Sunday, September 30, 2012

Our Western My Lai--the Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857--Coker cousins among the slain

When you dip your toe into genealogy . . . .

It's very hard to get reliable information about the Mormon Massacre of a troop of Arkansawers at Mountain Meadows in 1857. History is being re-written. Will Bagley's book, THE BLOOD OF THE PROPHETS, has been scathingly attacked in order to protect the carefully re-written history. It seems clear that in a few minutes of slaughter some hundred emigrants from Arkansas were killed, including several under ten years of age and some two dozen between 10 and 20 years old. Why was the massacre ignored at the time? It was, of course, crowded out by news from Kansas and Nebraska as the nation moved toward civil war. And then details were purged and a smooth array of alternative explanations palliated the deliberate ferocity of the massacre.

My interest began when I received HISTORY OF BOONE COUNTY, ARKANSAS, "with a narrative by Roger V. Logan, Jr." If the wagon train was composed of people from north central counties of Arkansas in 1857, then surely some of my Cokers family would have been among the massacred. And so I discovered by checking three names from the list of the murdered. I posted a string of horrors a little earlier, starting with no knowledge that Coker cousins had been killed, but making discoveries fast. This is a clean up sweep of obvious items found on Google.

Part I: Emigrants Known to Have Perished at Mountain Meadows ...

Coker, Edward, 27. He tried farming in Texas before joining the emigration to California.16
Coker, Charity Porter, 37.
The Cokers were reported to have two children traveling with them.

by Margaret A. Butler (
Description: Dividing Line
Unfamiliar with The Mountain Meadow Masscure? Go here
Margaret has put together some information on some of the families involved in the Mt Meadow Masscure. If you have any addition information please pass it along to me. Thanks Linda
WILLIAM WOOD, born ca. 1831, probably in Marion Co., AR
SOLOMON WOOD, born ca. 1837, probably in Marion Co., AR
    William and Solomon were brothers. I'm fairly sure Solomon was a single man but not sure about William. Both were sons of George W. and Nancy Jane (COKER) WOOD of George's Creek, Yellville, Marion Co., AR. (George's Creek was named after George W. Wood.)
    George W. Wood was born ca. 1804-05 in SC, and was the son of Marion County Judge William Obadiah "Dancin Bill" Wood and his wife, Hannah (AUSTIN) Wood. The Judge was born ca. 1775 in NC, moved to AR ca. 1818, and settled at Yellville ca. 1828, residing near Crooked Creek.
    Nancy Jane (Coker) Wood was born ca. 1809-13 in Knox Co., TN. She was the daughter of Arkansas pioneer, William Dempsey "Buck" COKER. Buck's wife's name was allegedly Nancy (LEE) COKER. Buck moved into the White River area around 1813, then eventually settled near Lead Hill (which was first situated in Marion County and then Boone County).

Genealogy of Each Family

Mary Baker Ledbetter researched and constructed the genealogies for each of the families that traveled in the Baker/Fancher Wagon Train.  Red ink signifies the individuals who died at Mountain Meadows. Blue ink represents the children who survived the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

Click on the Surname to view the corresponding genealogy:

                        Aden                       Fulfer

                        Baker                      Huff

                        Beach                      Jones

                        Beller                      McEntire

                        Brown                     Miller

                        Cameron                 Mitchell

                        Coker                      Prewitt

                        Deshazo                  Rush

                        Dunlap                    Tackett

                        Edwards                 Wharton

                        Fancher                  Wilburn


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Astonishing Coker genealogical chart!

This chart puts my ancestor Leonard down lower than the other children of Buck Coker. Seaborn is my ancestor, shot while crossing a river in the War.

Bagley’s book—published at a time when it is not safe to tell the truth.
A Francher child who was not murdered with the rest.

The Dunlaps and Cokers connected:


