As previously written, my early personal family research efforts uncovered literally thousands of miscellaneous Coffee/Coffey tidbits. I placed those items into a database that I could search on various keywords. To date, that database contains 11,650 names.
Over the years the database has not only helped me uncover several clues to my own family, but has helped other family historians by providing them with that one little "clue" that lead to a break through in their own research.
There are 102 Joels in the database, but there is only one that has me puzzled. That Joel first appears in Hempstead Co., AR in 1856 when he purchased land in Township 12, Range 23. On Feb. 20, 1858 he and Elizabeth, his wife, sold that land to Moses Jones. Joel died in 1859 as proven by probate of his will on Apr. 11, 1859. The only information provided in that document was the name of his wife. Strangly, there is a land patent dated Jul. 1, 1859 in that county in the name of Joel Coffey, who purchased 160 acres in township 34, section 12 south, range 23 west. This purchase may have been in the works prior to his death, but the fact that he sold land knowing that he was about to die sort of belies this.
Three witnesses attested to Joel's will in 1858. They appear to be of no relation to Joel or Elizabeth. When the will was probated, one of the witnesses had already left the county and was not available to testify as witness to Joel's signature on the will. My ancestor, Lilburn Coffee, who had settled in Hempstead Co. in 1849, was called upon to verify that the signature of the missing witness was in fact accurate. I've often wondered how a man who could neither read nor write could give such testimony.
In any event, Joel must have been known to Lilburn, and may even have been related. But, I have been unsuccessful in determining which of the hundreds of Joel Coffee/ys this could be.
My database contains several entries for a Joel Coffey with a wife named Elizabeth:
+ Joel, born 1806 in TN, married Elizabeth Grubb on Feb. 5, 1829. Bond was Jacob Grubb, James Kennon, MG, officiated. Joel was the son of Meredith Coffey and Esther (Hester?) LNU. Most researchers report that this Joel died before Sep. 10, 1851 in Grainger Co., TN. Children were: Nancy who married John Hinshaw on Oct. 16, 1847 in Grainger Co.; John, born c1833; Susan, born c1838, married Samuel Stalsworth; Jacob, born c1839; William E., born c1842; Sarah E., married Dec. 6, 1860 to Robert Inklebarger; and Elvira.
+ Joel William, born 1824-26 in either AL or TN. He married Elizabeth Ann Moore, born 1832, in Morgan Co., Somerville Co., AL in 1848. Elizabeth is thought to have died between 1894-96 in Province, OK. Joel died in TX in 1880. Their children were John James, Ann E. J. (Jane?), Joel William, Daniel Webster, Sarah Elizabeth, Eleanor (Linnie), Joseph A., Robert Richard, Harrison, and Charles.
+ Joel and wife Elizabeth appear in the 1860 DeKalb Co., AL census. Joel, age 53, grocer, born SC, Elizabeth, age 49, born SC; William H., age 17, born GA; Andrew J., age 14, born GA; Mary E., age 9, born GA, and Franklin, age 6, born GA.
+ Joel Hymer Coffee, born 1839 in SC, married Susan Elizabeth Cobb, born 1866. This Joel was the son of Rev. John D. Coffee, born 1816 and Martha Singleton, born 1818.
I would be interested in hearing from anyone who can add to or correct the above list, or who might know which Coffey family Joel of Hempstead Co. belonged to.