WILLIAM THOMAS COKER

 

COKER, William Thomas (Bill)


1874: Born July 5 in Millerville, Alabama; second son of Dr. James Jasper Coker and Viola Annie Davis.


1893: Family moved to Bryceland, La.


1894: Joined the Baptist Church in Bryceland.


1897: Married Nina Ann Gray (C4) on July 14 in the family home. Brother Henderson, a Methodist minister, performed the ceremony. They moved about for several years.


1901: Nina Coker joined the church in Bryceland.


1904: Their first daughter, Irene, was born July 24 in a log house on top of a hill near Bryceland, La., known as the Prentis Whitley Place (1962).


1906: Constance Waye (B002) Coker was born here on November 22, in a new house built in 1906 by Bill and Paul Tilley.


1912: Helen Marie was born on March 31.


1914?: March 18: "I sold to W.T. Coker 4 hors? for the amount of$50. 25 cash, 25 on account..." (See note in file; all the notes referred to were found in his papers after his death).


1915: William Thomas was born on May 1.


(From notes of Constance Way Coker Evans:) "Bill Coker managed a farm, traded horses, operated a store and livery stable. He had a keen business mind and knew how to make money. He loved horses and at one time had a horse trainer. He raced horses at fairs. At one time he was mayor of Bryceland. He was a very progressive and civic minded person who owned the first automobile in Bryceland, a Stoddard Dayton. Then he bought a Willis Six and later a Willis Knighton.

"His first store was a partnership with John Duty where the present (1962) Jones Store is. John Duty was postmaster.The office was in the store. Bill Coker's brother John was later postmaster and bought this store. John Coker sold to the present owner's father, J.M. Jones (Ellis Jones's father).

"W.T. Coker and H.W. Wright bought the commissary of Beckner Saw Mill. The Coker family lived in the house known as the Mill Boarding House. Later, with Paul Tilley, the three operated a store known as Union Mercantile Co., located back of the present drug store. Jim Durbin was their bookkeeper. The Coker family lived in the house then known as the Dr. Jones House."


1917: June 15: See note to Bryceland State Bank for $11, signed W.P. Noland and W.T. Coker. Nov. 12: See agreement between J.M. Stukes, Delhi, and W.T. Coker, made in Parish of Richland, in which Stukes sold 30 shares of stock to W.T. Coker in a company he had organized. "Party of the first part has invented a certain Pure Food Compound known as PANOLA...capital stock of one million dollars... Factory will be located at Memphis...W.A. Brown of Bryceland, La. appointed to act as Custodian of all funds during the interim or organization of the company..." ($150 paid).


1918: See note of D.T. Turner for $41.75. and check of W.T. Coker for $20 to E.C. Die? on Bank of Bienville.


1919: Jan. 7: Promisory note to W.T. Coker for 2500.00 for 162 shares of Marien Oil Rfg. Co, signed O.C. White.

Mar. 5: Check to W.T. Coker from White for $1000: "Insufficient funds" noted on back.

Sept. 26: W.T. Coker paid $100 for ten shares of stock in "Section 30 Oil Company in Shreveport. (See certificate in file.)

Oct. 25: See judgment of W.T. Coker against George Brackens for $87.80; ruled in favor of Coker.

Nov. 19: See mineral lease of A.L. Ware in Sec. 29; T17; R6W.


1920: Sept. 25: See check on Bank of Bienville to E.C. Diek for 20, "Near Sparta," signed W.T. Coker.


1921: Jan. 20: See note to J.J. Coker for $100 by Robert Williams, Witnessed by W.T. Coker

Jan. 25: See note of Alonzo Chapman to W.T. Coker for $167. (On back: "Transerred to J.J. Coker 3-19-23 by W.T. Coker."

April 2: Note to Union Merc Co. for $144.05 by Cad Davis, Attest: W.T.Coker. On back: "Transferred to J.J. Coker by W.T. Coker 11-21-1923."

Aug. 11: See note of W.T. Coker for $44.96 on loan from The Commercial Bank of Arcadia, La.

Sept. 6: See Letter from Oral C. White, Investments, Dallas, to "Dear Friend Coker: Your letter received always glad to hear from you for I am certainly under obligations to you. Since I left La. I have been through hell. I have not had any money and not made enough to pay my grocery bills I have had to borrow from everbody I could. No man was ever a better friend to another than you have been to me and you are and you are going to be well repaid I am not a dead one yet but just stuck in the mud for the time being....I have not done any thing to dodge or to be arrested for as you claim and do not think you should write me that you are going to send the sheriff after me, true I am in bad financial shape and you have been my best friend...and we can work out of our trouble but tahe sheriff can not help us to do so. So let us try to continue our friendship-Please do not write me any more threating letters...."


Nov. 28: See note by Ollie Sc?ine and Lonnie Davis (his mark) of Vienna, La. to Union Merc. Co. of Bryceland for $20. Endorsed on back by "Union Merc. Co, W.T. Coker, Pres.

1923: Sept. 13: Borrowed $508 against Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Policy.


1923?: Closed Bryceland Store and bought 3-400 acres of land in Tensas Parish on Bayou Macon, near Delhi, La. The Delhi High School building is located (1962) where the place was. The family never lived in Delhi, although John Coker's and Walter Gray's families did.


1924: July 7: See note: "Due me $1.50; bal on shiners 1.90; credit Sunday 1.50; Monday, 1.50...boat due 1.00..." (apparently he was operating a fishing camp)


1925: Leased a big place on Lake Bruin, near St. Joseph, La., in December from Mr. Allen. Constance was teaching school in Saline at this time.

Dec. 1: J.J. Coker brought action on promissory Note for $43 dated 1919, against Call Hart and Will Reed.


