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Tue, 06.18.1811

Beverly P. Yates, Liberian Icon

Beverly Page Yates

*Beverly Page Yates’ birth 1811 is celebrated on this date. He was a Liberian politician, businessman and soldier.

Born free in Norfolk, Virginia, Yates was eighteen when he left Virginia for Monrovia in 1829. Like many of Liberia's early colonists, Yates turned to commercial trade for his livelihood and was soon counted among the colony's principal merchants. Operating from a single warehouse in 1838, the trading partnership of Yates rapidly expanded its business, and by 1844 owned four warehouses as well as its own ship.

In addition to his prominent role as a businessman, Yates was a leader in Liberia's military affairs and had advanced to the rank of colonel of the First Regiment, Liberia Volunteers, by 1852, the year in which he was also appointed associate justice of the Supreme Court. As the running mate of presidential candidate Stephen A. Benson, Yates captured Liberia's Vice Presidency in 1855 and was reelected in 1857.

The ease with which Yates filled each new post drew comment in 1866 from Liberian attorney H. W. Johnson Jr., who observed, "he is at home wherever his fellow citizens feel disposed to place him, whether acting as President of the Senate, as Judge upon the Bench, Commander on the field of battle, or Merchant in his counting-room." As Vice President, Yates served as president of Liberia's Senate. He died in 1883.

Reference:
Smithsonian Information
PO Box 37012,
SI Building, Room 153, MRC 010
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012

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