Rev. WILLIAM J. CODER, a Methodist Episcopal minister born about 1785, place unknown, resided in north central Pennsylvania in the early 19th century.
In Nescopeck, Luzerne County, PA, the first school was taught by William Coder, about 1810.
In the 1810 U.S. Census a HENRY CODER and WILLIAM COTER appear in Mifflintown, Northumberland County, PA. I believe William and Henry (born about 1777 in New Jersey) were brothers. In 1811 Henry Coder of Mifflin Twp., Northumberland County brought property in that county that was near Nescopeck, Luzerne County.
On 12 August 1812 William’s son DAVID J. CODER (my great-great-grandfather) was born in Luzerne County, PA. On 10 June 1814 William’s son GEORGE H. CODER was born.
On 11 August 1814 in Northumberland County William J. Coder acted as an attorney in a matter involving the estate of JOHN BRIGGS. Henry Coder married an ANN BRIGGS, daughter of JOHN BRIGGS and ANN ASHTON.
In 1820 another son, ELISHA B. CODER, was born. In the 1820 U.S. Census William Coulter resides in Nescopeck and Henry Coder resides in Mifflin Twp., Columbia County.
About 1822 son NELSON H. CODER was born. In 1822, in Nescopeck, Luzerne County, PA, William was a witness to a deed between PHILIP and JOHANNA HOFFMAN, CASPAR and CATHARINE HENRY and GEORGE HENRY.
The first Methodist sermon preached in Mauch Chunk (now Jim Thorpe), Carbon County, PA, was preached in 1827 by the Rev. William Coder.
In 1830 William Coder and Henry Coder moved to Port Carbon, Schuylkill County, PA. In the 1830 U.S. Census Henry Cooder and William Cooder reside in Norwegian Twp., Schuylkill, County, PA. Port Carbon is in Norwegian Twp. In 1832 Henry is listed as paying tax on his house in Port Carbon.
On 31 December 1831 William was certified as a local deacon by the Methodist Episcopal Church Sunbury Circuit [Northumberland County, PA] for 1832. In her diary, ELIZA JOHN of Shamokin said Rev. William Coder preached in her house and was “much respected.” The Johns were Quakers, but opened their home to preachers of other faiths.
In 1832, Rev William J. Coder of Rush Township, Northumberland County, was a witness for 2 gentlemen (WILLIAM MARSH and ROBERT SCOTTS) applying for Revolutionary War pensions in Northumberland County.
William had 3 other sons: WILLIAM CODER, ROBERT CODER, and one whose name is not yet known to me. They were born in Pennsylvania, but I have no other information on them.
Around 1838 William, along with a group of neighbors (HIBBS, McREYNOLDS, FISK, DIEFFENBACHER, MOWDER, HOWELL, DENTLER)and family members, went west to Havana and Sherman Townships, Tazewell County [later Mason County], Illinois. At least one of William’s sons, GEORGE H. CODER, remained behind in Danville, PA.
The History of Menard and Mason Counties, Illinois (1879) says of William: “The first practitioner of the healing art was William Coder, who had settled in the eastern part of Havana Township in 1838. He was a minister of some reputation as well as a physician, and sought by his labors to heal spiritual as well as physical infirmities."
William was ordained a local elder in 1839 in the Sangamon District of the Illinois Methodist Church.
I have found no mention of William’s wife’s name. Her first name may have been Harriet, as David and George each named his oldest daughter Harriet. According to some descendants of William, his wife was “Pennsylvania Dutch.” In the 1840 census William and his wife had 4 of their sons living with them in Illinois. According to records, David, Elisha and Nelson were in Havana, IL, and George was in Shamokin, PA. It is unknown at present which son was the fourth one in Havana.
William died on 15 December 1841, in Mason County, IL. His estate was administered in April of 1842 by his neighbors ROBERT FAULKNER, THOMAS K. FAULKNER, and WILLIAM HIBBS. An obituary, written by William’s son George H. Coder, appeared in the Danville Intelligencer, Danville, PA, on January 21, 1842.
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