Ruth Dorcas Gates was born on May 9, 1900 in Dixfield, Maine, a small town in the northeast corner of Oxford County. What we know of Ruth's early life and family comes mostly from federal and local censuses. According to the 1905 Canton and Dixfield register, her father, Don A. Gates, was a farmer and served part time on the school committee. Her mother Alice, née Davis, took care of the home, and probably helped on the farm. Ruth had an older sister, Esther, and a younger, Rachael. Her grandfather George lived on the farm until he died in 1926. George, born in New Hampshire in 1831, was, at the time of his death, the oldest man in Dixfield, and carried the "gold-headed (Post) cane"1 as a symbol of his status. George's second wife, Ruth's grandmother, was named Dorcas and was almost certainly the inspiration for Ruth's middle name. Ruth's nephew Donald also lived on the farm with her family.
In 1922, Ruth headed south to Boston to attend Simmons for a one-year certificate in the Teaching of Domestic Art. Although Ruth took advantage of all that the big city had to offer, she retained strong ties to her friends and family in Dixfield. It is unknown what happened to Ruth after leaving Simmons. The scrapbook would seem to indicate that she found a job teaching cooking at a school in Connecticut. The rest, for now at least, remains a mystery.
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1Smith, Ada Murch, "1926 Dixfield History," Maine Town Documents, 245 (2007):15, http://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/towndocs/245
2Arrow and Dixfield designations added by Claire Serafin (March 28, 2017)
Donham, Greenville M., Map of Maine, 1905, Maine Historical Society, Maine Memory Network, Maine Historical Society, Portland Maine, accessed April 21, 2017, https://www.mainememory.net/artifact/11777