Jim was killed when John Coker stabbed him with a knife during an argument. There are two stories about why the two men were fighting. In Cherokee Springs, John Coker, Abigail's brother, killed Jim Churchman when he discovered that Jim had beaten his sister. According to the Arkansas Gazette, September 20, 1849, there was an argument during or following a card game and John Coker stabbed Jim Churchman in the breast. The argument was over two dimes. When the sheriff came to arrest John Coker, Randolph Coker shot and killed the sheriff.
There is a discrepancy regarding Abigail's heritage. According to a statement made in the 1950's by Tillman F. Churchman of Rich Mountain, "Abigail was a Cherokee Indian. The Cokers were from Tennessee. Abigail was thirteen years old when she came here in 1832. Her family was in route for two years. Their move to Arkansas was probably made in conjunction with the "Trail of Tears" migration. The Cherokee had been deprived of their rights and ancestral lands in the Smoky Mountain region, and were forcibly moved westward by U.S. Troops." According to the article Cherokee Springs by Joe Carter, The Cokers were Cherokee. The Cherokees lived in the southeastern part of the country which now includes part of western North Carolina and Virginia, and some of north Alabama, Georgia, and east Tennessee. William Coker (Abigail's father) was born in Virginia in 1764 and came with his family in the early exodus from the land of the Smokies. They came into the Louisiana Purchase after 1803, and settled in the White River country of present-day Marion County, Arkansas, with many of their relatives and friends. Daughter, Abigail, was born in the "Purchase" in 1818 or 1819.
Father: John Wesley Churchman, b. 1774 in Virginia
Mother: Francis ??, b. 1779 in North Carolina -- d. After 1850 in Yell County, Arkansas
Family 1: Abigail "Abbie" Jane Coker, b. 1819 in the White River country (now Marion County, Arkansas) -- d. ca 1869 in Arkansas -- daughter of William Coker and Elizabeth Hudpath
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