Monday, October 26, 2009

Oct. 26, 1869: U.S. Troops enter Jackson County

After demands for intervention from the Internal Revenue officials were finally joined by Florida's indecisive Gov. Reed, the War Department dispatched a detachment of twenty soldiers from the 8th U.S. Infantry stationed in Atlanta. The troops arrived in Marianna on Oct. 26. By this time, however, the violence had largely died down. Frank Baltzell, the young editor of the Marianna Courier, vehemently opposed to the entry of soldiers in Marianna, angrily pointed out that "peace and harmony" had already been restored. Baltzell feared that, instead of ensuring calm, the arrival of the soldiers would only serve to embolden the few remaining Republicans in Jackson County.

The arrival of the troops on October 26 certainly did not quiet James Coker. Coker announced that anyone who claimed a reward for the arrest of his son for the murder of Nichols family would not live to benefit from it. At a dinner a few nights later, Coker insulted and menaced Sheriff West and "damned" Hamilton, Purman, Assessor Lowe, Dickinson, "and any man that would take an office to 'boot-lick' these fellows." He regaled anyone who would listen about his past plots to kill Hamilton and Purman.

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