James Lide Coker

Born January 3, 1837, in Society Hill, James Lide Coker was a farmer, soldier, businessman, merchant, banker, railroad man, and industrialist.  He was a planter in Hartsville until the Civil War began.  He entered the infantry and was wounded in October 1863, at the Battle of Chickamauga.  After spending time as a prisoner of war, he returned home with a shattered hip.  He introduced scientific principles to farming and established the Southern Novelty Company in 1899.  The company’s primary product was paper cones for yarns used in textile mills.  Today, this company is Sonoco, a global provider of packaging products and services.

This profile looks at Coker as a visionary and innovator who helped bring scientific principles to farming and began a company that today is an international example for recycling.

James Lide Coker IV, great-grandson, is featured in the program.

Historical footage and photographs courtesy of Coker College and Sonoco.

The SC Hall of Fame was founded in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in 1973 to recognize and honor contemporary and past citizens who have made outstanding contributions to South Carolina's heritage, history and progress.

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