Submitted by: Margaret Butler (
Description: Dividing Line
NOTE !! This is a compilation of information only, and the reader must allow for errors. Because of past courthouse burnings, a large majority of coker information comes only from stories handed down through families and acquaintances. This genealogy is meant to be used simply as a guide. For additional information on the Cokers, look at the book on Marion County, AR families at the Marion County library.
* * *
NANCY JANE COKER, dau. of Buck Coker
born between 1810 and 1813, Knox Co., TN
married about 1832 to George W. WOOD,
son of William & Hannah (Austin) Wood
Some believe that Nancy, who married George W. Wood, was the daughter of Edward "Ned" Coker, son of Buck (a Marion Co., AR history book states this fact). However, Ned was born in 1801 and this Nancy was born no later than 1813. Ned would have been no older than 13 when this Nancy was born. She couldn't have been his daughter; rather, she was his sister.
Taken from S.C. Turnbo's "A Bear Resembles a Huge Snowball While Rolling Down a Mountainside:"
George Wood, son of "Dancin" Bill Wood married Nancy Coker, youngest daughter of Buck Coker, and lived at the Big Spring on East Sugar Loaf Creek now called the Blackwell Spring; here in 1854 Woods built a mill and settlers who lived far and near patronized this mill. Some years before he erected his mill he was hunting in the close vicinity of Short Mountain and the dogs chased two panthers and the panthers soon took the advantage of a tree and sit on the limbs and glared at the dogs. When Woods reached the tree he shot both panthers which were a male and female. The former was 11 feet in length, the latter was 9 feet. Woods cut off the forepaws of each animal and carried them home and hunters who saw them pronounced those of the male panther unusually large."
"Georges Creek [near Yellville, Marion Co.] took its name from George Wood who built the mill at the Big Spring on East Sugar Loaf Creek in 1854." Taken from Turnbo's "A Few Items of Early Times."
Nancy is first found on the 1850 Marion Co., AR federal census. She is listed as "Jane" in household No. 161:
George Wood 45 Tenn
Jane 40 Tenn
Dice 22 Ark.
Winney 20 Ark.
William 19 Ark.
Hannah 18 Ark.
Elisabeth 16 Ark.
Jane 15 Ark.
Solmon R. 13 Ark.
Malinda 11 Ark.
George W. 9 Ark.
John Hardin 7 Ark.
Nancy C. 6 Ark.
Sarah Ann 4 Ark.
Martha 3 Ark.
Bellrada 1 Ark.
 1. DICEY WOOD, born about 1828, probably Marion Co., AR. Allegedly married James LAREMORE. Listed on the 1860 Sugar Loaf Twp., Marion Co., AR census. Children in household: Belbrady, Martha Jane and William H.
 2. WINNEY WOOD, born about 1830, AR; married Charles/Charlie STALLCUP, son of Samuel and Jane Stallcup. Charles, born abt 1832 in Indiana, was a member of a doomed wagon train that was attacked in Utah on its way to the gold fields in California. He died in September 1857 during the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Some records say that Winney died also; however, she's listed on the 1860 Sugar Loaf Twp., Marion Co., AR census. Children of Winney & Charles: Rachel Ann, George Samuel, and James M. Stallcup.
3. WILLIAM WOOD, born about 1831, AR; married Minerva Jane HUDSON, dau. of Jesse and Matilda (Everett) Hudson who lived on Georges Creek. William was also a member of the doomed wagon train that was attacked in Utah. He died in September 1857 during the Mountain Meadows Massacre. (Some "Hudsons" were among the doomed wagon train members. Whether they were related to Jesse & Matilda is unknown.)
4. HANNAH MELVIRA WOOD, born about 1832 in AR.
5. ELISABETH WOOD, born about 1834 in AR.
6. JANE WOOD, born about 1835 in AR. (Some say Jane, who married Dud Coker, was the daughter of Ned Coker, but Turnbo refers to Dud as George Wood's son-in-law.) Jane, wife of Strother/Strander Dudley "Dud" COKER, married him in 1856. Dud was murdered by bushwackers in 1864-65. Dud and Jane had two known children: Charity J. (b. 1857), William C. Coker (b. 1859), and Rebecca (b. 1862). Directions to Dud's grave: "Cross Sugar Loaf Creek above the old Geo Wood farm, pass on up a hollow on the west side of the creek to the graveyard." [Was Dud a son of Leonard Coker?]
7. SOLOMON R. WOOD, born about 1837 in AR. Solomon was also a member of the doomed wagon train that was attacked in Utah. He died in September 1857 during the Mountain Meadows Massacre.
8. SUSAN MALINDA WOOD, born about 1839 in AR.
9. GEORGE WASHINGTON WOOD, born about 1841 in AR.
10. JOHN HARDIN WOOD, born about 1843 in AR.
11. NANCY C. WOOD, born about 1844 in AR. Another source states her birthdate was January 26, 1844 in Marion Co., AR.
12. SARAH ANN WOOD, born about 1846 in AR.
13. MARTHA "PATSY" WOOD, born about 1847 in AR; never married.
14. BELLRADA/BELBRADY WOOD, born about 1849 in AR.
15. Eveline R. Wood, born about 1850-51 in AR. [Questionable?]
16. Joseph C. Wood, born about 1853 in AR. [Questionable?]
17. Matilda A. Wood, born about 1855 in AR. [Questionable?]
18. Amanda M. Wood, born about 1860 in AR. [Questionable?]
19. Edward Wood, b. 1851 [Very questionable?]
20. Charity Wood, b. 1853 [Questionable?]
21. John E. Wood, b. 1856 [Questionable?]
Description: Dividing Line
"This Page Was Last Updated Saturday, 20-Mar-2010 15:43:45 MDT"
By S. C. Turnbo
Carrollton Hollow a tributary branch of West Sugar Loaf Creek in Boone County, Ark. was settled in the early fifties. This hollow was once embraced in Carroll County but when Boone County was organized it was cut off into the latter. The little valley has its source just east of Bear Creek. dome two or three years before the Civil War began the settlers who lived in the hollow built a small house of hewed logs and went into the forest and burned a lime kiln of lime stone and "painted" the house with lime and used the building for school and church purposes and was known far and near as the Carrollton Hollow School House. The part of the hollow where this house stood was a Broken Prairie Valley but since then it has all growed up in small trees and bresh. The original house was destroyed by fire but another house of the same size and of the same kind of material was built on the same foundation where the first one stood. I am told that this last house has been removed and replaced by a much better one. One of the early settlers in this hollow is Dave Dunlap who came there with his parents James and Lucinda (McMurray) Dunlap in 1854 and was born in Newton County, Ark. December 29, 1837. His father died some time ago and lies buried in the cemetery one mile north of the school house. Dave Dunlap had several relatives murdered in the Mountain Meadow Massacre in Utah September 18,1857. In speaking of his relatives who were slain in this cold blooded slaughter and some of the children who were saved from death, Mr. Dunlap said, "Two of my brothers Jesse and Loranzo Dunlap including their wives fell victims in this horrible affair. When the news of this massacre reached the people of Northwest Arkanaas and Southwest Missouri it shocked them and an ill feeling against the Mormons sprang up among the people stronger than their ill will against the Indians, for most every one looked on Brigham Young and his leaders as being the principal instigators of the cruel murder of these defenseless emigrants. Among the little children who were spared a horrible death on that bloody spot were Angeline and George Ann Dunlap two daughters of my brother Loranzo Dunlap and Louisa. Sarah and Rebecca Dunlap daughters of my brother Jesse Dunlap. All of these children that I name were married after they grew to womanhood. Angeline married Blairburne Copeing, George Ann married George McWhister, Louisa married Jim Linton, Rebecca married John Evans and Sarah married Capt. Lynch of the United States Army.


