Biography of Col. John Cofer
Col. John Cofer, of Arcola Tp., Douglas Co., Ill.; the subject of this memoir was born near Cave Spring, Bullitt Co., Ky., July 9, 1804; his parents, Thomas and Mrs. Sarah Winn Griffin Cofer, were natives of Virginia and Maryland. Dec. 1, 1825, he married Miss Mary Eleanor Macgill, who was born in Annapolis, Md.. Feb. 7, 1807; her parents, Robert and Mrs. Helen Stockett Macgill, daughter of Dr. Thomas Noble Stockett, of Annapolis, were residents of Maryland. The Colonel’s early education was limited, but his thirst for knowledge made him a good student, and he soon became a profound thinker, a logical reasoner and ready writer. He was a consistent Whig as long as that gallant party retained its organization; he represented Hardin Co. in the Lower House of the Legislature of Kentucky, in 1838, 1839, 1848 and 1841, and Hardin, Meade and La Rue Cos. in the Senate of that State from 1848 to 1850; being a farmer, he became the champion of the great interests of labor and production, an advocate of economy in public expenditures, a system of general education, internal improvements, and charitable institutions; as a member of the committee on internal improvements, he originated and aided in drafting and passing the charter of the Louisville & Nashville R. R. Co., now the most prosperous corporation in Kentucky; when railroad enterprises were untried in that State, he was sent as one of a committee to investigate the operations of such roads in the East and West, and made an able report thereon, which, with his earnest and eloquent appeals to the people along the line of the proposed road, contributed largely to induce them to vote subscriptions of stock which secured the building of the same. In 1854, he removed to Illinois, and became Postmaster at Rural Retreat, in Douglas Co., Elector on the Fillmore ticket in 1856, and on the Bell and Everett ticket in 1860, since which he has been Independent in politics, though generally acting with the Democratic party; devoted to the Union of the States, he opposed, with manly firmness, nullification, secession and emancipation (unless gradual and accompanied by colonization); in 1871-72 he represented Douglas Co. in the General Assembly with his accustomed zeal and ability; through strictly temperate habits and indomitable energy, he has been successful in business, providing homes for all of his children, of whom six out of ten are living, viz., John S. who married Miss Mary X. Wyeth, lives near Arcola, Ill.; Mary H., married Rev. D. T. Shirley, and lives in Cook Co., Texas; Thomas N., married Miss Rachel E. Combs, and lives in Coles Co., III.; William H. H., married Miss Maggie J. Daly, and lives in Cook Co., Texas; Henrietta M. married Mr. Thomas Mid-winter, and M., in Arcola Tp., Douglas Co., Ill.; Susan A., married Mr. H. M. McCrory, and lives in Texas. The Colonel retains a competency for himself and wife in their old age. He has been a consistent member of the Methodist Church for more than fifty years, and has the proud satisfaction, while remembering that he has been the architect of his own fortune, to know that he has so lived as not only to win but also to deserve the confidence and esteem of all who knew him.