Amherstburg Freedom Museum

Family Histories


Reynolds Family

                     The Reynolds Family History Part 1 – Service in the Upper Canada Rebellion

This month’s family history features the Reynolds family beginning with John Bartlett Reynolds and his wife Lucinda. Their children include John, Francis Sophia, Mary Jane, James, William, Daniel Benjamin and Louis. I could not find any information for Mary Jane and James, and the only information I could find about Louis is from Milo Johnson’s book New Canaan: Freedom Land which states that Louis was Daniel’s twin, and he died at a young age. Before I discuss the rest of John and Lucinda’s children, I’m going to share some information about them.

Barlet Renolds and his family are listed in the 1851 Census. Bartlet’s occupation was a farmer, and he was born in the United States. According to the book New Canaan, John and Lucinda escaped slavery in Old Virginia, arriving in the Colchester Township area circa 1830 where they established a 50-acre farm on the 3rd Concession in what was referred to as the ‘Long Marsh’ area of the Matthew Settlement. In New Canaan, Milo Johnson adds “The Canada, British Army and Canadian Militia Muster Rolls and Pay Lists, 1795-1850, for December 1838, note John Bartlett Reynolds as a member of the Essex Colored Militia. This unit took part in defending Canada during the 1837-38 Rebellion. Bartlett left his home to take part in the defense and may have been granted land for his service.”

I could not find a death record or obituary for John Bartlett Reynolds, but he passed away before 1861 because the 1861 Census lists Lucinda as widowed and living with her sons William and Daniel. Lucinda’s obituary also states that John passed in 1860. Lucinda lived many years beyond this. A writeup about Mrs. Reynolds appeared in The Amherstburg Echo on June 15, 1900. The article says “In Colchester South township, lives Mrs. Reynolds, a colored woman, the oldest resident of the county and probably the oldest in Ontario. She is declared to have reached the age of 114 years. Like most people who have passed the century mark, Mrs. Reynolds has no absolute proofs of her age, but her neighbors, who have made calculations from what they state is reliable information, say there is little doubt she is the age claimed. People who have lived in the section for 60 years state that she was an old woman when they arrived. While extremely frail and feeble, with sunken eyes and skin that appears to almost adhere to the bones, the old woman is still able to take short walks, and her mind appears as clear as ever. All events to her at least, all local events, fall into two periods, before and after ‘the year the stars fell,’ a phenomenon said to have occurred more than 60 years ago. Mrs. Reynolds was born in slavery in Virginia. Just what her name really is she doesn’t know, but when she and another slave made their escape to Canada and were married, they took the name of their master. Her husband died many years ago. All her life she has used tobacco, chewing and smoking excessively. Even now she raises sufficient ‘Canada green’ for her own use.”

Although the article does not specifically say it is about Lucinda Reynolds, but rather Mrs. Reynolds, I am confident this is the correct person. This writeup is from 1900 and, as will be shown shortly, Lucinda passed away in 1902. It also mentions she lived in Colchester which is confirmed on the Census. Also, it states that she did not know what her last name really was which would explain why none of the primary documents I found mention her maiden name. Finally, it states that she was from Virginia, which is mentioned again in her obituary two years later.

Lucinda’s obituary, which appeared in The Amherstburg Echo on February 28, 1902, says “The death occurred last Monday morning at her home of the 3rd concession, of Mrs. Lucinda Reynolds, at the age of 103 years, she was no doubt the oldest person in the county. She was born in ‘Ole Virginny’ and moved here with her husband, the late Barthlet Reynolds, about 1830. He died in 1860, on the farm he settled, then known as the Long Marsh. They had four children, two of whom are living, Mrs. Milton Coates and Daniel. They funeral was held Tuesday afternoon to Central Grove, services being conducted there by Rev. Wright Crosby. With the death of Mrs. Reynolds one of the most important links between the new and the old, in this township, is broken.”

