They traveled from Ireland to Pennsylvania to establish a community called Coatsville, but in search of prosperity they came down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. This was the journey of the family of Joseph Coats, his parents and brothers and sisters. Somewhere along the way his father and all their money disappeared. They arrived in Louisiana broke and down-trodden.
Joseph made a living on the docks and as a brick layer and eventually made his way to Livingston Parish. He met and married Rebecca Patterson; who was said to be a Choctaw Indian and a very Christian Woman. The Coats family is a prominent name in Springfield,as they have been there since the origination of the town. Joseph and Rebecca had 4 children. Their son Henry Clay Coats was my GreatGrandfather. Henry Clay married Rozilla Sprole and had 16 children, one of which was my Grandfather; Willie Bryan Coats.
I cannot end this biography without telling the most famous of my Grandfather's stories. It is the story of the demise of Rebecca Coats; his Grandmother. The story goes:
After Joseph and Rebecca had raised their children, they took in an orphaned boy of a family member. They raised him and treated him as their own. For some unknown reason, the boy decided to rob Becky while Joseph was out in the fields. He hit her over the head with a smoothing iron and killed her. He was found and promptly taken to the "Hanging Tree" by a posey headed by Joseph and Becky's son Henry Clay. After the boy was dead and cut down from the tree, he fell face first to the ground. Henry Clay said to the posey "bury him where he lays." One of the Posey members started to turn the body over and Henry Clay stopped him. "He's facing where he's going" Henry replied and turned and mounted his horse.
If you would like further information on this biography or The Coats Family of Livingston Parish, please feel free to contact me by e-mail.