August 16, 2006

William Coffey, Jr. (1812-1893)

Update Apr. 29, 2012

After writing yesterday's update I decided to re-review my notes on this family.  In that file I discovered an e-mail received sometime ago from John W. Coffey of Raleigh, NC pertaining to an earlier assertion that I made stating that John Wilkerson Coffey was a son of William Coffey, Jr.

Here is what John wrote:
Dear Jack,
I am full of admiration for your online descendancy [sic] of the Coffey family. I do still want to quibble about your placement of John Wilkerson Coffey in the family of William Coffey Jr. and Margaret Robbins Coffey. For one, John Wilkerson is not listed in the family Bible record of William Coffey Jr., which lists the children beginning with Elbert (b. 3 Jan 1837).
According to that same Bible record William and Margaret were married 2 Jan 1836—well after the presumed 1830/31 birth date of John Wilkerson. Another, tangential piece of evidence is a letter written by John W[ilkerson] Coffey to Elijah Coffey during the Civil War in which John reports that “I was at your fathers to day & they was all well.” This indicates to me a close but not father-son relationship.
What makes more sense is that John Wilkerson is a half-brother to William [Jr.]. After the death of Mary (Polly) Coffey ca. 1828, William Sr. marries ca. 1830 another Margaret Robbins—the aunt of the Margaret Robbins who married William Jr. By this union two children are born: John Wilkerson (b. ca. 1831) and Nancy E. (b. 13 Aug 1832). The widow Margaret and her two children are enumerated in the 1850 census as neighbors of William Jr. Jack Hawkins.
( <>) has done much to unravel the Robbins-Coffey confusion.
John Wilkerson Coffey appears to have been regarded almost as an older brother by William Jr.’s son Elijah. He was, after all, far closer to Elijah’s generation than that of his half-brother William, Jr. During the Civil War, John Wilkerson apparently remained at home while Elijah and his brothers joined the Confederate army. John Wilkerson sent Elijah the lyrics for patriotic ballads and on at least one intriguing occasion advised Elijah on the legal limitations of habeas corpus protection in cases of desertion or harboring deserters. And it is well to note that John Wilkerson named his first son Elijah and Elijah named his first son John W[illiam]—my great-grandfather and namesake.
I have long since moved John Wilkerson to make him a son of William, Sr. and second wife, Margaret Robbins.  However, I did not follow up on an important part of John's e-mail; e.g., that William Jr's wife, Margaret Robbins was a niece of William Sr's wife of the same name.  It also gives me a marriage date for William Jr. of Jan. 2, 1836.

Update Apr. 28, 2012

All Coffey researchers know that keeping all of the William Coffey men straight is a chore!

This William Coffey, Sr. a son of Benjamin and Mary Hayes Coffey, is said to have married twice. His first wife was his first cousin, Mary Coffey, a daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Smith Coffey. Thomas was brother to Benjamin Coffey, who married Mary Hayes, and they were William, Sr.'s parents.
Wm. & Mary Coffey Marriage Record
William, Sr. married Mary Coffey on July. 3, 1796 in Wilkes Co., NC, as evidenced by their marriage license. I have four children born to this union: Austin, born c1800, married Sarah Hawkins on Aug. 24, 1822 in Wilkes Co.; Elizabeth, born c1805, died c1836, married Sarah's brother, Samuel Hawkins on Dec. 14, 1825 in Wilkes Co.; Elijah, born c1807, married Elizabeth "Betsy" Robbins on June 1, 1831 in Wilkes Co.; and, William, Jr. who married Margaret Robbins, sister to Betsy, both daughters of Thomas and Mary Morphew Robbins.

Wm. & Margaret Robbins
Mary Coffey is said to have died c1828 and William, Sr. then married Margaret Robbins in 1829. This Margaret was born c1798. Margaret gave birth to at least two children, John Wilkerson, born c1831 and, Nancy E., born Aug. 13, 1832. John Wilkerson married Mary Lindsey Robbins, another daughter of Thomas and Mary Morphew Robbins. That marriage took place of Nov. 11, 1856 in Yadkin Valley, Caldwell Co.

Nancy married J. Melvin Hawkins on Nov. 20, 1855 in Caldwell Co. and were parents of at least three:  Calvin, Luther and John.

Update Jan. 25, 2015

William, Jr., a son of William and Mary (Polly) Coffey Coffey, was born May 5, 1812, probably in Caldwell Co., NC. He married Margaret Robbins, daughter of Thomas and Mary Morphew Robbins on Jan. 2, 1836* in Caldwell Co. Margaret was born c1816 in North Carolina, died Apr. 26, 1882. William died May 8, 1893 in Patterson, Caldwell Co.

