September 30, 2006

George "Gabby" Hayes


While researching Coffey and Hayes families, I found this:

Born May 7, 1885 in New York, George "Gabby" Hayes was trained on the Vaudville stage. He began his film career in about 1928 and appeared in several films with a young John Wayne, and other western actors. He starred in a number of films with Hopalong Cassidy as his sidekick "Windy Halliday." George always said that he hated westerns because they all looked alike. After leaving the Cassidy films he continued in westerns, but was not allowed to use the name "Windy." He chose instead the name that most of us remember: Gabby Hayes. and continued to appear in westerns.

If interested, click on the title link to search Google for more George "Gabby" Hays information. Click on the census image and scroll down to family 253 where you will find Gabby and his wife Olive as roomers in the Manken house. George had lost most of his money in the 1929 stock market crash and for a little while was reduced to living in rooming houses.

September 28, 2006

Converting 1930 Census EDs to 1940 EDs

The bad news:

The 1940 United States census will not be released until April 1, 2012.

The good news:

If you have completed your 1930 census work, and recorded the ED (Enumeration District), you'll be able to find the new ED in the 1940 census. This will be useful to those who do not want to wait until a name index has been created.

I used one of my families, and entered the Louisiana parish name, ED60, and the suffix, 14, into the appropriate places on the conversion page. It told me that ED60-14 will be partially or fully contained in EDs 60-14, and 60-15A-B in 1940. So, when I do get a chance to look at the 1940 census, I'll be able to jump right to the correct ED and begin searching for my family.

Incidentally, 1940 will be the first census in which many of us will be able to find ourselves with our parents, or guardians.

You might not need this now, but store the website in your browser favorites. You'll be prepared when the 1940 census hits the libraries and on-line websites.

September 26, 2006

Early Marriages 1854-1905 (Stanislaus Co., CA)

I found this website while searching for information on Dorthula Coffey. It is a 1958 compilation of marriages in Stanislaus Co., CA from 1854-1905, and was transcribed by Charles Tieman for the Genealogical Society of Stanislaus Co., and copied by Myrtle Dix.

A news item from The Modesto Bee, Sep. 21, 1958, accompanying the book reads:

"Mrs. Dix Prepares Index of Early County Records

An index to the early records of the county has been compiled by Mrs. Ray Dix of Edgar Avenue, who personally scrutinized the documents, many of them in faded Spencerian script, to complete the work. It has been pre sented to the McHenry Public Library by the Major Hugh Moss chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution.

The 278 page book, Early Records of Stanislaus County, includes marriages from 1854-1905 and abstracts of wills from 1872 to 1905. Following a section of marriage records, Mrs. Dix has included an index of brides in order that a researcher, knowing only the wife's maiden name, will be able to find her married name and the marriage certificate.

A section on Will abstracts is augmented by an index including each hear and witness."


There are a number of Coffees and one or two Coffeys in the index. If you are researching in Stanislaus Co. you should download and save this PDF file for future reference.

Click on the title link to visit the website.

September 23, 2006

Searching for Photographs

Genealogists love old family photographs!

They make an otherwise dull genealogy book more interesting. Many readers have supplied photos of their ancestors for use in the Edward Coffey "project," and I have used many of them here. Based on e-mail comments, readers of the blog have enjoyed them as much as I.

If you have any photographs of your ancestors please consider sending scanned images to me along with your family information for use in this blog. I can use any format (jpg, tiff, or gif). Please scan them at the highest resolution that your scanner can handle, and at least as large as 4" x 5". I can always cut them down to fit the blog format, but need the higher resolution to get as much detail as possible. Be sure and include as much information as you can on each person in the photographs.

The Edward Coffey "project" is my effort to assemble the most comprehenvice genealogy possible on the descendants of Edward and Ann Powell Coffey. It represents my efforts over the past 20+ years, and has involved travel, book purchases, months of census work, thousands of e-mail exchanges, telephone calls, and "snail mail." At last count the file was closing in on 900 pages in PDF. It includes photographs, sources and full name index. The most up-to-date version is available on CD for a reasonable price.

Contact me for more details.

Brothers Colby C. and John Jackson "Stumpy" Coffey

Colby C. Coffey Sarah Emily Ann Parris Coffey


Colby C. Coffey was born Jan. 12, 1852 in TN, son of John Jackson and Alsy Nash Coffey. He died Oct. 23, 1924 in Thorn Hill, Grainger Co., TN and was buried there in the Condry (also known as Cope) Cemetery. He married Sarah Emily Ann Parris c1870 in probably Claiborne Co., TN. Their first child, John Alfred was born in Tazewell, Claiborne Co.

