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Mrs. Alice L. Bates

Mrs. Bates is now retired from school work, but she has been one of the most prominent educators of the county and enjoys the distinction of being the first of her sex to hold the office of county superintendent of public schools in Cloud county. That her reign was a successful one is evidenced in the fact that the office has never reverted to a male official.

Mrs. Bates was born in central New York, but when a child came with her parents to Monticello, Iowa, where she received a common school education, followed by a literary course in the Lennox Collegiate Institute. In 1872 she graduated from the Iowa State University, preceded by a teacher's course in Monticello under Jerome Allen, who was afterward connected with a training school in New York City and became quite noted.

After graduating Mrs. Bates became principal of the Sand Spring school for one year, then entered the Monticello high school. In 1877 she came to Cloud county and entered the primary department of the Concordia public schools. At that time there were three teachers. She continued in the employ of the Concordia school until their number increased to sixteen. She taught in both the primary and the high school. In 1890, Mrs. Bates was elected superintendent of public schools by the Populist party, and in 1892 was re-elected. She did not make a campaign, nor ask for a single vote.

In 1896 she was selected to fill a vacancy on the Concordia school board, was re-elected and served two years. The first year she served as vice-president of the board. and the second year as president. In the early part of her school work in Concordia she taught in institutes and during that time was one of the board of examiners. It was through Mrs. Bates' efforts that the, library of the superintendent's office had its origin. The first books-fifty in number-were won at the State Association for the largest attendance of any county in the state. To her credit is due the starting of many libraries throughout the country districts. She was engaged in school work for thirty-six years.

Mrs. Bates is a daughter of the Honorable Joseph and Nancy Cool, both natives of New York, and both teachers. Mrs. Bates was married to Perry Bates in 1874.

He was a native of New York, but was educated at Hillsdale College, Michigan, was a professor of schools, teaching in Iowa, and later in Kansas. He died the same year of their marriage, in Oskaloosa, Kansas. Mrs. Bates' residence is on West Ninth street, near the courthouse. She is a member of the Universalist church.

Source: Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas: biographies of representative citizens; published 1903, 915 pgs.

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