December 29, 2005

Calvin Allen Coffey (c1839-c1907)

Calvin was a son of James and Sarah Jane (Sally) Fielding Coffey. He was born 1839 in Grainger Co., and died in Indiana in 1907.

During the Civil War he was a member of the 59th Regiment of Tennessee Infantry, and was captured at Vicksburg on July 4, 1863. He was paroled on July 10, but reenlisted in the CSA after returning to Grainger Co.

Calvin was well educated, and after the war became a school teacher in Bartholomew County, Indiana. After teaching for several years he began farming, and married Josephine Simmonds, daughter of Wesley Simmons and Margaret Pearson, on April 25, 1869. Josephine was born c1852 in Indiana, and died Mar. 5, 1918 at Webster's home in Texas.

The marriage produced five children: Cora, born c1870, became a school teacher, and married Frank Linke; Walter, born c1876, became a professor in Animal Husbandry at the University of Illinois and was later Dean at University of Minnesota at St. Paul; Webster*, born c1880, grew cotton in Texas and became wealthy when oil was discovered on his property; Joel, born c1885, died Nov., 1951, was a professor of Animal Husbandry at Ohio State University; Margaret was a nurse in Indianapolis.

Source: Hawk, E. L. (Ellis Leroy), compiler, The Hawk Family


Update Jun 21, 2014

*Webster Victor Coffey, born Dec. 29, 1879 in Bartholomew Co., IN, married Syble Lourine Sammons, born Sep. 11, 1919.  They had one child, a son named Walter Joe, born Apr. 29, 1920.

Walter Joe was struck by lightning while plowing in his field on Jun. 30, 1964 in Victoria, Victoria Co., TX.  He was DOA at Citizens Memorial Hospital in Victoria at age 44 years.  He was buried on Jul. 2, 1964 at Crescent Valley Cemetery in Victoria.  Syble is not known to have remarried and died on Jul. 13, 2003.  She is also buried at Crescent Valley Cemetery.


December 19, 2005

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


While looking around for a Christmas gift idea for my wife, I found the website for "Quilt Camp." This group, headquartered in Olympia, WA books sea cruises for quilters! Sounds like a lot of fun, but something my sister would probably enjoy more than my wife.

The decorated tree quilt photo is from their site, and is so beautiful.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of my Coffee/Coffey cousins, and I look forward to having much more new information to pass along in the coming year. You can help by allowing me to use your old family photographs and a brief family history to share with others. Write to me

God Bless Us, Each and Everyone

December 14, 2005

Joel Coffey

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.

Chesley Shelton Coffey


Captain Chesley Shelton Coffey was a member of Co. D., 19th MS Infantry Regiment. CSA. I have written briefly about him here, and here.

Capt. Coffey was wounded at Williamsburg, VA and resigned his commission on Feb. 14, 1863.

He appears in Fayette, Jefferson Co. MS census record on July 30, 1850 with wife, Mississippi. He was 35-yrs old, and professed to be a farmer, born in TN. Mississippi was age 17, and gave her place of birth as MS.

George Petty, a 29-yr old male, born in KY, was also enumerated with the Coffeys.

The family appears again in the 1860 Fayette, Jefferson Co., MS enumeration. He was a 44-yr old planter with real estate valued at $10,000, and personal property valued at $5,200. He reported TN as his place of birth.

With him was his wife Mississippi Davis Coffey, age 27, and sons Bradford D., age 10, Charles C., age 8, and Chesley S., Jr., age 5. Mississippi and all of their children were also born in TN.

Included in the family that year was Stephen Johnson, an 18-yr old male with $175 in personal property, born in TN.

Chesley died in Feb., 1869. Goodspeed wrote that his wife died in Nov., 1844. That date is obviously incorrect for Mississippi. That, and the fact that he was much older than she when they married may indicate that Chesley was previously married.

I do not know the ancestry of Chesley, and would appreciate hearing from anyone who knows more about him.

Photo courtesy William Frazier Furr's 19th MS Infantry website. Click on title link for additional information.

December 5, 2005

Lilburn Warren Coffee - An adventurer


Lilburn Warren Coffee was the youngest son of Lilburn C. and Sarah Hannah Taylor Coffee.

Lib, as he was known to his family, left his father's home in southwest Arkansas sometime before the census in October of 1870. He was born in Sep.1850, and was therefore around 18 or 19 years old when he left Hempstead Co.

He rambled around Texas for several years before landing in Hayes Co. In 1870 he worked for Ezekiel Nance as a farm laborer. In October 1876 he married Margaret Goode, a 21-year old Texas beauty, born May 7, 1855. The couple stayed in Hayes Co. until around 1880 when they moved to Big Spring in Howard Co., Texas. Their first child, a daughter Lula Edna, was born in Hayes County on Nov. 19, 1878. Nine more children, four boys and five girls followed, were all born in Howard Co. between 1880 and 1898. During his lifetime he ranched more than 150,000 acres, and raised cattle, horses and pack mules for the army.

The first child born in Big Spring was a boy, born Jul. 22, 1880, and died Aug. 24, 1880. The others were:

Walter Douglas, born Jul. 25, 1882, died Oct. 29, 1947
Jerry, born Mar. 17, 1884, died Jun. 4, 1959
Rubye, born March 11, 1886, died March 24, 1972
Margaret, born Mar. 20, 1888, died Apr. 25, 1983
Lilburn, Jr., born Oct. 18, 1892, died Nov. 3, 1948
Nellie, born Jun. 12, 1894, died Mar. 20, 1909
Lolis, born Jun. 7, 1896, died Jul. 29, 1985
Lillian Lee, born Jun. 19, 1898, died Dec. 15, 1985

My research has uncovered only one living male descendant of Lilburn Warren Coffee, and he is the grandson of Jerry whose marriage to Martha Elizabeth Olive in 1914 produced Jerry, Jr. Jerry, Jr. married first to Helen Lorayne Donnis which produced a son, Jerry Earl Coffee, born in 1947. Jerry Sr.'s only other son, Leslie James Coffee was killed in 1944 while flying for the US Army Air Force.

Walter Douglas married Sarah Ruth Moore in 1926. That union produced at least two sons, Robert Lee, born 1926, died 1930, and Walter Douglas, Jr., born 1927, died 1985. Although he was married at least once, I have been unable to confirm any children that he might have fathered.

There are no photographs of Lilburn Warren Coffee known to exist.

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