John Taylor Coit, farmer, lawyer, and Confederate officer, was born on July 6, 1829, in Cheraw, Chesterfield County, South Carolina. He was the son of John Caulkins and Ann Maria (Campbell) Coit. He studied law at Princeton University and graduated in May 1850. After graduation, he returned to Cheraw and practiced law and established himself as an active member of the local Presbyterian Church. On January 2, 1858, Coit married Catherine Malloy Bunting in North Carolina. The couple had three sons and one daughter. Their second son, Henry W., later achieved distinction as an organizer and director of the National Farm Bureau and as director of the Liberty State Bank of Dallas.
In the spring of 1858 Coit traveled to Texas, where in June he purchased a 320-acre farm which straddled the line between Dallas and Collin counties. During the following spring Coit brought his wife, several of her relations, and six slaves to settle on this farm. When the Civil War began Coit enlisted and raised a company of cavalry in Dallas County on February 24, 1862. On March 15, 1862, this unit was organized into Company E of the Eighteenth Texas Cavalry Regiment. Coit served with the Eighteenth Cavalry, first as captain and later as lieutenant colonel, when the unit was mustered into service in the Confederate Army. Coit was taken prisoner on January 14, 1863, at Arkansas Post. As a prisoner of war, he spent time at a prison camp in Chase, Ohio, before being exchanged. In September 1863 he was wounded at the battle of Chickamauga, ending his career as a field officer. After spending time in various hospitals, he was assigned to San Antonio to serve as a recruiting officer. At the conclusion of the war, Coit returned home, but his health was too poor to allow him to return to farming. In 1870 he leased his land and brought his family to Dallas, where he practiced law and became a charter member of the First Presbyterian Church of Dallas. On March 3, 1872, John Coit died in Dallas as a result of lingering maladies from the Civil War. He was buried at Dallas Pioneer Cemetery.