Sarah Emily was born Oct. 20, 1852 and died Aug. 3, 1905 in Thorn Hill. She is also buried in the Condry Cemetery. Her parents were Abram Parris, born Oct. 26, 1826 in the Spartenburg Dist. of South Carolina, and died on Apr. 16, 1915. Her mother was Mahala May Cantwell, born Jan. 22, 1830 in Spartenburg Dist., and died 1909. Both are buried in the Condry Cemetery.

Colby and Sarah were parents of seven children: John Alfred, born Mar. 9, 1872, died Oct. 27, 1943; Cora, born Jun. 29, 1877, died Jun. 25, 1951; James Orlander, born Mar. 18, 1879, died May 1, 1956; Mary, born Mar. 24, 1881; Nelson, born Aug. 28, 1884, died Oct., 1912; Dillard D., born May 8, 1886, died Jul. 23, 1924; and Della, born Jan., 1894.

In addition to Sarah Emily Abram and Mahale were also the parents of Darcus Elizabeth Parris who married Colby's brother, John Jackson (Stumpy) Coffey, Jr. Darcus was born Oct. 20, 1847 in South Carolina and died May 7, 1927 in Thorn Hill. She and Stumpy were married c1868 in TN. John Jackson, Jr. was born May 26, 1845 in Grainger Co., and died May 20, 1929 in Thorn Hill. This couple is buried in the McGinnis-Harrell Cemetery in Grainger Co. Their children were: Mary Elizabeth, born Dec. 4, 1868; Etta Elsie, born Jun. 12, 1870; William Lemmie, born Mar. 22, 1872, died 1932; and John Landrum, born Oct. 22, 1874, died Jul. 16, 1909.

I have additional information on the descendants of these two families.

Please contact me if you need additional information, or can add to or correct any of the above.

September 22, 2006

William Lewis Coffey

William was a son of Richard L. and Julia Mattie Mason Coffey. He was born Sep. 7, 1866 in Brown Co., IN and died May 18, 1934 in that county. He married Rosa Belle Clarke on Jul 2, 1892 in Brown Co. She was born Jan. 22, 1872 in Brown Co., and died May 25, 1946 in Marion Co., IN.

William was a high school teacher and principal, and later became superintendent of Brown county schools where he served until about 1911. He was later an executive cashier for the Nashville State Bank in Nashville, Brown Co.

His biography* states that he was a "Republican in political alignment and is affiliated with the Masonic fraternity and the Knights of Pyhthias." William served on numerous boards and committees in Brown County in which he spearheaded "Liberty Loan" campaigns, Red Cross affairs, and Near East relief work. Rosa is said to have been the granddaughter of Dr. Charles Clark, a "kinsman of the great frontiersman and western explorer, George Rogers Clark."


Their children were:

- Marie, born Jan. 1895
- William Wendell, born Feb. 23, 1902
- Arthur Livingston, born c1905
- Alton Powell, born c1904
- Marguerite, born Apr., 1910

The family appeared in all census records in Brown Co. from 1900 through 1930. Arthur and Alton were twins. There were likely other children born between 1895 and 1902 that did not survive beyond infancy.

I have not researched the children and their descendants.

Please contact me if you have additional information and/or corrections to this data.


*From a book with no cover or title. See [http://boards.ancestry.com/mbexec/message/rw/localities.northam.usa.states.indiana.counties.brown/1341; the author of this message, and transcriber of the William L. Coffey biography wrote: "This book has no cover, and no index, and no author..."]

September 21, 2006

William Clayton Coffey

William Clayton Coffey was a son of Jesse Coffey and Margaret Edmiston. He was born c1808 in Burke Co., NC and killed in Feb. 1865 in Caldwell Co., NC by a gang of Union renegades led by William McKesson "Keith" Blaylock. William was brother to Austin Coffey who had married Mary Blaylock, Keith's mother. Mary had Keith and one other child named Mary out of wedlock, and Austin had raised them as his own.

