Museum the New Llano Colony

Lowell Harris Coate

Birth: He was born in Ludlow Falls, Ohio in 1889.  

Family Information:

Description: In 1918 he was described as tall and slender with brown eyes and dark hair. He was married to Flora Coate and a student at Olivet University. In 1942 he was living in Los Angeles with wife Hazel Coate while employed by the Board of Education, Los Angeles. At that time he was described as 6' tall, weight 205 pounds with a ruddy complexion, brown eyes and gray hair.  

Pre-Colony History: In 1900 and 1910 he was living in Indiana with his parents and siblings while attending school.

In 1920 he was living with first wife, Flora and serving as the principal and teacher of the Missionary Bible Institute in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1926 the couple were living in Pasadena, California where he was working as a teacher.

Home in Colony:

Job in Colony: First came to the colony in 1928 to start the Llano Co-operative College and he was pleased to note the number of colonists holding college degrees and/or teacher's certificates that would enable him to establish a complete educational program including the following departments: Kindergarten, Primary School, Grade School, College, Music, Expression and Art.

College students could attend the state chartered school without paying tuition, but must agree to work in one of the colony industries for four hours each day, which meant they were also being trained in a vocation, as well as those things which could be learned in other colleges. Only three years were required to complete the standard four-year college courses since classes ran throughout the year, rather than discontinuing through the summer months.

In addition to college courses, the colony offered vocational training in the following industries: Printing, Linotype, Book Binding, Sawmill and Planing Mill, Cabinet Making, Mechanics, Blacksmithing, Garage, Repair Shop, Building Construction, Brick Plant, Decorating and Sign Painting, Architectrual Designing and Drafting, Steam Power and Electric Plant, Ice Plant, Steam Laundry, Business Office with Complete Equipment, Stenography, Typewriting, Bookkeeping, Commercial Store, Shoe-Making and Repairing, Domestic Science and Home Economics, Bakery and Candy-Making, Broom Shop, Peanut Butter Manufacturing, Crate-Making, Veneer Plant, Canning Factory, Box Factory, and other enterprises, totaling more than fifty in all.

In September 1928 he was on the college faculty along with: Lowell H. Coate - Superintendent and instructor in Sociology, Economics and Public Education; E.C. Bennett - English and History; Benjamin Roe - Scientific Agriculture; Guy F. Rogers - Mathematics; Eugene Hough - Psychology; F. Hamel - Spanish, German and Latin; Mary Erma Wilson - Voice and Piano; R.B. Snyder - Director of Orchestra, Wind and Stringed Instruments, Chorus and Ensemble; Geo. T. Pickett - Industrial Science; Daisy Daugherty Domestic Science; Edna Mae Coffin - Manual Art, Sculpture and Architectural Drawing; Austin McLane - Journalism; Nell Rogers - Botany; Hope Shoemaker - Shorthand, Typewriting and Book-keeping; Mr. Daugherty - Intermediate Grades; Mrs. A.E. Bennet - Primary Grades; Esther Allen - Health and Hygiene; Mary H. Atworth - Librarian and Instructor in the Art of Expression; Anna Tabb - School Nurse, Dr. J.P. Kimmel - College Physician; Alice Pickett - Girls Counselor; Theodore Atworth - Oil and Watercolor Art; Alma Wilson Bell - Dramatic Art.

While in the colony he wrote a variety of columns for the colony newspapers.

He left sometime after the schools held their commencement exercises in June, 1929, to work in the Los Angeles school system but returned in July 1932.  

Other Info:

In 1928 he was one of the founding members of the local Conscientious Objectors Union; Theodore Atworth served as the first Secretary-Treasurer with O.E. Enfield serving as the President. The organization was planned to be international, composed of people who refused to go to war as a matter of conscience. Charter members included: Theodore Atworth, Mary H. Atworth, Emily H. Dougherty, I.A. Dougherty, Carl H. Gleeser, S. Weislander, Charlie C. Black, John Hight, Lowell H. Coate, W.A. Shutt, F.O. Jernberg, Reka Jernberg, Anna Tabb, Peter Kemp, F. Rosenburg, B. Wade Hewitt, Hamilton H. McClurg, W.J. Hoag, Theodore F. Landrum, C.N. Butts, Mary Snyder, George Snyder, Anna Garrett, Emma Shutt, M.A. Brattland, Richard P. Condon, Jr., Emily Swenson, W.J. Newman, George T. Pickett, Raymond DeFausell, S.E. Baldwin, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Molenar, Earl L. Bosch, Guy F. Rogers, Ora E. Newman, James J. Miller, Bert Busick, Mabel D. Busick, Ole Synoground, C.C. Mickey, Fred A. Jensen, Katie Mickey, F. Rahn and Isaac H. Keyes.

