November 20, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

Family obligations will keep me away from the keyboard for the next week or so.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

November 18, 2005

James Walker and Editha Coffey Crist

Editha Coffey, born about 1870 in Virginia, was the youngest daughter and the sixth of the seven children born to Charles Edward and Sarah Jane Ogden Coffey. Charles Edward is in the Jordan Coffey line.

Editha married James Walker Crist about 1879 in Virginia, and settled in Campbell Co. where James worked in a saw mill and a foundry. He was 44 years old when he registered for the World War I draft in Sep., 1918, and listed his occupation as "saw mill manager" for the J. W. Crist Co. The only physical description given of him at the time was that he had blue eyes and light hair.

The family was in Lynchburg from at least 1910 when they appeared in the census at 906 Turnpike St. It was also the address given when he registered for the draft in 1918. In 1920 the family had moved to 2003 Grace St. where they remained at least through 1930. Death dates have not been found for either Editha or James.

There were five children born to the union:

  • Maggie C., born c1898
  • Gladys E., born c1900
  • Charles W., born c1902
  • Sarah J., born c1904
  • Edith Cordelle, born c1907
Photograph courtesy John Taylor

Update Dec. 15, 2012:  James Walker McDowell Crist was born May 15, 1874 in Virginia and died May 13, 1955 at Lynchburg.  He is buried at the Presbyterian Cemetery in that city.  Editha was born Nov. 12, 1870 in Amherst Co. and died between Nov. 12, 1971 and Dec. 31, 1971 in Lynchburg. She too is buried at Presbuterian.

Maggie Christine was born Nov. 19, 1897 and died of influenza in 1918.
Gladys Elinor was born Sep. 16, 1899 in Lynchburg and died there on Dec. 18, 2006.  She is also buried at Presbyterian with her spouse, Carleton Conway Candler.
Charles Walker was born Nov. 6, 1901 and died May 13, 1988.
Sarah Jane, born Jan. 21, 1904, died Mar. 9, 1926 of a ruptured appendix.
Edith Cordelle Crist was born c1907 and died Aug. 16, 1994 in Lynchburg.

November 17, 2005

James M. Coffee - A question mark!

James M. Coffee was my great-grandfather. He was born in TN in 1846 or 1847 and moved to Hempstead Co., AR with his parents by 1849. He grew up in that county, and left very few records; not even a marriage record.

James was the second of six children born to Lilburn C. and Sarah Hannah Taylor Coffee. He was married in about 1867 to Mary Elizabeth Bowman. Mary was the daughter of Joseph T. Bowman, one of the signers of the original Texas Declaration of Independence. Joseph was the son of another famous Texan, Jesse B. Bowman, an Alamo defenders who died there on Mar. 6, 1836 when the fortress fell to Santa Anna's forces. Both father and son were members of the Texas Army of the Republic.

A few surviving letters from Mary to her family revealed little about the marriage. In one she asked her brothers about the cost of goods in their part of the country (Texas?), and complained about the cost of a setting of eggs and gingham in her area. She also complained about the reconstruction forces that occupied the so far unidentified area of the south (Arkansas?) in which she and James lived.

She and James were the parents of two children: Sarah Ellen, born Sep. 19, 1869 - died Nov. 15, 1952, and my grandfather, Albert Lilburn, born Jan. 22, 1873, died Mar. 26, 1960.

I know from census records that the family was in Wood Co., TX in 1870. However, sometime after that James disappeared, and there are no indications of the cause. He may have died, or simply abandoned or divorced his family.

I did find a James M. Coffee in the 1880 Kaufman Co., TX census who was of the correct age, and was born in TN. With him was a new wife and two daughters. Sometime later this James M. signed an agreement with a Mr. Bishop of Kaufmann Co. to share crops in return for a place to live. However, this family soon disappeared from the county, never again to be found.

