December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Best Wishes to all for a prosperous and happy 2007!

I'm looking forward to hearing from more of you in the new year with even more family information and photographs. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this effort in 2006, and may your New Year be safe and joyous.

Jack Coffee
Saint Joseph, LA

December 28, 2006

Coffey Facts You Might Not Know

Places of Origin:

Ireland ranks at the top.


The largest number of Coffey emigrants to the US came in 1852 when a total of 81 were recorded. There was a precipitous drop between 1861 and 1862, but peaked again in 1863 when 53 arrivals were recorded. Coffey emigrants continued to drop until about 1883 when 72 arrivals were recorded. Immigration dropped again between 1885 and 1891 and never again reached 1850-51 levels.

Civil War Service:

300 Coffey Confederates out of 1,050,000 total veterans
295 Coffey Union Soldiers out of 2,213,363 total veterans

Average life expectancy:

This is hard to believe. In 1944 average life expectancy for all Coffeys was 24 years. The general public was not much better off. It rose in 1946 to around 63 years and fluctuated around 50 to 55 until a general rise in the early 1960s. It reached a high in 1964 at 72 years, and has continued to trend generally upward ever since. There is not a large difference in life expectancy for the Coffey population compared to the general public.

Name distribution:

There are Coffeys in every state in the union, including Alaska and Hawaii. The largest concentration in the 1920s was in NY and IL. Go figure! I would have suspected states like Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky would have the largest concentration of Coffey families. California, TX, OK, MO, TN, KY, NC, SC, VA, OH, PA and MA contained the next largest population.


The top Coffey occupation in 1880 - as might be guessed - was farming. Thirty-eight percent of those families were farmers while only 35% of the general public were farmers.

Source: Family Facts,

Minard Ernest Coffey

Descendants of Minard Ernest COFFEY

Minard Ernest COFFEY was born in Vallonia, Jackson Co., IN on Feb 11, 1883 to John Waid and Elizabeth Matilda Persinger Coffey. John Waid was a descendant of James Harvey and Anna Eliza Graham Coffey.

Minard registered for the WWI draft on Sep 12, 1918 in Washington Co., IN.

Minard and Ida May MCKNIGHT were married about 1908 in Indiana. They appeared in the Washington Co., IN census on May 6, 1910, Jan 15, 1920, and Apr 17, 1930.

Ida was born in Indiana on Oct 27, 1889 She died on Aug 17, 1949 in Washington, Daviess Co., IN. Minard and Ida May had the following children:

I. Wesley Allen COFFEY, born in Indiana in Apr 1910 He appeared in the Washington Co. census on May 6, 1910 in the household with his parents; on Jan 15, 1920 in the household with his parents, and in the census on Apr 17, 1930 in the household with his parents.

II. Arthur COFFEY, born in Indiana about 1914 He appeared in the census on Jan 15, 1920 in the household with his parents, and in the census on Apr 17, 1930 in the household with his parents.

III. Arley COFFEY, born in Indiana about 1916 He appeared in the census on Jan 15, 1920 in the household with his parents, and in the census on Apr 17, 1930 in the household with his parents.

IV. Virginia M. COFFEY, born in Washington Co., IN about 1923 She appeared in the census on Apr 17, 1930 in Washington Co., IN in the household with her parents.


United States Federal Census

World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

Additions and/or corrections are welcomed.

December 27, 2006

James Harvey Coffey, Jr. (1848-1904)

James Harvey Coffey, Jr., son of James and Anna Eliza Graham Coffey, was born Jun., 1848 in Washington Co., IN. He died in 1904, probably in Washington Co., but I have not confirmed that. He married Diantha E. Boling, daughter of Gilbert and Martha E. Barrows Boling. She was born in April 1860 in Indiana. James and Diantha were married Dec. 8, 1883 in Washington Co.

Together, they were the parents of at least six children:

Cora M., who could also be named Bobbie, was born Jul., 1884. She married Henderson Haley on Dec. 23, 1905 in Washington Co. They had at least two children: Frederick L., born c1907, and Henderson, Jr., born c1918. They divorced before the 1920 census, and Henderson remarried. His second wife was Hattie Eglen who he married on Feb. 6, 1917. Henderson was 33 and Hattie was 14 when they married.

Harry L., born Apr., 1888 - no additional information yet.

Lola B., born Jan., 1893, married Harry Gallion on Aug. 12, 1915 in Washington Co. They were divorced before 1920. That year Lola was enumerated as a divorced woman in the household with her widowed mother, and Harry as a divorced man in the household with his parents in Jackson Co., IN.

