Two-thirds of Coats High grads attend 1985 reunion

By Gayle Sorrell
Coats Museum News
Posted 8/28/20

The Coats Museum Research Library has on its shelves many notebooks filled with decades of information about businesses that were located in Coats and its surrounding Grove areas.

The Research …

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Two-thirds of Coats High grads attend 1985 reunion

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The Coats Museum Research Library has on its shelves many notebooks filled with decades of information about businesses that were located in Coats and its surrounding Grove areas.

The Research Library notebooks also have advertisements, receipts with business logos, canceled checks and the North Carolina Business Directory printouts. These directories share the names of businesses and town officials dating back to when Barclaysville, Troyville and Turlington had post offices, cotton gins, distilleries and sawmills.

One might ask, “How was this business information gathered?” The researchers would respond, by talking to area residents, young and old, perusing family genealogies, looking at the advertisements in old Coats High School yearbooks, old maps, calendars, photographs, business advertising memorabilia, printing on the sides of some of the town buildings and county newspapers.

For example, you have been reading about the Coats High School Reunion Project on May 17-19, 1985.

In the May 16, 1985 edition of The Daily Record it was printed that the following local businesses advertised: Pope’s Distributing Co. and Pope Hardware Stores, True Value Hardware Stores, Pope’s Barn, First Citizens Bank, Rose Funeral Home, Bass Country Store, Doyle Barbour Grocery and Exxon Station, Coats Pharmacy, Kenneth W. Ennis Insurance and Real Estate, McKnight’s Drug Store, Johnson and Norris Real Estate, Beasley’s Tin, Heat and Air Conditioning, Wade’s Restaurant, Turlington’s Auto Service, BB&T, Coats Motor Company, Stacy Williams Upholstery, Ennis Mobile Service and 24 Hour Wrecker Service, Patsy’s Beauty Den, Coats Tire Service and Recapping, Coats IGA, Powell Bros. Auto Parts, Grady Matthews Nationwide Insurance, Currin and Dorman Construction and Real Estate and Tyndall Electronics.

This list of advertisers helped the researchers have verifiable information of some of the businesses operating in the Coats area in 1985.

When visiting the museum, look in the business notebooks. Possibly you may have an ancestor who operated a business that we did not find in our research.

If you ever heard Tommy Hayes and Donald Ennis brag about catching a big bass, there’s proof. The two men carried a bass that weighed 9 pounds and 15 ounces to the paper for a picture. What is the top weight that a bass can grow before being caught?

I do know that it was reported that two thirds of the 3,000 students having graduated from Coats High School since 1925 had returned for the Coats Reunion. Pictures in the paper shared that Hilda Pope, Grace Cade and Elease Bowling were like kids again when the three sisters were reunited at the displayed little store that their mother operated from 1924 to 1940. Mrs. Sheba’s Store had sat directly across from the school and sold penny candy (and likely some school supplies). The store was moved to the campus for the celebration and once more sold penny candy to former students.

What a weekend it was with class tents, professional photographers, videographers, fireworks, food, entertainment by former students and a parade. All this weekend of festivities was captured on video that sold along with the history — “Together We Leave.”

Marie Salmon and her faithful helpers had no idea how that event would impact the Coats community and the Coats Museum collections years from then.

Another birthday was celebrated by Mary Penny Coats when she celebrated her 92nd birthday. She was the only surviving child of 17 parented by Henry Harrison (H.H.) and Unity Coats Penny, formerly of Johnston County. She was the oldest living resident of Coats in 1985 where she had lived for 73 years. She had married Roger Coats of Johnston County and they had one daughter, Louise Jackson of Coats, who was special guest at the birthday gathering (The Daily Record, May 20, 1985).

Joanne Pope of the Coats Woman’s Club awarded Mr. and Mrs. Carsie Denning Sr. as the club’s Family of the Year. Mary Langdon presented the Club Woman of the Year to Florine Penny (The Daily Record, May 20, 1985).

Dr. Ronnie Wayne Faulkner, a 1970 Coats High graduate and Campbell University graduate, presented a copy of his first full-length book. The title of the book was “Samuel A’Court Ashe: NC Redeemer and Historian, 1849-1938.” Dr. Faulkner was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Silas S. Faulkner (The Daily Record, May 21, 1985).

A sincere thank you goes to Hannah, Lee, Joey Tart and Linda T. Thompson for designating the Coats Museum as a charity to remember Joe Tart. Hilda Pope, Lynda and Robie Butler, H.L. and Gayle Sorrell, Godwin Manufacturing, Danny and Alice Denning, Junior and Celia Barbour, Mike and Sondra Smith, TRP Sumner-CPA’s, Randy and Rhonda Stephenson, C.D. Munoz, PA. , Eddie and Elizabeth Winstead, Jerry and Carolyn Tart, Walter and Kathy Weeks, William and Sandra Bernard, Larry Byrd, Wayne and Sherry Royal, Linda Lunney and the Class of 1965 have responded with memorials to the Coats Museum.

Joe Tart did and now you — his friends and associates — have made a difference in the continuing success of the Coats Museum. Thank you.

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