Dr. John Calhoun Bates honored

Historical marker unveiled Coryell County Historical Commission holds unveiling ceremony for the historical marker honoring the life of Dr. John C. Bates. Pictured are Coryell County Judge Roger Miller and Danny Corbett, Chairman of Coryell County’s Historical Commission. Photo by David Scott

Dr. John Calhoun Bates honored with historical marker, ceremony

The Coryell County Historical Commission recently held an unveiling ceremony for the historical marker honoring the life of Dr. John C. Bates who is buried at the I.O.O.F (Odd Fellows) Cemetery in Gatesville. The unveiling was overseen by the local chairman of the historical commission, Danny Corbett.

The ceremony included Rev. Jeff Huckeby of Pecan Grove Baptist Church who gave the invocation and the benediction. A welcoming address was given by County Judge, Roger Miller, who reflected on the importance of preserving history for future generations.

Presentation of the Colors and the Pledge of Allegiance was conducted by the Boy Scouts, Troop 201 of Gatesville.

Local historian, Sherry Lawrence read a narrative about the interesting life of Dr. Bates. “To have such a nationally known figure of the Civil War spend the last few years of his life in Gatesville is an unexpected honor to say the least,” said Lawrence. “We are truly proud to have this opportunity to recognize Dr. Bates.”

Dr. John Calhoun Bates, was a surgeon at the Andersonville Prison in Georgia during the Civil War. Bates, a native of Ohio, was forced into taking the position at the prison hospital where Union soldiers were being held. While there, Bates witnessed unspeakable atrocities against the prisoners of war. Later, Bates would testify for the prosecution in Washington, D.C. at the trial of Confederate Captain Henry Wirz who was in charge of the prison. It has been said that this trial was the first “war crimes trial” held in the United States. Wirz was later found guilty and hanged in 1865.




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