Lilly D., born Mar., 1899 in Indiana, married Clyde Jackson on Feb. 12, 1916 in Washington Co. No additional information yet.

Talmage I., born Jan. 4, 1903, died Nov. 13, 1978. No additional information yet.

Myra E., born c1903 in Indiana, married Michael Baker on Aug. 13, 1919 in Washington Co. No additional information yet.

Following James' death in 1904, Diantha married William Partlow on Nov. 7, 1907 in Washington Co. They were divorced before 1910.

Additions and/or corrections welcomed.

Olin James and Estie Coffey Coffey

Revised 12/20/07

Olin James and Estie Coffey CoffeyOlin Jay Coffey was a son of David Nathaniel and Caroline Lavinia Coffey Coffey. He married his second cousin, Edna Estie Coffey, daughter of Julius Calvin and Clarissa Adams Coffey. I have not found a marriage date for them. However, based on birth date of their first child it appears they were married in late 1920 or early 1921 in Watauga Co., NC

Olin and Estie had two children. One, a son whose first name I have not discovered, was born Jun. 8, 1922 in Watauga Co. The second, a daughter, Norma Pauline was born Jun. 3, 1924.

Shortly after Pauline's birth her mother died, and Olin allowed Pauline to be adopted by William Washington and Lee Ella Coffey Collins. Lee Ella and Olin were first cousins. The child born in 1922 apparently died shortly after birth.

Olin never remarried, and at age 42 on Nov. 18, 1942 at Camp Croft, SC he enlisted in the US Army. He died on May 28, 1986 in Watauga Co.

His obituary:

Mr. Olin Jay Coffey

Retired Farmer

Mr. Olin Jay Coffey, 86, of Blowing Rock, died Wednesday afternoon, May 28, at Blowing Rock Hospital.

He was born in Watauga County, April 5, 1900, a son of the late David and Caroline Coffey. He was an Army veteran of World War I and a member of the American Legion in Blowing Rock. He was a retired farmer.

Mr. Coffey is survived by one daughter, Mrs. Howard (Norma) Hodges of Boone; one niece, Mrs. Gwendolyn Dula of Blowing Rock; two nephews, the Rev. Murray Coffey and Hardin Coffey, both of Blowing Rock. He is also survived by two granddaughters, three great-granddaughters and one great-grandson.

Services were conducted this morning at 10 at Rumple Memorial Presbyterian Church in Blowing Rock. Officiating were the Rev. Vaughn Earl Hartsell and the Rev. Howard Hodges. Burial was in the Boone Fork Community Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to the American Legion in Blowing Rock.

Hampton Funeral Service was in charge of arrangements.

An article in The Blowing Rocket, a Watauga Co. weekly, dated Oct. 7, 2004, reads:

"This man was one of Blowing Rocks most popular resident and one if its most respected leaders. He was a Postmaster for a few years, sold real estate and served on a number of community and municipal boards. He was the town's authority on elections, serving for years as registrar, judge and other election official duties. In his later years he could always be found playing a game of checkers at the post office."

Norma married Howard Thomas Hodges and had several children before she died on Jun. 3, 1924 in Denton, Davidson Co., NC.

Her obituary:

Norma Coffey Hodges, 79, of Denton, died Sunday, Nov. 9, 2003, at her home. A memorial service will be Saturday at 2 p.m. at Zion Baptist Church in Morganton, where she was a member.

Mrs. Hodges was born June 3, 1924, in Watauga County to Olin J. and Estie Coffey Coffey. She was a homemaker. She was married to the Rev. Howard Thomas Hodges, her husband of 56 years, who died April 20, 2001. She was also preceded in death by her foster family, Mr. and Mrs. W.W. Collins, Sally Collins and Spencer and Staple Collins.

Surviving are two daughters, Rebecca Parsons and her husband, Lloyd, of Denton and Susan Bullard of Fort Mill, S.C., and six grandchildren, Jessica, Caitlin and Rob Bullard of Fort Mill, S.C., Matthew and Jen Parsons of Richlands and Amanda Perez of High Point.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Cedar Grove Baptist Church Building Fund, P.O. Box 1048, Linwood, N.C. 27299.

Briggs Funeral Home in Denton is assisting the family.

Photographs courtesy Margaret Coffey Farley.

December 26, 2006

Ethelyn E. Coffey

I have just received the following from Larry Jones, a long time Coffey researcher:

Perhaps all of you already know but I just received word from her daughter that long time Coffey researcher Ethelyn E. Coffey has died. She passed away on November 10 after her 3rd battle with cancer.

