October 3, 2006

John Coffey Family from Lee, MA to Woodbury Twp, NY

The following appeared in the Coffey Cousins' newsletter, Sep. 1994. It was in turn extracted from The New England Connexion, Vol. 2, No. 3 newsletter, July 1994. It was authored by Marjorie Smeltzer-Stevenot whose book of the same title as this report, was to be released in 1994, but I have no further information.

"John Coffey, Sr., who laid out a family cemetery before his death in 1818 on his farm in Central Valley (now Woodbury Common), NY lived in Lee MA before coming to Orange Co., where he is listed in the 1790 census. Deeds show he purchased property in Lee and neighboring Tyringham in 1783 and sold it in 1785. He was an assessor in Lee in 1781 and was named among the "ancient worthles of Lee" at its centennial. Know there as "the Irishman," he was probably born in Ireland. The Coffey Sept has been traced back by genealogists to royal lines in Spain and Gaul in the 12th century.

John's wife Experience was a member of the Congregational Church in Lee. the Coffey's four older daughters were Baptist in the church there. John Jr. went back to Lee for a bride, Rachel Bassett, youngest daughter of Cornelius and Remember Bassett, Mayflower descendants. Many of the settlers in Lee came from Cape Cod. John and Rachel were married at the Congregational Church in Canaan, New York, just across the Massachusetts' border.

John, Sr. was a prosperous farmer, surveyor and supervisor of the Town of Monroe in 1805. In his will, his occupation is listed as "gentleman." His son John Jr. gave the land for the Methodist church in Southfields and maintained a popular summer boarding inn near Monroe Works. Other family members leased mining rights on their extensive properties to the Parrotts.

The Coffeys, their descendants and the Coffey/Galloway Cemetery (also known as Dickerman/Peckham Cemetery) are the subject of a book in preparation by Marjorie Smeltzer-Stevenot of 150 Johnstown Road, Sloatsburg, NY, who submitted this article."

Those interested in this line should contact the New England Connexion at PO Box 621, Goshen, NY 10924, or the author at the above address. Should both addresses prove out of date, the New England Genealogical and Historical Society librarian may be able to help. She can be contacted via e-mail.

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