There were at least 11 children born to William and Margaret:

- Elbert, born c1837, who married Eliza Powell in 1860.  Parents of at least one child, Monroe.  Elbert died at Big Creek Gap in Campbell Co., TN in 1863.   [COFFEY, Elbert, Private (Company E) Born in Caldwell County and was by occupation a farmer prior to enlisting in Caldwell County at age 25, July 5 1862. Reported present in January – April 1863. Died at Big Creek Gap, TN, May 15, 1863 of disease. See:]

- Elijah, born c1839, married Mary Ann Nelson at had children John W., who married Frances Little; Hattie, who married Alexander J. Stewart; Lee T., who married Isis O. Winfree; George N., who married Clara Keane, and Mary E.

- Larkin, born 1840 Buffalo Creek in Wilkes Co., enlisted in Co., A, 22 NC Inf Regt. on Mar. 19, 1862, captured and later died in 1864 at Point Lookout, St. Mary's Co., MD.

- Bartlett, born c1842, married Mrs. Mary Messick and had children Thomas, born c1876, and married Mary Linglefelt; Bynum Nelson, born Oct. 14, 1880, married Eva M. Crisp; and Ada who married Robert Woods.

- Cornelius, born Jul. 27, 1844, died Jun. 2, 1906, married Ailsy Elizabeth Greenfield, born Sep. 7, 1850, died Jun. 11, 1928, on Feb. 20, 1868 in Caldwell Co. They had at least seven children: William Larkin, born c1869, married Alice Selma Setzer; Elbert Finley, born c1872; Martha Louisa, born c1874, married Roy Abernathy; John O., born c1876; Mary E., born c1879, married Larkin Pressnell; Annie, born Aug. 22, 1881, died Sep. 14, 1946 in Lenoir, Caldwell Co., married Jesse Steele Johnson, born Jan. 24, 1881, died Sep, 12, 1965 in Lenoir; and George, who married Nellie Taylor.

- Elizabeth, born c1846, married James Robbins and had children: William who married Ellen Edmisten; Larkin who married Mary Coffey [see above] and had children: Marguerite, Ida, Mary, James, John, Rufus, Nancy, Alice and Lawrence.

- Thomas, born Aug. 1849, married Rachel M. Coffey Oct. 18, 1871 in Caldwell Co. Rachel was born Apr. 1850 in North Carolina and was a daughter of McCaleb and Elizabeth Collett Coffey. They had children: DDS Louis McWill, born Apr. 27, 1874, married Annie Pernell; James Larkin, born Nov. 1875 in North Carolina and married Rachel E. Robbins c1896 in North Carolina. They had children Frances Amelia, born May 23, 1897; Collett Columbus, born Nov. 30, 1898; and Clarence Pickens, born Apr. 24, 1906.

- Mary, born c1851, married Larkin Robbins in 1877, son of Thomas Robbins and Holly Day. Parents of at least nine children:  Margaret, Martha, James, Mary, John, Rufus, Nancy, Rena Alice, and Lawrence.

- Sarah, born 1853, died 1854.

- William M., born 1855, died 1932 at Lincoln Co., NC.  Married Martha Jane Sharpe in 1878, Yadkin Valley.  They were parents of at least nine children:  Mildren, Richard, James, Jesse, Annie, Bessie, Bertha, Gertrude and Ruth.

- Margaret, born 1858, died 1930, married Thomas C. Coffey, son of Smith W. and Elizabeth Redmond Coffey. Thomas was born c1859 in Caldwell Co. They had at least four children: Lula V., born Jul. 1883. Her husband is unknown, but is said to have had two children: Collis H., born c1905, and Jessie M., born c1912. Second child was Finley Houck, born Aug. 22, 1886, married Effie R. [last name unknown] about 1909. They had at least eight children: Blanche V., born c1911; Vilas L., born c1915; Ruby Irene, born Sep., 1917; Clyde F., born c1921; M. Coline, born c1923; Lloyd T., born c1926; Lois E., born c1926, and Ernest E., born c1928. Third child was Jesse C., born Dec. 1890 who married Ruby M. Hawkins c1912 in North Carolina. They had at least two children: Ruth J., born c1920, and Jesse A., born c1927. Fourth child wasa Margaret, born Aug., 1893.

More information is available.

This has been a difficult family for me to understand.  There are probably still some errors or misunderstandings reflected here.  Please contact me with corrections or additions.

*John W. Coffey, PDF, Descendants of William Coffey, Jan., 2015, citing the William Coffey Family Bible Record.  Two dates given for marriage: 2 Jan 1836 and 2 Jun 1836.  Given that first child was born 3 Jan 1837, the earlier date appears to be more accurate.

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