I never had the pleasure of meeting her but we corresponded regularly after I contacted her years ago while looking for information on my Coffey ancestors. Most of her research was done before computers and she was meticulous as she searched courthouses and librarys for her husbands Coffey ancestors.

She was so generous with sharing her research and I have shared her research with many others. It probably would have taken me many years to find all the information she shared with me if I could have found much of it at all.

I should have realized something was wrong when I didn't hear from her for several months but I was busy getting my house ready to sell and didn't notice. I just received the word today after my Christmas card was forwarded to her daughter who was kind enough to notifiy me.

She will be missed!

Larry Jones

I seem to remember that Ethelyn's husband was descended from Martin Coffey, born c1762 in VA. The last time that I heard from her she resided in Mt. Sterling, KY. I can only echo Larry's sentiment that "She will be missed!" I have an awful lot of information in my Coffey files that are attributed to her research.

December 19, 2006

The Watauga Democrat

Are you researching families in Watauga Co., NC?

One of the better on-line sources for obituaries is the Watauga Democrat.

The "about us" link tells us that the Watauga Democrat was founded " 1888 by the local Democratic party, with help from Joseph Spainhour and John S. Williams."

R. C. Rivers, Sr. and D. B. Dougherty took over publication in 1889. Robert Campbell Rivers was the publisher from 1933 until his death in 1975. His daughter, Rachel Rivers-Coffey (wife of Armfield Coffey) succeeded her father as publisher. The newspaper celebrated its centennial in 1988, prompting Rivers-Coffey to comment that "My people came here running from the Civil War and left by way of City Cemetery."

The paper is published in Boone, Watauga Co., one of the most beautiful areas in North Carolina that I have been privileged to visit. The Coffey Cousins' Convention met there in 1982.

There are a lot of Coffeys in Watauga County!

December 17, 2006

Thomas Finley Coffey (1868-1926)

Update: Dec. 15, 2010

Thomas and his first wife Mary Virginia Councill apparently had no children.  They were married on Jun. 10, 1896 in Watauga Co., NC and Mary died on Oct. 1, 1897 at the age of 35; perhaps in childbirth.

In 1900 he was found living with his dad in Watauga Co. and, he remained unmarried until c1903 when he married Blanche Wells of South Carolina.  Both lived their lives in Clarendon Co. in that state. Thomas died Aug. 3, 1926; Blanche outlived him by about 50 years and died on Apr. 7, 1976. Both are buried in the Manning Cemetery.

They were parents to at least 10 children and, at least four of those died in infancy.

They were:

Thomas, Jr., born Mar. 12, 1904, died Jun. 2, 1905, buried at Manning
J. Elizabeth, born July 27, 1905, died Jul. 9, 1906, buried at Manning
Virginia Mary, born c1907
Mattie Curtis, born Aug. 4, 1908, died Jul. 7, 1909, buried at Manning
William Columbus, born Apr. 12, 1910, died Dec. 30, 1996, died at Manning, not sure of burial site
Doris, born c1912
Sarah Margaret, born c1914
Joseph Mitchell, born Jul. 26, 1916, died Sep. 5, 1918, buried at Manning
Susan Almira, born Feb. 27, 1920, died Jul. 29, 1981; married Leslie Josey, buried at Manning
Edgar S., born c1925

I have been working on several North Carolina families with some success. One family that I have had difficulty with is that of Thomas Finley Coffey, a son of William Columbus and Caroline L. (Carrie) Curtis Coffey.

Thomas was married at least twice; first to Jennie M. Councill. She was the daughter of Dr. William Bowers Councill, a physician, and his wife, Alice M. [LNU], and was born c1872 in North Carolina.

His second wife was Blanche Wells, born Apr. 5, 1877 in Manning, Clarendon Co., SC. The year of their marriage is not yet known. Thomas died Aug. 3, 1926; Blanch in April, 1976, both in Manning. I have a list of ten children for them, but none confirmed:

- Thomas Finley, Jr
- Elizabeth J.
- Mary Virginia, born c1907
- Mattie Curtis
- Doris
- Sarah Margaret
- Joseph Mitchell
- Susan Almira, born c1920
- Edgar S., born c1925

Merry Christmas to all!

December 13, 2006

Waightstill Avery Coffey (c1801-c1837)

Wm. Weightstill Avery, grandson of Col. Waightstill Avery <-Wm. Waightstill Avery, grandson of Waightstill Avery

Waightstill Avery Coffey was a son of Rice and Sarah (Sally) Bradford Coffey. He was born c1801 in North Carolina and died in 1837, place unknown. It is said that he never married.