Participated as the referee in a colony spelling match held in celebration of Washington's birthday.

In March 1929, Llano's Male Quartet set off to visit Brownsville, Texas, camping along the way. Mr. Brattland was unanimously elected Head Chef, Comrade Stevens the Chief Engineer and Treasurer, Charles Eldred acted as Official Interpreter and Lowell Coate served as Road Guide and Official Can Opener.

Because of unavoidable delays on the first day of the trip, they eventually decided to drive all night, so as to arrive in time for the big Air Meet in which Lindbergh was to participate. They did arrive an hour before Lindbergh stepped into his Ford All-Metal Tri-Motored Plane to carry the first air mail from Texas to Mexico City (this despite the fact that all passenger service had been discontinued below the border due to the revolutionary activities there.)

The group was allowed to cross over the international bridge between Brownsville and Matamoras, but could travel no farther since all trains in that country were being used for troop movements. Along with a few souvenirs, they purchased a crate of oranges to take back to the colony, but at the first county line they were detained by a Federal officer who inquired if their fruit had been inspected. They hadn't realized it needed to be inspected so the officer insisted they would have to leave the fruit with him. Thinking very quickly, the group decided to juice the oranges and were able to take a nice jug of orange juice home, leaving the skins with the inspector, who was forced to admit he'd never seen it done like that before.

Often led the Conscientious Objector's Meetings when the President of that club was otherwise obligated.

In 1931, wrote a letter to George Pickett which was published in the "Llano Colonist" that stated the expansion ideas suggested by Pickett in the Colonist dated October 31, 1931 appealed to him tremendously. He stated that he might have enjoyed a more pastoral project like those suggested (or even the Rice Ranch) more than he had the highly mechanized industrial center at Newllano.

Post-Colony History: In 1930 he attended a picnic of ex-colonists at Fullerton, California. Each brought a lunch, sufficient for his needs and the needs of several others. Long tables were arranged under the shade of the park trees. The coffee was furnished by Minnie Pickett and John Will saw to it that everyone was generously served. It was unanimously agreed to form an organization that would organize future semi-annual social gatherings for the group. Minnie Pickett was chosen secretary-treasurer and Dr. Robert K. Williams was appointed assistant secretary.

The picnic was attended by more than 65 ex-colonists including: Minnie Pickett, John and Frances Will and Dorothy, Lottie Brown, Professor Lowell H. Coates, Bert Engle, Victor and Alma Swanson and Elwin, Jess and Mildred Morris, Louis and Grace Petty, Louis and Jennie Conlin, Mrs. M.E. Babb, Norman and Ethel Johnson, Ernest and Pearl Wooster, H.L. and Guy Ward, Mrs. Clara Powers and son, George, Mrs. Ada Harper, Ethel Wright, E.E. Vaughn, J.H. Ryan, Val Brown and wife, Lottie Brown, Miss A.C. Austin, Walter Millsap, Jr. and his mother, Cara Millsap, Dr. Robert K. and Dr. Cecil C. Williams, E. Krause and family, John Van Nuland (who passed around a tub of Llano candy sent by Anton, and it was "great stuff" by all those who tasted it) Mr. and Mrs. W.L. Kilmer, Professor Lowell B. Coate, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Wallace, Mr. and Mrs. Charley Earl, Mr. and Mrs. Suhre, A.L Spann, Frederick R. Johnson, A. Hansig.

In 1936, the library received a "dainty little booklet" from Professor Coate which he had written and sent on to them entitled "The Peace Calendar."

In 1940 he was living with second wife, Hazel (Rager) Coate (married 1932), and their three children in Los Angeles, California where he worked as the Attendance Officer for a City School.  

Death: He died in Pasadena, California on December 25, 1973.  

Sources: US WWI and WWII Draft Registration Card; "Vernon Parish Democrat": February 7, 1929, February 28, 1929; "Llano Colonist": September 15, 1928, September 22, 1928, November 24, 1928, December 22, 1928, December 29, 1928, February 16, 1929, February 23, 1929, March 2, 1929, March 30, 1929, April 6, 1929, June 1, 1929, May 10, 1930, November 21, 1931, July 23, 1932, June 2, 1934, January 11, 1936; US Census: 1900, 1910, 1920, 1940; Pasadena, California City Directory: 1926, 1940, 1943; California County Birth, Marriage and Death Records; US SSDI;;  


Lowell Coate

Clipping from the "Llano Colonist" dated March 2, 1929. Expand Image

Clipping from the "Llano Colonist" dated September 22, 1928.

Clipping from the "Llano Colonist" dated September 15, 1928.

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