John Wallis Bates
and Sarah Walthrop
John Wallis Bates b 17 May 1779 Washington Co VA d May 1843 Letcher Co KY; age 63; buried Bates Cemetery, Kona, KY; s/o William Bates and Margaret Young. John Wallis Bates m. 22 Apr 1812 Letcher Co KY to Sarah Walthrop b 1793 NC. Children of John Wallis Bates and Sarah Walthrop;
1. John Wallis Bates b about 1813 VA d before 1900 Knott Co KY; m. about 1835 Floyd Co KY to Elizabeth Hall b about 1807; d/o William J "Gunsmith Billy" Hall and Margaret Johnson.
2. Margaret Peggy Bates b about 1815 Washington Co VA d 4 Mar 1855 Pike Co KY; m. 29 Mar 1834 Perry Co KY to William Payne Johnson b 2 May 1807 TN d 5 Mar 1882 Dorton, Pike Co KY; s/o William Payne Johnson and Aley Tackett.
3. Martha Irby Bates b 11 Dec 1816 d 18 Apr 1895 at age 78 Laurel Co KY; buried Sue Bennett College, London KY; m. 20 Mar 1834 Perry Co KY to Joseph Craft b 7 Dec 1816 Floyd Co KY d 5 Dec 1886 Laurel Co KY age 69; buried Sue Bennett College, London KY; s/o James Craft and Drusilla Hammons Hammonds.
4. Eliza Agnes Bates b 7 Mar 1819 Russell Co VA d 1 Feb 1892 Letcher Co KY at age 72; buried Payne Gap Cemetery, Letcher Co KY; m. about 1840 to Joel Ellis Wright b 7 Jul 1817 Russell Co VA d 24 Sept 1879 KY age 62; buried Payne Gap Cemetery, Letcher Co KY; s/o Joel Martin Wright and Susannah Unknown
5. Jesse Bates b about 1821; m. Elizabeth Asbury b about 1825. Jesse Bates m. 2 Aug 1874 to (2) Ibby Victoria Berry b 10 Oct 1850 Lee Co VA d 24 Jun 1928; d/o William "Will" Berry and Rosemond Carter. Ibby Victoria Berry m. William P "Petie" Holbrook b 2 Feb 1863 Letcher Co KY d 2 Jan 1916; buried Millstone, Letcher Co KY; s/o Jesse S Holbrook and Elizabeth "Lizz" Adams.
6. James Bates b about 1823 Letcher Co KY d 11 Apr 1864; buried Bates Cemetery, Kona, KY; m. 26 Feb 1843 Letcher Co KY to Elizabeth Adams b about 1824 d Jul 1880; age 56 years; d/o Benjamin Adams and Nancy Holbrook. James Bates was tortured and murdered by Union soldiers in the Civil War. When his brother, Martin Van Buren Bates, found out about it, Martin took vengeance upon the killers in return for what they did to his brother.
7. Robert Bates b 24 Aug 1825 KY d 25 Sept 1921 Knott Co KY; m. 3 Mar 1869 to Sarah C Lee b 1842 d 1927 Vicco, Perry Co KY; d/o Martin Lee and Fanny Cook. Robert Bates m. VA to (2) Phoebe Lee; d/o Martin Lee and Fanny Cook. Robert Bates m. 22 May 1888 Letcher Co KY to (3) Elizabeth Bentley b 16 Dec 1870 KY d 6 Jan 1956 Letcher Co KY; buried Bates Cemetery, Colson, Letcher Co KY; d/o Aaron Rice Bentley and Dorcas Hall. Sarah C Lee m. 23 Jan 1909 Knott Co KY to Samuel Miles Cook b Aug 1850 Russell Co VA d about 1922 Lothair, Perry Co KY; s/o John Anderson "Ance" Cook and Drucilla "Ciller" Huffman. Samuel Miles Cook m. 6 Feb 1867 to (1) Clarinda Roark b May 1847; d/o James Roark and Elizabeth Mullins. Robert Bates was a captain in the 7th Cavalry, CSA. He was state representative from Letcher Co KY between 1880 and 1884. While serving as a state legislator, he pushed through the bill establishing Knott Co as a separate county from Letcher, Perry, and Floyd Counties.
