At the April term of the Court of Common Pleas for 1852, the Hon. James L. Bates, who had been elected the previous fall, produced his commission dated January 16, 1852, as Judge of the Third Subdivision of the Fifth Judicial District. James L. Bates was born near Canandaigua, N. Y., January 4, 1815. His father was Stephen Bates, and his mother Naomi (Handy) Bates; the former from Granville, Mass., and the latter from Guilford, Conn., both descendants from old Revolutionary stock. His grandfather settled in Ontario County, N. Y., in 1790. James L. was educated at the Canandaigua Academy and Geneva College, New York; read law with John C. Spencer two years; came to Columbus in October, 1835, and read a year with Orris Parish and N. H. Swayne, and was admitted to the bar in the winter of 1836—37; commenced practice, and formed a partnership with N. H. Swayne in the spring of 1837, which continued until he was elected in 1851, on the adoption of the present constitution. Judge of the Common Pleas, for the third subdivision of the Fifth Judicial District, composed of the counties of Pickaway, Franklin and Madison, and was reelected in 1856 and 1801, the last time without opposition—a handsome compliment in a district politically against him, serving thus fifteen years continuously. Judge Bates made a safe and excellent Judge, was a sturdy worker, and alone did the business of the three counties satisfactorily, without allowing the docket to accumulate, with undisposed business.

Judge Bates held the office of Director of the Ohio Penitentary from 1866 to 1874, and was a member of the Board of Education of the city of Columbus from 1844, six years consecutively, being Secretary of the board the first four years. He was active in advancing the city school system of Columbus to a high state of perfection.

On October 18, 1837, he was united in marriage to Miss Maria Kelley, eldest daughter of Hon. Alfred Kelley, one of the ablest and most prominent men in Ohio. Since Judge Bates has retired from the bench, he has principally been employed in the management and settlement of large estates involving the interests of minors and widows, without engaging in general practice. His straightforward honesty and known integrity, especially qualify him for trusts of this kind, and the community where he has lived over forty years, fully appreciate the fact.



From HISTORY OF MADISON COUNTY - W. H. Beers [Chicago, 1883]