Posted: 8 Sep 2001 3:41AM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 18 Sep 2002 4:29PM GMT

I am looking for relative, Charity Porter born 19 Apr 1818 in Ill. She was married to Edward (Coquer, Conquer, or most likely Coker. Ther were other Coker families in the area surrounding Carroll Co. Ark. They left with the Fancher Train and both killed at the Mountain Meadow Massacre. I believe they had two small children. I read where the children survived and were returned to the Carroll Co. area. Any info would be appreciated. Charity was the daughter of Gwinn Porter and Rachel Daughterty who lived in the area in the 1830s-and 40s.


Posted: 8 Sep 2001 1:50PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 6 Feb 2006 4:30PM GMT

The book that I have really doesn't give a lot of information. It mentions 17 children that were taken back to Carroll Co but none of them were Cokers. Here is the list of names:
Rebecca 9,Louisa 7, Sarah 4, daughters of Jessie Dunlap
PevdenceAngline 7,Gorgina 4, daughters of L.D. Dunlap
William 4, son of G.W. Baker
Elizabeth 8,Sarah 6, C.G. 9, Tryphonia 5, children of Capt Alexander Fancher .
John 9,Mary 7, Joseph 4, of Joseph Miller
Milam and William, sons of Plesant Tackett
F.N. 4,Saphonia 7, of J.M. Jones of Marion Co.
The Mormons apparently kept them for two years before returning them to Carroll Co.
This book is not indexed so I do not know if there are any Cokers mentioned in it. I checked the cemetery listings in the book and didn't find anyone with those names.

  • There were, if fact, Coker grandchildren slaughtered—not with last name of Coker.

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