The Coker Settlement book, Haunting
the Graveyard: Unearthing the Story of the Coker Settlement, has been
completed and is now available to purchase from:
- Material Media Press,
- The Twig Book Shop
306 Pearl Parkway, Ste. 106
San Antonio, TX 78215
[Click here for a review of the book that appeared in the San Antonio Express-News on September 8, 2019]
Be sure to look at the supplement information link at the bottom of this page if you are doing Coker Family research.
Below is a taste of what you can expect from our book.
Inconspicuously tucked away north of Loop 410
and in the shadow of Wurzbach Parkway in San Antonio, the Coker Cemetery contains
the graves of more than 600 people. Several Texas Ranger and Texas Historical
Markers serve as obvious signs this turf is fertile with stories. Beginning with
the arrival of Americans on the eve of the Texas Revolution, Haunting the
Graveyard: Unearthing the Story of the Coker Settlement offers a regional
perspective of a century of Texas history.
While a schoolhouse and Methodist church served as anchors for the Coker Settlement,
men who went off to fight in bloody battles of the Civil War, spent months pursuing
Indians and herded cattle and horses northward found settling back into everyday farm
chores difficult. Struggling to survive, families battled rattlesnakes, endured
extended droughts and suffered through the Great Depression.
Many overcame these obstacles, only to find their rural lifestyle vanquished by San
Antonio itself. As the city grew, increased demands for housing convinced some to
sell. Roads to reach new homes chopped up dairy farms with wider and wider ribbons
of asphalt, and airport runways buried fields.
The headstones in Coker Cemetery are almost the only evidence of the former farming
community, but the tales of its residents are rich. Expect to encounter some
heart-breaking tragedies, a bit of mayhem and even an unsolved murder as their lives
unfold on these pages.
Below find endorsements for the Coker
Settlement book, Haunting the Graveyard: Unearthing the Story of the Coker
“With San Antonio now the seventh largest city in the country, it is difficult to
envision farms once occupied much of the San Antonio River Basin. By plowing up
stories of hard-working individuals who formed the backbone of the Coker Settlement, Gayle Brennan Spencer delivers a rich slice of Texas history for us to savor.”
—Lila Banks Cockrell, Mayor Emeritus of San Antonio and Author
of Love Deeper than a River: My Life in San Antonio
"Having introduced us to Minnie Tomerlin and Max Voelcker whose former farm is now
a 330-acre park shaded by towering oaks, Gayle Brennan Spencer now brings a
colorful cast of their ancestors and fellow farmers to life in these pages.
Their personal stories represent the underlying agricultural heritage that shaped
our city and state.”
—The Honorable Phil Hardberger, Former Mayor of San Antonio and
President of Phil Hardberger Park Conservancy
“Preservation of historic cemeteries is a passion of mine, but a graveyard holds
so much more than headstones. Under every marker lies a story, and Gayle Brennan
Spencer dug deeply to release the tales of many such stories found in the Coker
Cemetery. Farm life in Bexar County in the late 1800s appears far from peaceful.”
—Scott J. Baird, PhD, Chair, Cemetery Committee of the Bexar County Historical Commission
Below find links to additional information about our book:
[Click here for Gayle Spencer's blog about the book]
[Click here for link to Coker Book Supplemental Information]