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 Reynolds Family History Part 2 – The Matthews Settlement

Now that I have discussed John Bartlett and Lucinda Reynolds, I will now share information about the rest of their children, beginning with John. He married Anna Jane Chapman, daughter of John and Charity C. Chapman, on February 23, 1858 in Essex County. According to the 1871 Census, John is listed as widowed meaning that Anna Jane passed away some time between 1858 and 1871. John may have married a second time to a woman named Mary Elizabeth Smith on October 24, 1871 in Detroit. I could not find any other documents to confirm this, but the marriage record states that John was born in Gosfield which is confirmed on the Census, while Mary was born in Colchester. The timeline also fits because John’s first wife Jane passed away before 1871 which is the same year he (possibly) married Mary Elizabeth Smith. Without further documentation, I cannot say for certain that he married a second time. The book New Canaan states that John in 1881, John worked on Joseph Ellis’ farm in Colchester North. According to his brother Daniel’s obituary, John passed away before 1906 in London.

John and Anna Jane (Chapman) Reynolds had at least two children named Sarah and James. Sarah Amanda Reynolds married Matthew J. Matthews, the son of Matthew Matthews and Alma Day on October 26, 1887. The Amherstburg Echo wrote about the event on November 11, 1887, writing “Matthew Matthews, jr., has bettered his condition by taking to himself a partner of the fair sex in the person of Miss Sarah A. Reynolds.” Their children include Alma Gertrude, Luella, Emma, Angeline Annie, Harry, and Estella, who will be discussed shortly.

Matthew Matthew Jr.’s father Matthew Matthews Sr. established the Matthews Settlement in Colchester when he first purchased land in 1819. According to Milo Johnson, its location is approximately five miles northwest of Harrow, Colchester South Township. It stretched from the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Concessions at the Drummond Road intersections and the area north and south of Concession #2 from Drummond Side Road to Smith Side Road. It was approximately five square miles of space. Matthews Sr. also played an instrumental role in building the settlement’s first church and school. In fact, the first church was built on his property in 1819, while the school was built near the church a few years later, in 1825. Another school was built in 1881 on the southeast corner of the 3rd Concession and Drummond, called SS (School Section) #11. This school was the last segregated school in the province and closed in 1965 after parents and activists launched a campaign.

According to Sarah Reynolds Matthews’ gravestone and the website Find A Grave, she passed away on May 19, 1906 in Harrow at the age of 47. It also adds that she was born on February 21, 1859. A few years after Sarah’s passing, Matthew married a second time to Naomi Jones, the daughter of John Wesley and Angelina Washington, on December 28, 1912 in Harrow. He also moved from Colchester to Sandwich as was reported in the December 12, 1924 issue of the Amherstburg Echo.

Matthew J. Matthews passed away on April 13, 1936 in Windsor (Sandwich) and his passing was reported in the Amherstburg Echo on April 24, 1936. The article titled ‘Pioneer Dies’ says “Following a lengthy illness extending over several years, Mr. Matthew J. Matthews, a highly respected resident of Essex County, passed away at his home in Windsor Monday, April 13, at the age of 81 years and 10 months. Deceased was born in Colchester South, June 8, 1843, a few miles from Harrow. His father was Matthew Matthews, and his mother before her marriage was Miss Alma Day. His grandmother was one of the pioneer settlers of Colchester South. On October 26, 1867, he was married to Miss Sarah A. Reynolds, and they went to live on his farm on the fifth concession. His wife died about 30 years ago. In 1912 he was married to Mrs. Naomi Jones, of Amherstburg, who survives him. He resided in Colchester South until 12 years ago, when his health failed and he retired and moved to Windsor. He was a member of the old Baptist Church on the third concession. Besides his widow he is survived by five children: Mrs. Gertrude Pettiford, Miss Luella Matthews, Miss Emma Matthews, Mrs. Annie Ellis and Mr. Harry Matthews. His daughter, Mrs. Estella Lewis, died 11 years ago. He has living two sisters, Mrs. William Thomas and Mrs. William Bazie; one brother, Mr. Elisha Matthews; five grandchildren and a number of cousins, nieces and nephews. The funeral service was conducted by Rev. Thomas Woodcock at Central Grove A.M.E. Church last Thursday. The pallbearers were Measrs. Charles Talbert, James Taylor, jr., Ira Dennis, George Matthews, Wellington Harris and Prince Grace. Interment was in Central Grove cemetery.”