1926: Mar. 25: See back of note "by cash $40" on back of "judgment in favor of W.T. Coker." Lost nearly everything they owned when the Mississippi River flooded. Family moved across the lake. Moved to Bryceland where daughter Irene, who had married J. Brewer Ware on November 26, l925, lived.


1927: In March, W.T. Coker moved to Cotulla, Texas, and went into the cafe business as partner with John Coker. Later W.T. bought John's interest. He then sold the cafe to Marie Neil.

May 3 & 11: Letters from H. McGinty, Real Estate, Investments in Alexandria, La. "Dear Bill Yours of 28th we recd. about your Electric Fair Motor Stock...I don't think it is worth much but we may get something out of it...I bought $15000.00 worth of the d... stock." See Oct. 19 note: "Mr. Prothro in front of Clifs Hisks did promise that if he lived he would pay note it I would wrote W.T. Coker and Jim Durbin..." Also see other assorted notes apparently owed to W.T. Coker which were found in the bottom of his papers after he died in l953.: "This is to certify that E.J. ? agrees to pay W.T. Coker $25 a week for a period of 6 weeks or until 150 is paid."

Oct. 27: See notes for $133 to J.C. Coker with W.T. Coker signed as security; also to W.T. Coker from Frank Brackens for $35.

Oct. 28: See several promisory notes of J.J. Coker - from 1927-27.

See undated note: "Salt Lake City Petrolum please pay to W.T. Coker $25. Signed Dick Punatt, George West, Texas.; also others for "R=5,etc?? horse races?"


1928: Opened a cafe in Dilley, Texas in summer. Moved back to Cotulla and operated the hotel for 2 or 3 years. Lyndon Johnson, later to become President of the United States, was teaching school at Cotulla then and often ate with them. They closed the hotel and moved into John Coker's house on the corner from the hotel. See signed note of Mrs. J.D. Scroggins: "Lunches $1.80, Coker Cafe." Sept. 4: Borrowed $2,000 from Stockmen's National Bank of La Salle County, Texas, with mortgage against "New Cafe in Cotulla. (See mortgage in file.)

Oct. 27, 1928: See note to W.T. Coker for $47 from Allen King, of Franklin, La. "near Simmsboro."


1932: June 27: Letter by J.O. Evans to P.E. Brown in Arcadia about "a batch of notes, 6 judgments and one $50 check belonging to W.T. Coker."


1933: Son, William, then a senior in high school, was killed in a car wreck on March 15. Moved back to Minden, La. and operated the Dew Drop Inn.


1934: April 2: See letter from C.C. Walke?, Dallas to "W.T. Cotulla, Texas: ...I am enclosing Money Order for 2.50 will send some each week now until paid in full...to pay you back the $20 yet due you...your friend CCW"


1935: "Nina stayed near Bryceland with her brother James Harrison Gray at the Calhoun Place for about a year until he died in 1935. He was sick and she waited on him.

"Bill Coker had a drinking problem at this time and Nina moved in with Irene and Brewer Ware up the road a shot way from Dew Drop Inn to Fairview (near Minden, La.) Bill moved to Lake Bistineau as a partner with Mr. Beck. Part of this time Bill Coker operated a camp further down the lake known as Coker's Camp. They, with the Ware's, moved back to Fairview for awhile. W.T. Coker stayed at Knowles Landing on Lake Bistineau on Owen Evans' place.

June 25: Letter to W.T. Coker from his mother, Viola Coker, then 86 years old, living in Dallas: "Dearest Son...I feel better than I have in some time since the wather has got good...Well Son I wish I had some chering news to write you but every thing is a bout the same old old thing especially for the poor man. nothing good coming coming his way yes I glory in Huey is trying to do for the poor I read a bout him they cant stop him from saying what he thinks not a fraid to tell the president how he fooled the people never done any thing he said he would do maby every thing will get better better there is room for it dont you think ...I want to come over there some time this summer if pasable dont know yet how it will bee now Billie dont warry you will find some-thing that will bee worth while dont git out of heart you know the promise is to the faithful. Jewellee says tell you hellow for her Bessie adn Lillin both say they will write you soon for want of news I will close write real soon your loving Mother VA Coker."


1944: Jan 7: Suit filed against Sunshine Bus Line "for the injuring, bruising and damaging me and my leg and body."


1945: Sept 28: "I have this day sold to Johnie Sheaperd Cabin I bought from his Bro for the consideration of $350.00..."


1946: "Mr. W.T.  Coker-age 72 years, now at Methodist Hospital Dallas Texas. The patient was injured the latter part of February in an automobile accident...principal injury was a head injury...also severely comminuted fracture of both bones of the right leg, just below the knee."

(See statement of Dr. Nash: "He was injured March 3, as he got off the street car and started to cross the street was struck by a car traveling at a high speed." (See bills for $1580.85.)


1946: See checks of William T. Coker on Peoples Bank and Trust Company of Minden: Some signed for him with his X mark and others with his scrawling signature; also bank statement.

1948: July 20: Letter from lawyers: "...we have ascertained that there is a two year statute of limitation in Texas against suits for damages for personal injuries...."


1950: Sept. 29: See letter from Rayville to W.T. Coker concerning his inquiry about property: "You sold the property to B.R. Felts..."


1953: Aug. 31: Letter announcing birth of Melisa Anne Evans, born Aug. 25.

Sept 8: W.T. Coker died on Lake Bistineau. "Funeral services for W.T. Coker, 79,died Tuesday at his residence south of Sibley, will be held at 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Bear Creek Methodist Church near Bryceland with the Rev. B.P. Durbin of Lisbon officiating."


PICTURES OF WILLIAM THOMAS COKER