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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

GATES, HOLSEY (HALSEY) - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

GATES, HOLSEY (HALSEY) (1799-2 Nov. 1865) was an early settler of the WESTERN RESERVE and the namesake for the village of GATES MILLS in Mayfield Twp. Born in East Haddam, CT, to Nathaniel and Hannah Gates, the family moved to Delhi, NY in 1815 following Nathaniel's death. Soonafter, Gates' brother and sister (Jeremiah Gates and Clarissa Gates Brainerd) moved to northeastern Ohio, with Jeremiah eventually settling in the village of BROOKLYN (Old Brooklyn) and opening a sawmill with the assistance of brother Nathaniel, who permanently settled there ca. 1824.

Holsey Gates, the youngest of the 3 brothers, arrived in the area in 1825. A master miller who had accumulated much capital and milling equipment, he surveyed and purchased a 130-acre mill site in the Chagrin River Valley in Mayfield Twp. In 1826, Gates relocated with wife Lucy Ann and mother Hannah to a log cabin at the site, and over the next year he dammed the river, dug a mill race, and erected a sawmill and gristmill. The operation of these water-powered industries stimulated the development of Gates Mills. Over the next quarter-century, Gates designed and built structures in and around the village, including the Gates Mills Inn (part of the CHAGRIN VALLEY HUNT CLUB, which burned down in 1994). In 1842 he constructed a larger, more "modern" gristmill on the Chagrin River, powered by four water wheels. The original mill was converted into a rake factory. Gates also helped to fund, design and build the Gates Mills Methodist Episcopal church. The Greek Revival structure (now known as St. Christopher's by the River) was completed in 1855. Gates married Lucy Ann Bralley prior to moving to Ohio. The couple had 9 children. Gates was buried in Woodland Cemetery.

Gates's most prolific offspring was his son, Washington Gates (1827-12 Aug. 1897), a prominent architect, builder and water power industrialist who helped to develop CHAGRIN FALLS TOWNSHIP and BEDFORD. Born in Gates Mills, Washington Gates apprenticed under his father. In all, the Gates family designed and erected 18 structures in Gates Mills. After 1865, Washington built and operated a rake factory (with brother William) in Toledo; he moved to Chagrin Falls in 1868, where he purchased a grist mill. As a prominent businessman, Gates was soon a member of the Chagrin Falls Village Council. In 1873, Gates began construction of an Italian/Victorian residence on the corner of Pearl (now Washington) and Walnut streets in Chagrin Falls, which was purchased by the village in 1938 for use as the Village Hall. Gates, along with his son Holsey M [sic] (1855-21 Sept. 1914), also constructed a grand residence in Bedford, where "W. Gates & Son" had opened and operated the Bedford Roller Mills in 1890, following a significant modernization of the Chagrin Falls and Bedford mills. The Gates-Handyside, House, finished ca. 1894 and the first house constructed in Bedford that was wired for electricity, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Handyside, Holsey Gates. "The Gates Family: Millers and Builders," published as

Facade Monograph No. 7, Cleveland Restoration Society (1991).

Last Modified: 16 Jul 1997 11:24:25 AM

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