I have often wondered where the family obtained the name Waightstill. It is something of an unusual name, and not one that was continued for more than a couple of generations (based thus far upon my research).

While looking at various families who occupied the Watauga area of North Carolina, I ran across the name of Col. Waightstill Avery, born c1741 in Groton, CT. After obtaining an undergraduate degree from Princeton in 1766, he studied law for sometime before finally settling in Charlotte, North Carolina, "where he practiced law in the courtrooms of Mecklenburg, Rowan, Tryon and Anson."

According to the Avery Co. museum website, "
Before and during the Revolution, he was connected with most of the conventions held in North Carolina. He was one of the group which wrote the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence; of the Hillsboro Congress which formed a plan of government for the state; a member of the Halifax Convention of 1776 when it instructed its delegates to the Continental Congress to vote for independence; also a delegate from Mecklenburg County to the convention which drafted the State Constitution of 1776. He was appointed the first attorney general of North Carolina under the new constitution."

"In 1778 when Andrew Jackson was young, Col. Avery an avowed Presbyterian and a Puritan, accepted a challenge to fight a duel. This was in accordance with the ethics of the times. In a criminal case before the court of Jonesboro, Avery had been severe in his comments upon some of the legal positions taken by Andrew Jackson. Jackson wrote a challenge and gave it to his critic. The combatants met and a shot fired from each pistol well above the heads of the respective adversaries settled the matter and put everyone in a jocular mood. The two men left the ground very good friends."

Avery Co., NC was named for Col. Avery, and likely the source for the name given to Rice and Sarah's fifth child and third son.

December 12, 2006

2007 Coffey/Coffey Cousins' Convention

Just a reminder:

The convention will be held in Dubuque, IA April 26-29, 2007. Headquarters is the Julien Inn, 200 Main St., which overlooks the Mississippi River and the Port of Dubuque.

The Julien Inn is a quaint and historic hotel, popular as a honeymoon destination. You must make reservations early by calling the hotel direct at: 1-800-798-7098 or (563)556-4200. Specify that the reservations are for the Coffey Convention and request the special room rate.

The Crown Gallery is our "meet and greet" room. This is where everyone will pick up their registration packet.

Trolly tour of Dubuque on Friday, Apr. 27. This is a one-hour narrated tour and includes original historic sites, an explanation of current economic development and a visit to the historic preservation district. Trolly leaves promptly at 9:30 AM.

Door Prizes: Plenty - from Petosa's Cache

Silent Auction: Please bring one or more regional items to contribute.

If you are not a subscriber to the Coffey Cousins' newsletter, you will need to use the following to make reservations for everything OTHER than the hotel:

Tear off and mail to Darlene Clark, 1500 41 Place, Des Moines, IA 50311-2544

I am paying for ___ reservations for the Trolly Tour @ $15 each person: $__________

I am paying for ___ reservations for the CC Banquet @ $25 each person: $__________

Be sure to include your return address and e-mail address.

Please include each person' choice (by name) of Roast Beef, Baked Ham, or Baked Chicken along with your check to Darlene. Confirmation of receipt by e-mail.

Also, please include a list of names and addresses (if different from yours) for each person who will be attending.

The Banquet/Business meeting is a sit-down dinner. Menu selections are due to Darlene not later than April 1, 2007.

For more information please contact Darlene, or telephone her at 1-515-279-3194.

December 11, 2006

Larkin D. Coffey (1824 GA - 1887 AL)

Larkin D. Coffey Confederate Grave Marker
Larkin was the second of seven sons born to Jesse and Winifred Compton Coffey. He was born Oct. 18, 1824 in Georgia (maybe Gilmer Co.) and died Oct. 10, 1887 in Lawrence Co., AL. he married Temperence Elaine (Tempi) Gravitt on Nov. 19, 1846 in Forsyth Co., GA. She was born Jun. 2, 1827 and died one week after Larkin, on Oct. 17, 1887 in Lawrence Co., AL. Both are buried in the Montgomery Cemetery at Wren in Lawrence Co., AL.

The family appears in every census from 1850 to 1880. The 1870 census names Larkin's wife as Frances, but this is probably an error by the enumerator.

In 1850 they are found in Gilmer Co., Subdivision 33, page 427, dwelling/family 1118: Larkin Coffee [sic], age 25, married, farmer, $200, born GA; Tempa Coffee, age 19, female, born GA; John Coffee, age 4, male, born GA; William Coffee, age 2, male, born GA. Neighbors of Larkin are Jasper Gravet [sic], age 19 and wife Selina with dau. Mary J. Next to Jasper is Thomas Gravet, age 45, and family.

