Amherstburg Freedom Museum

Family Histories


Coates Family

                               The Coates Family History Part 1 – From Kentucky to Colchester

This month’s family history will feature the Coates family beginning with Milton Coates. He was born in Kentucky circa 1832 and came to Colchester some time before 1850. He married Francis Sophia Reynolds, the daughter of John Bartlett and Lucinda Reynolds. According to the book New Canaan by Milo Johnson, Milton and Fannie lived and farmed on the family homestead in Colchester South on Concession 2 (Lot 8). I could not find a death record for Milton, but he appears in the 1881 Census, but Francis, also referred to as Fannie/Fanney is listed as a widow in the 1891 Census, meaning that Milton passed away between 1881 and 1891. I did find an obituary for Fannie in The Amherstburg Echo on October 6, 1911 which says “Miss Fannie Coates, an aged resident of this township, died on Saturday following a stroke of paralysis with which she was seized ten days ago, and the funeral took place Monday forenoon to Central Grove A.M.E. church, where services were conducted by Rev. Peter Brooks, and interment followed in the cemetery there. She leaves three sons, William, Arthur and Milton, and a number of other relatives.”                                                                                                                                                     

Fannie Reynolds and Milton Coates had several children including Phoebe, Rachel M., William M., Caroline, Annie, Elizabeth, Georgina/Georgia, Milton Jr., Arthur, Adelaide, Almish Cory ‘Cora’, and Minnie. I could not find information for Phoebe, Caroline, Annie, and Elizabeth, but there were documents uncovered for Rachel, William, Georgina/Georgia, Milton Jr., Arthur, Adelaide, Almish Cora, and Minnie. I’ll begin with Rachel. She married William Davis, the son of John and Eliza Davis on April 26, 1877 in Colchester. The 1881 Census for Colchester South lists William and Rachel, along with their children Early and Mary.                                       

Rachel’s brother William M. married twice. His first marriage was to Adeline Mulder and then to Elise Golden Thompson. Adeline Mulder was born in 1866 and was the daughter of John Joseph Mulder Jr. and Almaney McCoy. Adeline and William lived on the property that was formerly owned by Adeline’s father, John Joseph Mulder Jr. Interestingly, the 1871 Census record lists the Mulder and Coates family as living right next to each other. Following their marriage, Adeline and William had twelve children: Maude Luella, Josephine, Oda, Archie, Claude Leo, Clodia, Ethel, George Henry, Roland, Blanche Dell, Almana, and Dora.                                

Maude Louella Coates Mulder, was born on March 16, 1881 in Colchester South. She married Wiley Grayer, the son of William Grayer and Mary Elizabeth Green, on April 13, 1900 in Detroit. The couple lived on a farm on Gore Road on the 2nd Concession. Maude Louella’s husband Wiley was one of the first mail carriers in Colchester South Township in the early 1900s and delivered mail on Rural Route 2 and Rural Route 4. Wiley and Maude had sixteen children: Estelle Mae, Mazie Luella, Ruby Beatrice, Virgil Sylvester, Olive Marie, Lovedy Bernetta, Helen Josephine, Wilfred, Ida Evelyn, Gerald, Sylvanna, Mary, Gladys Leone, Violet Winifred, Marvin Lester, and Kenneth. See Grayer family history – – for further information.                                                                                                                               

Adeline and William’s next child, Josephine, was born circa 1886 and according to her marriage record, she married James Taylor on January 6, 1905. At the time, Josephine or Josie was 19 and worked as a domestic. James was a 28-year-old farmer and the son of James Taylor and Dollie Green.                                                                                                                                   

Josephine’s brother Oda was born on July 12, 1888 in Colchester. On his birth record there is a note from Oda’s aunt, Mary E. Coates, confirming his birth, which says “That I am the aunt of the said person and was on intimate terms with his family at the time of his birth; that although I was not present at his birth, I saw the child within a few days thereafter and was informed at the time and fully believe that he was born at the place and on the date mentioned.”                    No information was available for Archie, Clodia, Ethel or Dora, but there are a few documents concerning Claude Leo and Georg Henry Coates. Claude’s death record states that he passed on August 3, 1934 in Colchester. His obituary which appeared in The Amherstburg Echo on August 10, 1934 says “Claude Coates was born in Colchester South, the son of William and Adeline Mulder Coates. He was raised on the farm on which he was residing at the time of his death and on the death of his parents took over the farm himself. He was 39 years of age and besides farming he worked with his team on road work. He was married eight years ago and his wife and five children, Claude, William, Carl, Marlene and Lois, survive. Three sisters, Maude, Mrs. Wiley Grayer, Colchester South; Josephine, Mrs. Joseph Matthews, of Harrow; Dora, Mrs. Raymond Mayles, of Detroit; and two brothers, George, of Windsor, and Otis, of Cincinnati, survive him.”          