In about 1879 Mary Elizabeth Bowman Coffee married William Watson, with whom she had two additional children, both daughters: Lillie Wes, born Feb. 10, 1880, died Jul. 11, 1959, and Mary Elizabeth, born Aug. 28, 1883, died Feb. 20, 1942.

The May 1880 census for Bowie Co., TX shows the Watsons residing there with the two Coffee children, and Lillie, age 3 months. Living nearby is the Finis E. Ames family, the wife being Mary E. Coffee, sister to James M. Coffee. Bowie Co. courthouses have been burned a few times, and there are few old surviving records which might tell me more about these families.

The story that I have pieced together from descendants of Lillie, who married a Courtney and left descendants in Sequoyah Co., OK, reveals that Mary Elizabeth Bowman Coffee Watson died at or shortly after the birth of her second child in 1883. It was at this time that Mr. Watson returned the Coffee children to their aunt Mary Coffee Ames, and left TX for northwest AR, taking his two natural children with him.

It is said by some of my older cousins who knew our grandfather that he often told them he and his sister Ellen were raised by "a mean aunt." At some point the Ames family returned to Hempstead Co., AR with the Coffee children in tow. The Ames remained there and are buried in a now abandoned cemetery not far from present day downtown Hope.

Sarah Ellen Coffee married twice. Her first marriage was to P. B. Hill on Mar. 21, 1886 in Hempstead Co. Together they had one son, James Walter Hill, born Jan. 3, 1888, died Jan., 1972. Mr. Hill died shortly thereafter, and Sarah Ellen married Johnathan K. Polk Sutton, born Sep. 1846 in TN, died Dec. 5, 1910 in AR. This union produced three children, all daughters: Mamie, born Dec., 1890; Lillian Ann, born Jun. 6, 1894, died Dec. 18, 1964, and Violet M., born Sep. 21, 1899, died Jul. 30, 1979.

Many of this family ventured west to California and some of their descendants reside there today.

Albert Lilburn Coffee married three times. His first marriage was to Della Lenore King, born 1876 to George T. and Mary Elizabeth Woods King, died 1898 in Hempstead Co., AR. This marriage produced two children: Ora West, born Apr. 30, 1894, died May 25, 1969, and Carl Glenn, born Jan. 11, 1896, died Aug. 28, 1950.

His second wife was on Mar. 6, 1899 to Ida Lee Timberlake, born c1873 to Hugh B. and Alice B. McClumery Timberlake. Ida died in about 1902, but gave birth to two children during her short marriage. Her first child was John Timberlake, born Mar. 5, 1900, died Mar. 7, 1928, and Ruby McElvy, born Aug. 8, 1902, died Jan. 5, 1985.

Ora Elizabeth Braley was the third wife of Albert Lilburn Coffee. She was born Jan. 14, 1884 and died Mar. 7, 1984, at the age of 100 years. She was my grandmother, and the only one of his three wives to be born in LA; the other two were natives of Hempstead Co., AR.

WWII Enlistment Records - US Army, a "for fee" genealogical research site, has begun to add the nearly 8.3 million enlistment records for men and women who enlisted in the US Army during WW2.

I did a quick check for the Coffey surname and found these:

