Benjamin Edward Bates IV was born 12 July 1808 in Mansfield, Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States to Elkanah Bates (1779-1841) and Hannah Copeland (1780-1834) and died 14 January 1878 Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States of unspecified causes. He married Josephine Louisa Sheppard (1815-1842) 4 July 1858 in Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts. He married Sarah Chapman Gilbert (1832-1882) in Massachusetts.


Benjamin Edward Bates IV was an American rail industrialist, textile tycoon and philanthropist. He was the wealthiest person in Maine from 1850 to 1878, and is considered to have introduced both the Efficiency and Taylorism movements to the economy of Maine.

Bates was born to a large family in Mansfield, he moved to Bristol, Maine for a working residency at B. T. Loring Company before creating the Davis, Bates & Turner–a craft goods and service firm in the early 1830s. After entering the milling business, he built the Bates Mill in 1852 which launched the larger Bates Manufacturing Company in Lewiston, Maine. His company quickly the largest per capita employer in Maine and the largest in Lewiston, for three decades. Contracted by the Maine State Legislature, Bates founded the Lewiston Water Power Company: a large mill-based enterprise that built the first canal in the city.

At the start of the American Civil War, he correctly anticipated that the talk of secession in the Southern States might eventually lead to a shortage of cotton eventually buying out an unprecedented amount of cotton prior to the Battle of Fort Sumter. After the shortage occurred, his holdings created an absolute monopoly which drove dozens of New England businesses to close due to overwhelming competition. Growing economic inequality in the city culminated to 1861 Lewistown cotton riots which led Bates to loosen his expansionary business tactics and increase philanthropic spending.

Like other business magnates at the time such as J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, and John D. Rockefeller, Bates supported capitalism and anti-competitiveness. The pubic's opinion of Bates was highly polarized throughout his life with some citing his economic impact as critical, while others noting his business tactics as socially detrimental.

Marriage and Family

Many of the family members are buried at the Bates Family Memorial at 930 Fir Avenue. With Benjamin Edward Bates III' first wife, Josephine Louisa Shepard, there is speculation on the possibility of a child between the two, named Josephine Bates. Benjamin Edward Bates III' second wife, Sarah Chapman Gilbert, was almost 20 years younger than he was.

  1. Josephine Bates II (with 1st wife Josephine Louisa Shepard (1815-1842)) (1839-1886)
  2. Benjamin Edward Bates V (1863-1906)
  3. Sarah Hersher Bates (1867-1937) - m. Arthur Hobart Herscher (1870-1953)
  4. Lillian Gilbert Bates (1872-1951)


Offspring of Benjamin Edward Bates IV and Josephine Louisa Sheppard (1815-1842)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Josephine Bates (1839-1886)

Offspring of Benjamin Edward Bates IV and Sarah Chapman Gilbert (1832-1882)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Benjamin Edward Bates (1863-1906)
Sarah Hersher Bates (1867-1937)
Lillian Gilbert Bates (1872-1951)




Footnotes (including sources)