Thursday, May 7, 2009

William Forrest Coleman

Notes for William Forrest Coleman

BIRTH: William Forrest Coleman was born March 17, 1864 in Carrollton, Carroll county, Georgia. His parents were William Allen Coleman and Cynthia Florence Riggs of Carroll County, Georgia. His paternal grandparents were Major Henry Allen Coleman and Sarah Ann Barnes of the 6th District in Carroll county, Georgia. His maternal grandparents were the Reverend John and Jane (Florence) Riggs also of the 6th District, in Carroll county, Georgia. (Ref. Bio of W.A. Coleman, Memoirs of Georgia,Vol 1, 1895)

NAME: William's middle name "FORREST," was given him in honor of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, a former Commander of his father, William Allen Coleman. Family lore has it that Nathan Bedford
Forrest was William Forrest Coleman's godfather. Ref. Interview of John Forrest Coleman, 1996.

EVENT: In 1866, W.F. Coleman's father, William .A. Coleman of the 1st Georgia Cavalry, joins a group of like-minded friends and ex-confederates who decide to immigrate to Spanish Honduras. Ref. Laura Kolb Coleman, Letters and Interview -1963.

EDUCATION: Attended Mercer University

OCCUPATION: W.F. Coleman was a PLANTER and INDUSTRIALIST. He was the Proprieter of LA W.F. COLEMAN INDUSTRIAL,SA, and the director of LA C.J. WARREN INDUSTRIAL,SA. in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. In addition, he served as the AMERICAN CONSULAR AGENT to San Pedro Sula from May
1927 til that post closed in December 1930. Ref. (1) Bio of W.A. Coleman, Memoirs of Georgia, 1895. (2) Department of State Records for San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Ref. (1) Department of State Records,
National Archives. (2) Biografia De San Pedro Sula: 1536-1954" by Rodolfo Pastor Fasquelle,1989, CENTRAL IMPRESORA, S.A.

MARRIAGE to Yndalecia Paredes, d/o Juan Angel Paredes and Dominga Paz , a prominent family of Santa Barbara and San Pedro Sula, Honduras. CHILDREN:
i. John Allen Coleman, b. 10 Oct 1888, m. Maria Antonia Perez-Follin;
ii. William Edgar Coleman, b. 8 Dec 1890, m. Manuela Mana Madrid;
iii. James Clarence Coleman, b. 15 Dec 1892 , m. Teresita Mitchell;
iv. Vera Coleman, b. 15 Dec 1894 ,m. Jesse Ivey Beall;
v. Arthur Bailey Coleman, b. 1896
vi. Maria Coleman, b. 10 Oct 1898 , m. William Adolf Bahr.

NEWS ARTICLE: February 7, 1896, CARROLL COUNTY FREE PRESS, Newspaper, Carrollton, GA." Mr. W. F. Coleman, of Spanish Honduras, son of Mr. W. A. Coleman of this place, is on a visit to his father here. He came in on last Tuesday night. He is accompanied by his little boy about seven years of ge. He will remain over a month or two. He was last in the states in 1892. He comes for the benefit of his health."

NEWS ARTICLE: February 21, 1896, CARROLL COUNTY FREE PRESS, Newspaper, Carrollton, GA."Mr. Will Coleman, a son of Capt. W.A. Coleman, who is here on a visit from Honduras, has his little six year old boy with him, and he can't speak a word of English, and our little boys consider him quite a curiosity, and they in passing him to talk "furrin talk. " (Note: The child was William Edgar Coleman)

EVENT: In 1907, W.F. Coleman introduced the first automobile, a Ford Coup imported from New Orleans, LA., to the city of San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Ref. La Prensa Newspaper, June 29, 1976, page 16, San Pedro
Sula, Honduras.


Following his arrest and detention in a Honduran jail. W.F. Coleman wrote explaining the circumstances of his arrest to the American Consular Agent who was then James M. Mitchell, Jr., a close friend of the family:

From W.F. Coleman to Dr. J.M. Mitchell,Jr., American Consular Agent, San Pedro Sula, Honduras, dated February 8, 1916:

