1823 – 1897
Sarah Chandler Coates was thirty-three years old when she left her home in Pennsylvania and found herself pulling into port at what was to become the Town of Kansas and later Kansas City. She wrote in her journal that her heart sank as she asked herself “Is this to be my home?” Two years earlier Kersey Coates, an attorney from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, had come here to buy land for a group of eastern investors. The 110 acres he purchased had disappointed the investors since it was so far from the riverfront. They instructed him to sell it fast. He felt confident in its potential, so he signed a note and bought it for himself.
Sarah Chandler was a Quaker and she, like her husband were firm in their anti-slavery beliefs. They assisted members of the Philadelphia Emigrant Aid Society, a Free State group moving to Kansas Territory to help prevent slavery. Pacifists by faith, during the violent pre-Civil War period, the Coates learned to sleep with pistols beside their bed.
After the Civil War, Mrs. Coates became a civic and cultural force. She was the social leader of Quality Hill and was known throughout the frontier community for her charitable enterprises. Sarah Coates was highly educated and organized women’s groups to study human physiology, science and politics. A personal friend of Susan B. Anthony, Mrs. Coates led a local woman’s Suffrage Club.
Sarah Coates lived in her Quality Hill mansion until her death in 1897.