Our Family

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Photography by Amanda Hollar and Chad Paine


God has blessed us with 19 children. We’re not a perfect family! We have the same struggles that other families have, only multiplied! But in spite of extra laundry, extra chores, extra diapers, and extra noise; we have an extra measure of laughter, an endless supply of fellowship, and an added dose of faith to get us through it all! We are aware that any successes we have experienced in our family are a result of the culmination of help from many others God has brought in our lives. From relatives, to preachers, to friends whose examples we’ve tried to follow, we have received much help and encouragement along the way. We fail often. We’re humbled more often than we’d like to be, and we find that we’re often wrong more than we are right. However, the children’s song He’s Still Working on Me to Make Me What I Ought to Be teaches us to set our eyes on Him rather than on ourselves and our accomplishment.


Gil and Kelly Jo Bates – 2014

Gil and Kelly Jo Bates –

Anniversary: December 19, 1987
Gil’s Birthday

January 1st

Kelly Jo’s Birthday

October 26

Gil & Kelly Jo met at Anderson University (which used to be Anderson Jr College) in Anderson, SC. They served on a ministry team together and Kelly Jo was also the lab assistant for Gil’s chemistry class. Gil conveniently needed some tutoring for that class, and there was more chemistry in the air than in the books! They both transferred to Carson Newman University in Jefferson City, TN, where Gil proposed to Kelly. After 27 years of marriage, they have had 19 wonderful kids and 4 miscarried babies waiting to meet them in Heaven, and they have enjoyed the most blessed life anyone could imagine having! Gil currently pastors Bible Baptist Church of East Tennessee and owns a family tree company called Bates Tree Service.



Fun Facts:

  • Gil & Kelly thought they would only have two kids at the most, and only after about 5 years of marriage!
  • Gil won the 1983 SC State Championship and was voted Most Outstanding Wrestler

Favorite Things:

  • Gil’s favorite verse: 1 Corinthians 15:58
  • Kelly’s favorite food: Japanese
  • Gil’s favorite movie: Flywheel
  • Kelly’s favorite way to handle stress: hum hymns softly




Zach, Whitney and Bradley Bates – 2014

Zach and Whitney Bates –

Anniversary: December 14, 2013
Zach’s Birthday

December 30th

Whitney’s Birthday

September 20th

Zach met Whitney (Perkins) at the local Sonic, and I think it was love at first sight. They quickly became best friends and have started their own little family, giving birth to Bradley in October, 2014. Zach currently serves as an Anderson county commissioner. He is also an Anderson County sheriff’s deputy. Zach is not only a walking encyclopedia of knowledge, but he always offers us very sound Biblical counsel and direction. Whitney has added such a sweet touch to our family; everyone that visits falls in love with her because of her super sensitive and thoughtful personality. It’s such a blessing to see what loving parents they have become! You can follow their blog by clicking HERE.

Fun Facts:

  • Zach was the youngest elected commissioner in Tennessee
  • Whitney received her degree in medical billing and coding and medical insurance.

Favorite Things:

      • Zach’s favorite verse: Proverbs 22:1
      • Whitney’s favorite hymn: “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”
      • Zach’s favorite subject: History
      • Whitney’s favorite restaurant: The Chop House


Bradley Bates – 2014

Bradley Bates

 Birthday: October 29

As the first grandchild, Bradley has added a new dynamic to our family. There is a permanent line waiting to hold him, and we can’t see enough of his precious smile!

 Fun Fact:

  • Bradley’s middle name, Gilvin, has been passed down through at least 5 generations. It means “Trusted.”




Michael and Brandon – 2014

Michael Bates and Brandon Keilen

Michael’s Birthday

January 23rd

Brandon’s Birthday

September 15th
Michael and Brandon began their courtship on December 30, 2013. Wedding bells are likely to be ringing for the Bates again in 2015. Michael is employed as a fulltime nanny; she also volunteers with Medford Fire Department and Anderson County EMS. Michael is an instrumental help to the family, offering her cooking and sewing skills as often as needed. Her sweet, quiet personality might cause her to go unnoticed at first, but she leaves a trail of friends everywhere she goes. Brandon completed his 4 year ministry degree from Bible College in November, 2014. He enjoys art, drawing, and videography. Brandon has a quiet, thoughtful personality, and he has added a huge smile to Michael’s countenance and to our family.

