Rufus was born in North Carolina on Dec. 15, 1870, a son of Finley Patterson and Mary Elizabeth Tuttle Coffey. He first married Florence Fay Houck, a daughter of Robert C. and Belle (last name unknown) Houck. Florence was born Feb. 19, 1876 in North Carolina. Their marriage date is unknown, but they divorced c1909 after the birth of three children: Forest J., born c1897; Beulah M., born c1904; and Jack, born c1907.
Rufus and Florence were enumerated in the 1900 Swain Co., NC census when Rufus was 29 yrs. old, and Florence was 24 yrs. old. Rufus was a lumberman and the household included three of Rufus' brothers: John H., William F., and Robert C.
Florence and Rufus divorced sometime shortly before 1910, and Florence returned to her parents home in Caldwell Co. She was enumerated there in the 1910 census, but with only two children: 5 yr. old Beulah and 2 yr. old Jack. Rufus was enumerated in Swain Co. as a boarder in the household with Thomasson family.
Within about a year of that census Rufus married Minnie Welch. She was born in Nov., 1889 in North Carolina, and died Nov. 23, 1985 in North Carolina. Minnie is probably the daughter of Elbert and Emma Welch of Forneys Creek, Swain Co., NC. Minnie and Rufus had at least 5 children: Roby E., born c1912; Mabel A., born c1914; Helene, born c1917; Ruth L., born c1920; and Lyle, born c1924. This family can be found in the 1930 Swain Co., NC census, residents of School House Hill in Bryson town.
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