Source:History of Erie Co., PA; Biographical Sketches.
Son of Benjamin Coates:
BENJAMIN J. COATES is superintendent of the City Waterworks Pumping
Station, whose services in that capacity are all that can be desired, His
ingenuity as a mechanic being on par with any who work along the line of
his vocation and, having throughout his entire life been a resident of
Erie, he is well known, not only for his mechanical skill and unsurpassed
services in the position he now holds, but also for his excellent traits
and qualities of character, which give him high standing as a worthy citizen
of this city.
The Coates family were numbered among the Pioneers of this part of the state, having located in Erie in the fall of 1832, members of the family at that date having come from the village of Eckols [Eccleshill], Yorkshire, England. Upon the arrival of the ancestors in this country the constituent was made up of the maternal grandparents, Joseph and Mary (Holmes) Burnley, Benjamin Coates and his wife, Elizabeth, the parents of the subject of this review, John and Grace Coates, a brother and sister, two cousins, Joseph Hardacker and Joseph Burnley, who were orphans reared by Grandfather Burnley, and the Waddingtons, the wife of one of whom was an aunt of Benjamin J. Coates. In all the party that came from England to this country was composed of twenty-one souls. The' paternal grandparents, John and Mary Coates, remained in their native land, where they departed this life. Two of their sons, who have since passed away, also remained in England, while two daughters came to the new world sometime after the above mentioned party. Of these Martha married John Thornton of Fairview, Erie county, while Anna married his brother, Thomas Thornton, of Girard, this county. All of the above mentioned have since entered into rest with tbe exception of Benjamin Coates, of this review, who is the only surviving member of his family. Joseph Burnley; the maternal grandfather, upon his arrival in the new world, first settled in Mill Creek township, near this city, where his wife responded to the summons of death in 1848. Two years later, in 1850, he removed to Newcastle, Pennsylvania, where he resided until his demise.
Benjamin Coates Sr., was born in 1805 and for eighteen years was foreman for Vincent, Himrod & Company, founders and machinists, being considered a skilled and expert mechanic, death occurred in 1855, while his wife whose birth one year later than that of her husband, in 1806, passed away in 1889, thus surviving her last companion by upwards of thirty-four years. They were the parents of five children, namely: John, whose birth occurred in 1829 and his death in this city in 1900, whose first wife was Charlott Sennett, after whose death he married Lucinda Weigel, by whom he had the following children : Clara, who wedded Charles W. Geibel who is engaged in the plumbing business; Gertrude, the wife of Pierce Flinn, of this city; Howard J., who resides here; Florence, the wife of Walter Bull a resident of this place; and Adella, who is at home with her mother. The other children of the elder Mr. Coates are: Grace, whose birth occurred on the other side of the sea in 1832 and whom death called in this city September 10, 1850; Samuel, born here in 1835 and who died in 1895; Edward, whose birth occurred here in 1837 and his death in 1873; Benjamin J.
In the Bay city Benjamin J. Coates was born October 6, 1842, and here he acquired his education in the public schools, completing his studies at the age of fifteen years when, desirous of taking part in the activities of life, his natural faculties leaning toward mechanical work, he became apprenticed as a machinist with his brother John, with whom he became proficient as a tradesman. About six years after entering upon this venture, being then a skilled journeyman, he became employed with the Bay State Iron Works, with which he remained for a brief period, when became engaged by the Erie City Iron Works, in whose employ he worked for two years, at the termination of which period he returned to the Bay State Iron Works, where he plied his craft as a journeyman for ten years. His ingenuity as a mechanic being noted and his excellent class of workmanship observed, he soon proved himself to be worthy of a higher station in the establishment of his employers and he was promoted to the position of foreman and later to the responsible position of superintendent, serving in the latter capacity until 1897, during which year he resigned his position and accepted a place at the City Pumping Station as a machinist. There he served with eminent proficiency and, being adjudged as the best man for the general duties of that department of the city, in October, 1904, he was made superintendent, the duties of which responsible post he is now performing.
The marriage of Mr. Coates to Rosanna Weigel, born in this county, January 20, 1847, was celebrated on December 8, 1868. She is a daughter of, Joel Weigel and to this union the following children have been born: Charles B., who was married to Eva Gould of this city, the couple residing at Wilmette Illinois, fourteen miles from, Chicago, where he is an electrical engineer for the Chicago Pneumatic Tool Company; Alice R., who taught in the Erie high school for four years and then wedded Frederick A Mott, of Syracuse, New York, the couple now residing in Rochester, that state, and Mr. Mott is an electrical engineer in the employ of Wheeler Green Electric Company, of that city; Bertha E:, a teacher of English in the Erie high school; and Eva C:, the, wife of Rev. Roy Catlin, a Lutheran minister stationed at Decatur; Illinois. Rev. and Mrs. Catlin were both residents of this city until their marriage August 26, 1907.
The Republican party has always commanded the support of Mr. Coates, by reason of the fact that, havmg given due consideration to its principles in comparison with those of other political cults, he deems the product of the wisest statesmenship, in every particular best suited to subserve the utmost interests of the commonwealth and consequently his fealty has always been strong in the advocacy of the principles of his favorite party and its candidates. He belongs to Lakeshore Lodge, No. 718, I. O. O. F., of which he has been a member of thirty years, having efficiently served in the entire round of chairs, and the Henniossis Adelphon Encampment, No. 42, I. O. O. F., having also performed the duties of its offices. Moreover he is a member of Erie Lodge No. 327, Knights of Pythias and, an honorary member of Local No. 7, N. A. S. E., while at the same time being dutiful to his religious obligations, both he and the members of his family attend divine services at the Central Presbyterian church. Mr. Coates is one of the best known citizens of Erie, whose present position is indicative of his success in life and he justly deserves a place in a volume of this kind and mention as a deserving and : highly respected citizen.
SOURCE: A HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY PA
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