Recalling last week’s article about the letter of gratitude to Mr. R. E. Wheless from the students and teachers of Haughton School, this article will relate more about the creators of the letter, Rev. M. A. Coleman and E. Julia Coleman. The Shreveport Sun printed the letter in its January 2, 1932 issue.
Husband and wife, the Colemans’ enumeration in the 1920 census shows them living in Gregg County, Texas, with a two-month old son, all three having been born in Texas. Matthew, a farmer and Baptist minister, and Eliza are both 26 years old. Although they were not located in the 1930 census, we know that by 1931 they were teaching in Bossier Parish at Haughton School because the letter of thanks to Mr. Wheeler [Wheless] is dated December 24, 1931. Ancestry.com descendant submissions indicate that Matthew purchased property in Louisiana and in Easton, Texas. Descendants also remember that he was a very good carpenter. One descendant also recalled the last time that he heard Matthew preach, the sermon’s topic being “What is Man?”. A recollection of Julia labels her “As sweet as could be.”
In the 1940 census Matthew and Eliza J[ulia] are enumerated in Haughton with their two teenage sons Melrose and Horace Lee. Both sons would later serve in the U. S. Army during World War II. Melrose is buried in the San Francisco National Cemetery and Horace Lee is buried in Gregg County Texas. The 1940 census record also indicates that both Matthew and Eliza have completed 2 years of college and both are public school teachers.
How much longer the Colemans remained in Bossier Parish is not certain, nor is it known whether Matthew pastored a church here. What is known is that in 1948 and 1952 Eliza is listed in The Bossier Banner as a teacher at the Bossier Parish Training School, and in 1955 as a teacher at C. H. Irion School. It appears that they may have returned to Texas because Matthew died in July of 1970 in Longview, Texas, and is buried in Easton Cemetery in Easton, Texas. His death certificate listed his occupation as minister. Six years later Eliza died in Alameda County California.