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John J. Coker (1824-1885) Papers

John J. Coker (1824-1885) Papers

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Open Finding Aid

JOHN J. COKER (1824-1885) PAPERS, 1849-1868

Sponsor:

Processing and rehousing of this collection were funded by grants from the following Essex Institute corporate members: Gulf of Maine Research Group, Bursaw Oil Corp., and Salem Laundry Co.





Collection Summary

Repository:The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Creator:Coker, John James, 1824-1885
Title:John J. Coker (1824-1885) Papers
Dates:1849/1868
Quantity:1 linear foot (2 boxes)
Abstract:The papers of John J. Coker reflect his activities as a West African agent, They are arranged in two series.
Collection Number:MSS 224

Series List


SERIES I. Agent Papers (1849-1862)
SERIES II. Agent Papers (1866-1868)

Scope and Content Note

The papers of John J. Coker reflect his activities as a West African agent, They are arranged in two series.


Series I. Agent Papers (1849-1862) contain instructions from Robert Brookhouse, Emmanuel Curtis, and Simon Stoddard; letters with merchants, ship masters, and local traders; financial records; and cargo invoices. Of special note are the letters between Coker and his assistant, George Frothingham, which discuss local customs and activities as well as cargo transactions; instructions to the captains of the barks Manchester, Kedar, and Dawn; and Coker's record (B2 F3) of the vessels arriving and sailing from the West Coast, 1857-1858. This volume also contains a sea journal kept by Coker on the Sea Mew, which sailed from Ambritz to Salem, Oct.-Dec. 1858.


Series II. Agent Papers (1866-1868) contain instructions from Charles H. Miller and financial records.


Biographical Sketch

John James Coker was born on June 23, 1824, the son of John and Elizabeth (Cook) Coker of London, England. He came to Salem, Massachusetts, in 1848 on the bark Edward Koppisch. By 1849 he was serving as an agent for Salem merchants on the West coast of Africa. Coker primarily worked for Robert Brookhouse, 1849-1862, and Charles H. Miller, 1866-1868.


Coker married Emma A. Ware (born 1831) in 1854 and they had two children. He married Emma Josephine Stanwood (1842-1914) on September 10, 1863. They had three children together. Later in life Coker unsuccessfully entered the shoemaking business. Ill health plagued his later life; Coker committed suicide on August 13, 1885.


Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in Philcat. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

Brookhouse, Robert, 1779-1866
Curtis, Emmanuel
Frothingham, George
Miller, Charles H., merchant
Stoddard, Simon
Sea Mew (Bark)
Shipping--Africa
Account books
Diaries

Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.


Administrative Information

Copyright

Requests for permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in writing to the Manuscript Librarian in the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum.

Preferred Citation

John J. Coker (1824-1885) Papers, MSS 224, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.

Provenance

The following volumes were a May 22, 1915 gift of Mrs. Fred A. Coker: Letterbooks, 1855-1858, 1859-1862; Daybook/Journal 1860-1861; and Invoice and Sales Books, 1852-1857, 1860-1861. The Cargo/Arrivals/Sea Journal volume which was removed from MSS 152 was also a gift of Mrs. Coker. The 1853-1855 and 1867-1868 Letterbooks, the 1867-1868 Daybook/Journal, and the 1860-1862 and 1861-1862 Expense Books were purchased June 12, 1915. The remainder of the collection is from an unknown source.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Prudence K. Backman, March 1987. Updated by Tamara Gaydos, September 2015.


Related Material


Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Marriage Records, 1840-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.


Robert Brookhouse Papers, 1791-1870, MSS 152


Sea Mew (Bark) Logbook, 1854-1855, Log 1954


Sea Mew (Bark) Logbook, 1856, Log 1955


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