Coats farm has long line in family history

By GAYLE SORRELL
Posted 12/3/21

The date on The Daily Record read Oct. 16, 1988, and shared that the Turlington Farms was the Coats Area Chamber of Commerce Business Focus of the Week. The farm was a family operation owned by …

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Coats farm has long line in family history

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The date on The Daily Record read Oct. 16, 1988, and shared that the Turlington Farms was the Coats Area Chamber of Commerce Business Focus of the Week. The farm was a family operation owned by Graham Turlington and his two sons, Jeff and Kent. The family owned or rented more than 800 acres of cropland.

The farm was established in 1870 by Alexander Turlington who passed it on to Robert “Bob” Turlington who passed it on to Lee Turlington, father of Graham. The partnership was formed between the father and sons in 1977. Graham was a route carrier for the U.S. postal system. He served as a deacon in Coats Baptist Church.

Jeff, the older son, was active in the Coats Chamber, the Harnett County Soil and Conservation and was married to Wanda Ennis Turlington. She was associated with the Applied Computer Technologies in Coats.

Kent was active in Coats Baptist Church where he was chairman of the Board of Deacons, president of the Dunn Area Development and was a participant in the Phillip Morris Leadership Developmental Association. Kent is married to Debbie Honeycutt Turlington, who is a teacher and father to Kyle and Kathryn Turlington.

How many of you know someone who has celebrated a 91st birthday? Belle Williams wrote in her “Notes from Coats” column in The Daily Record that Mrs. Maylon Pollard had celebrated her 91st birthday with her family members at the Senter Rest Home in Fuquay-Varina. Belle also shared that Mr. and Mrs. Luther Capps had celebrated a big event — their 61st wedding anniversary. Question: Was this the parents of Margie and Clara Mae?

This I do know. Evelyn Beasley and her daughter and son-in-law, Joyce Kay and Bernard Young, had visited in Washington, D.C., to sightsee and visit a second daughter, Jeanette Hardee of Alexandria, Virginia.

The notes included that the descendants of Joe Turner Matthews had a large family reunion. It was also noted that Mrs. Max Matthews Jr. was much improved after surgery. Other Coats folks who had medical issues were Geraldine Cooke, who had been treated at UNC Chapel Hill Memorial, and Rosa Rambeau at Rex Hospital.

Jean Barnes, wife of Billy Barnes, had returned to Washington, D.C. She had been seriously hurt in an automobile accident while visiting Hazel Barnes, Billy’s mother. Belle wrote that Coats had many citizens who had been very generous to the Coats community. For example, who knows who paid for the church sign on the corner of the Coats Baptist Church property? (Community Church in 2021) The Beasley family had given the sign in memory of Mr. and Mrs. T. Owen Beasley. Another example of giving was that by the Johnny Barnes family when they gave the new hymnals in Coats Baptist Church.

Would you be interested in knowing that in 1919 a first-class mule weighing 900 pounds and upwards and eight years or younger was worth $300. A second-class mule weighing less than 900 pounds and younger than 10 years of age was valued at $200, while anything else must have been third-class and was worth $150.

Did you know that a horse was less valuable than a mule in 1919? It may surprise you that all horses in the same classes brought $50 less than did the mules. Do you know why mules were so valuable in 1919? Was it because mules were used for farming the land? Were horses ever used for farm labor? Did the size of the hooves have anything to do with it? Horses were likely stronger, right?

This I do know. Roberts Auto and Electric Company in Coats was encouraging farmers to purchase a Fordson tractor on the first day of 1920. How do you think that went over to those who made a living trading mules and caring for their hooves? If the above numbers don’t surprise you, than try these on for size. In 1920, P.R. Ashby, a well- known Raleigh contractor, was given $200,000 to construct 50 miles of highways radiating from Dunn (yes, 50 miles of construction.) They would be the clay gravel type and when completed, would give this section of Harnett County a splendid system of roads.

Three main roads were to be built, leading from Dunn to the Cumberland County line, the Johnston County line and the Sampson County line, and were to be started immediately in April of 1920. Do you wonder if they were upgraded to roads we know in 2021?

Would you be interested in knowing in September of 1948 the State Highway and Public Works Commission awarded contracts to pave the road between Coats and Benson? The 6.94 miles of roadway was bid at $148,861.15. A hard-surfaced road had long been needed between the towns that were almost impassable in bad weather.

Read those above numbers carefully and be amazed. Would you like to know the costs of similar projects in 2021? I do know that very few mules are on farms today while one can see lots of horses in pastures throughout our area.

Wonder if Casey Jones’ parents ever plowed with mules? I do know that Casey and Ann Jones owned quarter horses and own some antique John Deere tractors. The readers of the Oct. 27, 1988 edition of The Daily Record learned that Casey had won first place in the Amateur Trail Class while riding his quarter horse. Casey was employed with the North Carolina Justice Department at the Attorney General’s Office. His wife was the Coats Chamber president. Another Coats resident had won recognition. Alice Hawley was named Midget Football Homecoming Queen. Alice’s parents were Joey and Kay Hawley and her grandparents were Joe and Ora Pond Hawley.

Recognitions continued to make the news in the Record. Debbie Jo Lee Wagner was selected as the Harnett County Teacher of the Year. The young teacher had distinguished herself as a student and teacher. She possessed strong values and displayed innovative teaching techniques. Debbie was the daughter of Joe and Eloise Lee of Coats. She had two daughters, Samantha and Casey Wagner (The Daily Record, Nov. 1, 1988).

Mr. and Mrs. Mack Reid Hudson held a reception for Mr. and Mrs. Bob Etheridge. People from throughout Harnett County came to the festive event (The Daily Record, Nov. 4, 1988). Question: What was the reason for this well-attended event? Did Bob make some announcement about a possible political aspiration?

A November death had occurred in the Morgan family of Coats. Mary Morgan, 85, had died on Sunday in Good Hope Hospital. One daughter, Dockia Hawley, survived her. Yet another death was announced. Mrs. Artie Johnson had died. She was the mother of Florine Penny. For those of you who knew these two ladies you will recall that the mother-daughter duo enjoyed walking over the beautiful flower gardens of Florine.

Another name familiar to many generations is Carson Gregory. Carson was honored for his service to the Harnett County Farm Bureau. He had served as president for 26 years. H.A. Turlington was elected first vice president (The Daily Record, Nov. 14, 1988).

Read next week about the history of the old Coats Railroad Depot or visit us at the Coats Museum and view some amazing collections of history from Coats folks. While at the museum, you might want to check to see if your family has any genealogical records in the Research Library.

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