A story found in A History of Watauga County, North Carolina by John Preston Arthur reveals that Keith had married Malinda Pritchard, and both had joined the Confederate Army, she as "Sammy Blalock," with hopes of getting close enough to Union lines to defect. But, "Sammy" was wounded and discovered to be a female and sent home. Keith, not to be left alone is said to have rolled in poison ivy and was so affected that he too was discharged. When he returned to Watauga Co., NC he became a recruiting officer for the Union's 10th Michigan Regiment. They also resorted to bushwhacking, thievery and murder.

According to the above source, during the period Aug. 1864 and Feb. 1865 the citizens in the Watauga Co. were hounded and harassed by gangs who stole horses and other livestock; what they did not steal they destroyed. Their victims were mostly women and children whose husbands and fathers were away fighting in the war.

The Coffey families in the area mostly supported the Confederacy, so Keith and his gang must have felt it their duty to seek out the enemy. They first searched for Reuben Coffey, the older brother of William and Austin. Fortunately Reuben was away when the gang came to visit so they rode on to William's home where they found him working in his field. They took him from the field to James Gragg's mill where he was shot by a man named Perkins, one of Keith's henchmen.

William had married his first cousin, Sarah Green, a daughter of John and Elizabeth B. Coffey Green. I have not found a marriage date, nor an accurate birth and death date for Sarah.

Together they had six children:

- Silas Carroll., born c1835 Burke Co., NC, died Jul. 3, 1893. Silas married Eleanor (Nellie) Green - probably some relation to his mother. They had at least seven chidren: Martha J.; William Pinkney; Francis Richmond; Mary E.; David Columbus; Silas W.; and Rebecca S.

[Update Jun. 13, 2007: Silas Carroll and Nellie's child Silas W. was actually Silas Milton, born c1870. His family was subsequently confused with that of Silas Milton Coffey, born Jun. 16, 1886, a son of John Carroll and Nancy Hartley Coffey. John's Silas married Maggie Philyaw on Nov. 5, 1905 in Caldwell Co. This info may still need some "fine tuning", so please contact me at the e-mail address below if you have information on these families.]


- William Clayton, Jr. born c1838 in Ashe Co., NC, married Louisa Adeline Curtis on May 10, 1866 in Wilkes Co. William served in Co. E, 86th NC Infantry, and died in 1919. No other information has been found.

[Update Jun. 13, 2007: William and Louisa had children: George Calbin, born Jan., 1860, died Dec. 21, 1934, married Louisa Elizabeth (Lou) Curtis; Sarah, born c1862; Andrew J., born Jun. 1863, died Jan. 3, 1951, married Matilda Harrison; Nancy Ann, born May, 1868, married Charles Solomon Young; and Mary E., born 1869]


- George Washington (Wash), born Nov. 21, 1842 in Ashe Co., died Nov. 9, 1912 in Caldwell Co. He married Matilda (Tilda) Coffey. (His first cousin, once removed as well as his second cousin, once removed) She was the daughter of Jesse Calton and Nancy Raines Coffey. Jesse was a son of Reuben, brother to William Clayton, Sr. George and Tilda had 11 children: William Leander; Eliza Jane; Jesse Calton; John A.; Sarah E.; Silas Columbus; Thomas F.; George Washington, Jr.; Roby Monroe; Martha L.; and Mary Etta.

- Jesse Patterson (Pat), born Nov. 1845 in Burke Co., died May 2, 1924 in Watauga Co. he married Phoebe Matilda Curtis, born Feb. 1845 in Caldwell Co., died Oct. 26, 1915 in Watauga Co. Their children were: Laura J.; Eliza Rebecca; Myra Angeline; W. J.; Doctor Peterson; and Thomas Stephen.

- Eliza A. (Louisa), born Jul. 6, 1848 in Burke Co., died May. 24, 1924/25. She married Jesse Hartley, but no additional information has been found.

[Update Jun. 13, 2007: Jesse McAbee Hartley was born Aug. 29, 1846 in Watauga Co., and died Jun. 19, 1905 at Blowing Rock, Watauga Co. They were married in 1868 in Watauga Co. They had at least nine children. Contact me for details]

- John C., born c1851 in North Carolina, married Margaret E., last name unknown. She was born c1852 in North Carolina. Their children were: William Jefferson, born c1876, married Elsie Mae Hodges; Finley Carroll, married Connie Rebecca Tolbert; and Thomas Hall, married Cora Ellen Tolbert. More information is available via e-mail address below.

