1973: News similar to what’s happening today


There is an old saying that states that history repeats itself. The news of 1973 does seem to have some similar topics of those in 2018 with only names of places, individuals and numbers being different. In 1973, the federal budget was $14.8 billion; the Arab-Israeli war was the fourth in 25 years; and a collector paid $153,000 for Adolf Hitler’s car at an auction.

Can you replace those numbers and names with information of 2018? This I do know. Births and deaths were always in the news and touched the lives of many people in the Coats Grove Township. Mrs. Hubert Gregory of Route One, Coats, had lost her mother, Florence Stephenson Matthews, on Thursday. Mrs. Matthews was buried at the Pleasant Union Christian Church where her services were conducted. That obituary, as well as most obituaries, is filled with genealogical information. For example, you discover Mrs. Matthews’ maiden name, the church she likely attended and the church has a cemetery.

Another death announcement appeared in that same April 23, 1973, edition of The Daily Record. William Rufus Coats, 77, of Benson had died. His services were at Rose Funeral Home Chapel and burial was in Roselawn Cemetery. Surviving him were his widow, Lillian Garris Coats; two daughters, Mrs. Dorothy (Lawrence) Campbell and Mrs. Bobby G. Johnson; one son, J.N. Coats; and a brother, Amos B. Coats.

It is a very small world in which we live. H.L. and I were living in a local hotel during Hurricane Florence because of earlier wind damage to our house when a handsome man approached us who was staying at the hotel because of the coastal evacuation from his house which was to be affected by the high water levels caused by Florence. This young man was the son of Dorothy Campbell mentioned above and he grew up at Massengill Pond where H.L. raises cattle on a farm there.

Yet another death was recorded in The Daily Record, April 24, 1973, edition. Bertha Ammons Stone, 74, of Coats had died on Sunday. Her services were at the Gift Primitive Baptist Church with burial in the Coats City Cemetery. Elder Derle McGee and the Rev. Roy Phillips officiated. Surviving her were husband, Jennings G. Stone; five sons, the Rev. Vilice Grant, Clyde, Eldred, Alvin Lee and Bobby J. Stone; and a brother, Luther Ammons.

How many of you recognized the name Clyde Stone or maybe some of his brothers’ names? Clyde Stone and Gerald Young were very popular musicians in Coats for many years and in fact some might remember that they were heard on WCKB radio station in Dunn which did transmit a short program from a second story building on Main Street Coats for several years. Gerald’s son, Tommy Young, has made quite a name for himself in the gospel music arena. The folks at Coats Museum remember him for the museum’s beautiful book cases and exhibit cabinets that he helped make while working at Coats Cabinets.

Miss Mollie Williams, 91, of Coats had died on Sunday. Her services were also at the Gift Primitive Baptist Church and burial was in the Coats City Cemetery. Elders J.S. Stephenson and Worth Stephenson officiated. Surviving her were seven sisters, Nealie Lee, Sarah Turner, Eula Byrd, Ora Powell, Evie Ennis and Rexie Williams. What sister is missing? Her three brothers were Charlie, Lester and Hester (Daily Record, April 24, 1973).

Question: Were these the children of Bill Dad Williams who lived to be over 100 years old and was a child when the War Between the States touched the Coats area?

I do know that Margaret Avery Hudson and William Earl Ennis announced their marriage on Good Friday, April 20, 1973. Mrs. Ennis was the daughter of Sudie Moore and the late Ira C. Avery of Coats (Daily Record, April 28, 1973).

Finally, we have additional news other than obituaries to share from the Coats area in 1973. The Coats Woman’s Club had met at the home of Mrs. Herbert Johnson. Co-hosting were Mrs. Fleetwood Adams, Mrs. Max Beasley and Mrs. Ronald Coats. Ray West, counselor with the Harnett-Lee Health Center in Buies Creek, was speaker. Officers for 1974 were to be installed at the May meeting (Daily Record, April 30, 1973).

I guess we will have to wait until the May meeting to meet the new Woman’s Club officers. I can share that the Herbert Johnson house that the April meeting was held is located on McKinley Street and is the two-story brick house and was purchased by Herbert from Mrs. W.E. Nichols. The current owner of the spacious old house prefers to live in a country cottage out on Delma Grimes Road and rents the house to Campbell students which I am sure would please Mrs. Nichols who loved young people.

Coats Museum Notes

The Woman’s Club was and continues to be a very active group of ladies. They have persevered in preserving the history of that organization. The Coats Museum is so fortunate to have all the scrapbooks of the club from the very beginning of its organization. Drop by the museum’s Research Library and meander through them. You might be surprised and pleased to discover what the Coats ladies have done over the decades.

A special thank you goes to Lynda Butler who covered the column for the Coats Museum News while H.L. and I were out of house. Also, thank you goes to the dozens of people who came by during Famers Day to see the new exhibits, to research genealogy of their families and to share items. Ricky Dupree from Fuquay-Varina brought several items for his dad, Louis Dupree, who had saved them from early Coats businesses. A thank you goes also to Sandra Coats Byrd for remembering her aunt, Wynona Ennis, with a memorial.

The Coats Museum volunteers are at the museum every Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Sundays from 2 to 5 p.m. On Thursdays, we welcome those who want to research family history and we have access to ancestry.com and other tools for genealogical research. By visiting our coatsmuseum.com website, additional information about Coats is available.


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