"C" is for Coker, James Lide, Sr. (1837-1918)

Aug 2, 2018

Credit SC Public Radio

"C" is for Coker, James Lide, Sr. (1837-1918). Businessman, entrepreneur, philanthropist. Coker was educated at St. David’s Academy, the Citadel, and Harvard. During the Civil War he was a major in the Ninth South Carolina Infantry and seriously wounded at Lookout Mountain. It took him nearly a year to recover. In 1865 he opened J.L. Coker and Company, a general merchandise store, in Hartsville. Later, he founded a cotton mill, a cotton gin, and a cottonseed-oil mill. With his son James Jr. he organized the Carolina Fiber Company and with his son Charles established the Southern Novelty Company. Largely through his efforts and financing, Coker College was established in Hartsville. At the time of his death in 1918, James Lide Coker, Sr., was considered the wealthiest citizen of the state and, perhaps, its most versatile post-bellum entrepreneur.