By 1860 the family has left GA and settled in AL: 1860 Blount Co., Western Div., Summit PO, Page 32, dwelling/family 369, L. D. Coffee [sic], age 36, male, white, farmer, $350, $350, born GA; Tempy, age 30, female, born GA; John, age 12, male, born GA; William, age 11, born GA; Martha, age 10, female, born GA; Nancy, age 9, female, born GA; Martha V., age 5, female, born GA; Thomas, age 4, male, born GA; Jesse, age 2, male, born AL

In 1870 they have reached Lawrence Co. in AL, the place where they will live out their lives: 1870 Lawrence Co., TS7, R7W, Moulton PO, Page 16, dwelling/family 129, Coffee [sic], Larkin, age 46, male, white, farmer, $1080, $475, born GA; Francis, age 40, female, white, keeps house, born GA; W. R., age 20, male, white, farm laborer, born GA; Mary, age 17, female, white, at home, born GA; Van Buren, age 15, male, white, farm hand, born GA; Thos., age 19, male, white, at home, born GA; Jesse, age 13, male, white, at home, born AL; Sarah A., age 8, female, white, at home, born AL; Georgiann, age 5, female, white, at home, born AL; Susan, age 2, female, white, at home, born AL

1880 Lawrence Co., Pen Hook, Twp. 7, Page 410C, Coffey, Larkin, male, white, age 55, born GA, parents born SC, farming; Coffey, Tempy, wife, female, white, age 49, born GA, parents born GA, keeling house; S. A. Coffey, dau., single, female, white, age 17, born AL, parents born GA; G. A. Coffey, dau., female, white, age 15, single, born AL, parents born GA; Susan Coffey, dau., female, white, age 12, single, born AL, parents born GA; M.V. Coffey, son, single, male, white, age 24, born GA, parents born GA, farming; T. J. Coffey, son, male, white, age 23, single, born GA, parents born GA, farming; R. Mayfield, male, white, age 17, born AL, parents born AL, laborer

Contact me for more information.

December 9, 2006

Leslie James Coffee (1916-1944)

Leslie James Coffee was a son of Jerry and Martha Elizabeth Olive Coffee. He was born Mar. 17, 1884 in Texas and died Jun. 1944. He was killed in a plane crash while ferrying an aircract from the US to the war zone in Europe. He was never married.

Jerry and Martha's other children were:

- Jerry, Jr., born Jan. 23, 1919, died May 15, 1988; married first to Helen Lorayne Donnis and had one son, Jerry Earl, born 1947. He married second to Fleta Rose Whitmore, born Dec. 22, 1928 in Bell Co., TX, died Mar. 17, 2000 in Fort Worth. There were no children born to this marriage.

- Mary Coffee, born Sep. 12, 1920 in Palo Pinto Co., TX. Married Louis Lee Robertson May. 20, 1942. He died Mar. 13, 1978 in Tom Green Co., TX. Their children were: Sherry Diane; Leslie Lee; David Charles and Kathleen Sue.

- Olive, born Apr. 2, 1925, married Vaudell Preather Dec. 26, 1942. Their children were Larry Edward and Gary Leon.

Lincoln Sherman Coffey (1865-1933)

Lincoln Sherman Coffey was the 16th of the 17 children born to Jesse H. Buchanan and Lucinda Dorcas Burpo Coffey. He was born Apr. 2, 1865 in Alanthus Grove, Gentry Co., MO, and died on Jan. 28, 1933 in Fair Twp., Platte Co., MO. He married Emma A. Gunter c1889 in (probably) Missouri. Emma was born in Missouri in Feb., 1871 and died in Feb., 1941 in Platte Co., MO.

Lincoln and Emma were the parents of at least eight children:

- Holt, born Aug. 2, 1891 in Alanthus Grove, died Jan., 1964 in Missouri. Holt married Maud [LNU] and had at least once child, Clarence, born c1915. He registered for the WW1 draft on Jun. 5, 1917 in Platte Co. and was described as being of medium height and build with blue eyes and brown hair. At that time he was married and the father of two children.

- Ward, born Jul. 19, 1892 in Alanthus Grove, died Mar., 1968 in Missouri. He was married to Ina Marie Jacks on Dec. 20, 1915 in Missouri. Ina was born Nov. 12, 1896 in Platte Co. They had at least one child, Claude B., born c1917 in Missouri. Ward also registered for the WW1 draft on Jun. 5, 1917 in Platte Co. He was a 24-yr. old self-employed farmer with a wife and child. He too had blue eyes and light brown hair.

