Robert Bates, born about 1791 in York, South Carolina, was the fourth of the five sons of John and Rebekah Bates. Of his five sisters, only Mary was older. Robert married his wife Catherine, in 1819. That same year, he purchased land along Fishing Creek in York County. There is a high likelihood that his wife's maiden name was Rowell, as the land transfer was witnessed by Benjamin Rowell. Robert is listed in the 1820 York County census with his wife, and a female under the age of 5. Apparently, they had a daughter.
Tragedy struck this young couple in 1821. Robert fell ill, whether from an accident or disease it is unknown. In 1821, he recorded his will, which said in part;
"I, Robert Bates, being sound of mind but weak of body, leave everything to my beloved wife, Catherine Bates, during her widowhood, but if she should marry again or die, then whatever of my estate remains, I will and bequeath to my own brothers and sisters share and share alike. Second, And I do hereby nominate and appoint my Father John Bates, Sen'r. to be the Executor of this my last will and Testament."
Shortly thereafter, Robert passed away. His will was probated 3 Dec 1821. James P. Sandifer, Milat Sturgis and John Bates, Sr., witnesses. Will Book G, p. 67. Case no. 10. York County, South Carolina.