Claude was married to Lillian Beatrice Kennedy, the daughter of Andrew Kennedy and Margaret Harrison. The couple had six children named Claude Leo Jr., William Andrew, Carl Arthur, Marlene, Lois and Alger. Following Claude’s death, Lillian remarried to a man named Joseph Morgan. Lillian passed away on December 7, 1963. Her obituary appeared in the Windsor Star two days later on December 9th and says “MORGAN – Lillian Beatrice, 64 years, Dec. 7, 1963 at Hotel Dieu Hospital. Late residence 456 Elliott St. E. Dear wife of Joseph (deceased May 1963). Dear mother of Claude, William and Carl Coates of Windsor; Mrs. Harry (Marlene) Benstead, Windsor; Mrs. Kenneth (Lois) Brooks, Oakville; Mrs. Alger (Lillian) Coates, Windsor; Mrs. Carmelo (Norma) Wrontera, also of Windsor; Miss Julie Morgan (deceased 1957). One step-son Llewellyn Morgan of Windsor; 2 step-daughters, Mrs. James (Marion) Alonzo, Mrs. Leo (Beatrice) Montgomery of Detroit; 2 brothers, Mr. Golson Kennedy of Puce; Mr. Raymond Kennedy of Windsor. Dear sister of Mrs. Kenneth Nevels of Windsor; 29 grandchildren.” According to a Coates family member, Levi and Andrew should also be listed as brothers with Golson Kennedy.

What we publish is not a complete history of any family and is based on the documents that are available. We welcome photos and information to fill in the gaps.  See you next week for part 2.

                                          The Coates Family History Part 3- Family Connections

Sadly, Adeline passed away around 1902. Her obituary which appeared in The Amherstburg Echo on April 6, 1906 says “Mrs. William Coates died Thursday of last week after an attack of inflammation of the lungs. The funeral was held Saturday forenoon at 10 o’clock at Central Grove where services were conducted by Rev. W. Crosby, and interment was in Central Grove cemetery. She was the only daughter of the late Joseph Mulder and lived on the old homestead with her husband. She leaves quite a family and the following brothers: Isaac, Albert and John, the two former in this township and the latter in Colchester North.”                                        

William also married Elsie Golden Thompson (maiden name Golden) on December 19, 1910 in Detroit. In the 1911 Census, it lists William Coates as living with his wife Elsie, along with Oda, Archie, Caud [sic], George and Dora, but also William’s step-children: Enoch Thompson, Andrew, Lorance, Eliza, Elizabeth, Lenny, and Florance. This was in addition to a lodger named Eliza Sheppard and grandson, but the later person’s name is illegible.     

William Coates passed away in 1917. His obituary from The Amherstburg Echo (May 11, 1917) says “William Coates, who has been receiving treatment at London for some time, died there Sunday. His remains were brought here over the P.M.R.R. Wednesday, and taken to Central Grove, where after services were conducted by the Rev. Mr. Ware, interment was made in the cemetery there. Mr. Coates was twice married, first to Miss Mulder, and afterwards to Mrs. Thompson, who survives him, together with three sons; two brother, Milton and Arthur, and one sister, Mrs. John Clay.”                                                                                               

Williams’ sister Georgia, according to her death record, passed away on September 3, 1882 at the age of 19. She died of consumption. Georgia’s brother Milton Jr. is next. He married Mary Elizabeth Taylor, the daughter of Stephen and Mary Ann Simpson, on August 22, 1891 in Essex County. According to Census records, Milton and Mary Elizabeth had a daughter named Rosa. The 1911 Census lists Milton, Mary and Rosa, along with Rosa’s daughter Vera Brice. Rosa’s husband is not listed. Milton and Mary Elizabeth may also have had a daughter named Helen. The 1931 Census lists Rosa, age 46, but also Helen, age 13, as the daughters of Milton and Mary Elizabeth. This is a significant age gap between their children. Either Helen is their daughter or the Census taker made a mistake and she is Rosa’s daughter.        