Dear Sir: I beg to hand you the following account of mal-treatment at the hands ofauthorities here, not for the purpose of obtaining monetary remuneration, but that it may serve to put an end to the many petty
annoyances to which we have been subjected during the past few years, and which have become remarkably more frequent and more annoying due to the fact that they have been allowed to pass by without any attention on the part of the American Goverment. If your instance will serve to fix the attention of the American Goverment on the abuses to which we are being subjected, and obtain a disavowel of the tyrannical and arbitrary acts of high officials, the extremely unpleasant and dangerous experience through which I passed will not have been in vain. About 2:30 p.m. of the 7th instant I was "cited" by a policeman to
appear at the police station. As I have always made it a point, no matter how inconvenient, to obey these "citations" on the instant, I went immediately tothe police station and presented myself to the officer at the desk whom I supposed to be the chief of police. I was asked if my name was William Coleman. I replied that it was. I was then informed that I was fined one peso for nothaving my dwelling decorated on the first of February. I answered that I had not done so because I had considered that it was a voluntary act
and not obligatory, but that it had not been my intention to do so in deference to thecustom of the country, but not finding suitable material (with) which to do so, it had not been done. I based my action to a great extent on the fact that my dwelling house is in the suburbs of the town, and in fact, not within the city limits. Also on the fact that none of my neighbors had decorated and there noticed that none of these had been
fined. I reiterated my belief that such act was not obligatory and refused to pay the fine. Fortunately the amount involved was so insignificant, being only 35 cents U.S. currency, that this did not enter into the matter in so far as determined to the action I took. I was then informed that I had to pay. On my reiteration that I would not pay, the chief called up (telephoned) the Governor, (an act entirely irregular, as such matters pertain exclusively to the Alcalde Politico) and informed him that that I, calling my name, had refused to pay.
While I could not catch all of the conversation, I inferred from their succeeding actions that drastic measures were to be taken. I was then ordered into the section set for the barracks, and in a few minutes was
called into a cell set apart for drunks--I foundmyself in a small room without any ventilation except what could come through a hole in the door about six inches square, with the floor partly boarded and partly bare ground, covered with the litter of its recent occupants for whom it had served as a water-closet as well as
sleeping apartment, without light and without anything to sit upon except the ground, which was running with vermin and uncleanness. I was informed that I was "incomunicado" and was not allowed to send word
to anyone. In this place, in a standing position, without light, water or nourishment of any kind, I was kept until about 6 p.m. Then as I had become faint from the position I was compelled to keep and from the lack of water and ventilation I requested the attention of a physician. No attention was paid to my request though informed that I was suffering. About one hour later, however, I was informed that Doctor Paz had been called. I believe that this concession on their part was actuated only by the activity of yourself and other friends. The Doctor came to see me and went away to prepare the medicine that I required. He returned shortly with some, telling me to take it with water. I asked the guard for water and was informed that there was water inthe cell. I groped around in the dark and found an earthen vessel with some kind of fluid in it which appeared to me rather the vomitings of some late occupant of the cell, consequently entirely undrinkable. In the meantime, theDoctor having heard my request for water, begged them to give me some
that I could take the medicine. At his request it was brought to me. Shortly after this, Mr. F.P. Blas, my partner, after a great deal of trouble as you are aware, was allowed to see me. He wished to bring me
something to (eat), but in the condition I was in and with my surroundings it would have been impossible for me to have taken even a mouthful. I requested a cup of coffee and prepared to spend the night as best I could, as no provision had been made for a seat, much less a board to lie upon. At eight o'clock the door was opened and I was informed that I was at liberty. After resting a few minutes in the station I requested to be informed on what ground my release had been ordered. I could get no satisfaction whatever from the Chief excepting
that it was by order of his Superior. This is the true relation of the incidents as they occurred and are in no way exaggerated for the occasion. The condition of the cell can be verified at anytime and the hours that I was confined in a standing position are known to all my friends. At my age, and being actually under treatment for
stomach trouble, as you are aware, it is remarkable that I was able to retain sensibility for so long a time. I beg to repeat my desire for this to be carried as far as you can get the American goverment to listen to you, not for my benefit that (may) accrue to me directly, but that such action may be taken as will prevent a like experience for another. Yours very sincerely, W.F. Coleman
NOTE: Enclosure # 6; a follow up letter to Dr. J.M. Mitchell,Jr., American Consular Agent for San Pedro Sula, from W.F. Coleman, dated February 10, 1916.