As mentioned, Matthew J. Matthews and Sarah Reynolds had several children including Alma Gertrude, Luella, Emma, Angeline Annie, Harry, and Estella. Alma married Alonzo D. Pettiford, the son of David Pettiford and Amanda Coen, on June 23, 1915 in Harrow. On July 9, 1915, the Essex Free Press wrote “On Wednesday evening, June 23rd, Alonzo D. Pettiford, of Detroit, Mich., and Miss Gertrude Matthews, daughter of M.J. Matthew, were quietly married at the home of the bride’s parents, Colchester South, by Rev. P. Brooks. They left on the evening train for their honeymoon trip to Toledo, Springfield, Dayton, Columbus, and different interesting points in Ohio. Upon their return they will settle in Detroit.” Alma’s husband became a lawyer and on June 29, 1917 the Amherstburg Echo wrote about his graduation, writing “Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Matthews attended the commencement exercises of the Detroit College of Law, at the Arcadia last Thursday evening, his son-in-law, A.D. Pettiford, being one of the students receiving a degree of Bachelor of Laws.” A few years later, on July 28, 1922, the Echo shared that “Mrs. A.D. Pettiford and children, of Detroit, Mich., spent the week at the home of her father, M.H. Matthews, and was joined later by her husband, attorney Pettiford, who leaves shortly for New York on an extended business trip during the month of August.”

There are several other instances where the Echo writes about Matthew J. Matthews’ children visiting him. On June 1, 1923 it was reported that “Matthew J. Matthews’ daughters, Mrs. Alonzo Pettiford, Mrs. Sullivan Ellis, of Detroit, and Mrs. Roy Lewis, of Salem, motored down on Saturday and spent the weekend with their father.” On September 18, 1925, it was shared that “Matthew J. Matthews, 406 Albert street, Windsor, enjoyed a beautiful lake ride on the magnificent steamer Put-In Bay, Thursday, September 3rd. He was accompanied by his daughters, Miss Emma Matthews and Mrs. Alonzo Pettiford, of Detroit.” And finally, on September 16, 1927, “Attorney Alonzo D. Pettiford and his wife, of Detroit, accompanied by their father M.J. Matthews, 400 Albert street, Windsor, spent the weekend and Labor Day at Niagara Falls and Buffalo.” As mentioned, Alma and Alonzo Pettiford were living in Detroit. The 1930 Detroit Census lists Alonzo D. Pettiford, along with Alma and their children Vivienne A., Alonzo D. Jr., E. June, and Dorthy E. (Elaine).                                                                        

Alma’s sister Luella was born on May 1, 1892 in Colchester South. It appears that she never married because she is listed as Luella Matthews in her Windsor Star obituary from November 23, 1984 which says that she passed at the age of 92 at the Country Village Nursing Home and is survived by several nieces and nephews.                                                  

Luella’s sister Sarah Emma was born on February 10, 1898 in Colchester South. According to her Immigration papers from September 22, 1924, she was living in Detroit, was not married and was age 26. No further records were found for Sarah.                                     

Sarah’s sister Angeline Annie married Sullivan Ellis, the son of Hampton Ellis and Anna Smith, on May 31, 1922 in Detroit. Her obituary from the Windsor Star, which appeared on May 22, 1962, shares further details and says “Mrs. Angeline Annie Ellis, 67, of 287 Tuscarora St., died Sunday in the Essex County Sanitorium. Mrs. Ellis was born in Harrow and lived in Windsor for 39 years coming from Harrow. She was a member of First Baptist Church. Her husband Sullivan died in 1949. Surviving are a daughter, Mrs. Alexander (Evangeline) Goba of Windsor, a brother Harry Matthews of St. Thomas, and a sister, Miss Luella Matthews of Windsor … Burial will be in Windsor Grove Cemetery.”

Annie’s brother Harry was born on May 23, 1896. Sadly, he passed away a month after Annie. I was also able to find his obituary from the Windsor Star which appeared in the June 29, 1962 issue which says “Harry Matthews, 66, formerly of Windsor, died Monday in St. Thomas after a lengthy illness. Mr. Matthews was born at Harrow and lived at St. Thomas for ten years. Surviving is a sister, Miss Luella Matthews of Windsor. Funeral will be held 1 p.m. Saturday at the James H. Sutton Funeral Home … Burial will be in Green Lawn Cemetery.”                        