Milton Coates passed away in 1955. His obituary which appeared in The Amherstburg Echo on September 8, 1955 says “Milton Coates Lifelong Resident of Colchester South Died On Monday – Milton Coates, 93? Lifelong resident of Colchester South died at his home on the fourth concession Monday. He had been ailing for some time. Funeral services were held at the J.H. Madill and Company Funeral Home Wednesday afternoon followed by burial in St. Mark’s Cemetery, Colchester.”

Just a few months later, Mary Elizabeth Coates’ obituary appeared in The Amherstburg Echo on January 12, 1956. It says “Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Coates Funeral Held On Saturday – Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Coates, widow of the late Milton Coates passed peacefully away last Thursday, January 5th, 1956 at the home of her granddaughter. Mrs. Coates was in her 91st year and had lived in Colchester South all her life. Her husband predeceased her on September 5th, 1955, just four months ago. She left to mourn her loss 1 grandchild, Mrs. Ira Wilson and 13 grandchildren and 10 great great grandchildren. She was a member of Church of God in Christ for years – and was one of those kindly, sympathetic little ladies that makes friends of all the people with whom they come in contact. Funeral services were held for her in the J.H. Madill Funeral Chapel last Sunday, conducted by Elder Morton and internment was in St. Marks Cemetery, Colchester. Arthur Talbot, Elias Mulder, Harvey Mulder, Jno Bayliss, Melvin Grayer and Burney Day were the pallbearers.”

Milton’s brother Arthur is the next child of Fannie Reynolds and Milton Coates. He married Clara Johnson, the daughter of Francis J.G. Johnson and Francis Pines, in 1899 in Wayne, Michigan. Clara’s death announcement from The Amherstburg Echo reports that she passed away on September 5, 1918 at the age of 34. Her obituary from September 13, 1918 shares a few more details. It says “Mrs. Arthur Coates passed away after a lingering illness Thursday of last week, aged 34 years. The funeral took place on Sunday afternoon to the B.M.E. church, Harrow, where services were conducted and interment was in Gilgal cemetery. Her maiden name was Leek, and she is survived by her husband, one brother, Simon Peter Leek, and several sisters.”                                                                                                                          

Following Clara’s passing, Arthur married a second time to Nancy Lewis Hurst, the daughter of Mathew Lewis and Eliza Simpson, on April 5, 1921 in Detroit, Michigan. I could not find any more documents for Arthur, but I did find a death record for his wife Nancy. She passed away on May 9, 1944 in Detroit at the age of 77. Her death record also reveals that she was born in Harrow on January 1, 1867.                                                                                      

What we publish is not a complete history of any family and is based on the documents that are available. We welcome photos and information to fill in the gaps.  See you next week for part 4.

                                               The Coates Family History Part 4 – Gone Too Soon

Next is Arthur’s sister Adelaide Coates. She was born on November 16, 1872 in Colchester. No other documents were available for Adelaide. There is significantly more information about Adelaide’s sister Almish Cora Coats. She was born on November 6, 1873 in Colchester. She married twice. Her first marriage was to George Hurst. They had two children named Clara and Henry George. Clara was born on February 3, 1897. Sadly, she passed away at the age of 11 (some records say 12 or 13) on January 19, 1909. A brief obituary for Clara appeared in The Amherstburg Echo which says “Clara, only daughter of George Hurst, died on Tuesday following an illness of consumption. She had been living with Mrs. John Clay, a relative for some time. The funeral took place on Thursday. She was twelve years of age.” The reason she is listed as living with Mrs. John Clay (Cora’s sister) is because Clara’s father George and mother Cora had passed away at this point. I will get to that shortly. Clara’s brother Henry George, according to his marriage record was born on January 23, 1900 (some records say 1899). He married Edith Hackler in St. Joseph, Indianna. George married twice. He also married Rose Wade, the daughter of Paul Wade and Beulah Carpenter, on January 29, 1927 in Elkhart Township, Indianna.                                                                                                                             

I mentioned previously that George and Cora passed away before 1909 when their daughter Clara passed away. George passed away in 1899. His obituary from The Amherstburg Echo appeared on March 31, 1899 and says “After suffering six months with an attack of consumption, George Hurst, passed away Thursday of last week. The funeral was held on Sunday at 10 o’clock a.m., services being conducted in the church by Rev. J.H. Alexander, after which interment took place in Gilgal cemetery. The deceased was only 28 years of age. He married Cora Coats some three years ago and she with two children, one 2 years of age, the other just six weeks, are left to mourn. Of his own family are left three brothers and two sisters – Hilliard, of Harrow, Emery and Henry, of Detroit; Mrs. Marshall, of Ann Arbor, and Matilda, of Detroit. They were all home to the funeral. The following friends carried the remains to the grave: – Will Currans, Jesse Currans, John Mulder, Mr. Baylis, Allie Mulder, Wylie Grier.”                  

