Elizabeth Hine Cates (1878- 1972)

Elizabeth “Bess” Hine was born on July 21, 1878. Her arrival must have been a bittersweet experience for Cecil D. Hine and his wife, Elizabeth, as their first born daughter, Ellen, died a month after Bess’s birth. When Bess was 5 years old her father and mother moved from Poland to a new home at 725 Wick Avenue in Youngstown, Ohio. At that time the upper end of Wick Avenue was considered “Millionaire’s Row.”
As a young child, Elizabeth was stricken with polio that left her with a limp. After recovering from polio her father bought her a pony. She would ride her pony out of the city into the country. (the present North Side) When she was ready for school her parents sent her to Miss Brown’s School in New York City. Returning to Youngstown, Elizabeth Hine joined other young women who shared her interest in books and travel. In 1900 she helped form the “New Century Club.” She also shared her mother’s interest in working for the betterment of the community.
On one of her travels she met an industrialist from New York named Charles Henry Cates. They were married in 1903 in a lavish ceremony that was called the social event of the year. Cleveland caterers handled the wedding reception held in her parent’s home, which was the proper custom in those days. There were 18 in the wedding party.
The couple moved to New York City and maintained a residence at the Ansonia Hotel for the next 35 years. They had no children and traveled extensively. At one point Elizabeth remarked that she had probably traveled enough to circle the earth three times. Elizabeth and Charles also spent their winters in Pasadena, California where they were among the early owners of automobiles.
Following the death of her mother in 1927, Elizabeth returned to Youngstown to sell her parent’s home on Wick Avenue, however it contained too many childhood memories. It was then that she decided to make it her legal residence. She and her husband would often drive their Rolls Royce from Youngstown to New York City.

When her husband died in 1939, Elizabeth began spending more of her time at her Wick Avenue residence. Here was a house with a broad front porch, a parlor for entertaining and a large library for all of Elizabeth’s books. Behind the house was a barn with a cow and 5 acres of land that included a flower and vegetable garden. There was also a chauffeur to drive Mrs. Cates around the city. Miss Minnie Beckman, who had been with the Hine family for 46 years, assisted Elizabeth in caring for the house.
In August 1959 Esther Hamilton wrote an article for the Youngstown Vindicator entitled “Mrs. Cates Symbolizes Gracious Living of City’s Golden Era.” This article told of her visit to Wick Avenue where only Mrs. Cates’s home remained unchanged since that day in 1882 when Cecil D. Hine moved in with his wife and daughter. Esther writes, “Etched into the glass panes on the front door was ‘Hine.’ The brass around the doorknob gleamed as though it had just been polished. The ceilings are high and the house was cool although it was one of the hottest days of the year. The rooms are paneled in oak, bird’s-eye maple, butternut, and black walnut. Among the most interesting things in the home are the number of photographs of family members and friends. The long library with books and paintings reflects the good taste of the family. No television set is about but a radio brings the news.”
Esther Hamilton tells of time Mrs. Cates was approached by a person who wanted to buy the property. Elizabeth Cates explained that it was her home and not for sale. Quite firmly she added, “At any price.”
Elizabeth Hine Cates died on November 22, 1972. Her 1958 Will made 39 specific bequests of personal and household good, jewelry, and money to relatives, friends and employees. The family library of books was left to Virginia Military Institute as well as $50,000 to establish scholarships at VMI. The family home at 725 Wick Avenue was left to Paul Schaeffer, the son of her cousin, Margaret Sexton Schaeffer, then living at Lake Milton. To her Poland friend, George Kirtland Bishop, she left one dozen Tiffany silver cocktail glasses and her Victrola containing all of her phonograph records. Finally she left a $20,000 trust fund; the income from which goes toward maintaining the family burial lots in the Poland Riverside Cemetery.
After the specific bequests were carried out the remaining bulk of the estate went to the Cecil Dwight Hine and Elizabeth Woodruff Hine Memorial Fund. This Fund was established in 1974. The Hine Memorial Fund Committee has as its mission the responsibility to review all proposals that provide direct services to crippled children in the greater Youngstown area. In 1976, the Probate Court of Mahoning County defined the word “crippled” to include a person who is “..lame, or partially disabled, or flawed or impaired in almost any manner which would deprive him of strength to act as a normal person.” The Visiting Nurses Association of Youngstown has been assigned the duty of evaluating the needs of a crippled child. Today the size of the Memorial Fund is well into seven figures.
Today the family cemetery plot in Poland contains the graves of Cecil and Lizzie Hine, their infant daughter, Ellen, and those of Elizabeth and Charles Cates. The house on Wick Avenue was torn down in the late 1970’s and converted into a parking lot for the Ursuline High School. Here the Cecil D. Hine story ends but there remains one unsolved mystery. Perhaps you or someone you know can explain what happened to two oil paintings, one of Mrs. Cates and another of Mr. Cates, and one pastel of Elizabeth Woodruff Hine. They were willed to the Butler Institute of American Art, but the museum says it has no record of receiving the paintings. Look around in your attic. If you find an oil painting of a beautiful woman with a twinkle in her eye, it is probably Mrs. Elizabeth Hine Cates.