Bullitt County History

Obituary of David Milton Bates, M.D.

Dr. David Milton Bates, of Shepherdsville, Ky., died January 30, 1897, of pneumonia, in his fifty-third year of age.

He was born May 26, 1844, on a farm in Jefferson County, about twelve miles from Louisville. He was educated in the public schools of Jefferson County, and at the age of twenty years he began his business life as a school-teacher in a country school in his native county.

He taught school two years, at the same time studying with the noted Dr. Cooper, who is now one of the leading physicians of Jefferson County.

Dr. Bates attended lectures at the Kentucky School of Medicine, and graduated in 1867. He commenced the practice of medicine in the section of Jefferson County known as the Wet Woods, but, not liking the locality, soon moved to Shepherdsville, where he formed a partnership with the late eminent surgeon and physician, Dr. Joseph F. Birkhead.

On September 20, 1870, Dr. Bates married Miss Nannie W., daughter of the late prominent citizen and wealthy farmer, Woodford McDowell, near Shepherdsville.

Soon after the doctor's marriage the health of his partner, Dr. Birkhead, became such as to disable him from active practice, when the business was turned over to Dr. Bates. The doctor continued regular practice up to the time of his fatal illness.

Besides his widow, two children survive him—a daughter and a son. His daughter, Ada M., the oldest, who is now twenty-six years of age, married in October 1892, Mr. E. F. Troutman, cashier of the Bullitt County Bank. His son, Dr. Samuels W. Bates, is twenty-three years old. He graduated at Prof. H. K. Taylor's Training School for Boys in Louisville, and then entered University College of Medicine, where he graduated with honors, March 1896. He then formed a partnership with his father in the practice of medicine. The young doctor married Miss Sarah Lee, a very estimable young lady of Shepherdsville, only a few months before his father's death.

Dr. Bates' grandparents were of old Virginia stock, and were pioneers to Kentucky, having come from the mother State and located in Jefferson County in 1800. His father was born in Jefferson County, and died at the old homestead in 1871. His mother, Mrs. Ann McCoy Bates, was also born and raised in Jefferson County, where she is living with a daughter, and although eighty-two years old still enjoys good health.

Dr. Bates was one of the foremost physicians of his county, and was very popular among his clientelé. He was a man possessed of fine, charitable feelings, never refusing to render medical services on account of inability to remunerate him. He was a man who took great interest in every thing that pertained to the welfare and happiness of his people. He was a devoted member of the Methodist Church, having joined in 1869. He also took great interest in Sunday-schools, and had been superintendent for fifteen years.

Much could be written in commemoration of the good qualities of our lamented friend, as he stood at the head of his profession, as well as perhaps the foremost man in works of philanthropy in his county. But, while we award him so much credit for his professional and manly qualities, we must allow some praise to the family surroundings. Where a man is blessed with congenial family companions his opportunities for doing good in the world are greatly promoted. In this particular Dr. Bates was happily situated. His amiable wife and children no doubt contributed greatly to the eminence to which he attained in the good works of this life.

While the people of his country and the medical profession generally sensibly feel their great loss in his death, yet they greatly appreciate the memory they retain of his good works. The family and friends of the deceased doubtless have the sympathy of the whole community in their bereaved condition.

T. B. Greenley, M. D.
Meadow Lawn, KY.

Note—I am indebted to my friend, Judge Combs, of Shepherdsville, for the items in the history of Dr. Bates.


Printed in the American Practitioner and News, A Bi-Weekly Journal of Medicine and Surgery Volumes XXIII and XXIV - 1897, pages 431-432; Digitized by Google Books.


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The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 13 Jul 2015 . Page URL: bullittcountyhistory.org/bchistory/davidmiltonbates.html