8. Uriah Bates b about 1828 Letcher Co KY d 12 May 1862 of Measles at Camp Wilson, Gate City, VA at the age of 33, buried Gate City VA on a farm (There are 14 graves marked with memorial markers where he is buried), m. 14 Oct 1849 Letcher Co KY to Lettisha "Lettie" Adams; d/o Benjamin Adams and Nancy Holbrook. Uriah enlisted in the Confederate Army on 1 Nov 1861 near Pound Gap, VA. He was a Private in Co. F 5th Kentucky Infantry. He was listed on the 30 Apr 1862 roll as sick and in the hospital.
9. Sarah Ann Bates b 26 Jan 1830 Perry (now Letcher) Co KY d 6 Nov 1906; m. 12 Mar 1852 Manchester KY to William Mullins b 23 May 1830 Pike Co KY d 3 May 1908 Laurel Co KY; s/o Booker Mullins and Mary Polly Newsome.
10. Henderson Bates b about 1832 d 15 Sept 1870 due to inuries received the Civil War; military service, Captain, CSA Co D 13th KY Cav; m. 23 Nov 1850 Letcher Co KY to Martha Robinson b 16 Jan 1830 Russell Co VA d 15 Mar 1916 Flemingtown, Dickenson Co VA; buried Baker Cemetery, Baker Ridge, Clintwood, Dickenson Co VA; d/o William Robinson and Hannah Hutchinson. Henderson Bates never m. (2) to Ellender Dale b 1833. Henderson lived with Elender Dale in Letcher Co KY.
11. Mary Jane Bates b about 1836 d at age 16.
12. Martin Van Buren Bates, The Kentucky River Giant" b 9 Nov 1837 in Perry Co., KY d 19 Jan 1919 in Seville, OH; at 81 years of age. Martin Van Buren Bates was the famous "Kentucky Giant" who was known for being a perfectly formed giant person. He was very handsome. Martin Van Buren Bates m. 17 June 1871 in the "St. Martin in the Fields Church", London, England to (1) Anna Haining Swan (aka Hannon Swann) b 6 Aug l846 New Annan, Nova Scotia d 5 Aug 1888, 1 day before her 42nd birthday; buried Mound Hill Cemetery, Seville OH; d/o Alexander Swan and Ann Graham. Martin m. 1901 Seville OH to (2) Annette Lavonne Weatherby b 1870 d 1940; d/o J. W. Weatherby. Martin was in the Civil War and there are articles aplenty about his Civil War days. You can read about him in several places on the internet including another link on our site with Articles About Martin Van Buren Bates. Some of his links are; The Scott Co., TN Chronicles. He's also on the Wikipedia Website. Martin and Anna held (and maybe still do hold) the record for the tallest couple. She was an inch or so taller than he. After Anna's death on 5 Aug 1886, Martin married Annette Lavonne Weatherby. They married in 1887 (other source gives marriage date of 1901, Seville, OH). Annette Lavonne Weatherby was of average height.
On Nov 9, 1845 Martin Van Buren Bates was born near Whitesburg, Kentucky into the home of John Wallis Bates and Sarah Walthrop Bates. Martin was the youngest in the family with six brothers and five sisters and was educated at Emma-Henry College, Washington Co., Virginia. When the Civil War broke out between the North and South, Bates joined, being the son of a slave owner. He enlisted as a private in the Fifth Kentucky Infantry C.S.A., on Sept 15, 1861 and served with this company until 1863, having been promoted several times. He was captured at Pikeville, KY and taken to Camp Chase, OH. He continued to fight with a different company and rose to the rank of Lieutenant, later promoted to Captain, where he remained until the end of the war. When he stopped growing at the age of twenty-eight he stood 7 feet, 9 inches and weighed 470 pounds. People found his size somewhat unusual, so in 1865 he began exhibiting himself as a curiosity. He did this for five years, traveling all over the United States and Canada.
1850 Letcher Co KY Census
159 159 Bates Sarah (widow) 57 F W 800 NC Can't read/write
159 159 Bates Robin 25 M W Farmer 400 KY
159 159 Bates Saryan 20 F W KY Can't read/write
159 159 Bates Henderson 18 M W Can't read/write
159 159 Bates Mary Jane 14 F W KY
159 159 Bates Martin V V. 12 M W KY Can't read/write
160 160 Bates Uriah 22 M Farmer 250 KY
160 160 Bates Letta 21 F W KY Can't read/write