title: A Durable Memento

Beverly Page Yatesspacer Beverly Page Yates (circa 1811-1883)

A freeborn native of Virginia, Beverly Page Yates was eighteen when he sailed from Norfolk to 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 and Payne 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."

In his capacity as Vice President, Yates served as president of Liberia's Senate. Yates's representation in this daguerreotype is similar to his depiction as the presiding officer in the Liberian Senate watercolor.

Attributed to Augustus Washington
Sixth-plate daguerreotype, circa 1857
Image courtesy Prints and Photographs Division
Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Click here to view the Liberian Senate watercolor.


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