Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Remembering Coker Cousins Slaughtered in Utah at the Mountain Meadows Massacre

by Margaret A. Butler (margaretbutler@yahoo.com)

Unfamiliar with The Mountain Meadow Massacre? Go here

Margaret has put together some information on some of the families involved in the Mt Meadow Massacre. 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).


RICHARD WILSON, believed to be born ca. 1830-34
Richard was identified as having been from Marion County, AR, and was the only known Wilson individual in the wagon train. He was probably the first husband of my great-great-grandmother, (Martha?) Elisabeth (COKER) WILSON. She was born ca. 1834 and was a resident of Marion County. In a Wilson family Bible, it is written that her husband was going to the gold mines in California but died in the Mountain Meadows Massacre.
Some in the Wilson family thought his name was "John Calvin," but no proof substantiates that theory. Perhaps Richard's father or brother was named "John Calvin." If someone knows, please contact me.
Elisabeth and her husband had only one son, John William WILSON, born July 21, 1856, probably in Marion County, Arkansas. Elisabeth, age 26, and four-year-old John are found living in a Marion County household in 1860. Also residing with them was a young man, in his early 20s, by the name of Jasper HUDSON.
I have yet to prove who Elisabeth's parents were -- many think it was Charles & Elizabeth (Trimble) Coker, but I do not know -- however, for certain reasons, I sincerely believe that Nancy Jane (Coker) WOOD was Elisabeth (Coker) Wilson's aunt. If anyone knows for sure, or can prove otherwise, please contact me.


Although their names are not specifically listed on the most-referenced list of massacre victims, Wood family genealogy states that Charles Stalcup died in the Mountain Meadows Massacre, as did his wife, Winnie (Wood) Stalcup.
I have no information on Charles, but Winnie was born ca. 1830. She was the daughter of George W. & Nancy (COKER) Wood of George's Creek, Marion Co, AR. Winnie was an older sister to William and Solomon Wood, named above, who also died in the massacre. Whether Winnie and Charles Stalcup had children is unknown to me.


"HUDSON" is also listed among the names of those traveling in the wagon train.
Possible clue: As stated above, in 1860, Jasper HUDSON was residing with my great-great-grandmother, Elisabeth (Coker) Wilson. I have Jasper's family information somewhere but have misplaced it at the moment. Nevertheless, I believe his father was John HUDSON, and I also remember that there was a Hudson/Wilson marriage somewhere in Jasper's ancestry. Lastly, John Hudson resided on either Crooked Creek or George's Creek in Marion County.
These are only tidbits, of course, and no proof is being offered as to the identity of the "Hudson" family who was murdered during the massacre. But I wonder if there are any descendants of the Marion County Hudson family who can clear this point up for us?


We all know that Captain Charles FANCHER headed up the doomed wagon train, but many may not realize that his daughter, Arminta FANCHER, who died in 1848, had been married to William I. COKER, son of Joseph Coker, Sr., and grandson of Buck & Nancy (Lee) COKER. William I. Coker's first cousins were William and Solomon Wood, and Winnie (Wood) Stalcup. William I. Coker was also a cousin to my great-great-grandmother, Elisabeth (Coker) Wilson.
Additionally, one of Arminta's sons was named James Alexander Coker. I note that another Fancher family, that of "Alexander Fancher," is listed. Will Fancher descendants please confirm the relationship of Alexander Fancher to Arminta?


The incomplete list of murdered victims, which is most often referenced, was excerpted from a letter written to the Office of Indian Affairs, Utah Superintendency, and dated Crooked Creek, Arkansas, April 27, 1860, and signed by "Wm. C. Mitchell, Special Agt." Mr. Mitchell was probably a special agent to the Office of Indian Affairs. (Source: Juanita Brooks' book, "The Mountain Meadows Massacre", Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, copyright 1950, item 18, pp 39-40.)
Question: Was William C. Mitchell related to the Mitchell family members who were murdered in the Mountain Meadows Massacre?


My favorite book on the Mountain Meadows Massacre is one written by Josiah F. Gibbs, copyrighted 1910 by the Salt Lake Tribune Publishing Co. The title of the book is "The Mountain Meadows Massacre".
Mr. Gibbs not only interviewed some relatives of the murder victims but also talked at great length with Frank E. King, a survivor. Another interesting aspect about the author, Mr. Gibbs, is that he played marbles with Capt. Charles Fancher's son, Charlie, who survived the attack. And it was Charlie who first told him about the massacre. So Mr. Gibbs made an excellent author on this subject.
Looking through Gibbs' book, I note specific information about some of the wagon train members. Here's a little:

John Calvin Sorel had two older brothers, James and Henry, and three sisters, Mary, Martha and Nancy. (Information from Brooks' book states that only John Calvin Sorel and Lewis and Mary Sorel survived.)

Ambrose Miriam Tagit (Taggit) of Johnston Co., AR had two older brothers and parents who were killed in the massacre. (Brooks' book states "Ambrose Miriam, and William Tagit" survived.)

Prudence Angelina, last name unknown, survived and said that she had two brothers, Jesse and John, who were killed. She also said her father's name was William, and an uncle was also named Jesse. (Brooks' book makes reference to "Angeline, Annie, and Sophronia or Mary Huff; Ephraim W. Huff.")

Mary, last name unknown, and her brother survived. (Could this be Mary & Ephraim Huff, named in Brooks' book?)

Elsie, last name unknown, was a child who stayed behind in Utah and allegedly married there years later.

Francis Harris/Horne, called "Betsy," survived. (Brooks' book refers to "Francis Horn.")

William Eaton, a native of Indiana, had a farm in Illinois. Before joining the wagon train, he sold his Illinois farm, moved his wife and family back to Indiana, then joined Fancher's group. Last time he wrote his wife, he said all was well.

William A. Aden, born Tennessee, was an artist. His brother was Judge James S. Aden of Paris, Henry Co., TN. William had traveled across country, painting landscape pictures, then joined the train at Salt Lake City. After the wagon train arrived at Parowen, Aden was surprised to meet Elder William Laney, whom Aden's family had befriended years earlier while Laney was in Tennessee. In an act of kindness, Elder Laney provided Aden with onions ... and it was Laney who was later beaten, almost to death, for befriending young William Aden. Lastly, it was William A. Aden who became the first murder victim. On the night of the 13th, William and two other youths managed to escape the wagon train and ran for help. When they met up with High Priest William Stewart, the young men asked for aid; instead, William A. Aden was shot in the back and killed.

Mr. & Mrs. Frank E. King were not killed, because they had joined the wagon train in Wyoming but were forced to stay behind in Salt Lake City because Mrs. King became ill. Because of this, they avoided death.

In Juanita Brooks' book, she also names survivors, Charles and Annie Fancher; Betsey and Jane Baker; Rebecca, Louisa and Sarah Dunlap; William (Welch) Baker.

As many of you know, there have been other names associated with the murder victims:
Hamilton (Gibbs' book states that Hamilton bravely tried to help mediate a surrender.)
"and a Methodist minister"

Frank King, referred to above, also wrote that there were about forty wagons and carriages in the train; that there were about sixty men, forty women, nearly fifty children, and about twelve horsemen.

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Linda Haas Davenport

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