September 15, 2005

Victor Hugo Coffey (1858-1953)


"This is the biography on my great-great grandfather Victor Hugo Coffey. Victor Hugo Coffey, For the greater part of twenty-seven years Victor H. Coffey has been a resident of the North West and possesses the alert, enterprising spirit which has wrought such wonderful development in this section of the country, resulting in the building of a "western empire" that rivals the east in all that indicates business activity, intellectual, moral and social progress. He was born in Morgan County, Indiana, May 30, 1858, his parents being J.W (James Wilson) and Louisa (Norman) Coffey. In 1864 the family removed to Washington County, Iowa, settling upon a farm which continued to be the father's place of residence until his death in 1897. His widow still survives and is now living with her son Victor at the advanced age of eighty-five years. They were pioneer settlers of the northwest and through their influence and efforts contributed to the substantial development and improvement of the section of the state in which they lived. Their family numbered eight children: L.M. (Lemuel Lewis M.), who is living in Clatsop County; J.L (John Taylor) who is farming in the same county; B.F. ( Benjamin Franklin) and J. N.(James Norman) who are residents of Hammond; J.L (Joseph Lane) who is living in West Chester, Iowa; Victor H., of this review; and two who have passed away. In taking up the personal history of Victor H. Coffey we present to our readers the life record of the one widely and favorably known in the northwest. He was but a young lad of six years when with his parents he came to Iowa and until eighteen years of age remained at home with his parents, after which he began clerking in a store in Dayton, Iowa, where he spent four years. He afterward located at Wellman, Iowa, where he devoted two years of clerking, after which he went to Shelby County, Iowa, where he filled the office of deputy sheriff. In 1885 he removed to Oregon and secured a claim in Clatsop County, on which he resided for a year. Much of the land in that district was still wild and unimproved and in the intervening years he has taken an active and helpful part in the work of progress and upbuilding. He remained upon the farm for a year and then he removed to Astoria, where he served as county assessor for one term. On his retirement for office in 1887 he turned his attention to general merchandising, conducting a store in Astoria for seven years, after which he sold out and removed to Warrenton. Here he opened a general mercantile establishment and is still engaged in the business. He keeps a carefully selected line of goods and his well appointed establishment and honorable business methods insure him a liberal patronage,. He has prospered as the years have gone by and is now an active and valued factor in commercial circles in his adopted city. Nor has his activity been confined alone to individual interests. He has been closely associated with public affairs and for three terms has served as mayor of Warrenton, giving to the city a business like and public-spirited administration, characterized by many needed reforms and improvements. On the 18th of December, 1881 Mr. Coffey was united in marriage to Miss Anna M. Brandt, who was born in Trenton, New Jersey. August 7, 1862 and is a daughter of Phillip J. and Mary (Raisner) Brandt. Her parents were both natives of the north of Germany and came to America in the early '50's, first settling in New Jersey, where they lived for a number of years. They afterward became residents of Johnson County, Iowa, where the father died in 1896 while the mother in now living in Iowa City at the age of eighty-one years. In their family were eight children: Henry Brandt, who is retired and living in Iowa City, Iowa; Mrs Coffey; and six who are deceased. Unto Mr. and Mrs Coffey have been born seven children; P.H. (Phillip) at home; Katie M. who is now a milliner of Astoria; Charles, who was born March 5, 1887 and died on the 27 of July on the same year; and Mary L., Nellie H., Java H., and Victor H., all yet under the parental roof. In addition to an attractive home in Warrenton Mr. Coffey owns a good ranch of 150 aces. His wife is a member of the Lutheran Church and he holds membership with the Dayton Lodge, No 149, A.F.&A.M. of Wellman, Iowa. He has not affiliated with the order in Oregon, however, yet is in the full sympathy with the beneficent spirit of the craft and its principles concerning mutual helpfulness. He is preeminently a businessman, active, alert, and energetic, and as the years have gone by he has met with a substantial measure of success, which is the merited reward of earnest and , persistent labor. The history of the northwest is largely familiar to him, as he has been a witness of much of its growth and development and at all times he has stood for that which is best and most progressive in the business life of the community and in the advancement of its moral, intellectual and social interest."

His obituary:*

Astoria Budget, April 27, 1953, page 1.

"Services for Victor Hugo Coffey, 94, pioneer Clatsop county resident and former mayor of Warrenton and county assessor, will be held Tuesday at 10:30  a.m. at the Memorial chapel of the Hughes-Ransom mortuary. Coffey died  Saturday morning at 8:30 in Warrenton.   The Rev. Hugh Michelmore, pastor of the Clatsop Plains Memorial  Presbyterian  church will officiate and burial will be in the family plot in Ocean view  cemetery.  Serving as casket bearers will be Robert Magnuson, Slaton Hughes, Ames  Fenton, Lawrence Barrick, Clyde Cristy and Jacob Bosshart.  The honorary pallbearers will be George Warren, Dan Warren, Walter Kamp,  Frank Cook, Clarence Harris, S.A. Knutsen, Clarence Kelson, Orton Ager,  George Kelly, George Coats, Richard Ely and Quincy Robinson.  Coffey was born May 30, 1858 in Morgantown, Ind., the son of James and  Louisa Coffey, pioneers of that area. At the age of six, he moved with the  family to Wellman, Iowa, where he attended public school. He later attended  medical school at Iowa City, Iowa.  In his earlier years, Coffey had worked as a clerk in stores in Iowa and  for  a time, was deputy sheriff in Shelby county. He left Iowa in 1885, largely  because of a breakdown in health and came to Astoria. After having worked  as  assessor until 1887, he established his own general merchandise store at  11th and Bond streets and in 1891, moved to Svensen, establishing the first  post office there.  Coffey operated a store and the post office in Svensen for several years  before returning to Astoria to continue in the mercantile business. He  later  operated a store in Hammond for a short while and in 1906, moved to  Warrenton where until his retirement in 1918, he operated the Warrenton  Grocery and Butcher company.  Coffey served as mayor of Warrenton for several terms and during his  tenure,  initiated the building of the street lighting system and organized the  volunteer fire department.  He was married in Amish, Iowa on December 18, 1879 to his late wife, Anna,  who died in Warrenton in June 1941.  Surviving him are two sons, Jay H. Coffey, Warrenton, and Victor H. Coffey,  John Day, Ore. two daughters, Mrs. Nell Kindred and Mrs. Mame C. Davey,  both  of Warrenton; eight grandchildren and nine great grandchildren."

Source: The Centennial History of Oregon 1811-1912 Volume lll The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company Chicago 1912 (See title link)

[Victor Hugo Coffey was a son of James Wilson Coffey, a grandson of Lewis Moses Coffey, himself a son of Ambrose and Mildred (Millie) Moore Coffey. Louisa T. Norman was the daughter of James and Sarah A. Harrison Norman.] [NB: He was not MY gg-grandfather.  The author of this piece was not identified in the source]

*Added Nov 29, 2011

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