Harry’s sister Estella was born on May 1, 1892 in Colchester South. She married Lewis Leander Jones, son of Leander Jones and Nancy H. Lewis, on December 3, 1914 in Windsor. Stella married a second time to Ray E. Lewis, the son of John Lewis and Evangeline Smith, on September 22, 1919 in Wayne, Michigan. On October 3, 1919, the Amherstburg Echo shared details of the day, reporting “M.J. Matthews attended the marriage of his daughter, Mrs. Estella Jones, to Ray E. Lewis, of Salem, Mich., at the parsonage of the Rev. R.C. Ross, 117 e. Grand Boulevard, Detroit, on Monday of last week, and also attended the Northville Fair. He was so much interested in the arms and customs that probably he will purchase one there in the near future.” According to Estella’s death record, she passed away on January 14, 1925 in Detroit.           

Sarah Reynolds Matthews’ brother James is the second child of John Reynolds and Anna Jane Chapman. I may have found a reference to James’ wife in The Amherstburg Echo on March 18, 1898 which states “Mrs. James Reynolds, of Windsor, has been the guest of Matthew Matthews, jr., and other friends in the township.” I was not able to confirm if this is the correct person, but the fact that they were staying in the home of Matthew Matthews jr., James’ brother-in-law, indicates this may be correct. Unfortunately, his wife’s name is not mentioned.        

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 3.

                                                   The Reynolds Family History Part 3 – Tanner A.M.E.

The next child of John Bartlett and Lucinda Reynolds is Francis Sophia Reynolds. She married Milton Coates who was born in Kentucky circa 1832 and came to Colchester some time before 1850. According to New Canaan, 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 1891, 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, 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 (1881), Josephine (1886), Oda (1888), Archie (1891), Claude Leo (1892), Clodia (1894), Ethel (1896), George Henry (1898), Roland (1900), Blanche Dell (1901), Almana (1903), and Dora (1905).                             

Adeline’s daughter, 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 and lived on a farm on Gore Road on the 2nd Concession. 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 Grayer and Maude Mulder Coates 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, 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 George 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. Goissen Kennedy of Puce; Mr. Raymond Kennedy of Windsor. Dear sister of Mrs. Kenneth Nevels of Windsor; 29 grandchildren.”                                

According to his birth record, George Henry Coates was born on December 22, 1898 in Colchester. Just like with Oda’s birth record, there is also an interesting note on his birth record by his sister Josephine which confirms his date of birth. The note says “I am an Elder sister being 8 years senior and I was in the home just after my brother George Coates was born as I lived there and I know that he was born on the 22th day of December 1898 and [illegible word] record was lost by fire about 25 years ago.” George went on to marry Maud Garnet Boyd, the daughter of Anthony Boyd and Hattie Turner, on December 25, 1918. At the time, George was a 20-year-old farmer, while Maud was 19 and listed as “at home on farm” for her occupation. Their children include Betty, Alger, Lorraine, Barbara, Sharon, Judy and Gwendolyn. Betty’s obituary from March 4, 1969 says “COATES – Betty-Jean, 45 years, March 4, 1969 at Metropolitan Hospital. Late residence 447 Elliott St. E.A. member of the Tanner AME Church. Dear daughter of George. Dear sister of Rev. Alger Coates, Windsor; Mrs. Fred (Lorraine) Gibbs, Gary, Ind.; Mrs. Roy (Barbara) DeSheilds, Regina; Mrs. Donald (Sharon) Franklin, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Mrs. Clifford (Judy) White, Montreal; Mrs. Gerald (Gwendolyn) Green, Windsor.”