US Army WWII Enlistment Records

Name - Birth Year - Native State - Enlistment Date - State - Enlistment State

Alfred Coffey 1925 Texas 23 Jun 1943 Texas Texas
Andrew J Coffey Jr 1919 Texas 27 Mar 1941 Texas Texas
Beauford C Coffey 1917 Texas 12 Mar 1942 Texas Texas
Carl W Coffey 1913 Oklahoma 24 Mar 1944 Texas Oklahoma
Carroll W Coffey 1927 Texas 2 Feb 1946 Texas California
Charley R Coffey 1923 Texas 23 Aug 1944 Texas Texas
Covis W Coffey Jr 1919 Texas 29 Jan 1942 Texas Texas
Earner C Coffey 1920 Texas 25 Nov 1940 Texas Texas
Eugene Coffey 1912 Texas 18 Feb 1942 Texas Texas
Frank D Coffey 1928 Texas 1 Mar 1946 Texas Texas
Fred A Coffey 1921 Oklahoma 11 May 1943 Texas Texas
Garland W Coffey 1920 Texas 3 Dec 1941 Texas Texas
Horace M Coffey Jr 1915 North Carolina 1 Aug 1942 Texas Texas
J E Coffey 1921 Oklahoma 20 Jul 1942 Texas Texas
James H Coffey 1915 Texas 11 Mar 1942 Texas Texas
James L Coffey 1918 Texas 14 Nov 1942 Texas Texas
James O Coffey 1922 Texas 6 Nov 1942 Texas California
Jesse L Coffey 1913 Texas 18 Jun 1942 Texas Texas
Joe A Coffey 1918 Texas 20 Mar 1941 Texas Texas
John M Coffey 1902 Texas 10 Jul 1942 Texas Texas
John S Coffey Jr 1911 Texas 17 Jan 1941 Texas Texas
Joseph M Coffey 1909 Illinois 16 Jan 1941 Texas Texas
Joseph P Coffey 1917 3 Apr 1942 Texas Texas
Kendall L Coffey 1926 Texas 27 Jan 1946 Texas
Knox Coffey 1900 Texas 22 Jul 1942 Texas Texas
Leroy F Coffey 1922 Texas 25 Jan 1944 Texas Texas
Louis G Coffey 1918 Texas 30 Jul 1941 Texas Texas
Lowell W Coffey 1918 Texas 9 Jun 1942 Texas Texas
Lucy F Coffey 1906 Texas 3 Apr 1943 Texas Texas
Malcolm A Coffey 1913 Virginia 11 Jun 1942 Texas Texas
Malvin S Coffey 1916 Texas 30 Nov 1942 Texas Texas
Malvin S Coffey 1916 Texas 10 Nov 1941 Texas Texas
Mary F Coffey 1902 Texas 17 Jul 1944 Texas Texas
Paul Coffey 1907 Texas 19 Sep 1942 Texas Texas
Robert N Coffey 1923 Indiana 3 May 1941 Texas Texas
Romey J Coffey Jr 1917 Texas 3 Feb 1942 Texas Texas
Rufus T Coffey 1917 Texas 20 Nov 1942 Texas Texas
Thaddeus E Coffey Jr 1922 Texas 8 Dec 1944 Texas Texas
Thomas Coffey 1906 Texas 23 Feb 1942 Texas Texas
Vernon G Coffey 1921 Texas 26 Jul 1942 Texas Texas
Walter J Coffey 1920 Texas 19 Oct 1944 Texas Texas
Weldon H Coffey 1920 Texas 25 Nov 1940 Texas Texas
William D Coffey 1921 Texas 25 Nov 1940 Texas Texas
William H Coffey Jr 1925 Texas 28 Jul 1943 Texas Texas
William M Coffey 1918 Texas 25 Nov 1940 Texas Texas
William R Coffey 1921 Texas 1 Nov 1942 Texas Texas
Woodrow Coffey 1919 Kentucky 6 Aug 1942 Texas Kentucky

Contact me for additional information about this database.

Coffee surnames to follow at a later date.

Wm. Lafayette Stewart and Lucia Edna Coffee

William Lafayette Stewart was born Aug. 28, 1876 in San Augustine Co., TX to Isaac Richard and Sarah Payne Nations Stewart. He was married to Lucia Edna Coffee, daughter of John Fielding and Fannie Thompson Coffee, on Oct. 22, 1896 in Hope, Hempstead Co., AR.

William was an ordained Baptist minister, and took his ministry from Hope to Nolan Co., TX in 1920, and Erath Co., in 1930. He died in the Texas state hospital at Wichita Falls in Aug., 1962 of bronchial pneumonia and heart disease. He is buried in the Oak Dale Cemetery at Stephenville in Erath Co.

