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Below is a family biography included in The History of Polk County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Washington D. Coats, a prominent tiller of the soil of Jackson Township, who resides half a mile from Sharon Station, was born in Henry County, Tenn., September 30, 1825, emigrating to Missouri with his parents in the fall of 1833, and settling in what is now Polk County. He is the son of Benjamin and Elizabeth (Coats) Coats (cousins), both natives of Tennessee, and born in 1795 and 1800 respectively. They were married about 1819, and afterward moved to West Tennessee, where they remained until 1833, when they settled in what is now Polk County, Mo. He followed farming in that county, and in 1859 took a herd of cattle of about fifty head to California. He died in that State in 1862. The mother died on the old home place June 30, 1870. They were the parents of eight children, four now living. Washington D. Coats attained his growth in Polk County, and was married in that county in 1849, to Miss Matilda Rook, a native of Tennessee, born in 1832, and who came to Missouri with her parents at an early age. After marriage Mr. Coats followed agricultural pursuits until the breaking out of the war, when he enlisted in Company H, Phelps’ Regiment Missouri Infantry Volunteers, and served six months, and was mustered out in May, 1862. During his time of service he was in the battle of Pea Ridge. He enlisted in the Enrolled Militia, Company I, in 1862, serving six months, at which time the company was disbanded. He after ward served four months under Lieut. Roberts at Bolivar. After the war he returned home and engaged in farming. He is post commander of Phil. Sheridan Post No. 398, G. A. R. and is also a member of the Baptist Church. To his marriage were born twelve children : Newton Marion, William Henry, Thomas B., James A.; Rebecca E., now Mrs. Neil; Mary, now Mrs. Patterson; Frantz S., Abraham L., John W., Edward S.; Sarah E., now Mrs. Slatter; and Charley C. Mrs. Coats is also a member of the Baptist Church. Mr. Coats is a well-read man, and takes great interest in educational matters. The paternal grand father of our subject, Benjamin W. Coats, was born in Virginia, and died in Tennessee about 1840. His wife died about 1847. The maternal grandfather was probably born in Virginia, and died in Tennessee about 1835, and his wife in 1840.

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This family biography is one of 132 biographies included in The History of Polk County, Missouri published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Polk County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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