History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century/4/Coker F. Clarkson
COKER F. CLARKSON was a native of the State of Maine where he was born in the year 1810. His father removed with his family to Indiana in 1820 going by wagon. After assisting his father on the new farm until about seventeen, Coker learned the printing business. He secured a position in the office of the Lawrenceburg Statesman and after three years was placed in charge of the paper. In the course of four years he was able to buy the establishment and published the Brookville American until 1854 when he disposed of the property and, in 1855, located in Grundy County, Iowa. Here he lived until 1878. He was a close observer, an excellent writer and was one of the pioneers in agricultural writing in Iowa. In 1863 he was elected to the State Senate from the district consisting of the counties of Hardin, Grundy, Black Hawk and Franklin. He was appointed chairman of the committee on agriculture and helped to devise the system of disposing of the Agricultural College land grant by which a large revenue was derived from it while the government lands were obtainable for free homesteads. He served four years in the Senate and in 1868 was a prominent candidate for Congress in the old Sixth District which embraced more than a third of the counties of the entire State. In December, 1870 he, with his two sons, Richard P. and James S., purchased the Iowa State Register, of which he became agricultural editor. In the contest between the farmers and the Washburn Barb Wire Trust he gave the Farmers' Association continued and valuable aid, helping to break the oppressive monopoly. He continued his editorial work up to the time of his last sickness and died on the 7th of May, 1890. In early life Mr. Clarkson was a Whig in politics. When the Republican party was organized he united with it and was an influential member.