Elwood Coate, the county treasurer of Cloud county, is one of those men who command the esteem and confidence of the public in general. In light of the above statement the people are to be congratulated in the possession of such a trustworthy and conservative man, who administers the duties of his office with strict integrity.
Mr. Coate is a native of the Buckeye state, born in Miami county in 11843. His father, Samuel Coate, was a farmer, a merchant and for about a half century a minister of the Christian church, and had pastoral charge of the congregation at Meredith, this county. He was a pioneer of Iowa, emigrating there from Ohio in 1853 at a time when their nearest mill was eighty miles, the distance from Marshalltown to Cedar Rapids, and when the country abounded with deer and elk, and the best land could be bought for $1.25 per acre. He died in Cloud county in 1896.
Mr. Coate's mother was also a minister of the Christian church. She died in Iowa in 1882. Mr. Coate traces his maternal ancestry to the Furnases, who intermarried with the Coate family. John Furnas, of Cumberlandshire, England, lived in a town called Standing Stone. The father of John Furnas was a large owner of real estate, and because of his wealth he was known as Lord or Peer. They were members of the Society of Friends. John Furnas had four sons: William, John, Thomas and Jonathan, the latter two being twins.
In 1762 John married Mary Wilkinson, in the Friends meeting house. The building has since been removed to the town of Wigton and still stands. In October of the same year they embarked for Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, reaching that point February 18, 1763. Two days after casting anchor, and while they were still on ship, their son Joseph, Mr. Coate's maternal grandfather, was born. Thomas and Jonathan also sailed to the same harbor. The name was originally spelled Furness. From these brothers a long line of ancestry have sprung-several generations.
Mr. Coate was principally educated in the common schools of Iowa, in pioneer days of that state, and this, coupled with the duties of the farm, curtailed his educational advantages. At the youthful age of twenty he enlisted in Company I, Second Iowa Cavalry, for three years, serving until hostilities ceased, a period of eighteen months. During this time he was in the thickest of the fight, participating in eleven hard fought battles and numerous skirmishes. At Nashville their brigade was under fire continuously for several weeks. His brigade was under the command of General Coon, and their division commander was General Ed. Hatch. After the war Mr. Coate returned to Iowa and established himself in the harness business, but owing to ill health discontinued that line and learned the carpenter trade, which he followed for eighteen years. In 1885 he came to Kansas and settled in Oakland township, where four years prior he had secured a quarter section of land. He now owns a half section, which is under a high state of cultivation, with modern improvements. He is also a horticulturist and has an orchard of over three hundred peach trees, a large apple orchard, apricots and small fruits.
Mr. Coate was born and reared in the faith and principles of the Republican party and says he remains the same politically, but does not affiliate with them because they have left him, and he now votes with the Populist party, which elected him to office in 1899. The office for eight years had been held by the Populists. Mr. Coate was nominated by friends, and at their earnest solicitation allowed his name to go before the convention, but afterward did his part in the campaign. Prior to being elected to his present office Mr. Coate had served in minor offices for many years.
He was married in 1866 to Susan Elleman, a daughter of Joseph and Anna Elleman, of Ohio. Mrs. Coate died two years subsequently, leaving an infant son, Oron M. He is a resident of Iowa and a member of the Economy Manufacturing and Supply Company, of Des Moines. Mr. Coate was married to Sarah Diefenbaugh in 1869. She is a daughter of David and Christina Diefenbaugh, of Lewisburg, Preble county, Ohio. To this second marriage three children have been born, two of whom are living, both sons. Herman E., who now lives on and operates the farm, filled the position as deputy treasurer in 1893. He was previously employed as a clerk in the county clerk's office. For two years he was bookkeeper in the insane asylum of Topeka, but when Governor Morrill was inaugurated to office the Populists were ousted, and, being of that political faith, he had to go. H.E. Coate's family consists of a wife and two daughters, Mabel and Viva. The other son is Samuel Rush, who is his father's deputy. He was reared on the farm and received his early education in the school of that district. In June, 1895, he entered the Kansas Christian College, of Lincoln county, Kansas, and took a two-years' course. He owns a farm in Nebraska, where he had lived several years before assuming his position in the treasurer's office. His wife was Rose Mills, who came with her parents to Kansas from Iowa, when she was a child, and located in Lincoln county. Her father was John Mills and now resides in California. Bessie Wilkins, the motherless child of Andrew Wilkins, of Nebraska, found a home with the family of Elwood Coate. Elwood Coate was one of a family of ten children, nine of whom are living, and all have families in various parts of the country. Mrs. Rose, president of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, of Concordia, is a sister, and J.W. Coate, who lives in the southern part of Cloud county, is a brother. He has a brother and sister in Stuttgart, Arkansas, two sisters and a brother in Iowa and one in Oklahoma.
Mr. Coate was not wholly satisfied with Kansas until the year of the World's Fair, when he, with his wife and son, visited Iowa and found the attractions there were less than those of Kansas. He has been successful from a financial standpoint and does not regret having made a home in the Sunflower state. The Coate family have a pleasant home on West Ninth and Washington streets, in Concordia, but expect to return to the farm when Mr. Coate's office days are over and resume stock raising. The family are all members and active workers in the Christian church.
Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm.
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