Fun Facts: 

  • Michael started sewing dresses for her siblings when she was 12
  • Brandon played the euphonium in a brass quintet for a music competition

Favorite Things:

    • Michael’s favorite book: Lords of the Earth
    • Brandon’s favorite colors: green and brown
    • Michael’s favorite restaurant: Subway
    • Brandon’s favorite Bible chapter: John 15



Chad and Erin – 2014

Chad and Erin Paine –

Anniversary: November 2, 2013
Chad’s Birthday

April 18th

Erin’s Birthday

May 2nd
Erin met Chad at a Valentine’s Banquet and was instantly smitten. She graduated from Crown College of the Bible in May of 2014 with magna cum laude honors, earning a bachelor’s degree in music ministry. She teaches piano lessons and is actively involved in the music ministry of Temple Baptist Church. Erin has recorded two CDs: Merciful and Mighty and Down Home Gospel, both featuring award winning fiddler Andy Leftwich. She is working on completing a third Cd in 2015. Erin is the family member that keeps us enthused about striving to go further in our Christian walk, always looking for ways to minister. Her dedication and spiritual discernment is an inspiration to us all! Chad works for a metal company in Oak Ridge. He has a servant spirit and never visits us without performing some helpful project. He is humble, thoughtful, fun, and makes everyone feel special. He is a terrific Christian example for all, and we thank God each day for adding him to our family. You can follow their blog by clicking HERE.

Fun Facts:

  • Erin can play the piano backwards or blindfolded
  • Chad loves restoration projects


    • Erin’s favorite holiday: Christmas
    • Chad’s favorite verses: Psalm 121: 1-2
    • Erin’s favorite new hobby: cooking
    • Chad’s favorite activity: Going on dates with Erin!



Lawson Bates – 2014

Lawson Bates –

Birthday: July 27

Lawson recently recorded a vocal Cd, Freedom Sure Ain’t Free, which contains two original songs and has a wide range of styles including: Gospel, patriotic, and yodeling. He filmed a music video of his original title, The End Down Here, in scenic Colorado. He is currently filming a music video of his latest original title, I Thought I Had Hard Times, which he wrote to help bring awareness and raise support for third world countries. He manages his own mowing service company, Lawson’s Lawncare. Lawson has a humorous, comedian side that keeps us in stitches, but he is also full of wise cautions and advice to keep us on the straight and narrow! You can visit his website by clicking HERE.



Fun Facts:

  • Lawson is working on making a movie.

Favorite Things:

  • Favorite song: Amazing Grace
  • Favorite restaurant: Chick-Fil-A




Nathan Bates – 2014

Nathan Bates

Birthday: August 29

Nathan attends Crown College of the Bible. He loves preaching and has a huge heart for missions. He looks for every opportunity to encourage others in their faith or to share the plan of salvation. He is usually the one that his siblings run to for advice or encouragement. He is a go-getter and never slows down, whether it’s work or ministry. Nathan is his dad’s right hand man in the family tree service company. He is also an EMR and enjoys volunteering with Medford Fire Department.

Fun Facts:

  • Nathan loves horses and has a knack for training them

Favorite Things:

      • Nathan’s favorite activities: Teaching the Bible and participating in water sports

      • Nathan’s favorite movie: Not a Fan




John and Alyssa – 2014

John and Alyssa Webster

Anniversary: May 24, 2014
John’s Birthday

November 21st

Alyssa’s Birthday

November 9th
Alyssa became attracted to John while helping his father, Congressman Daniel Webster, campaign for the 2012 election. They reside in Clermont, Florida, and are expecting their first child in April, 2015. Alyssa is one of the most organized family members; before moving, she was our secretary, family clothes shopper, and a fabulous cook! She’s also loads of fun to spend time with! We certainly miss her, and realize that Florida gained an extra ray of sunshine when she moved! John works for the Webster’s family air conditioning business. He and Alyssa also clean commercial buildings as a side job. John never visits without repairing some broken appliance or doing some project. He has an easy going personality which makes him a great asset to our family!

Fun Facts: 

  • Alyssa’s nickname is Bizz
  • John competed in a national Bible quiz competition, placing 5th place, and has memorized large portions of Scripture.