William's obituary shows that he was "...survived by two children, Mrs. Francis Maddox of Gordon and Willie Stewart of Stephenville. Other survivors include two brothers, George Stewart of Hannibal and Richard Stewart of Floydada; and four sisters, Mrs. John Sikes, Stephenville; Mrs. Ida Fuller and Mrs. Mary E. Rodgers, both of Houston, and Mrs. Vida Knox of Glen Dale, California. All were present for the last rites except Mrs. Knox who was unable to get here."

Lucia was born Oct. 22, 1877 in Hope and died Aug. 4, 1957 in Erath Co., and is also buried in the Oak Dale Cemetery.

Together they had three children:

  • Sarah Frances, born Jan. 29, 1898, and died Mar. 28, 1986 in Erath Co. She married Emmett C. Maddox in about 1920, and they were the parents of four children: Allen Carl, born c1922; Clyde, born c1923; George W., born c1927, and Robert Francis, born c1929.
  • Edna Ellen, born Nov. 23, 1899, died Jul. 26, 1901, buried West End Cemetery, Stephenville.
  • William Ellery (Willie), born Jul. 29, 1901, died Nov. 18, 1976. His obituary appeared in The Stephenville Empire Tribune on Nov. 21, 1976, and indicates that he was survived by one sister, Frances Maddox of Gordon, and two aunts, Mrs. Iris Stewart and Mrs. Bonnie Sikes of Stephenville. Willie apparently never married. He was buried in the East Memorial Cemetery at Stephenville.

Family tales indicate that William Lafayette's father, Isaac was a very mean and cruel man. An article which appeared in The Arkansas Gazette on Sunday, Dec. 19, 1920 adds credibility to those tales.

In that article, it was reported that Isaac, age 65, shot and killed his son-in-law, Eli M. Caudle, age 46, on Dec. 18 of that year. Up until a few weeks before the killing, Eli and Isaac were in the grocery business together in Stamps, Lafayette Co., AR. Eli had filed charges against Isaac alleging slander. Isaac was overheard saying that Eli would not live long enough to testify against him.

On the day of the murder, Isaac waited on the sidewalk near his home for Eli to pass by on his way home for dinner. Without warning, Isaac shot Eli with a ".38 caliber Winchester rifle." The first shot sent Eli to his knees, then in "rapid succession, Stewart fired three more times, each shot taking effect. One shot struck Caudle above the heart. Caudle was unarmed."

Following the shooting, and before he could be captured and arrested, Isaac returned to his home where he "drank a quantity of carbolic acid, and died within a few minutes."

Eli's wife was Mary Elizabeth (Lizzie) Stewart, sister to Wm. Lafayette. I have been unable to find her, or her children after 1920 when they appeared in the Lafayette Co., AR census. William's obituary indicates that she remarried and was living in Houston, TX at the time of her brother's death.

I would appreciate hearing from anyone descended from, or researching any of these families.

Louis Edwin Coffee (1875-1947)

Louis Edwin Coffee was born Aug. 17, 1875 in Hempstead Co., AR. He was the first child of John Fielding and Fannie Thompson Coffee. Louis died July 14, 1947 at the Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino Co., CA, and was buried on July 18, 1947 at the Inglewood Park Cemetery in Los Angeles Co., CA.

Following other relatives who moved there, Louis relocated from Arkansas to Erath Co., TX in 1900. He resided in that county near his sister, Lucia Edna (Mrs Wm. Lafayette Stewart) and her family for awhile before moving on to Harris Co., TX in 1910 where he worked on the railroad.

He did not marry until he was nearly 40 years old. Although a marriage record has not been found, he and Lula Belle Nichols were likely married in Thurber, Erath Co. about 1914. Their first child, Orval Preston Coffee was born there on Aug. 7, 1915.