[Update Jun. 13, 2007: John Carroll married Nancy Evalyn Hartley on Sep. 18, 1873 in Watauga Co. In addition to above three children, they had Joel Partee, born Jul. 1884, died Dec. 21, 1919, married Lillie Mamie Pearl Tolbert; Silas Milton, married Maggie Philyaw; Ilar Jane, born Jun, 1888, died 1981, married Pinkney David Philyaw; and Lilla E., born Jun., 1890.


I have additional information on several of the above families. Please contact me at the below e-mail address if you need more info, or can provide additional data and/or corrections.

September 14, 2006

Rufus Gamewell Coffey

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.

Please contact me if you can add to or correct any of this information.

September 13, 2006

Rufus Monroe Coffey

Rufus Monroe Coffey was born Oct. 27, 1886 in Watauga Co., NC. He was a son of Cornelius Jones Coffey and Martha Jane Gragg. He married Emma Eliza Robbins in about 1906. Together, he and Emma had five children:

- Mabel Isabel, born Apr. 5, 1907
- Rufus Howard, born Apr. 7, 1909
- Helen Carrie, born Apr. 12, 1911
- Edward James, born Apr. 7,1917
- Ronder L. Coffey, born Apr. 19, 1921

The family appears in the 1910 through 1930 Watauga Co., NC census.

Rufus registered for the draft in Watauga Co. on Jun. 5, 1917 when he was 30 years old. He gave his birthdate as Oct. 27, 1886 in Watauga, Watauga Twp. He was described as being tall with medium build, blue eyes and light colored hair, and balding. He was a farmer who lived with his wife and four children in Watauga Twp. He claimed exemption because of "cripple in leg."

Please contact me if you can add to or correct any of this information.

Sources: 1910-1930 Fed. Census, Watauga Co., NC and North Carolina Birth Index, 1800-2000 [database online]. Provo, Utah: MyFamily.com, Inc., 2005. Original data: Register of Deeds. North Carolina Birth Indexes. Microfilm. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina.

September 12, 2006

John Coffey - Update, Apr. 11, 2011

This John was born c1836 in North Carolina (probably Buncombe Co.) to Reuben and Rachel Hayes Coffey. He was the fourth son and fourth child in a family that would eventually total eight children; five males and three females.

John married Emeline (maiden name unknown) who was also born c1836 and probably in Buncombe Co. Together they had at least three children: Laura, born c1860; Montgomery G., born Jan. 1863, died Sep. 28, 1939; and Harley P., born Feb. 1866, died Mar. 1928.

Nothing is known about LauraLaura died c1879,

Montgomery married Julie C. (maiden name unknown) c1887 in North Carolina. She was born May 1870, but a death date has not yet been found. They had seven children: Addie L., born Jun., 1887; Henry Bascombe, born May, 1888; Cora B., born Jan., 1891; Horace M., born Jul., 1893; James Claude, born Apr. 12, 1897; John Hilliard, born Nov. 28, 1928; and Virginia, born c1902.

Julia C. was Julia C. Brown, born May 13, 1870 in Buncombe Co., and died there on Nov. 17, 1933. She was a daughter of James Lowery and DeMaris Rogers Brown 

Henry married Sadie (maiden name unknown) sometime around 1910. He registered for the WW1 draft on Jun. 5, 1917. He was described as being of medium height with slender build, blue eyes and black hair. He reported his age as 28 years, born May 19, 1889. This date is off by one year from that provided in the 1900 census in which he was reported born in May, 1888. The only census in which I have found them thus far is 1920 Leicester, Buncombe Co. In that year they had children: Eva, age 8; James, age 7, and Francis [Frances], age 6.


Photo by Molly Brown
Updates Apr. 11, 2011: Henry's first wife was Jennie Lee Morgan. They were married Sep. 30, 1906 in Buncombe Co. Jennie was born Nov. 16, 1885 and died Aug. 25, 1908. She is buried in Leicester, Buncombe Co. in the Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery. His second wife was Sadie Brown to whom he was married on Nov. 28, 1909 in Haywood Co., NC. Sadie was born Dec. 25, 1892 in Buncombe Co., and died Mar. 30, 1939 in Leicester. She is buried at Bell United Methodist Church Cemetery in Leicester. In addition to Eva, James and Frances, they also had a son Norman Reeves Coffey, born Oct. 25, 1915, died Jun. 23, 1916 in Leicester. Thanks to Lloyd Coffey and Molly Brown for this update.

