Museum visitors this week touch cotton for first time

Looking back to 1978

Posted 8/2/19

The month was July and the year was 1978 when a miscellaneous shower was held for Priscilla McGee, bride-elect of Tim McKinnie. Hostesses were Mrs. Kenneth McGee, Mrs. Gertie Gregory, Mrs. J.W. …

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Museum visitors this week touch cotton for first time

Looking back to 1978


The month was July and the year was 1978 when a miscellaneous shower was held for Priscilla McGee, bride-elect of Tim McKinnie. Hostesses were Mrs. Kenneth McGee, Mrs. Gertie Gregory, Mrs. J.W. Phillips, Mrs. Vara Hardee and Connie Morrison. The event honoring the couple was held in the Coats Community Building. Tim was the son of Mr. and Mrs. George McKinnie of Coats (Daily Record, July 28, 1978).

Welcome to Larry and Connie Lynn Houston Flowers’ house in order to meet baby Heather Inez Flowers who had come into the world on July 7, at Johnston Memorial Hospital (Daily Record, July 28, 1978).

Rep. Carson Gregory attended the first day of sales at the Dunn Tobacco Market. Approximately 400,000 pounds of tobacco were sold at about $1.50 per pound. Edward Hudson of Coats sold his tobacco for an average of $152.47 per pound (Daily Record, Aug. 2, 1978). Was that considered good prices?

I do know that four residents of Harnett County had received advanced degrees from Campbell College in the first graduate program at Campbell. One of the recipients was Jeanette Stewart Pleasant, the wife of Robert Pleasant and the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. Leroy Stewart. Mrs. Pleasant is mother of Robbie, Jill, and Anita (Daily Record, Aug. 3, 1978).

Chris Ennis was the first-place winner and Edwin Brewer was second for raising the most money for Easter Seals that was coordinated by Doug Stevens with the Coats Little League Games with the Coats Recreational Department. Other boys on the team were Jeffrey Denning, Terry Dibella, Jody Pollard, Mark Patterson, Gary Meadows, Rodney Stone, Alan Stephenson, Mike Brown and Travis Matthews (Daily Record, Aug. 4, 1978).

A special service was to be held for J. Walt Sorrell Sr. at Hodges Chapel Church in observation of his 90th birthday (Daily Record, Aug. 10, 1978). Did you do the math on that date? It shows that Mr. Walt was born in 1888. He witnessed life before electricity, running water, school buses, tractors, cars and airplanes. He fought on the battlefields of World War I and returned to spend his life in the fields that were once his grandfather, John C. Sorrell’s, naval stores in the Sorrell area on the current Turlington Road outside of Dunn.

Read to see how many of the following you recognize and how many you know are alive in 2019 who were elected to serve as officers or board members of the Coats Grove Fire District in 1978. James Grimes, president; Melvin Parrish, secretary; Dr. Harold Dixon, publicity chairman; Carlos Dixon and Robert Pleasant, board members were named in The Daily Record, Aug. 11, 1978, edition. Also named in the article were Mack Reid Hudson, vice president; Norfleet Gardner, treasurer; and Banks Pollard and Gail Pope as continuing officers and board members.

The funeral of James Carroll was held at the Bethel Primitive Baptist Church with burial in the church cemetery. His survivors included his widow, Mozelle Spivey Carroll; a son, Linwood Carroll; siblings, Mildred Bullock, Katherine Smith, Ethelene Faulkner, Tommy Carroll and Mezie L. Carroll (Daily Record, Aug. 14, 1978).

The accidental drowning of Dunn Police Sgt. Jessie B. West Jr. occurred at a pond next to his house on the Fairground Road. He had his 3-year-old with him in a one-man boat on the Tinker Howard Pond when the boat capsized about 50 feet from the edge of the pond. West’s brother-in-law jumped in and saved the boy, but he was unable to save Sgt. West (Daily Record, Aug. 17, 1978).

Michelle Tart, Denise Owens, Sandy Dupree, Amy Carter and Dee Trogden were puppeteers who staged a show at the Coats Recreational Center to show how to save energy. Martha Parrish, Wanda Hardison, and Rebeth Mitchell of the Goodwill Extension Homemakers Club had assisted in the puppet show of Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Goofy (Daily Record, Aug. 16, 1978).

Maxine Pleasant Denning, 54, of Angier, had died on Tuesday. She was survived by one daughter, Jan Pleasant Denning and nine siblings who were Gladys Langdon, Mrs. John Lassister, Mrs. Leonard Ogburn, Christine Pleasant, Mrs. Stephen Peterson, Mrs. J.J. Barnes Jr., Willard Pleasant, Joseph M. Pleasant and M.B. Pleasant Jr. (Daily Record, Aug. 23, 1978). By the way, this family has strong roots in the Bethel and Barclaysville region.

