Philip Coker (died 1868)
While the date and circumstances of his immigration to Liberia are undocumented, Reverend Philip Coker was active as a clergyman and missionary in the service of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Liberia by 1852. Assigned throughout the 1850s and early 1860s to a number of pastorates, from Cape Palmas on Liberia's southeastern coast to Millsburg and White Plains on the upper St. Paul River, Coker spent his final years as presiding elder of the Monrovia District for the Methodist Episcopal Church. When Coker died in July 1868, Bishop J. W. Roberts paid tribute to him as "a faithful missionary" whose "zeal for the cause of God would not allow him to retire from the ranks of the itinerant service" even when his health had failed.
Coker was often called upon to offer a prayer or benediction at public gatherings. He sat for this daguerreotype portrait while serving as chaplain for the Liberian Senate.
Attributed to Augustus Washington
Sixth-plate daguerreotype, circa 1857
Image courtesy Prints and Photographs Division
Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Click here to view the Liberian Senate watercolor.