General Horatio Gates, born in England about 1728, was a resident of what is now the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia during the period of his service as an American officer in the Revolutionary War. Gates, who had served as a British officer in the French and Indian War, returned to America in 1772. He was commissioned a lieutenant colonel in the colonial forces soon after his arrival in Virginia. He purchased a 659-acre farm in Berkeley County (now Jefferson), and began building his home, Traveller’s Rest, in 1773.
In June 1775, the Second Continental Congress appointed Gates brigadier general, and a year later he became major general. Under his command, American troops defeated General Burgoyne at Saratoga in October 1777. This turning point in the Revolution gained him well-deserved praise, but in 1780 Gates suffered a disastrous defeat from Cornwallis at Camden, South Carolina, and was relieved of his command. Throughout his military service, Gates found occasion to visit Traveller’s Rest. He sold the property in 1790 and, before moving to New York state, assembled his slaves and announced that they were free. Horatio Gates died April 10, 1806.
This Article was written by S. Allen Chambers Jr.
Last Revised on August 02, 2012