Dear Sir: Referring to the subject matter of my communication to you of the 8th instant, I have brought to mind an incident that happened some two days previous to my imprisonment which might have some bearing on the irregularity of the proceedings taken with me. In conversing with the Alcalde Policia who exercises the same functionas the Police Commissioner with us, regarding the orders given for the cleaning up
the town, he remarked that he had been compelled to place some fines, but that the work as a whole had been well done. He said further, "I was sent a list of those who had not decorated their houses on February
1st, but I refused to collect the fines indicated as I did not consider it in keeping with the spirit that should make it a voluntary act, and that, furthermore, it would be bitterly opposed as not in accordance
with previous customs and traditions." He indicated that, very probably, the fines would be collected through other channels by order of the Governor. I also wish to inform you that I have consulted my lawyer on the legal facts, and am informed that the proceedings were entirely irregular. Begging that you will addition this to my above referred to communication of the 8th, I am very respectfully, W.F. Coleman

EVENT: Co-Founder in 1921 of the Casino Sampedrano, a distinguished social club in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

MEMBERSHIP: Augsust 2, 1923; William F. Coleman, MASTER MASON of Lodge No. 69 under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Scotland and Grand Lodge of Georgia, Member of Lodge Cortes. Puerto Cortes, Honduras, No. 1315.

EVENT: Application of W.F. Coleman as Consular Agent at San Pedro Sula Honduras to the Secretary of State, Washington, dated January 15, 1926.( An American colony existed in San Pedro Sula for which it was
considered necessary to have the post of an American Consular Agent in that city). Extract of Letter from Honorable Ray Fox, American Consul:Sir: I have the honor to forward, for the favorable consideration of
the Department, the application of Mr. W. F. Coleman, an American citizen and registered as such under the Department's Serial No. 5,332 of August 16, 1917,for appointment as American Consular Agent at San Pedro Sula, Honduras, under the jurisdiction of this office. Mr. Coleman is quite familiar with the duties of the Agent having usually acted as such when the former Consular Agent, Dr. J.M. Mitchell Jr., was absent. He is also one of the oldest residents in this section of Honduras, inpoint of years, and is very familiar with past and present conditions, political and economic. On numerous occasions he has demonstrated his zeal in guarding the
rights and security of American citizens resident within his jurisdiction, and has at all times endeavored to maintain the dignity and authority of his office. As proprietor of the La W.F. Coleman Industrial S.A., and Director of La C.J. Warren Industrial S.A., together with interests in other
important enterprises, marks him as one of the leading Americans, industrially, in this Department. I do not hesitate to recommend that the Department grant to this application its favorable consideration.
I have the honor to be, Sir, Your obedient servant, Ray Fox American Consul. Ref. Department of State Records, National Archives.

EVENT: Letter dated July 12, 1927 from Herscel V. Johnson, Charge d'Affaires ad interim of the Legation of the United States of America contained the following biographical information: COLEMAN, William
Forrest--Born in Carroll county, Georgia, March 17, 1864; attended Mercer University; engaged in business in Honduras; appointed Consular Agent at San Pedro Sula May 24, 1927. Ref. Department of State Records,
National Archives.

EVENT: Extract-- Sir: I have the honor to inform the Department that leave of absence, with permission to visit the United States, was granted to the American Consular Agent, William Forrest Coleman, at San
Pedro Sula, Honduras, and that he departed from his post on October 15, 1927. I have appointed James Henry Coleman as Acting Consular Agent
during the interim, and am enclosing a specimin of his signature under the seal of theAgency. I have the honor to be,Sir, our obedient servant, Ray Fox .. American Consul.

NOTE: In 1927, W.F. Coleman took a four month leave of absence from his post as American Consular Agent. During that time his brother, James Henry Coleman, acted as consular agent. Ref. Records of the US
State Department. Note: This was the same year that W.F. Coleman's son, Arthur B. Coleman, died in Carrollton, GA.Leave of Absence Granted to the Consular Agent... dated October 25,1927 at Puerto Cortes, Honduras.Ref. Department of State Records, national Archives.

EVENT: American Consulate, Puerto Cortes, Honduras; February 9, 1916.
describing the political outlook as ripe for revolution. ------ Legation of the United States, Tegucigalpa, dated September 1, 1928:
Reporting information that William Coleman, son of William Forrest Coleman, is actively engaged on the north coast, in a campaign of propaganda in favor of General Tosta, which is incendiary and inciting
to revolution. Ref. Department of State Records, National Archives.

DEATH/BURIAL: W.F. Coleman died Februaury 10, 1944 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. He is buried in the Coleman Family Mauseleum located in the Old Central City cemetery, San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

EPITAPH: "In Memory Of Our Beloved Father; William Forrest Coleman; March 17, 1864 to February 10, 1944".

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