SILAS COKER (1790-1841)
Written by Rebecca Sellars for the Madison Genealogy Society
With just a few Coker’s left in Madison County, one would hardly know how early the Cokers 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;
Jonathan, (born 1805) who married Nancy;
John, (born 1812) who married Elvia Elizabeth Hankins;
James Allen, (born 1814), who married Mary Catlett;
Nathan, (born 1823) who married Margaret Easters; and
Three more children were born after Silas and Ann arrived in the county:
Arthur D. (1830- 1865), who married Patience Pridgeon;
Michael,( born 1833) and Elvina (born 1834).
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, Lafayette area.
The May 1831 election for the territorial delegate to Congress was held at the homes of Dennis Hankins and Silas Coker. Silas’ precinct was probably located in the South West area of Madison County. February 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 have lived 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.
Daniel D. remained in Madison County until around 1875, when he moved to Manatee County. Many of his family settled there.
In 1940, the last census of public record, there was one Caucasian Coker family in Madison County: Rufus Washington, (1884-1972), who was married to Effie Rebecca Noble. The couple had the following children: a son Elmer, (born 1913); a son Hazel, (born 1917), and a daughter Thelma, (born 1912). Rufus was the son of John Thomas Coker and Susan Triplett. He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, in Greenville. John Thomas Coker was the son of John Coker and Elvia Elizabeth Hankins; apparently John remained in Madison County while the rest of his siblings and parents were residents of Taylor County. John was the third son of Silas Coker. By 1872, Silas had 173 descendants.
Today, many more Cokers exist, throughout Florida and Georgia, descendants of Silas.
Although Silas and his family were instrumental in settling Madison, very few Cokers remain here.
[Extracted from the Enterprise Recorder, 25 Jul 2014]