Alger is next. He married Lillian A. Morgan on September 22, 1956. He passed away on December 6, 2003 in Decatur, Illinois and his obituary reads as follows “The Reverend George Alger Coates was the son of George Henry and Garnett Boyd Coates. He was born July 29, 1926 in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. He completed his primary and secondary education in Windsor before attending Assumption College in Windsor and graduating from Wilberforce University, Wilberforce, Ohio. He was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Monrovia College, Monrovia Liberia West Africa. Rev. Coates was united in Holy Matrimony to Lillian A. Morgan on September 22, 1956. To this union there were four sons, Gary, George, Wendell and Aaron. After being ordained an itinerant elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, his first assignment was to Highland A.M.E. Church in Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada. Under his leadership, extensive repairs were made to the church structure. While in Nova Scotia, he pastored some outlying congregations and was actively involved in the community. From Nova Scotia, Rev. Coates was assigned to Tanner A.M.E. Church in Windsor. A new church and parsonage were completed and the mortgage burned during his tenure. Rev. Coates arrived in Decatur, Illinois from Windsor in 1970 to serve as pastor of St. Peter’s A.M.E. Church and was given orders for the thirty-fourth time in September, 2003 at the Illinois Annual Conference to return to St. Peter’s. Under his guidance, an educational building that had been a long time dream for the congregation became a reality, renovations were made to the lower level of the original structure, the sanctuary was made handicap accessible with the installation of an elevator and the mortgage has been burned. Establishment of the Marland Elliott Scholarship Fund which has given thousands of dollars to assist those within the church seeking to further their education, an additional church parking lot and restoration of the pipe organ can also be credited to his leadership. For a number of years he conducted Bible studies at the YWCA, and assisted with the Summer Park Worship services in Fairview Park. Since his arrival in Decatur, he has been an active participant with the Ecumenical Lenten and Good Friday services which has brought about understanding and fellowship among the participating churches. He has been instrumental in having the church to co-sponsor a weekly food pantry with a neighboring church and to be a participating congregation with the Faith in Action Program of Macon County. He has served on the Board of One Church One Child and in 1999 members of the United States Congress selected him as an “Angel in Adoption”. Because of his love of children and interest in their education, Rev. Coates has gone into the schools over the years to follow up on problems that students were having; he worked to increase the number of black teachers in the schools and to have minorities placed in leadership positions within District 61. He was a member of the Rotary and a former Mason and Shriner. Rev. Coates departed for his heavenly home at 4:40 a.m. on Saturday, December 6, 2003. He leaves to cherish fond and happy memories his wife, Lillian; sons, George Jr. (Gwendolyn) of Decatur, Attorney Wendell (Jestine) and Dr. Aaron (Dr. LaKimberly) of Rockford; grandchildren, Jessica, Kendell, Morgan, Cameron, Jordan of Rockford, George Kalin and Genae of Decatur; sisters, Lorraine Gibbs of New York, Barbara (Roy) De Shields of Regina Saskatchewan, Sharron (Clarence) Guienze of New Jersey and Judy (Richard) Coleman of Michigan; “adopted sons”, Tony Holly of Bloomington and Lamont Chambliss of Florida; nieces, nephews, relatives, the St. Peter’s Church Family and friends. A son, Gary, his parents and two sisters, Betty and Gwendolyn preceded him in death.”

Alger’s sister Lorraine married Fred Gibbs on May 23, 1952 in Indiana and the couple resided in Gary, Indiana. Lorraine’s sister Barbara married Roy DeSheilds and lived in Regina, Saskatchewan. Barbara’s sister Sharon married twice two Donald Franklin of Ann Arbor and Clarence Guienze of New Jersey. Sharon’s sister Judy married Clifford White (Montreal) and Richard Coleman (Detroit), while Judy’s sister Gwendolyn married Gerald Green (Windsor).

