Bates, Stephen – African American History


The Stephen Bates mug is part of a biographical series profiling unique individuals who shaped the history of Vermont.  An image of Stephen Bates and a short biography are features of this history mug.

Small Mug, 11 oz.

Large Mug, 15 oz.

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Stephen Bates was born a slave on the Shirley Plantation, owned by the grandparents of Robert E. Lee.  He escaped during the Civil War with his brothers, making his way to Washington, DC in 1866, where he was hired as a coach driver by Frederick E. Woodbridge, a US Representative from Vermont, who lived in Vergennes.  Bates moved to Vergennes in 1870 and lived next door to Woodbridge, with his wife Frances Mason, m. 1871, and children, Rose Mary, b. 1872, and Frederick Napoleon, b. 1875.  In 1879, Stephen Bates was first elected sheriff and continued to serve almost consecutively for 25 years.  He took on cases in Panton, Ferrisburgh, as well as Vergennes that included vagrancy, check forgery, grand larceny, and murder.

1907 Obituary

“While Chief of Police he had the satisfaction of arresting ‘Brooklyn Slim’ and ‘Ottawa Red,’ two members of a gang of post office burglars, who are now serving sentences in the state prison, and at one time had in his custody as a tramp, Perry the New York train robber, but released him before he was informed that the Pinkertons wanted him.”

This Stephen Bates History Mug is part of our African American History and Vermont series which includes many unique individuals who played an important part in molding Vermont’s history.

The biographical History Mugs were created to teach and inspire individuals to learn about our diverse and interesting history.  The biographies were researched and written by history enthusiast, Robert Compton.  He colorized most of the historic photos and images used on the mugs, which were originally black and white or sepia tone.  The images and biographies are imprinted on mugs at his studio in rural Vermont.

  • Mugs are food and microwave safe.
  • To preserve photographic quality we recommend hand washing.
  • Mugs are usually shipped within 3-5 days.
  • Shipping charges are lower when buying multiple mugs.

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White Deco, Black Lined Deco, Black Lined & Handle Deco, Black Lined-Full Photo, Black Lined & Handle-Full Photo, All Black