Howard Elliott Coates, for thirty years a member of the Hawkinsville bar, has also served in both the upper and lower houses of the Georgia Legislature in framing the laws of his State, and has gained an enviable reputation in a profession which calls for keen intellect and requires intense application, good judgment, and a constantly widening comprehension of the relations and responsibilities which go to make up civilized society. He was born August 16, 1877, on a farm in Wilkinson County, Georgia, five miles from Irwinton, the county seat, and comes of Scotch and Irish ancestry. His parents were Edward John and Martha (Hughes) Coates, the latter a native of Twiggs County, Georgia. The.father was born in Laurens County, Georgia, and served for many years as pastor of the Baptist Church at Hawkinsville, becoming a potent force in moral progress of the community. He also took an active part in political affairs during reconstruction, and represented his senatorial district in the constitutional convention in 1877.
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In the acquirement of an education, Howard E. Coates attended a private school in Hawkinsville, and his academic training was received at Mercer University, from which he was graduated in 1894 with the A.B. degree. He was admitted to the bar in 1895, and has since engaged in the general practice of law at Hawkinsville. Years of experience and study have broadened his knowledge and ripened his ability, bringing him an extensive and important clientele. His understanding of the principles of jurisprudence is comprehensive and exact, and his cases are prepared with thoroughness, precision and skill, while in their presentation he is logical, forceful and convincing. He is one of the directors of the Planters Bank and is also the owner of valuable farmlands, taking a keen interest in the development of the great agricultural resources of his State.
During the World War, Colonel Coates assisted the local board in filling out questionnaires, was active in promoting the sale of Liberty Bonds, and was ever prepared to aid his country when needed. He was reared in the faith of the Baptist Church, to which he has always adhered, and is a stanch Democrat in his political convictions. He has been a member of the county executive committee as well as a delegate to State conventions, and exerts a strong influence in the councils of the party.
From 1917 until 1922 he represented Pulaski County in the lower house of the General Assembly of Georgia, and from’ 1922 until 1924 was State Senator from the Fourteenth Senatorial District. He gave to the questions which came for settlement the same careful consideration and deep thought that he habitually bestows upon personal matters, and his endorsement of a measure was an indication of his firm belief in its efficacy as a f actor in good government.
While a student at Mercer University he joined the Phi Delta Theta fraternity and Phi Delta Literary Society. Colonel Coates has always been loyal to every trust reposed in him, and time has proven his worth.
Colonel Coates was a candidate for Congress from the Third Congressional District, and while he was not successful as against two aspirants, he is justly proud of the vote he received in his home county. Out of a total of 1,295 votes cast in the September 1932,
election, he lost only sixty-four votes to his two opponents.