FROM: The History of Gallatin, Saline, Hamilton, Franklin, and Williamson Counties, Illinois (Chicago: Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1887).  P. 686-687

          Capt. Joseph Coker, farmer and pioneer of the county, was born December 1, 1819, in Monroe County, Tenn. The seventh of ten children, four living, of William and Catherine (Huffman) Coker, the former of Scotch parentage, born about 1765 in Virginia, and the latter German, born several years later. They were married in Blount County, Tenn.; where they were brought by their parents, and when our subject reached manhood they moved to Polk County, Tenn., where the father died about 1850, on his farm. Soon after this the mother moved to Hamilton County, where she lived with her children until she died about 1858. Our subject was educated chiefly in Monroe County, and after part of a season, when twenty-one, in Louisiana, came to McLeansboro, Hamilton County. When twenty-three, he married and settled on a farm he had purchased near McLeansboro, where he lived about forty years, until his family were all married but one. In October, 1861, our subject, Rev. Hosea Vise and W. L. Stephens organized Company D, Sixth Illinois Cavalry, of which he was made Second Lieutenant. In April, 1862, he was made first lieutenant, and in March, 1863, captain. November 25, 1865, he was honorably discharged at Springfield. He was at Port Hudson, Nashville and Franklin actions, besides many minor skirmishes. He lived on his farm west of McLeansboro until 1885, when he sold and moved to his present farm in Sections 26, 34 and 35. His wife, Harriett Richardson, was born in 1821, near the Virginia line in Ohio. Her parents came to Hamilton County in 1840, and the date of her marriage is July 4, 1844. She died August 18, 1878, leaving six of her seven children: William A., Mary C. (widow of S. Martin), Charles A., Sarah J. (wife of J. W. T. Scruggs), David A. and Harriett M. Our subject began with nothing, and now owns a fine farm of 160 acres, mostly cleared. Formerly a Democrat, and voting for Polk, he has been a Republican since the first attack on Fort Sumter, and has been an honored soldier and citizen. He is a Mason, Polk Lodge. William and the daughters are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and all the family are Methodists in sentiment.

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