THOMAS ADKINS SCATES, who died April 10, 1914, at Dodge City, was for sixteen years a resident of that community and was one of the widely known men of Western Kansas. He spent his life in business, politics and the law, and was still handling a large legal clientage when he died at the age of fifty-five.
He was born in Union County, Tennessee, October 31, 1859. When he was two years of age his parents moved to Iowa and a short time later came to Kansas, so that practically all his Ife,[sic] was spent in this state. His grandfather, Joseph Scates, was from Halifax County, Virginia, and in 1827, with his brothers Fountain, Albert and Ellis settled in Carroll County, Tennessee. Joseph Scates married Bettie Franklin, and their children were named Alexander, Davis, James, Elijah, Elisha, Lafayette, Joseph and Albert.
Elisha Scates, father of the late Thomas A. Scates, was a native of Tennessee and spent his life as a farmer, many years of it in Kansas, but he died in Oklahoma. He married for his first wife Rebecca Hannings. Their children were Elvira, John C. and Susan. His second wife was Sarah E. Pinkerton. She was the mother of Thomas A., Albert J., Ada E., William J., Anna L., Milton A., Nancy J., Rose E., Walter G., Georgie F. and Claude C. Of these Albert, Milton and Nancy died without children.
Thomas Adkins Scates grew up on his father's farm in Ellsworth County, Kansas. His opportunities to acquire an education were those of the common schools and Eastman's Business College at Poughkeepsie, New York. For several years he taught in Edwards County, and for the last two years was principal of the schools at Kinsley. In 1885 Mr. Scates engaged in the real estate business at the town of Fargo, Kansas, and after the building of the Rock Island Railway moved to Arkalon and in 1893 to Liberal. He became a lawyer by preparation during his leisure hours, and in 1891 was admitted to the bar in Seward County before Judge Abbott. He began practice at the age of thirty-two, and gained a reputation over several counties as a very skillful attorney in both civil and criminal branches. While county attorney of Seward County he secured a great deal of valuable experience that served him well in later years. He was twice elected county attorney, and resigned that office to become register of the Land Office. His prominence in republican politics secured his endorsement for the office of register of the Dodge City Land Office and he was appointed by President McKinley in 1898. He remained in the land office for four years and after retiring he resumed law practice in Dodge City with M. W. Sutton as a partner, under the firm name of Sutton & Scates.
As a republican he did a great deal of campaign work, especially in his later years, and attended many of the state and congressional conventions. Mr. Scates served, as local attorney for the Rock Island Railway both at Liberal and at Dodge City, also of the Santa Fe Railway at Dodge City.
His life was a very busy one and his ability was manifested in more than one line. He did considerable ranching, having a large amount of land in Seward County. There he developed a herd of White Faced range cattle. As a lawyer his practice extended all over the southwestern part of the state. In Dodge City he was ever interested in public improvements, served on the Library Board, and at the time of his death was holding the office of finance and revenue commissioner. Whether in office or not he steadily advocated street improvements at Dodge City and was instrumental in giving the city a sewer system and also started the street paving. He was vice president of the Kansas State Bank, was chairman of the board of directors of the Locke Mercantile Company, was president of the Cemmercial Club, was chairman of the board of directors of the Christian Church, and was an enthusiastic Mason, his affiliations being with the Lodge, Chapter and Commandery and with the thirty-second degree Scottish Rite.
At Lewis, Kansas, July 19, 1887, Mr. Scates married Miss Nettie Campbell. Mrs. Scates was born in Sycamore, Tennessee, and when a child accompanied her parents to the pioneer farm in Edwards County, Kansas. Mrs. Scates finished her education in Nashville, Tennessee, and for several years was a teacher in Edwards County. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas A. Scates, had only one surviving child, Arthur C.
Arthur C. Scates, who has succeeded his father in law practice and is one of the active and public spirited citizens of Dodge City, was born at Arkalon, Kansas, May 9, 1890. Most of his youth was spent in Dodge City, where he graduated from high school in 1908. In 1911 he completed the law course in the University of Michigan, and spent the next two years in Topeka as secretary to Judge Mason, one of the judges of the Supreme Court of Kansas. He began his law practice at Liberal as partner of Judge Grinstead, under the firm name of Grinstead & Scates, but upon the death of his father came to Dodge City and took the vacant place in the partnership of Scates & Watkins. Mr. Scates, Jr., is affiliated with the Lodge, Chapter and Commandery of Masonry at Dodge City, and is a director in the Phoenix Industrial Club, the Kansas State Bank and other corporations. Mr. Scates married in Ford County November 11, 1914, Miss Josephine Grobety, daughter of L. G. Grobety. Mrs. Scates was born in Ford County, where her father was a pioneer. She is a graduate of the Eastern High School of Washington, D. C., and later studied music at Kansas University.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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