The Bates family, represented in these papers by John, Lucretia, Henry, William, Walter, Augustus, Elizabeth and Jonathan, resided in the Clinton-Catskill area of New York at the time of the American Revolution. After the Revolution several members of the family moved to Kingston, New Brunswick, and Trafalgar and Wellington Squarein Upper Canada. Henry moved to Darien, Connecticut. Augustus Bates (1764-?) was involved in business in New York State and became a businessman and post master at Wellington Square. Walter Bates (1760-1842) was born in Stamford, Connecticut, and after the Revolution came as a Loyalist to Kingston where he became High Sheriff of Kings County, New Brunswick, and held this office for over 20 years. He is the author of the well known work, Kingston and the Loyalists of the Spring Fleet of A.D. 1783 with Reminiscences of Early Days in Connecticut: A Narrative.
The reel contains papers of the Bates family for the dates 1789-1795, 1800-1838, 1841-1846, 1850-1859, and one letter from 1895 from a young man who had gone to Montana. The papers are mainly those of businessman and post master Augustus Bates (1764-?), concerning commerce, the post office, and family matters. A number of papers are those of Walter Bates (1764-1842), who became High Sheriff of Kings County, New Brunswick. The papers relate primarily to the attempts of certain Kings County residents to have him dismissed from the position of Sheriff, and to his interest in an inmate of a Toronto jail, whom he believed to be Henry Moore Smith, an "escape artist" on whom he had written a book. The correspondence relates information on religion, farming and politics in New Brunswick, the growth of Saint John, and family news. There are a number of letters from other family members, especially Henry (1756-?), whose son Theodore came to Upper Canada in the 1830s. Several of the letters are concerned with the efforts of Rachel Dunlop (née Blauw), whose sister married Augustus Bates, to obtain compensation for her father's estate which was confiscated during the American Revolution.