1837 - 1900 Author of "The Old Book Stands" Rev. John H. Yates, was born in Batavia, N. Y., November 31, 1837. He was educated at the Batavia Union School, but at the age of eighteen was forced to engage in business as a clerk to help maintain his aged parents. For several years he was with his brother, Thomas Yates, in the shoe business; afterwards, for seven years, salesman in G. B. Worthington's hardware store. In 1871 he took charge of the fancy goods department in E. L. & G. D. Kenyon's double store and remained there fifteen years. In 1886 he was called to be local editor of the Progressive Batavian, and filled the position nearly ten years. When twenty-one years of age Mr. Yates was licensed to preach in the Methodist church, but was not ordained until 1897. For nearly seven years now he has been pastor of the Free Will Baptist church at West Bethany. At about the age of twenty, Mr. Yates began writing poetry at the solicitation of his mother, and very soon his ballads and hymns were printed and sung all over the land. In 1891, Ira D. Sankey, the famous singer, engaged Mr. Yates to write gospel hymns for him, solely; he was led to do this because of the wonderful success of Mr. Yates's old man ballad, the "Model Church," which has been sung all over the world. After the contract with Mr. Sankey. the following hymns soon appeared from the pen of Mr. Yates: "Harbor Bell," "Faith is the Victory," "Beautiful Hills," "Our Name's in Heaven," and about twenty others. In December, 1897, Mr. Yates issued a volume of ballads and poems, a book of 117 poems and 226 pages, which are now nearly all sold. On the occasion of the dedication of the old land office in 1894, Mr. Yates wrote the dedicatory poem, "Our Ancient Landmark," a production of unusual merit.
From Our County and it's people: descriptive work on Genesee County, New York, edited by: F. W. Beers (J.W. Vose & Co., Publishers, Syracuse, N. Y. 1890)
John Henry Yates