(Jan. 25, 1795-July 6, 1876). Hervey Bates was born at Fort Washington (now Cincinnati). He was the son of Daniel Bates who served as master of transportation under General Anthony Wayne during the Northwest Indiana War. Hervey Bates spent his formative years in Warren, Ohio. In 1816, he moved to Brookville, Indiana, where in 1819 he married Sidney Sedgewick, a cousin of James Noble, the first U.S. senator from Indiana. Following his marriage, he moved to Connersville, Indiana.

The Bates House, 1908
Credit: Bass Photo Co Collection, Indiana Historical Society

In 1822, Governor Jonathan Jennings appointed Bates the first sheriff of Marion County, and he moved to Indianapolis. As sheriff, he issued a proclamation calling for an election on April 1, 1822, the first election held in Marion County.

Having served a single term as sheriff, Bates left politics in 1825 to become the first president of the Indianapolis branch of the State Bank, filling that office for 10 years. As bank president, Bates was instrumental in forming both the first insurance company in Indianapolis and the Gas Light and Coke Company. He was also a stockholder in the first hotel built in the city and president of the first railroad to reach Indianapolis.

In 1852, Bates began construction of the Bates House, long one of the city’s finest hotels. Abraham Lincoln made his first policy statement as president-elect from the hotel’s balcony on April 11, 1861. In 1901, the Bates House was razed to make way for a more modern facility, the Claypool Hotel.

Bates died a millionaire. He left portions of his estate to the Widows and Orphans Friends’ Society, which became the children’s bureau of Indianapolis in 1934. Most of the estate went to his son Hervey Bates Jr. and his daughter Mary Bates Vance. Hervey Bates Jr. inherited the hotel and lived there for many years.

Hervey Bates Sr. was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery.

Revised February 2021

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