Laura Gates née Waterman

This next one was pretty easy to research! Thank you to whoever scribbled so much information on the reverse of this found photo! Pleased to meet you, “Laura Gates, aged 68, taken 1909. Born Dec 22nd, 1850

Even though the writer made a slight calculation error (Mrs Gates was 58 years old when this photo was taken, not 68), the information about her birth date is our decisive clue! The front of the photo shows a stamp from a photo studio in Middlefield, Ohio. So let’s see what we can find out about her!

Laura Maria Waterman was born indeed on December 22nd, 1850, in Parkman, Geauga country in Ohio (Middlefield is just some 7 miles from Parkman). According to the 1860 Census, she was the only child of Brazilia D. Waterman and Almira S. née Freeman.

Laura married George Byron Gates in 1875. Just like Laura’s father, Laura’s husband George was a carpenter and contract builder too.

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Photo of George B. Gates as found on

By 1880, Laura and George already had two children: Science (also Sina in some records), born in 1876, and Ruby, born in 1878. Unfortunately Ruby passed away shortly after the census was taken. The couple had another daughter in 1884 and called her Florence. Florence never married and lived in her parents’ house until her early death in 1922. According to the 1920 Census, she was photographer by profession, how interesting! I’ve not been able to find out why she died so early at just 38 years of age.

Laura’s older daughter Science (also Sina in some records) C. Gates was a nurse by profession before she married farmer Clarence W. Foutty (1872-1938) in 1901 and had 4 children with him: Doris Harvey (1904-1956), Donald (1906-1977), Norma Donaldson (1910-1938) and Florence Maud Pace (1914-1992).

Laura Gates herself passed away on June 21st, 1917, in Parkman, Ohio, of heart failure. She was buried at the Overlook Cemetery in Parkman. Laura’s husband George outlived both his wife and two daughters, Florence and Ruby, he never re-married and lived the last years of his life in the household of his daughter Science and his four grandchildren before he passed away in 1937.

I’ve added Laura’s photo to her page on Please let me know if you are related!

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