In 1920 they were in Eastland Co., TX where Louis worked for an oil company. It is not yet clear if they moved to Eastland before or after their second child, Everette M. (Jack) Coffee was born in 1918.

The family has been difficult to keep up with. They apparently moved from Texas to California before 1930. The census for that year found them in Los Angeles Co., but not married to each other. Louis was employed by the county engineering department in the street maintenance division. He reported in the census that he was a "construction laborer in concrete."

In the census that year, Louis also reported himself as a "widower." He and Lula had divorced by then, and probably before 1924 when she is thought to have given birth to a daughter by her second husband, Floyd Henry Cook.

Lula may have given birth to a daughter, Betty Floydada (Toots) Cook. The 1930 LA Co. census shows her with Mr. Cook, age 38,a 6-yr old daughter, and the two Coffee children. In the census, Mr. Cook indicated that he married first at age 23, so it is likely that Betty was his child by a previous wife. It may also be a good bet that he did not marry at age 15. Lula later divorced Mr. Cook and subsequently married a Mr. Pennington. However, I have not found any substantive information.

Orval died in Crescent City, Del Norte Co., CA on Jan. 24, 1989. His obituary, which appeared in The Curry Coastal Pilot, published in Brookings Co., OR, a town about 25 miles north of Crescent City, reported that his body was cremated. He was survived by his brother, Everett of Anaheim, CA, and two nieces, Donna Yarkovsky of Ocala, FL, and Christine Tyler of Olathe, CO.

Everette died Jan. 19, 2004 at age 86 in Anaheim. His small obituary indicated that he left a wife, Virginia, daughters Deborah Kerns, and Marsha Bugg, and a son Kyle Follars.

Louis is buried in Inglewood Park Cemetery, Pleasant View section, lot 136. Other names in the plot with him are Cook and Pennington.

Louis was my first cousin, twice removed. Anyone related to, or knowing more about him is invited to contact me.

November 15, 2005

Name Change

I have decided to change the name of this e-newsletter. Except for the fact that I belong to Coffey Cousins', this e-newsletter really does not have anything to do with that organization.

The information provided here comes mostly from information provided to me by others, or from my own files, and may not appear in the quarterly paper edition of the Coffey Cousins' newsletter. I try to not duplicate information that Bonnie Culley, editor of the paper edition, may use. But, sometimes I will often pass on to her the articles that I believe are of sufficient interest to our members who may not subscribe to this e-newsletter.

I may yet again decide to change the name. I am subject to whim now and then.

November 14, 2005

Howard Walter Coffey - Updated info

Originally published:

Buster and Dolly's second child was Howard Walter Coffey. He chose to keep his surname after his mother's remarriage. Howard first married Joyce Lee Mifflin in about 1940, and together they had Lawrence, born 1941, Jo Ann Lee, born 1943, Karen Sarah Sue, born 1945, and Linda Joyce, date of birth unknown. He married second to Jayne Woodson Ostrander in Nov., 1963 in Reno, Washoe Co., NV. This marriage produced a daughter, Pamela Lynn Coffey, born 1964. His third wife was Gloria Cuison Jovez, to whom he was married on Dec. 22, 1973 in Reno. This marriage produced a daughter, Anna Lissa, born Oct. 14, 1974, and a son Patrick, born Mar. 17, 1978.

Info submitted by an anonymous contributor:

For the record: Howard Walter Coffey first wife's name was Gladys, surname unknown. There were no children from this union. His second wife Joyce Lee Mifflin born 5/8/1923. Their first child was Larry(not Lawrence) Howard, born 7/27/41, second Jo Ann Lee Born 6/27/43, third Karen Sue(later changed her middle name to Sarah) 7/19/45 and fourth child Linda Joyce born 12/28/48. Howard third wife was a woman named Doris, surname unkonwn. There were no children from this union. His fourth wife was Jayne, with one child from this union, Pamela Lynn. Fifth wife was Gloria Cuison Jovez, This marriage produced a daughter, Anna Lissa, born Oct. 14, 1974, and a son Patrick, born Mar. 17, 1978.


