Coker Cemetery History #4
by Bob Battaglia
There have been some new developments in the Amos Dickens Jones family history which I will cover first. As I stated a couple of years ago, the grave of Catherine Jones (1803-1873) is near Amos Dickens Jones in the Coker Cemetery. This Catherine Jones was the mother of Amos. Catherine Jones was a daughter of Joseph Long and Catherine Foster. Thru a Long descendant, I have learned that Joseph Long’s bible is in the hands of a descendant in New Mexico. In the bible it lists Catherine Long’s wedding date to Seaborn L. Jones (father of Amos) - July 13, 1820. Catherine Jones’s death date is also in the bible and is the same as on the tombstone. No locations are given in the bible, but indications are the wedding took place in Bedford Co TN. The Long and Foster families were originally from somewhere in PA and lived for a while in Russell Co VA.
Baron George Ritter Von Tomasini (1818-1912) and his wife Eve Elinor Weiland Von Tomasini (1841-1912) are buried in section 3. Their descendants number in the hundreds today. First generation surnames associated with this marriage: Gulick, Voelker, Autry and NanKervis. The following are some notes taken from a history written by Goldie May Tomasini Casteel in November 1998. The Baron was an Austro-Hungarian, born in Pestingam, Austria; this is probably in Hungary today. He was a career soldier in the Austrian army. He received medals on two occasions. One was from Franz Joseph, emperor of Austria, for bravery in fighting the Turks. The second was from the Czar of Russia for a message he delivered from Franz Joseph. He endured hardships and threats of death in delivering this message. The Baron was in Mexico in the 1860’s as part of Maximillian’s army. When the Civil War was over, the US ordered Maximillian out of Mexico. It appears that the Baron arrived in Louisiana about 1870 and was in San Antonio by 1872. Deed records show he bought 188 acres from M.M Seay and his wife, Sarah P. Coker in about 1882. This probably marks his arrival in the Coker Community. The Baron had a colorful career. He died while living with his daughter, Jenette and her husband, Augustus P. Gulick; their residence was 639 Ruiz St. in San Antonio.
Sarah Pamela Coker, another of Joseph Coker’s daughters, married Marshall Molton Seay 7/22/1854 in Bexar County. (Note M.M. Seay above). She is one of Joseph Coker’s children who is not buried at Coker Cemetery. Note the following obit:
San Antonio Express 12/9/1929: “Mrs. Sarah Seay, 92 years, died Dec. 7, 1929. Mother of: Edgar, J.M., Howard W. and Harvey K. Seay, Mrs Ada Dokery, Bermuda Webb, Clara Ostrom, T.H. Northway and Edna Newport. Also 33 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren. Interment San Jose Burial Park. W.B. Tomey officiating.”
In the 1900 census, the Seay family is living in the Seguin area. They evidently were living near two of her sisters - Mrs. Eliza Caroline Rogers and Mrs. Nancy Virginia Bennett. Just for historical note, there is a tombstone in the San Geronimo Cemetery, Seguin TX, with the name Caspian Seay (1816-1908), he was a brother to Marshall.
Malinda Winneford Coker Hampton, another daughter of Joseph Coker, married James N. Hampton in Bexar Co. 1856. Obituary San Antonio Express dated 1/21/1929: “Melinda W. Hampton died on Jan 20, 1929 in her 88th year at residence 210 Cottonwood Street. Mother of: William Hampton, Wade Hampton, Mrs. Jane Marsch, Mrs. Nancy Camp, Mrs. Millissie Hatch, Mrs. Myra Autrey and Mrs. Nora Hilt. Sister of Neil Coker and Mrs. Sarah Seay; also 65 granchildren. Rev. Q.W. Neil of Harlandale Methodist Church officiating. Interment Coker Cemetery”.
Some of the above children and descendants are buried in Section 3. Carolyn Cunningham is a Hampton descendant. She mentioned a book "Rangers and Pioneers" by A.J. Sowell of Seguin TX, published 1884. A James Hampton is mentioned as killed by Indians. Could he have been Melinda’s husband?
Ever wonder what your ancestors were thinking almost 150 years ago? This is what Amos Dickens Jones wrote in his daily diary in 1847 while living in St. Augustine TX area....(I have not changed the spelling)"
Mar 1. We this day finished laying off twenty acors one way, a cold cloudy day.
Mar 2. We this day commenced planting and in the evening it began to rain.
Mar 3. We this day killed some squirrels and las knight it rained hard.
Mar 4. I this day cut come wood and Joseph went to Augusteen. A cloudy day.
Mar 5. We this day killed some mour squirrels as it is to wet to plow this night it is faire and cool.
Mar 6. We killed some squirrels and halled some wood. Warm today.
Mar 7. This has been a rainey day. We have all bin at home today.
Mar 8. We this day went to the piney woods and burnt some coat(?) and shot at some deer. Still wet.
Mar 9. We this day went to Mr Polks and sharpned our plows.
Joseph went to Augusteen and got a letter from William Jones, Talladega Ala.
Mar 10. We this day wrote some letters to our conection. Still wet.
Mar 11. We haven't done enything atall.
Mar 12. I this day went to Augusteen to take some letters to the post office and it has bin varey cool.
Mar 13. We this day helped Mr Polk build a bridge. It is fair.
Mar 14. Sunday. This has bin a cool day and we are at home.
Mar 15. We this day planted corn.
Notes - the Joseph and William mentioned were Amos’s brothers.
William Leonard Tarrant Coker (1846-1928), a son of Joseph Coker, married Caroline Smith 1868 in Bexar Co. They are both buried at Coker Cemetery. A brother of Caroline, Jefferson Davis Smith, is also buried at Coker. On his grave is a State Marker in remembrance of he and his brother, Clinton Smith, being captured by Indians near their home in Boerne on 2/26/1871. They were sold to and lived with Geronimo for several years. They were released from captivity and later married. The story is told in a book named “The Boy Captives”. Clinton is buried at Rock Springs TX.