Robert Bates was a son of John Wallis and Sarah Waltrip Bates.
He was born 24 August 1825 at the mouth of Boone Fork at present
day Kona, Kentucky. Robert was married three times and fathered
18 children. Rob's main interest was land. He acquired many
acres including land in Letcher County and what is now Knott
County, Kentucky. Rob was the main force in the formation of
Knott County from parts of Breathitt, Floyd, Letcher and Perry
Counties in 1884. As a result, Robert Bates is known as the
"Father of Knott County". He was elected to the state
legislature for the term 1883-1884.
He served in the Confederate Army from 1861 to May 1865. He
was elected Captain of Co. A of French's Batallion of Virginia
Infantry. Serving with Robert was his brother Martin Van Buren
Bates, "The Kentucky Giant."
Robert died at age 96 on 24 September 1921.
An article in the "Louisville Commercial" for July 8, 1855
gives the following description of Robert, "A plain looking man
of 45, of average size, cheaply dressed, slightly bald, and
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