Succumbing on Saturday to an
[illness] of rather lengthy duration, Mr. Joseph Coates, one of
Simcoe's [oldest] residents, passed away in his 94th year.
In his death [Simcoe] is
bereaved of a citizen [who one] way and another made special
contributions to his municipality over a period of more [than half]
Joseph Coates was born on
2[.] Oct 14 in Yorkshire, England, the son of Thomas Coates and
Jane [Aldershot] Coates.
As a [boy of eight] he came
to this country and after a voyage requiring [more than two] months'
time spent on the water, he stepped on the wharf at Port
It was a country far
different to the well settled land of today that Joseph Coates
passed through on [his way] to Simcoe. Port Dover was a bustling
port then and Simcoe a sprouting village.
Arriving in Simcoe, Thomas
Coates secured work as foreman in the carriage shop of John and
Jonathan Austin. Two years later the family [moved] to Norwichville
(now Norwich) where the elder Coates [went] into business for
[Subsequently] he returned
to Simcoe and established a carriage shop of his own where the
present Simcoe Bakery stands, and there Joseph Coates learned the
carriage maker's trade.
In 186 Joseph Coates took
over his father's business and conducted it for approximately 62
years until his retirement in 1926. In 1880 he had also enlarged it
by the addition of funeral directing, and when he first assumed this
work there were but three graves in Oakwood Cemetery.
Mr. Coates' life was one of
much activity and in his later years he had a fund of stories which
cast interesting sidelights on the earlier days of this
He was a member of that once
famous organization, The Fenwick Rifles Band, later the 39th
Battalion. As a member of this detachment he was included in the
party comprising three companies of Norfolk volunteers, which was
organized to repulse the Fenians.
He was the oldest member of
Norfolk Lodge No  A. F. and A. M. In days long past, he served
this municipality as a councillor, having been chairman of the Board
of Works in the days when plank sidewalks replaced footpaths for the
convenience of pedestrians.
He was twice married. His
first wife, who was Evelina Gibbon, predeceased him in 1889. There
were three sons and one daughter by this marriage: Charles
(deceased), Lorne of Toronto, Joseph O. of Simcoe, and Mrs. Edith
Morrison (deceased). He later married the widow of the late J. B.
Morris. She and his two [previously mentioned] sons survive.
Old-time residents of Simcoe
will experience a feeling of irreparable loss in Joseph Coates'
passing. He was truly a link with the early days, an observer who
from memory could recite a graphic account of this community's
history from the time of his arrival here.
The funeral was conducted
under Masonic auspices from his late residence, Colborne Street
north, on Tuesday afternoon to Oakwood Cemetery, where interment was
made. Rev. C. K. Masters officiated and members of Norfolk Lodge No.
10, A. F. and A. M. attended in a body, the last Masonic rites being
administered at the graveside.
The bearers were John M.
Stalker, Dr. W. M. McGuire, M. M. Smith, H. A. Weston, Thos. Storey
and Isaac McInally, all members of Norfolk Lodge.
The funeral was very largely
attended and the floral tributes were extremely [conspicuous]
by their beauty and abundance. Among them was a large wreath of
roses from Norfolk Lodge, A. M. and A. M., and a spray of roses from
Semanetis and Evel Company, Hamilton. Friends and relatives were in
attendance from Straffordville and London.