1860, to August 1, 1864
December 2, 1873, to February 15, 1876
Robert Cates was born on January 8, 1836, in McMinn county Tennessee. Due to the
death of his father, Charles Cates, the family migrated west to Collin County, Texas, in
the fall of 1854. That next year, 1855, Robert Cates advanced even further west, settling
in Wise County. The spring of that year he married Elizabeth Taylor, daughter of Judge
Frank Taylor, an early chief justice. They had ten children and in 1907, his third son,
William Cates, became the first elected sheriff of Stephens County, Oklahoma.
On August 6, 1860, he was elected to his first term of office and served until
August 1, 1864. He served throughout the civil war.
Robert Cates was a part of two different demonstrations that occurred in Wise
County. The first being the Peace Party conspiracy, which occurred in the summer of 1862.
The Peace Party was an organization of men who were union sympathizers and others having
no loyalty to either the North or the South. One group was in Cooke County the other was
in Prairie Point, now known as Rhome, their objective was to take over the confederate
forces stationed in this area, but the confederate forces got wind of what was being
planned. The Peace Party conspiracy concluded with five men being hung in a clearing west
of Decatur and the ropes were tied by Cates.
The second demonstration was by the Union League. The Union League had
grievances against Robert Cates and his brother, Charles. The Union League members were
upset with Robert Cates because of his involvement in the Peace Party trails.
'He was unable to obtain very little education, but his sharp conflicts with
nature and men have developed him into a man of unusual shrewdness and strength of
intellect. In his early scouting about the county as sheriff he dared the Indians, and
defied the elements, and grew to be a stalwart defender of the county and prosecutor of
On one confrontation with the Indians, Cates had received information about some
cattle rustling in the southern part of the county. Cates mounted his horse and went to
investigate. When he arrived in the area, he located the subjects. The Indians attacked
and Cates was injured. An arrow had pierced his leg and pinned him to the cantle on his
saddle. Luckily Cates' horse was fresh and he was able to out run the Indians. When he
arrived back in Decatur, the local physician had to remove Cates from his horse, saddle