- Glenn, born Oct. 20, 1895 in Missouri, died Oct. 16, 1975 in Los Angeles Co., CA. He married Gay R. [LNU], who was born Sep. 6, 1896 in Kansas and died Jun. 5, 1961 in Los Angeles Co., CA. He and Gay had at least one child, a daughter Nada, born c1916.

Lincoln's other children for which I have little information were:

- Dorcus, born Feb., 1897

- Oliver Franklin, born Jul. 4, 1899, died Jun. 1976 in Arizona. He registered for the WW1 draft on Sep. 12, 1918 in Platte Co., MO. He was of medium height and build with blue eyes and light colored hair. Oliver resided in Smithville, Clay Co., MO where he was a farmer employed by his brother Ward. He named his mother Emma of St. Clair, MO as his nearest relative.

- Alvin G., born c1900

- Zell, born Apr. 21, 1903 in St. Clair Co., MO, died Mar., 1983 in Lawrence Co., MO.

- Marvin, born c1908

Please contact me with additions and/or corrections.

December 7, 2006

Rev. Reuben A. Coffey

Rev. Coffey's life has been highlighted in the Summer and Fall 2006 issues of the Owen County History and Genealogy publication. A third part is planned for the Spring 2007 issue. Janet Amtower, a descendant of Reuben, has been researching Reuben's life, work and family and is sharing her findings with readers of that publication.

The articles are well written and documented.

In Part I Amtower writes about Reuben and his rise to the ministry in Wilkes Co., NC and subsequent move to Indiana.

Thomas, Reuben's father, had moved his family from Virginia to Wilkes Co., where they began what became a very large plantation. Thomas' family were members of the Yadkin Grove Baptist Church, which was situated on the grounds of the Coffey Plantation, and it was here where Reuben came to the ministry.

In 1815 Reuben was appointed "pastor of the Globe Mountain Church and many surrounding churches of Wilkes and Burke Counties..." He is also credited as a founding member of a Baptist college in Franklin, Indiana.

In 1832 Reuben and his family was granted "letters of dismission" from the Yadkin Grove church, and they headed off to resettle in Indiana. This relocation was ostensibly to give his children an opportunity to settle on new, cheap land and, to join the "great wave of emigration to southern Indiana by people from the southern states who did not believe in slavery." Indiana's state constitution forbade slavery.

In part II Amtower writes about the journey by wagon that took approximately six weeks. The route, as described by her, was "by way of Asheville, Morristown, Cumberland Gap, and along the Wilderness Road through Kentucky by way of Frankfort and Louisville, then called the Falls of the Ohio, to a place one hundred miles north of the Ohio River in southern Indiana."

Other Coffey families who had left North Carolina before Reuben had already settled in Monroe and Owen Counties in Indiana. Reuben and his family apparently settled somewhere "halfway between Spencer in Owen county and Bloomington in Monroe county."

To read more about this fascinating man and his family, I suggest contacting the Owen County Historical and Genealogical Society (OCHGS), PO Box 569, Spencer, IN 47460. Membership is a cheap $10/year. Back issues are available for a fee.

More details can be obtained by contacting Vivian Zollinger.

Shelton Coffey (1826-1907) (Update 2)

Shelton Coffey was a son of the very prolific Rev. Reuben A. Coffey and his wife, Martha (Polly) Dowell. He was their ninth child and sixth son, born Feb. 1, 1826 in Wilkes Co., NC* and died Mar. 24, 1907 in Arkansas.

Shelton married Dicy Sanders on Oct. 23, 1845 in Monroe Co., IN. She was born Dec. 25, 1824 in that state, and died in Arkansas on Apr 6, 1900.

I have found three children for them:

- Melvin W., born May 20, 1849, died Mar. 22, 1865 in Indiana.

- Carrey Elsworth, born Feb. 11, 1867, died Mar. 4, 1907. Married 1) Cassie Lomes and had a son, Ross Elsworth, born Feb. 6, 1902. Married 2) Adelphia E. Turley and had one daughter, Mary Dicy Coffey, born Sep. 5, 1902.

- Rosa E., born Feb. 21, 1863 in Indiana, and married Thaddeus Rollison. Rosa died Jul. 9, 1920. Thaddeus was born Nov. 10, 1858 and died Aug. 29, 1953. They were parents of at least 11 children.