Nothing is known of Cora or Horace.


Cora married a Bridges. She was born Jun. 28, 1891 in Buncombe Co., died Apr. 1, 1951 in Leicester and was buried at Western Chapel Methodist Church Cemetery.

Photo by June Taylor McClure
Horace married Deborah Estelle Smathers on Jan. 8, 1914 in Canton, Haywood Co., NC. She was born Feb. 25, 1889 in Haywood Co., and died Jul. 21, 1968 in NC. She is buried at Morning Star Cemetery in Canton, Haywood Co. Horace Mitchel Coffey was born Jul., 1893 and died Jan. 1, 1947 in Houston, Harris Co., TX. He was also buried at Morning Star.

James Claude registered for the draft in June, 1918 in Buncombe Co. He was described then as being of medium height and build with gray eyes and black hair. He gave his age as 21 years, born Apr. 12, 1897 in Leicester.

John Hilliard registered for the draft on Sep. 12, 1918 in Buncombe Co. He was tall and slender with brown eyes and dark brown hair. He gave his age as 18 yrs., born Nov. 28, 1898.

Nothing is known of Virginia.

John and Emeline last child was Harley P., born Feb. 1866 in Buncombe Co., and died in March, 1928 in Bladen Co., NC. He married Alley F. (maiden name unknown) c1897 in North Carolina. She was born Aug., 1876 in North Carolina, and died Apr. 17, 1933 in Bladen Co. Harley was apparently married prior to Alley because the list of children in the 1900 census makes it clear that she is the mother of only two. They were Kenneth Lecosta, born Aug., 1897, and Liston Jeffry, born Jul., 1899.

Kenneth registered for the draft on Sep. 12, 1918 in Buncombe Co. He had blue eyes and brown hair and was of medium height and build. He gave his age as 20 yrs., born Aug. 4, 1898. He was unmarried at the time of registration and worked for his father on the farm.

Liston Jeffry also registered on Sep. 12, 1918 in Buncombe Co. He was short and stout with blue eyes and light colored hair. He gave his age as 18 yrs., born Jul. 18, 1900. He too was unmarried and worked at farming with his father in Leicester.



2007 Coffey Cousins' Convention

The 2007 Coffey Cousins' Convention will be held in Dubuque, Iowa April 27-29, 2007. Planning is well underway by hostess Darlene Clarke.

Click on the title link for details necessary for registration and accomodations. Headquarters for the convention will be the Julian Inn. Contact them directly, and make sure that you tell the reservations clerk that you will be attending the Coffey Cousins Convention. Make reservations early. The convention web page will have more information about available rooms and costs.

There is also a form on the webpage that you can print and mail to Darlene for other options.

September 3, 2006

Ransom Coffey

There are a number of Coffey men named Ransom.

There is:

- Ransom, born Nov. 1828 in North Carolina to Reuben and Rachel Hayes Coffey.

- Ransom, born Dec. 20, 1836 in Tennessee, son of Benjamin and Nancy Hayes Coffey

- Ransom Calton, born Feb. 18, 1870 in Wayne Co., Kentucky to Marvel T. and Elizabeth Abigail Jordan Coffey.

These are not all, but are the ones that I am most interested in at the moment.

Ransom, son of Reuben married Delphia Hartley in 1895. He was 66 years old; she was 30. Both of them had likely been previously married, but I have neither found a wife for Ransom nor a husband for Delphia.

Ransom, son of Benjamin married Malinda Delphia Cox in 1855, Grainger Co. His second wife was Mary Jane Coffey, who had been previously married to Ausborn Wolfe who died in 1893. She must have married Ransom in 1894 or early 1895 because the only known child born to her in that union was Artie Coffey, born Nov. 3, 1895.

These two Ransoms were third cousins, and Ransom Calton was a nephew of Ransom, the son of Benjamin.

It is interesting to note the two older Ransoms each married a woman named Delphia!

I need help finding descendants of the Ransom who married Delphia Hartley. I also need more information on Delphia; e.g., date and place of birth, date and place of death, and if she had been previously married. Please contact me if you can help.


Update Dec. 15, 2012:  Delphia Hartley had one child with Ransom but it apparently died at birth.  After Ransom died in 1909, Delphia married again, this time on Jan. 17,1912 in Watauga Co. to Charles H. Babb.  They are not found yet in the 1920 census.

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