June 17, 2006

Smith Coffee Daniel II

Smith Coffee Daniel, Jr. [sometimes spelled Daniell] was, as his name implies, the son of Smith Coffee Daniel, Sr., and wife Priscilla Skinner. Senior was a son of Charles Daniel and Elizabeth Coffee, a daughter of Peter Coffee, Jr. and Sarah Smith. Peter, Jr. was the son of Peter, Sr. and wife Susannah Matthews.

I have not found any documentation substantiating the lineage, dates of births, deaths, etc. of the this line. To my knowledge no one has published a scholarly work documenting the Peter Coffee - Susannah Matthews descendants.

We do know that Smith Coffey Daniel, Jr. lived in Claiborne Co., MS where he married Catherine Skinner Freeland in about 1849. Together they had three children: Priscilla, born about 1851, Thomas Freeland, born about 1852, and Smith Coffee III, born about 1861. If these birthdates are close to accurate, there must have been other children born and died between 1852 and 1861.

Smith and Catherine began building Windsor, their Mississippi River plantation home in about 1859. A University of Mississippi website (click on title link) states that the home was supported by "29 forty-five (45) ft tall columns..."

The home survived the Civil War, and was used by both Confederate and Union forces. When U.S. Grant crossed the Mississippi River from the Hard Times Plantation in Tensas Parish, Louisiana side to Bruinsburg on the Mississippi side, the house was used as a Union Hospital. There are no known drawings or other representations of the home except for a sketch made by a Union soldier during their occupation of the home.

Unfortunately, the home was lost to fire on Feb. 17, 1890 when a lighted cigar fell into scrap left over by workers making repairs to the home. Today, only a few columns remain to attest to the magnificience of this plantation.

I visited the site a number of years ago and was dismayed to see that it had deteroriated into nothing more than a dump where visitors dropped their trash. The area was overgrown, and little had been done to preserve it. I understand that it has now been placed on the National Registry of Historical Places, and that Mississippi state parks officials administer the site.

Other links to Windsor:

Photographs by Mac McGuffee

National Scenic Byways Program

or, search Google

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