BILL COATES

Havensville Tales As Told By a Native Son
by Mary Eddy Stewart


     What do you do when there is no more corn to harvest?   When the last cow has

been milked, and the milk pail hung on a peg for the last time?  When your farm

machinery has been put on the auction block and the keys to your truck given to the

new owner?   If you're Galen Eddy, you tell stories.  Stories about Havensville, the

people who once lived there, the businesses that lined Commercial Street and made

it a thriving communtiy, the churches and schools and homes where the residents

were nurtured, educated, baptized and married.   Havensville was quite a place, all

right, according to my father.

      Galen was born October 25, 1906, in a frame house a quarter mile south of

Havensville.   Maybe you know the place.   On the west side of Hwy 63 south of town

there's Cow Creek Road.  Follow Cow Creek Road to the top of the hill to where it

takes a lazy curve and heads west.  The house and farm buildings used to be south of

the road on that corner.  The corner was different then, of course.  For well over fifty

years there was a straight road that went south out of Havensville, over the bridge, up

the hill and made a turn to the west which was the main route to Onaga. There have

been a lot of changes.

     My dad's parents were Ernest Eddy and Ella Coates Eddy. Galen says he gets

his love of storytelling from his grandfather, Bill Coates.  Bill and his family, including

Ella, came to Kansas from Ohio in 1871.  They first settled in Centralia but moved to a

farm in Pottawatomie County five years later when they heard the Kansas Railway

Company planned to move the railroad west from Holton through a place called

Havens.  I suppose they figured there'd be plenty of business opportunities and maybe

a way to make a little money in the newly developing area.

     I doubt if getting rich was a goal of the Coateses. Perhaps they were more

interested in security and a good environment in which to raise their children. Ella's

grandparents had come from seven years of traveling for the American Bible Society

to settle down in what was then Havens.  Before that, Moses, a carpenter by trade, and

an ordained Methodist preacher, had spent twenty-five years pastoring Church of God

congregations in Ohio.

     He and wife Mary Ann Parmer Coates were called to minister to a congregation

in Wharton, Ohio, while Bill was serving the Union Army during the Civil War.  This

proved to be a good move for it was here, while on leave, Bill met Susannah Yambert.

When the war was over, Bill united in marriage to the stately Susan, then nineteen

years old, by his father, the Reverend Moses Clark Coates.

     If Clark and Coates ring a bell with you, you are old enough to remember the

spools of thread we used to buy that had Coates and Clark printed on the ends.   Same

family.   Moses' Grandpa Moses is said to have acquired the land and laid out the town

of Coatesville in Chester County, Pennsylvania.  According to legend, General

Washington was entertained at Brandywine Mansion, built by the Coates.  Maybe that

was one of the many places George Washington supposedly slept.

     Back to Havensville.  Apparently, Bill Coates didn't have the calling his father

did, but religious upbringing was quite evident in the lives of Bill and Susan Coates.

According to the June 1900 copy of the Havensville Torchlight William and Susan

Coates were very active in the Havensville Baptist Church. He superintended Sunday

school in Lincoln Township, conducted song services and taught a singing school.

He became a farmer after the Civil War, and farmed in Wyandot County, OH, and in the

Centralia area before buying a farm in Pottawatomie County near Havens.  In 1892,

the Coates sold the farm and moved into Havensville.

     One hundred years ago there was really no such thing as "retirement."  Moses

and Mary Ann ran a lodging house in Havensville:  . C. Coates, proprietor of Coates

House--Board $1.00 per day or $3.50 per week."  Bill established his own business,

the "City Restaurant and Farmer's Home."  The younger Coates family provided meals

and a place to stay; as well as a place to buy groceries and to purchase meat in the

family run buthcher's shop.

     Galen figures Bill put the whole family to work in the place of business.  There

were nine children in the family, six of them girls, and what better way for them to learn

about finance as well as the housekeeping skills that go along with running a

restaurant and lodging place?  Of course, by the time the family got into the restaurant

business, the older three egirls, who'd come to Kansas with them in the covered wagon,

were married.

     I don't know about Dollie and Cornelia, but I do know my grandma Ella was

plenty busy in her own right during those early years of the "City Restaurant and

Farmer's Home."  Grandmother married my grandfather Ernest Eddy in 1891, had

three children and lived in at least three different homes by the time Grandpa was

ready to settle down in the home on the hill south of Havensville.

     My father Galen remembers his granddad, Bill Coates as being a great talker.

Galen says Bill loaded up items from his store into a horse drawn wagon which he

drove around the countryside, selling what they needed to the farm folks in the area.

Galen figures Bill loved getting away from the business when the weather was nice,

rambling along the crop-lined roads, and talking to the people he met during his

travels.  If he sold something, so much the better.

     Looking back, Galen wishes he'd spent more time talking to his Grandfather

William Coates, asking him questions about his childhood, his war years, and about

Ella.  He would have like to know more about the mother who died when he was six

years old.  No doubt Bill would have been happy to know Galen cared about these

things, and it would have added to the store of Galen's memories.

Bill Coates died shortly before his 90th birthday in 1934.

     More later about Havensville and the good folks who lived there.

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