Following George Hurst’s death, his wife Cora (Reynolds) married a second time to James Norman Hurst, the son of Jonas Hurst and Harriet Marshall. James Norman and Cora had at least four children. I was able to find documents for two of their children: Edward and Albertus. Edward was born on December 13, 1900 in Colchester South, while Albertus was born on December 31, 1901. Albertus or ‘Burtis’ sadly passed away at the age of 10 in June of 1912 in Amherstburg.

Cora (Coates) Hurst passed away on November 2, 1904 at the age of 36. Her obituary shares the tragic circumstances of her death. It says “Mrs. Norman Hurst died very suddenly at her home in this township Wednesday morning, aged 36 years. She had been ill for three weeks and Tuesday gave birth to a child prematurely. The deceased was the youngest daughter of Milton Coates and was married five years ago. Besides the husband four children are left. The funeral will be held this (Friday) afternoon.”

It appears that several years after Cora’s death, Norman was living in Ohio. He appears in the 1920 Census for Toledo, Ohio as 53 years old and it says he moved to the US in 1919. He is also listed as a Labourer who does ‘General Work.’ Norman died a few years later on March 3, 1924. His death record also indicates that Norman moved back to Essex County because his address is listed as Amherstburg. His obituary was printed in The Amherstburg Echo on March 7, 1924 and says “Norman Hurst, a native of this township, died at Amherstburg on Monday, aged 56 years, following a two weeks decline after a stroke of paralysis. The funeral was held there on Wednesday afternoon to Rose Hill cemetery. Deceased was a son of the late Jonas Hurst and spent most of his life here. The last few years he was in Toledo, coming from there to Amherstburg at Christmas.  He was twice married but both wives are dead. One son survives him, also three brothers and three sisters, all of whom are living in Amherstburg.” His obituary mentions that Norman married twice, but I was not able to find the name of his second wife.

What we publish is not a complete history of any family and is based on the documents that are available. We welcome photos and information to fill in the gaps.  See you next week for part 5.

                                           The Coates Family History Part 5 – The Sweet Potato Farmer

Cora’s sister Minnie is the last child of Fannie Reynolds and Milton Coates. She married John Clay. They had a son named Frederick. I found a death announcement in The Amherstburg Echo on April 6, 1906 which says “Clay – In Colchester South, Saturday, March 31st, the son of John Clay, aged 21 years.” Although the son is not named, I believe this is Frederick.

Minnie’s husband John Clay appeared in The Amherstburg Echo on October 10, 1919. The article says “The ’Banana Belt’ will produce anything. A very nice sample of sweet potatoes grown by John Clay, Snake Lane, are shown in F.H. Ferris’s store this week. Their appearance is up to any imported potato.”

Minnie Coates Clay passed away on August 13, 1932 in Colchester. Her death record also shares that she was born on August 14, 1864. Her obituary appeared in The Amherstburg Echo  on August 19, 1932 and says “Mrs. John Clay Dies – After a lengthy illness Mrs. John Clay passed away at her home, Snake Lane, Saturday evening. Before her marriage to John Clay in November 1895, she was Minnie Coates. She is survived by her husband and two brothers, Milton and Arthur, both of this township. Funeral services were held Monday at the B.M.E. church, Harrow, followed by interment at the Central Grove cemetery.”

Minnie’s husband John Clay passed away decades later in 1962. His obituary appeared in the Windsor Star on February 9, 1962. It shared “John Clay – Harrow – Funeral service for John Clay, 91, of Given Rd., who was burned to death by a fire in his home Thursday, will be at 2 p.m. Monday at the Gerald Smith Funeral Home, Harrow, Rev. I.H. Edwards officiating. He was born in Windsor and has lived 65 years in Harrow. He was a member of the Central Grove Church, and was formerly employed by the Clark Company Ltd, of Harrow. Surviving is a brother, James of Detroit. Burial will be in Central Grove Cemetery.”

What we publish is not a complete history of any family and is based on the documents that are available. We welcome photos and information to fill in the gaps.  See you next week where we will celebrate another amazing family.