February 17, 2005

Col. John Trousdale Coffee

According to Memorandum of Field Officers in the Confederate States Service; Bethesda, Md: University Publications of America, 1900, John Trousdale Coffee was not a General, contrary to some reports, but was a Colonel in the 6th Missouri Cavalry.

John Trousdale Coffee was born December 14, 1816 to Rev. Joshua M. and Jane "Jinny" Trousdale Coffee. Joshua, (whose middle name may have been McAllister after his mother's maiden name (also questionable)) was a grandson of Peter Coffee through Peter's son William.

John was married at least four times, first to Eliza Stone in 1841. Eliza died in 1842 at age 17 years and was buried in Cleveland, Tennessee. In 1842 he moved to Missouri where he met and married Catherine G. Hunt on December 12, 1843. They had one child, Catherine, born Oct. 7, 1844. I do not know when wife Catherine died, but others have reported it "before 1850." She probably died at Catherine's birth, but I don't know for sure. Catherine the daughter is found in the 1850 Polk Co., Missouri census in the household with Rhoda Hunt, age 60, and other Hunt children. It is not clear to me how Rhoda was related to wife Catherine.

After Catherine died, John T. married a third time. He married Harriet Weir on September 14, 1845, this date adding more evidence that second wife Catherine died at or shortly after childbirth. His marriage to Harriet produced six children: Charles Franklin, born March 22, 1847, died December, 1935; Marietta, no dates; Arthur B., born February 1850, died 1880; Samuel Buffington, born about 1855; William F., born about 1857, died 1944; and Lula, born about 1861.

Again, we are without a date for the death of Harriet, but it must have been sometime shortly after Lula's birth, for John T. married for the fourth time on October 26, 1865. This marriage was to Mrs. Eunice Allen Vontress. I do not know where the marriage took place, but probably in Williamson Co., Texas for that is where their first child, John T., Jr. was born on September 15, 1866. Other children born to this union were: Ella Josephine, born November 3, 1868, died January 22, 1950; Florence, no dates; Tommy (spelled Tommye in some records), born August 1, 1871, died March 16, 1963; and James, born 1877, died April 12, 1952.

Some of John's sons and grandsons became wealthy cattlemen, and bankers in Nebraska. Son Charles was one who did very well. He was a veteran of the Civil War at age 18, and later trailed cattle from Texas to Wyoming while working for the Snyder Brothers. He eventually pioneered on the Wyoming-Nebraska frontier. He was elected to the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City in 1966.

More on the children of John T. at a later date.

In the meantime please let me know if any factual errors have been made here. Write to me at jkcoffee@yahoo.com.

Recommendations for additional information about John Trousdale Coffee:

Hulston, John K. A Look at Dade County, Missouri 1905-1985. Greenfield, MO:
Citizens Home Bank, 1985.

Hulston, John K. and James W. Goodrich. Colonel John Trousdale Coffee: Lawyer, Politician, Confederate. Missouri Historical Review 77 (April 1983 ): 272-295. Illus.

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