Joseph H. COATES


JOSEPH H. COATES. In the past fifty years probably no one citizen of Benton County has taken a more active part in the development of the primary resources of this section, its lands and agriculture, in the upbuilding and business advancement of Sauk Rapids, and in public affairs generally than Joseph H. Coates, one of the pioneers, who has lived in Sauk Rapids since the early ’60s.

Joseph H. Coates is a native of England, born in Lincolnshire, November 30, 1847. His father was a magistrate in England, and in 1850 started to bring his family to America, but died on the ocean trip. The family landed at Mobile, Alabama, and first made permanent settlement at Pleasant Valley near Davenport, Iowa. In 1854 the family moved to the Northwestern frontier, locating in Fillmore County Minnesota, and in April, 1861, arrived at Sauk Rapids, then a frontier village.

Joseph H. Coates acquired his education in the public schools and private select schools, and his boyhood was spent nearly altogether in frontier communities. He was about fourteen years of age when the family moved to Sauk Rapids, grew up there, and early began taking an active part in public affairs. In 1870, when only twenty-three years of age, he was elected sheriff of Benton County, and filled that office with efficiency for two years. In business he has been chiefly identified with farming and with extensive real estate operations. At the present time he owns and operates a place of 200 acres adjoining the City of Sauk Rapids. From 1883 to 1887 he was associated with others in the operation of sawmills, and at different times has had large holdings in the agricultural and timber districts of the Northwest. In 1879 he and Mr. John Cooper bought 10,000 acres in this state. For many years his real estate operations have been confined to handling his own properties. In 1873 Mr. Coates was admitted to the bar by order of the District Court, but most of his practice has been with his own affairs as the basis of his clientage. For a number of years he was president of the Sauk Rapids Manufacturing and General Store Company.

His public record is a long one, beginning with his election to the office of sheriff as already noted. After leaving that office he served as judge of probate four years, was again elected sheriff for two years, following which came another term of two years as probate judge. During 1890-1901 he was a member of the legislature and in 1912 was again sent from Benton County to represent this district in the lower house. For four years he held the office of clerk of courts, and for seven years was village justice. Judge Coates has been very active in the republican party, but his chief activity has been directed to good local government and to everything that would advance the interests of Benton County and Sauk Rapids. He has served as president of the Commercial Club, and has been affiliated with the Masonic fraternity since since 1870.

Judge Coates first married Mary E. Cross, who was born in Illinois. Their four children were: Henry E., a farmer at Sauk Rapids; Ada Jane, wife of Jacob A. Jochem of Milk River, Canada; Fred, who also lives at Milk River; and Mrs. Emma Mansfield of Havre, Montana. The present Mrs. Coates before her marriage was Julia A. Russell. Her parents, Jeremiah and Sophia Russell, were pioneer Minnesotans, and her father represented his district in the territorial legislature. (Vol. 3, p. 1786)

Minnesota, its story and biography (1915) by Henry A. Castle

Vol 1     Vol 2     Vol 3

JOSEPH COATES, for nearly twenty years a resident of Sauk Rapids, and at present Judge of Probate of Benton county, is a native of Lincolnshire, England, born on the 30th of November, 1849. When the subject of our sketch was about five years old, the family came to America, locating at Davenport, Iowa, and thence, in 1857, to Fillmore county, Minnesota, and in April, 1861, to Sauk Rapids, where Joseph grew to manhood, receiving his education here and at St. Paul. With the exception of about two years' absence in Arkansas, he has been a resident of Sauk Rapids ever since. He was Sheriff of Benton county from 1872 to 1874, and Deputy Sheriff the next four years, after which he was again elected Sheriff, serving until 1880, when he was elected Judge of Probate. Mr. Coates was united in marriage, in 1878, with Miss Mary E. Cross of England.

History of the Upper Mississippi Valley (1881) p. 346 [Sauk Rapids]

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