"This is correct regarding my Uncle Howard Coffey. I never knew about a wife named Doris though and that is news to me too. One of my Uncle Howards daughters must have written to you to correct the information I gave you." Dorothy Louise Crawford, Union City, CA, a descendant of Lewis Moses Coffey

November 7, 2005

Augustus Benjamin (Buster) Coffey

Augustus Benjamin (Buster) Coffey was the seventh child and third son of John Taylor and Sarah Adeline (Sofie) Gates Coffey. He was born July 23, 1894 in Svenson, Clatsop Co., OR, and died Jan. 22, 1972 in that county.

(l-r: Velma, Dorothy, Howard, Buster, and George)

He married Dorothy Odessie (Dolly) Lousignont on Feb. 11, 1914 in Portland, Multnomah Co., OR. Dolly was born Oct. 21, 1897 in Portland, and died Nov. 21, 1988 in Stanislaus Co., CA.

Together Buster and Dolly had four children: George Norman, born Sep. 27, 1915, died Jul. 17, 1996 in Redwood City, San Mateo Co., CA. Following the divorce and remarriage of his mother to Lewis Nessel, a Belgian born Aug. 6, 1883 in Brussels, George changed his name to that of his step-father. George married three times: 1) Frances Louisa Wellcome on Dec. 16, 1933 in Vancouver, Clark Co., WA. Two children were born to this union: Dorothy Louise and Norman Louis Nessel. His second wife, to whom he was married on Feb. 12, 1951 in Virginia City, Storey Co., NV was Eileen Mary Nacey. This marriage produced one son, Edward Michael Nessel, born Dec. 20, 1951. George's third wife was Maudie Gladys Silverman who he married Mar. 28, 1978 in Carson City, NV.

Buster and Dolly's second child was Howard Walter Coffey. He chose to keep his surname after his mother's remarriage. Howard first married Joyce Lee Mifflin in about 1940, and together they had Lawrence, born 1941, Jo Ann Lee, born 1943, Karen Sarah Sue, born 1945, and Linda Joyce, date of birth unknown. He married second to Jayne Woodson Ostrander in Nov., 1963 in Reno, Washoe Co., NV. This marriage produced a daughter, Pamela Lynn Coffey, born 1964. His third wife was Gloria Cuison Jovez, to whom he was married on Dec. 22, 1973 in Reno. This marriage produced a daughter, Anna Lissa, born Oct. 14, 1974, and a son Patrick, born Mar. 17, 1978.

The third child, Albert Robert, born Mar. 24, 1919 in Seaside, Clatsop Co., OR, chose to keep his surname. He married four times. The following is believed to be in the order of those marriages:

1 - Helen Volis, born May 11, 1914 in CA, died Sep. 5, 1994 in Redwood City, CA. Two children: Robert Michael, born 1941, and Judith, born 1942, died Jun 10, 1995

2 - Violet Wallen, dates unknown; one child, a son, Timothy born 1958

3 - Alice Rose Keith, born Aug. 29, 1927 in Boise, ID, died May 31, 2004, Modesto, CA. They were married Oct. 18, 1794 in Reno, NV. No known children.

4 - Norma B., no other information

The fourth child of Buster and Dolly was Harold Franklin who also chose to change his surname to Nessel. He was born Jul. 22, 1921 in Clatsop Co., and was married twice. His first marriage was to Connie Mifflin, date unknown. They were the parents of two children: Jacquelin, born 1941, and Sandra, born 1945. His second wife was Terry Tryphe, dates unknown. There are no known children.

Circumstances surrounding the birth of the child Velma is not known.


I have been notified that Albert Robert did change his surname from Coffey to Nessel.

An unidentified reader has provided additional information concerning Howard Walter Coffey. However, because they left no contact address, or source of their info I have delayed posting that info until I can get other confirmation.

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