Now we’ll return to their father George Henry Coates. On July 30, 1963, The Windsor Star printed an article about George Coates titled “Conference For Church – George H. Coates Area Delegate.” It says “George Henry Coates, of 447 Elliott St. E., will represent the more than 700 Negroes from African Methodist Episcopal Churches throughout Ontario and the Maritimes at the 8th biennial conference of the Connectional Laymen’s Organization of the A.M.E. Church, August 5 through 10 in Detroit. Mr. Coates is the president of the Local Society and of the Canadian Lay Organization. He will be joined at the convention by the members of Tanner A.M.E. Church, Windsor, and Lay delegates from as far away as the Atlantic sea coast. The main purpose of this year’s convention is to improve and enhance the status of the A.M.E. Church on every level. The six-day meeting will bring together men and women from Canada and all over the continental United States. Mr. Coates noted that much time will be spent deliberating on this year’s theme, The Role of Christian Leadership in Our Changing Society. He echoed the words of Herbert L. Dudley, organization president from Detroit, in saying, ‘I have long cherished the belief that during these times of stress and strain when there is so much tension and evidence of bitterness and hate exhibited on the part of both races, that there is a definite responsibility and obligation on the part of men of goodwill. ‘Men who profess Christian beliefs should exert their influence to bring the impact of their training and backgrounds to bear upon many of those problems which affect and beset our society today. Too often or shall I say too long, have we allowed these matters which affect our relationships as human beings to be dealt with entirely by the politicians, race fanatics and hate peddlers. We feel that it is time for men of God to speak out, to join hands as Christians and make our viewpoint known and our influence felt.’ He added that, ‘No one could ever convince me that the heart of Canada is not right, but many of the images we get are not truly representative of the soul of our country. I believe that our men, women and children need make their influence felt. As we meet in convention, we are hoping to do our part in mobilizing the moral and religious forces of our community and nation to meet the challenge.” Mr. Coates’ son, Rev. Alger Coates, of Tanner A.M.E. Church, spoke even further on the upcoming convention and said, ‘As we come together we will street better relationship between all races. The A.M.E. Church has been a leader in this field for a number of years and is well known for its outstanding contributions. He stressed that ‘What comes out of this conference is certain to help all Windsorites on the local church level.”                 

George Henry passed away on September 29, 1993. His obituary appeared in the Windsor Star on October 4th which said “COATES – George Henry, 94 years, died at Riverview Hospital on September 29, 1993. Late of Windsor. Predeceased by wife Garnie (1954), Rachel (1969) and Elsie (1991). Survived by daughter Lorraine (Mrs. Fred Gibbs), Gary, Ind.; son Rev. Alger Coates and his wife Lillian Decatur, II.; DAUGHTERS Barbara (Mrs. Roy DeSheild), Regina, Sharron (Mrs. Clarence Guienze), Cherry Hill, N.J., Judy (Mrs. Richard Coleman), Detroit; and step-son Robert Ross, Detroit. Predeceased by daughters Betty (1969) and Gwendolyn (1992), 4 brothers and 3 sisters. Also survived by 14 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews, relatives and friends. Mr. Coates is retired from Chrysler Canada (Walter Metal Products) after 30 years service. He was a Life Member and very active at Tanner A.M.E.; Lay President of the Canadian Annual Conference A.M.E. Church; Grand Chaplain, past member and Life Member of North American Masonic Lodge #21 Prince Hall A. & A.M.”

The next day, on October 5, 1993 The Windsor Star shared a tribute in the article “Black auto pioneer’s funeral” which says “The funeral of George Henry Coates, one of the first blacks to find skilled trades work in the Windsor automotive industry, will be held Wednesday. Mr. Coates died Wednesday in Riverview Hospital at age 94. He had been in poor health since suffering a stroke nearly a decade ago, said his son, Rev. Alger Coates, a paster in Decatur, Ill. Born in Colchester South, Mr. Coates worked in Windsor as a mold maker with Walker Metal Products from 1935 until his retirement about 30 years ago. His example ‘was instrument in other blacks following him into the industry,’ his son said. When he was 19 year [sic] old, Mr. Coates became active with the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) and the association became stronger as the years went on. When the Tanner AME Church was torn down in the 1950s, Mr. Coates helped his son, then paster, to build the new Tanner church on McDougall Street. He was dedicated to serving he church, family members recalled, and for years he was lay president of the Canadian annual AME Church conference. MR. COATES was also active in the Masonic Lodge, serving as master and helping to raise funds for a lodge in the Niagara and Mercer streets area. He was also involved in civic activities and helped several Liberal politicians’ campaign in Windsor, including the late Arthur Reaume. Among the survivors are six adult children, 14 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. Because a large number of mourners is expected, the funeral will be held at the larger BME Church, 685 University Ave., at 1 p.m. E. Morris Sutton funeral home is handling arrangements.”                                                           

Adeline and William’s next child, Roland, was born on November 7, 1900, while his sister Blanche Dell was born on December 24, 1901 and Almana was born on January 24, 1903.     

Adeline’s 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 a grandson, but the latter 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 sisters, 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’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.                                                                                                              

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 (Reynolds) Hurst passed away on November 2, 1904 age 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 that 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.

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 for merely 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 for part 4.