COATS, Bethel Sims b 16 April 1868 Contra Costa County, California d 30 May 1951 same
m 30 Dec 1891 Phoebe Ellen Bowles b 9 Apr 1873 San Luis Obispo County, California d 13 July 1962 San Jose, California
Eunice Evelyn <../Rowe/rowe.html> b 4 May 1893
Bernice Eloise b 16 Feb 1895
Doris Thelma b 18 April 1899
Bethel most likely took his entire primary education at the original Tassajara School. While at the school, Bethel started a journal
. His first entry was about the school. He graduated in 1885 and started attending Livermore College the next year.
Phoebe's family moved to the county in 1887 at which time Phoebe started attending the Tassajara school. Bethel had already graduated, but may have met her there through his sisters who were still attending or at the school dance at the new school house in 1889 which he took the trouble to record in his journal. He certainly would have met her when he worked for her father in October of that year.
Bethel took over his father's ranch which he increased to 1200 acres and ran it off and on. He would sometime rent out the ranch to others. For example, from an 1896 journal entry: "Rented our place to Ella and Charley Worth in the fall and went to the coast for a year or more"
Before and after he married, Bethel like to travel. Here's an entry from his journal for 1901:
Got a wagon and started out camping with whole family, Eunice, Bernice & Doris. Started July 1st, back Oct. 1st. Went through Santa Rosa, Geysers, Lake County, Adam’s Springs, Sacramento, Lake Tahoe, Mercer’s Cave, and Big Trees of Calaveras Grove.
That's a good part of Northern California by wagon! The next year they covered a good part of Southern California:
Went camping in the fall. Started Sept. 27th, got back Nov. 13th and visited Watsonville, San Simeon, Kings County, Fresno County, Madera County.
Two years later they went to the World's fair:
Phoebe and I went to the World’s Fair [in St. Louis]. Started Sept. 30th and got back Jan 29th 1905. Stopped in Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, Watsonville and Livermore.
In 1906 Bethel bought a house in San Jose and moved the family there so that the girls (pictured above) could get a better education. Two years later they sold their first house and bought another one in the same city. In 1912, they bought a candy store, which they ran for about three years. Bethel also kept an orchard for a about four years.
When their children had grown, Bethel and Phoebe returned to the ranch in Tassajara. Bethel died in 1951. Phoebe continued living there for a few years before moving back to San Joes to live with her daughter Eunice in San Jose until she died in 1962 at the age of 89. While the ranch is largely intact under the current owner, all the original ranch building are gone as can be seen in there current photographs
Bethel and Phoebe are buried in Section F of the Dublin Pioneer Cemetery <http://www.l-ags.org/cem_pd/du106.html>, Dublin, California. The birth and death dates are from the grave stones. Bethel is described as 5 feet 11 inches tall with gray eyes and brown hair in the 1892 voter registration for Contra Costa County. A biography of Bethel
was written in 1926.
Biography of Bethel S Coats
BETHEL S. COATS.-The son of an old California pioneer and himself a pioneer by birth, Bethel S. Coats is a fine representative both of the true Californian and of the rancher in the Tassajara section of Contra Costa County, where he was born on April 16, 1868. His father was Felix Grundy Coats, who was born in Missouri, there grew to manhood, and crossed the plains with ox-teams in 1849 with his father, Wilson Coats. Grandfather Wilson Coats was born in Smith County, Tenn., on August 10, 1802, and when fifteen went to Callaway County, Mo. On May 1, 1849, with his son and some others, he came across the plains to California, arriving on September 7, that same year. They mined in Placer and Nevada Counties till 1851. Wilson Coats went back to Missouri, via Panama, and joined his family; and they came back to California and settled in Contra Costa County, where he bought 160 acres of land. His was the only family in the Tassajara Valley for some time. His wife, whom he married on December 25, 1823, was in maidenhood Miss Mary Philipp; she was born in Tennessee, and died in California on November 27, 1875. Wilson Coats died aged eighty-four years. There were ten children in the Coats family. The great-grandfather was Rev. William Coats; he was born in Tennessee, was a Baptist preacher, and moved from Tennessee' to Missouri in 1817. He died at the age of seventy years. Coats Prairie in Missouri was named for the Coats family, as they owned almost all the land in it..
Felix Grundy Coats was born in Callaway County, Mo., on August 9, 1828, grew to manhood there, and came with his father to California in 1849. He mined till the fall of 1851 and then gave up mining to come to the Tassajara Valley, Contra Costa County, to engage in ranching. He took up 160 acres of land and added a school claim and later purchased 640 acres where Bethel S. Coats now lives. He added to his holdings until he owned about 1200 acres. This he devoted to stock and grain and during his many years of actual work made a decided success. He married Leona Doggett, who was born in Arkansas and rode horseback from her native State to Oregon when she was a girl of eleven, in 1852. They were married on February 23, 1860, at Tassajara, she having come south from Oregon with her people in 1859 and settled about one mile from the present Coats ranch. The house built in 1855 by grandfather Wilson Coats was burned, but Bethel S. Coats has the bricks built into a chimney in his own home, which he put up in 1917. Of the family of children born to the Coats family we mention Nolen, now deceased; James, living in San Francisco; Bethel S., of this review; Ella, who married E. Seiler of Stockton; May, the widow of Marion Horton, residing in San Francisco, and Jennie, the wife of Thomas White, also in San Francisco. Felix G. Coats died on June 9, 1916, aged eighty-seven years and ten months. The wife and mother died on December 25, 1893, aged about fifty-two..
Bethel S. Coats attended the Tassajara school and for a short time went to the Livermore College conducted by J. D. Smith. He began his career as a rancher on the old home place and remained there until his children were ready for an advanced school and the family moved to San Jose, where he conducted a store for three years and carried on an orchard for about four. He continued to look after his property in Tassajara, where he has 320 acres. Since returning to the ranch after his stay in San Jose, he has resided here, raising bay, grain and cattle; and he also carries on dairying on a small scale. Mr. Coats is a member of the Woodmen of the World, Neighbors of Woodcraft, and the Grange..
On December 30, 1891, Bethel S. Coats and Miss Phoebe Bowles were united in marriage. She was born in San Luis Obispo County, a daughter of Caleb and Ellen (Patton) Bowles, both natives of Missouri. Caleb Bowles came to California and mined for a time, after which he settled in San Luis Obispo County and engaged in ranching, later moving to Tassajara, where he continued farming. Mr. Bowles was related to the late Senator George Hearst, and Mrs. Bethel S. Coats was named for Mrs. Hearst. Three children have been born of this union: Eunice, Mrs. William Rowe of San Gabriel, and the mother of four children: Phyllis E., Doris E., W. Bethel and Roberta E.; Bernice, a professional nurse in Stanford Hospital in San Francisco; and Doris, Mrs. Victor Morton, who lives near San Jose and is the mother of two children, Victor J. and Marcia B. Mr. Coats is a Presbyterian. The family enjoy motoring, and each year take an extended trip for their vacation. In 1923 Mr. and Mrs. Bethel S. Coats took an automobile trip back East over practically the same route as that covered by his father in six months with ox-teams in 1846. They spent seventeen days on their journey, and had a very enjoyable time..
MegMBowles originally shared this
18 Apr 2010 ☒story
History of Contra Costa County, California, Historic Record Company, 1926, pages 460-462
1926 ⌼Contra Costa County, California