The Biographical Dictionary of America/Coates, Benjamin

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COATES, Benjamin, philanthropist, was born in Philadelphia. Pa., Feb. 16, 1808; eldest son of George Morrison and Rebecca (Hornor) Coates and a brother of George Morrison Coates, merchant. He engaged in the dry goods business and subsequently in partnership with his brother, in the wool business in Philadelphia, in which, and by inheritance, he acquired a fortune. He was for a time a special partner in the book publishing firm of Porter & Coates. He was one of the founders of, and a life-long associate in the Union benevolent association and in the Penn mutual life insurance company of Philadelphia, and was interested in various charitable organizations. He was vice-president of the Pennsylvania state abolition society, was connected with the Colonization society, and was one of the projectors of the republic of Liberia. It was due partly to his efforts that Liberia was recognized as an independent government by Great Britain in 1848 and by the United States in 1861. After emancipation in the United States he directed his attention to the establishment and support of schools for the freedmen and Indians. He retired from active participation in mercantile life about 1872. He was throughout life a consistent member of the Society of Friends. He died in Philadelphia, Pa., March 7, 1887.