JAMES M. COKER, M. D. He whose name heads this sketch is a successful practicing physician who has no pet theories to demonstrate at the risk of his patients’ lives, and who is prouder of the confidence reposed in him by the numerous first-class families whom he counts among his patrons than he could possibly be of any fame that could come to him through the following of any fancy calculated to move him.
He was born in Marion County, Arkansas, April 28, 1853, the second child of William L. and Elizabeth (Hudspeth) Coker, natives of this State, and grandson of William Coker, one of the first settlers of Arkansas from Alabama. He was a farmer as was his son William I., and the latter accumulated a fair competency by tilling the soil as well as by following mercantile pursuits and stockraising. He died in Boone County, Arkansas, in 1871, and his widow in 1892, they having become the parents of four children: John W., the present sheriff of Marion County; J. M.; Margaret, who died after her marriage with Thomas Raidsbeck, and Martha, who is the wife of James Gilley and lives in Texas.
Mrs. Coker was a daughter of George Hudspeth, one of the early settlers of Arkansas, and she was an earnest member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. Mr. Coker was a soldier of the Confederacy, was with Price on his raid through Missouri and was a participant in numerous fights. He was afterward a strong Democrat and became well known throughout northwestern Arkansas as a man of shrewd and practical business views and in the immediate section in which he lived for his jovial disposition and his ability as a raconteur. He was a great lover of music, was expert as a violin player and was the life and soul of every public gathering.
The Doctor passed his youth on the home farm near Yellville and when twenty-two years old began the study of medicine with Drs. Jode and Newton and about 1880 began practicing the “healing art ” near Yellville, continuing until 1887, when he opened an office in the town and has since devoted his attention to all branches of his Profession with marked success. He is a member of the State and County Medical Associations and socially is a member of Yellville Lodge of the A . F & A. M., in which he has been an official. He is the owner of a farm of eight acres four miles south of Yellville, which he has rented, and was at one time engaged in the drug business.
Martha, the daughter of W.P. Cantrell, became his wife and the mother of his eight children: Edna A., Ewalttus A., Virgina E., Chrarles W., John M. and James H. William died at the age of five years and Bertha at the age of three years. Mrs. Coker is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and politically the Doctor is a Democrat, and has held the office of mayor of Yellville several terms. He is one of the active men of the county and is liberally patronized professionally.