CHARLES W. GATES was born in Franklin, Vermont. He was educated in the public schools and at St. Johnsbury Academy in Vermont, after which he taught for several terms and then served as principal of Franklin Academy. He was also president of the Franklin County Fair Association and a director of the Enosburg Falls Savings Bank and Trust Company. He was elected to the state House in 1898 and to the Senate in 1900. He was appointed a State Highway Commissioner in 1904 by Governor Charles Bell and again in 1906 by Governor Fletcher Proctor, serving on the commission until 1914, when the Republican Party nominated him for governor in an effort to help heal a rift between Republicans and Progressives. During his gubernatorial administration, a Direct Primary Law was enacted, as was legislation to permit the election of representatives to Congress by a plurality vote. In addition, the state legislature authorized the establishment of a vocational education program and a system of junior and senior high schools, and passed an Employer's Liability Act. Gates did not seek reelection in 1916, instead returning to his business affairs.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 15. New York: James T. White & Company.