Woman of the Century/Margaret Holmes Bates
BATES, Mrs. Margaret Holmes, author, born in Fremont, Ohio, 6th October, 1844. Her maiden name was Ernsperger, and after five generations on American soil the name preserves its original spelling and pronunciation. Mrs. Bates' father was born and bred in Baltimore, Md. He went with his father's family some time after he had attained his majority and settled in northern Ohio. From Ohio he removed to Rochester, Ind., in the fall of 1858. The mother's family, as purely German as the father's, were Pennsylvanians. As a family, they were scholarly and MARGARET HOLMES BATES. polished, running to professions, notably those of law and theology. In Mrs. Bates' childhood she showed great fondness for books, and. as a school-girl, the weekly or fortnightly "composition" was to her a pleasant pastime, a respite from the duller, more prosaic studies of mathematics and the rules of grammar. It was her delight to be allowed, when out of school, to put her fancies into form in writing, or to sit surrounded by her young sisters and baby brother and tell them stories as they came into her mind. In June, 1865, she was married to Charles Austin Bates, of Medina, N. Y., and since that time her home has been in Indianapolis, Ind. Fascinated for several years after her marriage with the idea of becoming a model housekeeper, and conscientious to a painful degree in the discharge of her duties as a mother, she wrote nothing for publication, and but little, even at the solicitations of friends, for special occasions. This way of life, unnatural for her, proved unhealthful. Her poem, "Nineveh," is an epitome of her life, and when health seemed to have deserted her. she turned to pencil and tablet for pastime and wrote much for newspapers and periodicals. Her first novel, "Manitou" (1881), was written at the urgent request of her son. It embodies a legend connected with the beautiful little lake of that name in northern Indiana, in the vicinity of which Mrs. Bates lived for several years before her marriage. "The Chamber Over the Gate" (Indianapolis, 1886), has had a wide sale. Besides her gifts as a writer of fiction, she is a poet, some of her poems having attracted wide attention.