Favorite Things:

    • Alyssa’s favorite book: The Count of Monte Cristo
    • John’s favorite verse: Romans 12:21
    • Alyssa’s favorite food: pizza
    • John’s favorite color: Blue


Tori Bates – 2014

Tori Bates

Birthday: December 20

Tori is pursuing her major in education at Crown College of the Bible. She works part time for the family, helping homeschool her younger siblings. She truly is her mom’s right arm and has a wonderful knack for organizing. Tori has a very bubbly, outgoing personality, and she has never met a stranger! She keeps our house filled with company, so that we have plenty of fun and fellowship. She helps set spiritual goals and projects for the family to keep focus on the Lord. She loves the violin and often accompanies Erin’s piano music at hospitals and nursing homes.

Fun Facts:

  • Tori doesn’t like fancy restaurants. and she hates being alone

Favorite Things:

      • Tori’s favorite songs: As the Deer and In Christ Alone

      • Tori’s favorite activity: Anything that involves people, especially outdoor activities like biking, hiking, and riding horses



Trace Bates – 2014

Trace Bates

Birthday: February 1st

The name Trace has become synonymous with competition at our house, and he gives his older brothers quite a challenge when he’s included in a game! He enjoys almost any sport or game: basketball, football, ping pong, foosball, skiing, horseback riding, cards, or anything active or competitive. He has become the go- to- errand- runner for the family, since most of the older siblings are gone, and as such, he’s an invaluable help! He also is a very important worker on tree jobs with the Bates Tree Service. His personality is fun and spunky, and he’s usually in the middle of all the action.

Fun Facts: 

  • Trace Whitfield means “Harvester of the white fields;” this name was chosen to inspire him to be a witness for the Lord

Favorite Things:

      • Trace’s favorite desert: Strawberry cheesecake
      • Trace’s favorite activity: Football



Carlin Bates – 2014

Carlin Bates

Birthday: April 11th

Carlin is full of initiative, making commitments to read through her Bible each year and to memorize large portions of Scripture. She began a Bible Club to encourage other young girls to make wise choices, including: daily Bible reading, daily prayer, daily Scripture memory, and passing out 30 tracts each month. She has been a role model for her family and many others! She leads our church’s character lessons for children on Sunday nights, and has an incredible way of captivating their attention. Her enthusiasm is contagious and makes us all feel energized. Each night, Carlin leaves notes of cheer and encouragement to make others feel special.

Fun Facts:

        • Carlin is a great yodeler!

Favorite Things:

            • Carlin’s favorite verses: Matthew 6: 29-21

            • Carlin’s favorite food: Mexican & Japanese



Josie Bates – 2014

Josie Bates

Birthday: August 4th

Josie is the kind of friend everyone dreams of having. She’s loyal, dependable, and available to lend a hand, give a hug, or just offer an encouraging word. She loves to engage in meaningful conversation, which makes others feel especially close to her. She’s tender and sensitive, which helps her to be a very thoughtful, Christ-like young lady. Her sweet, quiet spirit may fool you, because she can also be giggly and loads of fun. She’s a huge help in the home and knows how to direct and organize her younger siblings to capitalize on their cooperation when projects need to be done.

Fun Facts:

        • Josie is the only Bates with curly hair

Favorite Things:

      • Josie’s favorite verse: 1 Corinthians 10:31
      • Josie’s favorite drink: Root beer



Katie Bates – 2014

Katie Bates

Birthday: October 5th

Katie is full of spunk and laughter. She loves pranks and always makes us smile. She frequently volunteers to help out with the younger children, with chores, and with any other needs. She is the one behind the scenes doing all of the work, but taking none of the credit. One of her favorite pastimes is reading history books and quizzing others.

Fun Facts:

        • Katie Grace Bates was born on the 5th at 5:55. Her 3 names have 5 letters each. “5” is the number of grace in the Bible, and her name means “Pure grace.”

Favorite Things:

            • Katie’s favorite movie: Perry Mason

            • Katie’s favorite activity: Deer hunting


Jackson Bates – 2014

Jackson Bates

Birthday: February 17th

Jackson amazes us with his tidbits of wisdom. We call him Zach’s twin, since he looks and acts like him. They share the favorite subject of history and are both avid readers. Jackson is almost inseparable from his two younger brothers, and they have earned the nickname “The 3 Musketeers” for their wild and adventurous escapades. Jackson loves building anything, whether with wood or Duplo blocks; he is extremely creative.


