October 17, 2005

Hudson Coffey (bc1804-dc1870-80)

Hudson "Huddie" Coffey was the eldest son of Jordan and Elizabeth Rippetoe Coffey. He was born in 1804-1805, approximately two years after their marriage, in what is now Nelson County, probably along the Tye River in the general area of what is now Tyro. Nothing is known of Hudson's early life, since no one is living to tell it and since he was too young to do things which made their way into the records.

Apparently, Hudson, and perhaps Schylar, left Nelson County to come to Amherst County, probably to make some money. They were still in Nelson in 1826 so they hadn't been living long in Amherst County when William the elder died (before March, 1828).

Hudson deeded some of his property - a mare, bed and some furniture - to his father in 1827. This deed is listed in the Amherst County files, and is dated Dec. 31, 1827. It is prepared as a “loan” from Hudson to Jordan, not for money but for love. Most likely it relates to Jordan’s Deed of Trust, written in 1817 in Nelson County, where he promised to pay his debt by the end of the year, or Edmund F. Coffey, acting in his official capacity, was to confiscate the collateral and sell it at auction to pay off the debt. This 1827 Deed was intended to circumvent the original Deed of Trust. Jordan couldn’t pay it off, and couldn’t live very well without his horse, feather bed and some furniture. This occurred years before the Homestead Act, which allowed similar exclusions from creditors. That Act was intended to prevent just this sort of devastating collection, which happened to many in the early 1800’s.

Hudson seems to have devoted himself to the care of his parents. In the 1850 census report, where person's names are listed, Hudson is living with Jordan and Elizabeth in Amherst County. He was probably also there in 1840, taking care of his elderly parents. Before 1860 both his parents presumably died, as they do not show in any later census reports, and he was free to marry.

On 20 September 1855 Hudson married Mahala Lane, a widow. We don't know if there were any children by her first marriage, but census reports (1860 and 1870) show a James E. Coffey, presumably the son of Hudson and Mahala, living with the family in the Pedlar District of Amherst County. James was 5 in 1860 and 16 in 1870 when the census was taken. Apparently Mahala was pregnant at marriage or just after marriage. If she had other children, they were apparently too old to be living with the family in 1860. Perhaps Hudson continued living in his parent's house after they died. His place of residence would be interesting to discover since it is likely that this is where Jordan and Elizabeth lived out the latter portion of their lives, but since other dwellings, known to have been constructed later, have all rotted away, it is very unlikely that anything remains.

Census reports show both Hudson and Mahala as illiterate. Nothing is known of his son, James Coffey. He was too young and Hudson too old to have been involved with the Civil War, and there is no mention of him in connection with Coffeytown history. Hudson is not listed in the Amherst County death records through 1896, and we don't have later census reports clear enough to establish his death date. He was 66 or 68 years old in 1870, and does not show in the 1880 Census. Presumably both he and his wife died between 1870 and 1880. Place of burial is unknown. He may be one of the early settlers of Coffeytown buried with only a boulder for his marker. The cemetery behind Elsie Coffey's house is the oldest known but there may be some farther north for these very early settlers. Bridgehill was not used until about 1907.

(Next: Schylar Coffey)

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