James Coker and Emily Lee

James Thomas Coker (bigger image) with six of the 10 children he and Emily Lee brought up in Rockhampton, Queensland. From left top are Emily Florence (married name Card), Ada Mary Anne (married name Goleby), Arthur (who was known as Shorty), Harry, James Martin and Albert Napier.

Teenagers James Thomas Coker and Emily Lee married at Barking, near London, England in 1858 and arrived in Rockhampton, Queensland 12 years later with their first six children, Jane (11), Emily (9), Ada (7), Leonard (5), Arthur (4) and Harry (2).

Over the next 15 years, Emily bore another nine children of whom four did not survive to adulthood.

James was the son of a wealthy family which had a successful business supplying shipping equipment. Their chandlery was at Stepney near London's Thames River.

James's father William (1806-1851) and his grandfather who was also named William (1785-1852) built the business in the halcyon days when England's sailing ships ruled the seas. James's maternal grandfather Edward Lawson was a master mariner having risen from cabin boy in 1791 to a captain in 1803. Capt Lawson was 38 years at sea and served on seven different vessels

After James's father and grandfather died within 12 months of each other in 1851-52, the Coker grandchildren were left a considerable fortune. The details are in his grandfather's will which can be read here

Whether James and his siblings got to collect the money and houses left them is unclear, but it seems unlikely. About two years after her husband's death, Jane Lawson Coker remarried to John Stonehewer a family friend/business acquaintance who was previously married to Jane's late sister Lydia. He was also one of the executors to William Coker junior's estate.

Emily Lee, James Thomas Coker's wife.

James's eldest brother William John Tyler Coker came to Australia and settled in Melbourne about 1853 where his first two children William and Elizabeth were born. But he returned to England where he and wife Martha had another eight children.

James lived in Upper Glenmore, North Rockhampton, and seems to have migrated to Australia specifically to take up the role of Town Clerk for the North Rockhampton Borough Council from.

He was to go off the rails significantly being convicted in 1890 for embezzling several hundred pounds of the council's money. Read the full account here.

About 1904, there was a family split when Emily (pictured) left James and moved to Perth, Western Australia with their two youngest sons Herbert Leslie and Archibald Lawson and apparently lived with eldest daughter, Jane. Emily died in 1924 and her death certificate records that she was a nurse.

James died in 1920, aged 78, and was interred in the Coker family plot at the North Rockhampton cemetery.

Write comment (0 Comments)

Ada Mary Anne Coker

Ada Mary Anne Coker (born 6 Mar 1864 at 44…

Albert Napier Coker

Albert Napier Coker (born 21 May 1878 Queensland,…

Archibald Aldridge Coker (1907-1980)

Archibald Aldridge Coker (1907-1980) had three…

Archibald Lawson Coker

Archibald Lawson Coker (born 22 Nov 1881…

Arthur Coker

Arthur Coker (born C1868 London, England, UK,…

Arthur Roy Coker (1913-2004)

Arthur Roy Coker (1913-2004) married Eileen…

Charles Cyril Coker (1918-2004)

Charles Cyril Coker (1918-2004) married Lil…

Cyril Coker funeral

Notes on Cyril Coker's funeral, 29th March 2004,…

Cyril Coker obituary

Charles Cyril Coker (26 Jun 1918 to 24 Mar…

Edna May Coker (1908-2000)

Edna May Coker (1908-2000) married John Sleaford…

Emily Florence Coker

Emily Florence Coker (born 16 Jan 1862 Limehouse,…

Harold George Blanchard Card

Tribute to a young man whose short life ended on…

Harriet Ada Daphne Coker (1905-1996)

Harriet Ada Daphne Coker (1905-1996) married Bert…

Harry and Emma Coker

Harry Coker and Emma Aldridge Harry* Coker…

Harry Coker

Click on the picture of Harry and Emma Coker's…

Harry Coker divorce

This is a transcription of the divorce…

Harry Lawrence Coker (1902-1984)

Harry Lawrence Coker (1902-1984) married Myrtle…

Herbert Leslie Coker

Herbert Leslie Coker (born 7 Jul 1880 Queensland,…

James Coker and Emily Lee

James Thomas Coker (bigger image) with six of the…

James Martin Coker

James Martin Coker (born 20 Sep 1872 Rockhampton,…

James Thomas Coker

James Thomas Coker, embezzler © By Warren Nunn…

Jane Elizabeth Coker

Jane Elizabeth Coker (born 13 Mar 1859 at 5…

John Alexis Dobbs Coker (1901-1987)

John Alexis Dobbs Coker (1901-1987) married Bella…

Leonard William Thomas Coker

Leonard William Thomas Coker (born 3 Dec 1865 St…

Ode to Grandad

Written by Cyril Coker’s granddaughter Bettrys…

Walter Frederick Coker (1900-1981)

Walter Frederick Coker (1900-1981) married Rovena…