Shelton and Dicy appeared in the 1850 and 1870 census for Owen Co., IN. I have not yet found them in the 1860 or 1880 census. In 1900 he was enumerated as a widower in Arkansas Co., AR. Carrey, enumerated as a single man, was living with him.

During the Civil War Shelton was a member of the Indiana Volunteers, 43d Infantry.

Please send additions and/or corrections to me at the e-mail address below.

Photo courtesy Janet Amtower

*Near Patterson in what is now Caldwell Co., NC

December 4, 2006

Malinda Caroline Coffey (1825-1901)

Malinda Caroline Coffey was the daughter of Elijah and Mary Abby (Polly) Dyer Coffey. She was born Mar. 6, 1825, and died Dec. 12, 1901. She is buried in Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, IN.

Malinda Caroline married Isaac G. Franklin on May 5, 1845 in Owen Co., IN. Together they had at least five children: Mary Elizabeth, born 1846, married George William Lewis; Nancy Jane, born 1848, died 1933, married Joseph Riley Wampler; Rosetta, born 1851, married Isaac (Will) Clayman (Claman?); William F., born Jan. 29, 1854, died 1905; and Susan, born c1857, married Taylor Tumey.

Malinda married a second time, and then to Joshua Webb, a medical doctor with his office in Indianapolis.

The photograph and family information is courtesy Vivian Zollinger, editor of the Owen County History & Genealogy newsletter. She wrote: "Malinda is buried in Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis. She died 12 Dec. 1901. Her 2nd husband Joshua Webb had a medical practice in Indianapolis. She returned from MO to Owen Co. IN with all but her oldest child who had married in MO. Isaac may have married [in] IN Eliza McNerland in Schuyler Co., MO. No divorce found."

The Owen County Historical & Genealogical Society website can be found here.

Joshua Coffey (c1821-c1891)

Joshua, a son of Thomas and Margaret Coffey* Coffey, Jr. was born about 1821 in Burke Co., NC and died c1891 in North Carolina. He married Rebecca Shepherd on Nov. 1, 1842 in Wilkes Co.1 He apparently married a second time, to Rebecca Eveline Wyatt. I have not found a marriage date for this union, but the birth date of their children suggests c1880.

By his first wife Joshua fathered at least 9 children:

- Adeline, born c1844 who married Alfred Wyatt c1870 in NC. Their children were Mary Ann, born c1872; James, born c1874; John C., born c1876; and Martha, born about Oct. 1879

- Matilda, born c1846, married Isham Patrick

- John Drury, born c1848, died Jan. 5, 1895. Drury married Sarah Wyatt, born c1851, died Jul. 9, 1924 in Wilkes Co. John and Sarah had at least nine children:

- Martha, born c1872
- Calvin, born c1873
- Mildred Jane, born c1874, died Mar. 5, 1933, married John Edward Key. They had at least 5 children: Lelia, Victoria, Richard Edward, Paul Thomas and Mildred Evelyn.
- Rebecca Leona, born Jul. 1877 married William Thomas Bumgarner Apr. 30, 1910 in Wilkes Co. They had at least one child: Ila Virginia, born Jul. 29, 1913.2
- Sindy, born c1878
- Ellen Elzina, born Sep., 1883, married Leander Vance Johnson Apr. 24, 1904 in Wilkes Co. They had at least two children: Sarah Virginia, born May 13, 1909, and Arthur Franklin, born Aug. 13, 1923.2
- Larkin, born Jul. 1884, married Lessie Bauguess Oct. 21, 1906 in Wilkes Co. Lessie was born Dec. 31, 1887 in NC and died Jan. 7, 1968. Their children were Clyde, born Dec. 7, 19092; Spainhour, born Feb. 28, 19122; Paul, born 1914; Alvin, born c1916; Hazel, born 1919 and Florence, born c1922.
- Joshua Thomas, born May 1887 in NC, died Mar. 23, 1983 in Wilkes Co., NC. He married Mabel Esther Parson, born c1904 in NC, died Feb. 27, 1988 in Wilkes Co. Their children were at least four: Josephine, born c1923; Grace D., born c1924; Wade P., born c1926, and Hallie, born Sep. 16, 1930, died Jul. 3, 2004.

Joshua and second wife had at least two children:

- John Payton, born May 1, 1881, married c1902 Jennie Elizabeth Hartin, born c1884 in NC. Their children were: Lucy, born c1903; Thurman, born c1906; Mattie, born 1910; John, born c1913; Mattie A., born c Jun 1916, married Frank Robertson; Ruby T., born c Feb. 1919, and twins, Eva G. and Irma M., born c Sep. 1916.

