Tuesday, January 31, 2017

"Half-breed Cherokee" Cousin Calvin Coker--Innocent of Murder by Reason of Political Excitement

--Calvin Coker was tried in the Cherokee Nation a few days ago says the Coffeyville Journal for the murder of Isaac Johneycake, a prominent Delaware Indian. A great deal of interest was felt through the Nation in the matter. A gentleman who heard the trial informs us that the killing was amply proven by witnesses on both sides and not denied, but the attorneys for the defendant attempted to work up a feeling of sympathy for their client on the grounds that the killing grew out of a political excitement; and it seems that this argument had some weight with the jury, for there was no other excuse urged, and the prisoner was acquitted. Our informant says the public feeling is very strong against Coker, and he is charged with having killed another man since the trial.
Leavenworth Times 14 June 1876

The Eureka, Kansas Herald on 1 July 1875 identified Cousin, the descendant of an English immigrant to Virginia in the 1600s, as a "half-breed Cherokee." Uncle Joe Coker was one of the enthusiastic progenitors of half-breed children in northern Arkansas. William Monks in A History of Southern Missouri and Northern Kansas (1907, in the University of Arkansas 2003 reprint) says: "One of the Cokers raised two families, one by a white woman and the other by an Indian woman." There was in fact more than one Indian woman involved, and it was the multiple claiming of their women that the Cherokee men objected to: see the Turnbo story about "Poor Joe Hill." Moncks continues: "The Indian family, after they had grown up and become men, resided a part of the time in the [Cherokee] Nation, where the mother lived, and a part of the time they remained in Marion county where their father and other relatives lived. They were very dangerous men when drinking, and the whole country feared them."

No comments:

Post a Comment