Visiting Governor Frederick Bates’ Grave

I just visited the Thornhill Estate, which is the ancestral family home of Missouri’s Second Governor Frederick Bates. Because Bates died of pneumonia in his first year of office as governor at the age of 48, his historical impact has been generally neglected. While he was alive, he was a bitter rival with Meriwether Lewis and William Clark because they had greatly differing views on settling land title disputes.

Apparently, Governor Bates would wheel himself to your house if you tried to obstruct his legislation. Could you imagine if politicians did that today?!? I guess after getting tag-teamed by William Clark Meriwether Lewis, and Stephen F. Austin, the temper of the local Cotton Association’s President doesn’t seem so bad in comparison.

After Thomas Jefferson invoked his constitutional powers to negotiate treaties to acquire 10+ million acres from Napoleon and the Kingdom of France for three cents per acre in the Louisiana Purchase, President Jefferson appointed a rising Detroit postmaster named Frederick Bates to be in charge of recording land titles in the Missouri Territory.

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