Sunday, June 9, 2013

"The Exposition is a fact", January 1, 1896

Tennessee Centennial Exposition Envelop
 and letter  Robert Gates to J.W. Moran

The following letter was sent to John W. Moran from Robert Gates, an Assistant Commissioner of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition.  In addition, he served in the Civil War and was a Colonel on the staff of General Nathan Bedford Forrest.  After the war he made a lot of money helping rebuild the Mobile & Ohio and the Mississippi Central railroads which he later lost in the same line of business.  In 1889 he entered the field of journalism   He worked at the Whig and Tribune and later, with the Hon. B.A. Enloe, he founded the Jackson Sun.  From 1884-1885 he served as the Commissioner of Immigration under Tennessee Governor William B. Bate.  In 1889 he became secretary of the Commercial Club of Memphis.   In 1896 he became the Industrial and Immigration Commissioner for the Louisville and Nashville Railroad.  He died October 4 1915 in Jackson Tennessee at the age of 74 and is interred in the Gates Family Plot at Riverside Cemetery.

Jackson, Tenn., January 1, 1898

My Dear Sir:

I hope you have taken steps to have all the Centennial Commissioners of your County present when your County Court meets, on Monday, the 6th, inst.  Please present the Centennial matter to the Court in person, with such assistance from members of your Board, or others as you may desire or be able to command.

The amount to be asked for is left to the discretion of the Commissioners, with the admonition to look well to the importance of the interests involved.

You understand that each County Court making an appropriation is authorized and urged to name one of its members as a Director in the Centennial Company, who in addition to the rights and privileges of the office, will be expected to look specially after the interest of his County--its appropriation, its exhibit and the benefits sure to follow a creditable display of resources at the Exposition.

The Court may also appoint a committee of its own to supervise the expenditure of the money appropriated, in connection with the Board of Commissioners, and make such regulations in the premises as it sees fit.  Each appropriation will be for the exclusive benefit of the county making it.

It is respectfully submitted that the matter should be pressed at the pending term of your County Court unless there are overshadowing reasons to the contrary, for the sooner the work of collecting and preparing exhibits is begun the better; and the counties entering upon this work, by reason of adequate appropriations by their County Courts, in January, will have decided advantage over those acting later.

In any event the matter should be fully and forcibly presented to the Court; and if for sufficient reasons it is deemed best to postpone action the Court should be asked to take it under advisement and appoint a committee, of not more than five (5), to investigate the subject and report to an adjourned session of the Court, or in the last resort to the regular April term.  Such a committee will be afforded every means possible for the investigation.

Impress on your Court the fact that the Exposition is a fact, that a majority of the counties will participate, and that no county with resources, with a history, and with pride, can afford to be conspicuous on the occasion of the State's Centennial by its absence and non-participation.  Material interest; patriotism, the strength and glory of a people; and pride, the evidence and support of character, all forbid the possibility.


Robert Gates,
  Ass't Com'r.

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