Asher B. Bates

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Asher B. Bates
Asher Bates.jpg
Born (1810-05-02)May 2, 1810
Genesee County, New York
Died June 1, 1873(1873-06-01) (aged 63)
San Francisco
Nationality United States
Occupation Lawyer
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Gertrude Judd
Parent(s) Asher Bates
 ? Steel

Asher B. Bates (May 2, 1810 – June 1, 1873) was a lawyer and politician in the United States state of Michigan and in the Kingdom of Hawaii.


His father was also named Asher Bates, so he is sometimes called Asher Bates Jr.[1][2]

Bates was born May 2, 1810 in Le Roy, Genesee County, New York.[3] He graduated from Union College in 1828[4] and came to Detroit, Michigan in 1831, where he was an attorney, Justice of the Peace, City Attorney, and City Recorder. In 1838, he served as Mayor of Detroit[5] after the resignation of Augustus S. Porter to run for the U.S. Senate.[6] He was also an agent for the Protection Insurance Company of Hartford.[7] He married Lucilla Beals October 23, 1832, but she died in 1839.[8]

He established the practice of Farnsworth & Bates with Elon Farnsworth. They were joined by Henry N. Walker in 1836, who had studied law in their office. In 1837, Farnsworth left the firm to become chancellor of the chancery court of Michigan and with the addition of Samuel T. Douglass, the firm became Bates, Walker & Douglass. The firm of Walker & Douglass continued after Bates' departure for several years until they were joined by James V. Campbell. Both Campbell and Douglass served terms on the Michigan Supreme Court[9] and both Farnsworth and Walker served as Michigan Attorney General.[10]

He married Elizabeth Gertrude (or Gilmore) Judd (1810–?) December 6, 1843. At some point he moved from Detroit to Jackson County, Michigan, where he ran unsuccessfully as a Whig Party candidate for Justice of Probate in 1844.[11]

By July 1848 he had emigrated to the Hawaiian Islands and became a citizen of the Kingdom of Hawaii.[12] Bates was brother-in-law of Gerrit P. Judd, a former American missionary doctor who was then a power cabinet minister.[13] He served from August 21, 1849 to 1853 on the Privy Council of King Kamehameha III. On November 1, 1849 he became Registrar of Conveyances until August 3, 1859.[14] Although the office of Attorney General was not officially part of the cabinet since the resignation of flamboyant but short-lived John Ricord, Bates served as lawyer for the king.[15] Ricord had help design the executive branch and served as combined Attorney General and Registrar, or chief Notary Public. Bates was succeeded by Thomas Brown who served until 1886.[16]

He moved to San Francisco in 1863 to become a bankruptcy judge and died on June 1, 1873.[17] of leprosy contracted while in Hawaii.[18]


  1. ^ Orsamus Turner (1852). History of the pioneer settlement of Phelps & Gorham's purchase, and Morris' reserve. W. Alling. p. 177. 
  2. ^ Janet Wethy Foley (September 1934). Early Settlers of New York State: Their Ancestors and Descendants. I. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-7884-3711-3. 
  3. ^ De Land p. 277 indicates he is a native of Boston, but this may be mistaken as De Land also states that Bates came to Detroit in 1840 which is clearly mistaken as he held public offices in the 1830s.
  4. ^ Bret Harte, ed. (1865). Third annual meeting of the Associated alumni of the Pacific coast. p. 98. 
  5. ^ See Farmer p. 140.
  6. ^ See Lanham p. 419.
  7. ^ See Farmer p. 873
  8. ^ Silas Farmer (1890). History of Detroit and Wayne County and early Michigan. 2. pp. 1035–1036. 
  9. ^ See Moore p. 1291
  10. ^ See Tuttle p. 672
  11. ^ See De Land p. 295.
  12. ^ "Naturalization records". state archives digital collections. state of Hawaii. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  13. ^ Gerrit Parmele Judd IV (1960). Dr. Judd, Hawaii's friend: a biography of Gerrit Parmele Judd, 1803-1873. University of Hawaii Press. p. 206. 
  14. ^ "Bates, Asher B. office record". state archives digital collections. state of Hawaii. Archived from the original on 2012-03-06. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  15. ^ "Attorney General's Department - Organization of" (PDF). state archives digital collections. state of Hawaii. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-05-27. Retrieved 2010-03-12. 
  16. ^ Thomas George Thrum (1903). "Bureau of Conveyances". Hawaii Annual. pp. 123–126. 
  17. ^ See Durant p. 296
  18. ^ See Burton p. 1146.