Fountain Inn in Greenville County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
Clayton "Peg Leg" Bates
10/11/07 - 12/6/98
"Life means, do the best that you can with what you have, with all your mind and heart. One can do anything in this world if one wants to do it badly enough." -- Clayton "Peg Leg" Bates
Greenville Metropolitan Art Council
American Legion Post #3
Mt. Zion Baptist Church
Samuel N. Madden, Pastor
Mount Carmel A.M.E. Church
Phillip C. Anderson, Pastor
Cedar Grove Missionary Baptist Church
Robert E. Dennis, Pastor
Melvin and Dollie Younts
Marilyn Fuller Perry
Fountain Inn Development Corporation
Dorothy A. Berry Chapman
Ruby B. Parks
Rosa S. Epps
Fountain Inn, SC
Robert E. Dennis, President
Emma Stewart, Mother
Alice Bates, Wife
Melodye Bates (Preston) Holden
James T., Annie C. Bates
John W., Vivian D. Bates
Drs. Camille O. and William H. Cosby, Jr.
Pastor Henry and Evelyn Berry, Jr.
The Reverend Dr. James Moone
The Reverend Dr. Ruby Moone
Willie E. Byrd, Jr.
Beasley Funeral Home, Inc.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment. In addition, it is included in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church ⛪ series list.
Location. 34° 41.677′ N, 82° 12.015′ W. Marker is in Fountain Inn, South Carolina, in Greenville County. Marker is at the intersection of North Main Street (State Highway 14) and East Fairview Street on North Main Street. The statue is located in a park dedicated to famed newspaperman Robert Quillen, who also called Fountain Inn home. The park was once part of the gardens owned by Quillen. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 200 North Main Street, Fountain Inn SC 29644, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Mrs. Emmie Fulmer (a few steps from this marker); Snow Campaign Chapter MarkerEve (within shouting distance of this marker); Fountain Inn Veterans Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); Fountain Inn High School (approx. ¼ mile away); Fountain Inn Rosenwald School (approx. half a mile away); Old Fountain Inn (approx. one mile away); Charles G. Garrett Interchange (approx. 1.1 miles away); Cherokee Boundary (1767) (approx. 1.1 miles away); Cannon Memorial Park Veterans Monument (approx. 1.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fountain Inn.
Also see . . .
1. Peg Leg Bates. Clayton 'Peg Leg' Bates (1907 – 1998) was an Afro-American entertainer from Fountain Inn, South Carolina. (Submitted on May 20, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
2. Performer Clayton `Peg Leg' Bates Dies At 91 In South Carolina. Clayton "Peg Leg" Bates, the world renowned performer who tap danced his way into the hearts of millions with his famous wooden peg leg, recently died at his cousin's house in Fountain Inn, SC. (Submitted on May 20, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
1. Peg Leg Bates still dancing and going strong at 87
November 14, 1994
Famed tap dancer Peg Leg Bates who recently turned 87 years old remains an inspiration to his fans across the country.
He recently celebrated his 87th birthday at a gala salute at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, sponsored by the New York Committee To Celebrate National Tap Dance Day.
Though he uses crutches today to help him stand, he danced a little bit for the audience.
The birthday salute included performances by other veteran tap dancers and screenings of rare video footage of Bates' dance career.
After watching the video footage from his hey-day in the late 40s to the mid 60s, a New York Times critic raved: "His rhythmic dexterity was amazing. So were sequences in which, after a leap into the air, he landed on his peg and then, maintaining his balance, hopped forward with arms outspread."
After the birthday salute Bates told JET in a telephone interview, "I feel great. I'm thankful that I'm still around and I'm still active," he exclaimed.
Bates retired in 1989 but remains quite popular. Today, he gets applause as a motivational speaker who uses his own career as an example to inspire people
He sold his famed Peg Leg Bates Country Club in the Catskill Mountain resort area in New York in 1989 soon after his wife, Alice died. "She was the brains of the business," he recalls proudly. He lives nearby with his daughter Melodye Bates-Holden.
He and his wife created one of the few resorts for Blacks in then-segregated America, when they opened their country club in 1951.
Bates was born Clayton Bates in Fountain Inn, SC. He lost his left leg in a cotton gin accident when he was 12. An uncle made him a "peg leg," and he became known as Peg Leg Bates.
Today, Bates tells his fans and youngsters that they can beat the odds and turn "a tragedy into an asset."
— Submitted October 18, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.
2. Performer Clayton 'Peg Leg' Bates Dies At 91 In South Carolina
December 21, 1998
Clayton "Peg Leg" Bates, the world renowned performer who tap danced his way into the hearts of millions with his famous wooden peg leg, recently died at his cousin's house in Fountain Inn, SC. He was 91.
His cousin, Vivian Bates, at press time, told JET that the cause of death had not yet been determined.
A day prior to his death, Bates had been honored in his
Dancing since the age of 8, Bates lost his left leg at age 12 after it was mangled in the conveyor belt of a cotton separator where he was working. With no hospital nearby for Blacks, his leg was amputated below the knee on the table in his mother's kitchen.
In spite of the tragedy, Bates kept his dream of becoming a dancer. When his uncle made him a peg leg, Bates developed his own tap style.
He won admiration throughout America and Europe--he gave two command performances before the King and Queen of England. Bates, who appeared on many TV variety shows, including "The Ed Sullivan Show" more than 20 times, had a peg leg to match each of his many suits when entertaining. It was nothing for Bates, whose career spanned more than five decades, to wear out no less than eight wooden legs a year.
"I thank God I lost this leg," he once said. "This might sound strange for you to hear me say, so I think I'd better explain why I feel this way. This leg brought me fortune and fame. As a matter of fact, that's how I got my name. With this peg I do not have to beg, so I thank God I lost this leg."
Though Bates relied on crutches later in life, he continued to dance
He was preceded in death by his wife, Alice Bates, in 1989. Survivors include their daughter, Melodye Bates-Holden.
— Submitted October 18, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 16, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 9, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 7,761 times since then and 170 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on July 9, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on May 23, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 6. submitted on July 9, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 7. submitted on May 20, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. • Christopher Busta-Peck was the editor who published this page.