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Below is a family biography included in the Woodruff County portion of Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Eastern Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1890.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Capt. James A. Stoker, pre-eminent among the farmers of Barnes Township, was born in Stanly County, N. C, in 1831, and is the son of David H. and Sarah (Coleman) Stoker. Mr. Stoker and wife were natives of North Carolina, where he spent his life, and was killed in that State in 1864. He was a wealthy farmer, sheriff for fourteen years, and captain of State militia for a number of years. He organized a regiment for the Mexican War, but was not actively engaged in it himself. He was a son of Allen Stoker, who was born in Rowan County, and died in Davie County, same State, a farmer, as well as a soldier in one of the early wars. His father was a native of the ‘‘Emerald Isle.’’ Mrs. Allen Stoker was a sister of Wade Hampton (Senator), thus making Capt. James Stoker a cousin of Senator Wade Hampton, United States senator from South Carolina. Grandfather Coleman was a farmer of Irish descent, and died in Stanly County, N. C. Mrs. Stoker, mother of James A. (Captain), died in Sebastian County, Ark., in 1868, a devoted member of the Baptist Church. Capt. James A. was the first in a family of five children, and was educated in the common schools of his native State. At the age of eighteen he went to Texas, but in 1849 took passage on a steamer at New York for California, here spending four years as an employee in the mines of that State. He then returned to North Carolina, and in 1853 was united in marriage with Frances, daughter of Akrela and Lucinda Griffin, of North Carolina. To this union five children were born: Robert W., Ira, Albert, Hattie (deceased) and Delia. Capt. Stoker moved to Newton County, Mo., in 1856, and there formed the first company of Confederate troops of regulars, organized in that county (Company A). He was in command of the company about eighteen months, and fought in numerous battles, among them being Oak Hill, Richwoods, Lexington, Pea Ridge, etc. At the battle of Oak Hill he entered the fray with 118 men, but after the fighting ceased, found only eleven were left of that gallant 118. After eighteen months of service, and one without a blemish on his record as a soldier he resigned, and subsequently joined Col. Tom Livingston’s Partisan Rangers. He served as a member of this staff until the death of the Colonel, which occurred in Missouri in the latter part of 1864. Capt. Stoker then returned to Arkansas, but soon after Gen. Price made the request that he act as special guide for his advance guard, during his raid through Missouri and Kansas, which he did and surrendered 200 men at Forsyth, Mo., at the close of the war. His family were living in Arkansas during the hostilities, but in 1865 he moved to Jackson County, and in 1867 moved to Central America. A short residence in the latter place proved to the Captain that Arkansas was more to his taste, so he returned to this State, settling in Woodruff County, where he has since resided. He has a fine farm of 400 acres, with 140 under the plow, and keeps himself well posted on all subjects relative to the improvements of the day, and is in every respect a wide-awake, enterprising farmer and citizen. In his political views Capt. Stoker is a Democrat, and voted for Buchanan. Mrs. Stoker is a member of good standing in the Christian Church, and is respected and esteemed by all who know her, as is also her husband. One episode worthy of mention in the Captain’s life, and which will be of interest to his numerous friends, is that of the Pool expedition, in 1857. He in company with 135 men, all, except himself, from Newton County, Mo., under command of J. P. Ogden, and Mr. Pool acting as guide, started out to explore the west and northwest of the Wichita Mountains in search of the golden treasures supposed to be hidden in these mountains. Going in the vicinity of the Bluestone Park, they went southwest until they reached the Pigist River, then went down into New Mexico. While en route the guide related to the company that, while lost in the vicinity of these mountains, in 1854, he discovered large deposits of gold. He was lost eight months, but was never able to find his way back to where he supposed he had discovered the vein. He had on his person some nuggets of gold. This party was out sixty or seventy days.

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This family biography is one of 69 biographies included in the Woodruff County portion of Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Eastern Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1890.  For the complete description, click here: Woodruff County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Woodruff County, Arkansas family biographies here: Woodruff County, Arkansas

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