Pioneers Of Madison County: Silas Coker (1790-1841)

Written By The Madison County Genealogical Society
With just a few Cokers’ left in Madison County, one would hardly know how early the Coker’s arrived and what a serious impact the Coker family has had on the county. Silas came to the county in the late 1820’s with his wife, Ann and six children: Daniel D. (1803-1886), who married Nancy Eunice Taylor in Madison. Daniel and Nancy and most of their children were buried in the Coker Cemetery in Limestone, Hardee County, Florida, Wesley A., Bryant, Daniel Julius, Isham T. and Laura Ann. It is unknown what happened to Nancy, if there was a Nancy (Daniel was the only child born in South Carolina); Jonathan, (born 1805) who married Nancy (we believe he later married Mary Serene Hicks in Madison County); John, (born 1812) who married Elvia Elizabeth Hankins in Madison County (she appears to have been known as Betsy Ann); James Allen, (born 1814), who married Mary Catlett in Madison County; Nathan, (born 1823) who married Margaret Easters in Madison County and served in the First Florida Cow Cavalry, Co. “A”; and Silas (1827-1918) who married Eliza Whitehurst in Jefferson County and served in the Old First Florida Infantry, Co. “I” (Silas was wounded at Perrville on Oct. 8, 1862 and furloughed. He returned in early 1863 and was wounded in the right shoulder in mid 1864 and hospitalized until he was furloughed on Aug. 13, 1864. He was paroled on May 18, 1865 in Tallahassee.) Three more children were born after Silas and Ann arrived in the county (there is some discussion that these three might have been nephews of Cylus Coker): Arthur D. (1830-1865), who married Patience “Patsy” Pridgeon in Madison County  (Served in the Second Florida (US) Cavalry, Co. “F,” was raised in Madison County and farmed in Lafayette Co. during the war. He moved his family to Key West and then enlisted at Key West, as a refugee from the Confederacy.  He died of scurvy at Cedar Key); Michael, ( born about 1830) and Elvina (born 1834). Michael and Elvina were the only children born in Madison, the others were born in Georgia. The Coker family arrived, as many early pioneers did, from South Carolina, with a detour through Georgia.
On the 1930 census, Silas and his family were one of only 44 families who lived in the Madison, Taylor and Lafayette area.
The May 1831 election for the territorial delegate to Congress was held at the homes of Dennis Hankins and Silas Coker. Silas’s precinct was probably located in the South West area of Madison County. Feb. 10, 1835, Silas was appointed as a Justice of the Peace.
In 1856, Taylor and Lafayette Counties were split from Madison County.  The Coker families seemed to live right around the area that was divided, so some of the families, in the 1860 census, were residents of Taylor County, some lived in Lafayette County, and a few remained in Madison County. In 1860, Daniel D. was in Madison County; Jonathan died around 1852 and it appears that his son James lived in Taylor County; John, James Allen, and Nathan were in Taylor County; and Arthur D. was in Lafayette County.
According to an old Coker family Bible, Daniel D. married Nancy Eunice “Nicey” Taylor in Madison County and they remained here until around 1878, when they moved to Manatee County. Daniel served as a private during the Seminole Indian War between 1838 and 1840. During the Civil War, three of his sons, Isham, Bryant and Daniel were members of Co. “I,” 2nd Florida Cavalry. Daniel, Nicey and their daughter, Unity (or Nicy) was living at Moseley Hall outside of Madison in 1870. On February 7, 1878, Daniel and Nicey sold their land to Burrell H. Bailey and moved to South Florida settling in Manatee County prior to 1880. Daniel died January 26, 1886 and was buried in the Coker Cemetery in DeSoto County. Nicey made her will in DeSoto County in 1889 and died in August 1891. She was also buried in the Coker Cemetery in DeSoto County.
Although John Coker (third son of Silas Coker) and Elvia Elizabeth Hankins, and most of their children appeared to live in the Taylor County area, John Thomas, ninth child of John and Elvia remained in Madison County and was buried in the Redding Cemetery, Madison County. John Thomas married Susan A. Triplett (daughter of David Triplett and Elizabeth Hingson and granddaughter of Elijah “Eli” Triplett and Elizabeth Cone). John Thomas and Susan had six children.
1. Rufus Washington (1884-1972) married Effie Rebecca Noble and had two children: Effie Othelia and Leroy. Rufus and Effie are buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Greenville. 2. Theodore (1886-1965) married Susie Bass and had two children: Lloyd Reed and Lonnie; Theodore and Susie are also buried in Evergreen Cemetery. Their descendents still live in the Greenville area. 3. James David (1888-1920) married Rebecca King and had four children: Guy Thomas, John Elmer, Thelma and David Hazel. Their children lived in Jacksonville, Fort Pierce, Perry and Tallahassee. James and Rebecca are also buried in Evergreen Cemetery. 4. Elli Cordelia (1889-1911), married Elias D. Nobles and had three children; Elli died in Brooks County. 5.  Mamie (1891-1915); and 6. Ida (1894).
By 1872, Silas Coker, Madison Pioneer, had 173 descendants. Today, many more Coker’s reside in the area, throughout Florida and Georgia, descendants of Silas and his sons.
The Madison County Genealogical Society welcomes your input and invites you to join our organization. We meet on the second Thursday monthly, except during summer months, in the Madison Public Library from 6 to 7 p.m.. Annual dues are $25. To add comments to our articles or to submit your own sketch on your ancestor, contact us at Madison County Genealogy Society, P. O. Box 136, Madison, Fl. 32341. Or contact us by email at mcgenealogy
society@live.com. If you would like for us to write an article featuring your ancestor, please contact us by mail or email.
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