- Thomas Joshua, born c1821 in Burke Co., died c1891. He married Laura W. Parsons, c1903 in NC.

I have additional information to share on some of these families.

Please write to me with additions and/or corrections.

1 NC Marriage Bonds 1741-1868
2 NC Birth Index, 1800-2000

*Some researchers have concluded that Margaret was the daughter of William Coffey and Elizabeth Osborne. William and Elizabeth did have a daughter named Margaret, born in Virginia c1782, died in that state c1838. She married George Monroe and had at least one child, Mary (Polly) Monroe, born Apr. 1832. Mary (Polly) married Peter Demastus and they were the parents of Peter Alice Demastus, born Feb. 1862, died May 31, 1938 who married David Garland Coffey, a son of William and Mary C. Ramsey Coffey. I have found no evidence that Thomas' wife was the same Margaret. Evidence to the contrary will be welcomed.

Census extracts:

1850 Wilkes Co., dwelling/family 155, Joshua Coffee [sic], male, larmer, $125, born Burk[e] Co., Rebecah [sic] Coffee, age 25, female, born Wilkes Co.; Addeline Coffee, age 6, female, born Wilkes Co.; Matilda Coffee, age 4, female, born Wilkes Co.,; Drew Coffee, age 2, male, born Wilkes Co.

1880 Wilkes Co., Mulberry Twp., ED208, Page 15, dwelling 151, family 165, Coffee [sic], Joshua, white male, age 59, married, married during census year, farmer, born NC, parents born NC; Evaline, white female, age 33, wife, married, married during census year, keeping house, born NC, parents born NC; Rufus, white male, age 20, son, single, farm laborer, born NC, parents born NC; Perry, white male, age 18, son, single, farm laborer, born NC, parents born NC; Franklin, white male, age 13, single, farm laborer, born NC, parents born NC

1880 Wilkes Co., Mulberry Twp., ED208, Page 15, dwelling 155, family 158, Wyatt, Alfred, white male, age 28, married, farner, born NC, parents born NC; Adline [sic], white female, age 36, wife, married, keeping house, born NC, parents born NC; Maryanne, white female, age 8, dau., born NC; James, white male, age 6, son, born NC; John G., white male, age 4, son, born NC; Martha, white female, age 8 mos., born Oct., dau., born NC

1880 Wilkes Co., Mulberry Twp., ED208, Page 14, dwelling 148, family 151, Coffee [sic], Drury, white male, age 30, married, farm laborer, born NC, parents born NC; Sarah, white female, age 29, wife, married, keeping house, born NC, parents born NC; Martha, white female, age 8, dau., born NC; Calvin, white male, age 7, son, born NC; Jane, white female, age 6, dau., born NC; Rebecca, white female, age 4, dau., born NC; Sindy, white female, age 2, dau., born NC

December 1, 2006

Clarissa Ellen Coffey

Clarissa was the third and last child that I have found that was born to Drury Dobbins and Harriet Elizabeth Collett. She was born Sep. 24, 1868 in Lenoir, Edgefield Co., NC and died Mar. 1, 1939 in Portland, Multnomah Co., OR

She married Dr. Robert Calvin Coffey, her second cousin and a son of Patterson Vance and Nancy Martisha Estes Coffey. Robert was born Oct. 20, 1869 in Lenoir, Edgefield, Co., and died on Nov. 9, 1933 in a plane crash neat Portland, OR. He was 64 years old.

An article in Time magazine, in partnership with CNN reproduced the following article from the Nov. 1933 issue of the magazine Aeronautics:

"With fearful vengeance the Law of Averages proceeded last week to settle its score against United Air Lines. In 40 million miles of flying, no passenger had been killed in a multi-motored plane of United until last month when a ship was blown up on the New York-Chicago route (TIME, Oct. 23).* Last week near Portland, Ore. another United plane of the same new type crashed into a hillside in a fog. Pilot and three passengers were killed. Copilot, stewardess and four passengers survived.

Fog lay thick around the Portland airport, situated on an island in the Willamette River, when the ship took off for its run down the coast to San Francisco. Among the passengers was Dr. Robert Calvin Coffey, Portland surgeon famed for his work with cancer.† Across from him sat his assistant, Dr. John Straumfjord, with whom he was flying to Medford, Ore. to operate on a colleague. Leaving the airport the pilot circled gingerly up through the fog, edging perilously near the hills which rise abruptly to the west. