Penn., in 1820; she had two children--Lucretia now deceased, and Debbie, who married William R. DeWitt; resides in Missouri. Mr. Gates was first married to Cornelia Pettit Sept. 5, 1839; she died Aug. 22, 1846; Mr. Gates had three children by his first marriage, two of whom are living--Silas R. and Louis W. both of whom served in the Union army during the rebellion. Mrs. Gates has six children by her second marriage--Harriet (married Mr. John W. Meeker), James B., H. N., Cornelia A., Jesse A., and George W. Mrs. Gates' mother, Mrs. Oaks resides with her.

George’s parents and several of his siblings are buried in . Oak Grove Cemetery in Cedar Township, Muscatine County.

According to FindAGrave and Alaska Vital Records, posted on, George Gates was born 27 Jul 1860 and died 24 May 1944. He is buried in Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery, in Anchorage, Alaska.

We rejoice that George Gates’ story is now back in Muscatine with the rest of his family.

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Page created January 24, 2019 by Lynn McCleary