Max Matthews and Dorothy Matthews, leaders of the East Erwin Saddle Club 4-H Club, were given citations and plaques by the N.C. 4-H Congress for their outstanding volunteer work with the 4-H group (Daily Record, Aug. 17, 1978).

Nearly 600 people attended the funeral of Sgt. West who had drowned at a pond in the Oakdale area (Daily Record, Aug. 18, 1978).

Margaret Penny Johnson of Coats had been named as a delegate to the October Governor’s Conference on Libraries and Information Service. Mrs. George F. Johnson was an alternate (Daily Record, Aug. 21,1978).

Two new babies had arrived in the Coats area on Aug.15. Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Dennis were parents of a son. Cindy Pleasant Dennis, the new mother, was daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Pleasant. The second birth was a boy born to Mr. and Mrs. Keith B. Parrish (Daily Record, Aug. 22, 1978).

The Turlington family had lost another member in less than four months. Randall had died in May. Henry A. Turlington Sr., 87, had expired on Wednesday. He was known as “Mr. Democrat,” was a retired chief deputy, U.S. Marshal of Eastern District and was a Duroc hog breeder. Seven children survived him, H.A. Jr., Bickett Wade, Mrs. Ed Barbee, Mrs. Gerald Hayes Sr., Mrs. Charles Hunter Ogburn, Mrs. Fred Adams and Mrs. J.M. Mewborn. His siblings were W.H., Hilton, Mrs. Alvah Wolf, Mrs. Prentiss Croon, Mr. J.P. Morgan, Mrs. George Underwood, Gertrude Byrd and Allene Honeycutt (Daily Record, Aug. 24, 1978). Recall that Henry’s father was Will H. Turlington, former Harnett County sheriff, and his mother was Lizzie Penny Turlington, daughter of H.H. Penny, half-brother of James Thomas Coats.

Does it seem that everyone was a relative a few generations back? I can share that Mrs. Joseph Kennedy, daughter of Talmadge B. Barefoot, had organized a fundraiser for Bethsaida Primitive Baptist Church that was in need of repair since the present members were elderly and lived on fixed incomes. Those who had relatives in the cemetery were encouraged to send contributions to Elder W.C. Noles in Coats. Elder Bernice Wood had founded the church in 1884 (Daily Record, Aug. 24, 1978).

Another citizen from the Bethel area had died. Judd Lee Langdon, 60, of Route 2, Angier, had died on Wednesday. Funeral services were held at the Coats Baptist Church with burial in the Devotional Gardens. He was survived by his wife, Kathleen Smith Langdon; a son, Donnie D. Langdon; and a stepdaughter, Jean Carol Fowler. His siblings were three brothers, J. Roy, Merchant and J.A. Jr.; and four sisters, Elsie Barnes, Josephine Bullard, Ruth Barefoot and Mavis Hayes (Daily Record, Aug. 25, 1978).

A different kind of celebration was held for Donna Leanne Whittington, 8-year-old granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Laron Sox. The birthday girl was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Don Whittington of Chapel Hill (Daily Record, Aug. 29, 1978).

Yet another celebration had occurred when Mr. and Mrs. M.T. Strickland of Rockwell had celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. Debbie, Kathy, Shelia and Sharon hosted the event (Daily Record, Aug. 29, 1978).

There are many in Coats who do not know that the Coats area once had some large industries. There was the Coats Brick Mill that made about 25,000 bricks a day and shipped most of them out of town on the railroad. It is said that all the original brick businesses on Main Street were built from the brick at that mill before 1913. The brick mill operated around the clock and brick were hauled by wagon to the town site.

The town also had a large hosiery mill and hired many town men and women. There was flour mill, a corn mill, several cotton gins and sawmill at the same time, a light plant and a cannery. Coffins were actually made in Coats. Then there was Terre Hill that hired over 500 people and today Gray-Flex is in that plant. The Daily Record, Aug. 30, 1978, edition shared that the Superior Lingerie Outlet on Ida and Park streets had a grand reopening. They were selling gowns, pajamas or baby dolls for $2.99.

Coats Museum notes

If you have not had a chance, find time to visit the website. On it are listed the names of the people buried in the Coats City Cemetery, census records and “Coats Museum News” columns sharing the early history of Coats — the older the date, the older the history.

We enjoyed giving tours last week to visitors from Minnesota who had never touched cotton. Visitors from Tennessee, Virginia and Florida were given tours. Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Cary and Whispering Pines visitors toured the museum last week wanting to see Dr. William Thornton’s space suit while others wanted to know more about Alton Stewart, the first licensed aviator in North Carolina.


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