Fun Facts:

        • Jackson is a great artist, and especially loves drawing military planes and tanks

Favorite Things:

      • Jackson’s favorite colors: Grey & blue
      • Jackson’s favorite desert: Hot fudge cake


Warden Bates – 2014

Warden Bates

Birthday: May 19th

Warden is a natural athlete. He’s all boy and is tough as nails. He’s adventurous, fearless, and a little mischievous. He earned the nickname “Tigger,” because he’s full of bounce! He is the one his sister’s call on to do a task when the older brothers are gone.

Fun Facts:

        • Warden is a great singer

Favorite Things:

            • Warden’s favorite movies: Roy Rogers and old clean westerns

            • Warden’s favorite activity: Football



Isaiah Bates – 2014

Isaiah Bates

Birthday: October 16th

Isaiah has a smile that will melt any heart. We say he’s going to be a great catch, because he showers his sisters with compliments. He never goes to bed without giving hugs. He’s tender hearted and lovable.

Fun Facts:

        • Isaiah is the only Bates that has been airlifted to a hospital.

Favorite Things:

      • Isaiah’s favorite activity: Biking
      • Isaiah’s favorite restaurant: Chick Fil A




Addallee Bates – 2014

Addellee Bates

Birthday: February 17th

Addallee means “The Lord is my strength and refuge”. The double letters in her name remind us that God gave her a second chance in life when she was born with complications that caused her breathing and her heart to stop. She has been a blessing from the start and adds joy to our life. She has a thoughtful personality, always thinking of others first. She often gives up her own turns so another sibling can be happy.

Fun Facts:

        • Addallee was the smallest Bates baby, weighing 4 lbs. 13 oz. when she came home from NICU

Favorite Things:

            • Addallee’s favorite activity: coloring

            • Addallee’s favorite food: macaroni and cheese



Ellie Bates – 2014

Ellie Bates

Birthday: April 28th

Ellie’s a bubbly little ray of sunshine that loves to give hugs and loves to cuddle up in someone’s lap. She’s quiet and sweet. She’s super sensitive, with such a tender heart, and is always willing to help.

Fun Facts:

            • Ellie Bridget means “Strong light”

Favorite Things:

            • Ellie’s favorite activity: riding horses
            • Ellie’s favorite movie: Perry Mason


Callie Bates – 2014

Callie Bates

Birthday: August 2nd

Callie Anna Rose is the most adorable, mot innocent looking little angel…but underneath that sweet grin is an outgoing little person that’s not afraid to speak her mind! Two words to describe her are sassy and bossy! She keeps us all on our toes and adds sheer delight to our days!

Fun Facts:

              • Callie is the only Bates with 4 names: Callie-Anna Rose Bates

Favorite Things:

                • Callie’s favorite desert: cheesecake

                • Callie’s favorite activity: swimming




Judson Bates – 2014

Judson Bates

Birthday: September 15th

Judson Wyatt is an absolute doll…dimples, dimples, dimples! When he grins, everyone’s heart melts! He’s got a very calm, sweet personality that makes him adorable and irresistible. He’s very loving and is the center of our world!



Fun Facts:

                • Judson’s name was chosen after meditating on the words of the hymn, I Surrender All, written by Judson Van Deventer. The hymn writer wrote this hymn after facing a decision of whether to pursue a career in art or full time ministry; as he came to his resolve, he penned the words of I Surrender All.”

Favorite Things:

                • Judson’s favorite song: Go Tell It On the Mountain
                • Judson’s favorite movie: The Original Curious George




Jeb Bates – 2014

Jeb Bates

Birthday: February 1st

Jeb Colton is a bundle of energy and is fearless! He is a handful, but is too cute to cause a complaint! His smile warms our hearts! Being the baby of the family, he’s certainly the most spoiled!

Fun Facts:

                  • The name of our town has changed twice, but the original name was Coal Creek. Jeb Colton means “Beloved friend of Coal Town.” With his loving personality, it won’t be hard for him to befriend those he meets and to share the love of Jesus with them.

Favorite Things:

                    • Jeb’s favorite movie: Peppa Pig

                    • Jeb’s favorite toys: trains and planes



Photography by Chad Paine and Amanda Hollar