November 14, 2006

Joel Coffey

There are at least 23 men in my Coffey database named Joel. There are undoubtedly more, and many researchers have a difficult time keeping them separate. This is especially true when there are cousins in the same area and all were born around the same time.

The Joel I am writing about today was born Jun. 15, 1789, probably in Tennessee and died Dec. 10, 1855 in Oregon or perhaps in Camas, Clark Co., WA. He married Sarah Mackey, daughter of William Lewis and Elizabeth Ashbrook Mackey, Apr. 19, 1818 in Maury Co., TN.

Joel is said to be the son of Chesley, Jr. and Margaret Baldwin Coffey. Chesley, Jr. implies that there was a Chesley, Sr., but no one has ever been successful in location Chesley, Sr., or even proving his existance.

Some research that I have seen indicates that Joel took his family to Oregon in 1852 where they settled near Vancouver in what is now Washington state. Some writers claim that he and Sarah were parents of 10 children, but a number of them died young. Three of the children are said to have been buried in the family plot with Joel in Camas. Two of their children, twins Terral M. and Alexander L., born Mar. 15, 1831, are said to have become "noteworthy." Terral went to Umitilla Co., OR where he became a prominent farmer near Pendleton. Alexander became the county surveyor in Adams Co., WA.

In his book Genealogy of the Lewis family in America, published 1893 in Louisville, KY, William Terrell Lewis wrote that "Sarah Mackey, daughter of Wm. L. Mackey, was born in Rutherford county, N.C. in 1795. She married Joel Coffey, had three children and died in Missouri. The names of her children are as follows: William, Chesley and Derindia. After the death of Mrs. Sarah Coffey and her three children, Mr. Coffey moved to Oregon."

In addition to the three children named above, others most often described as being those of Joel and Sarah are:

Alexander L., born Mar. 15, 1831, died Aug. 8, 1913
Terral Mackey, married Mary E. Patterson, was born Mar. 15, 1831
Mary Louise, married Webster Abbott, was born 1833, died 1922
Elizabeth Angeline, married Lewis Van Fleet, was born May 8, 1836, died Apr. 12, 1905

Did Sarah Mackey die before the family left for Oregon? If so, who was the mother of the remaining four children?

Contact me with additions or corrections.

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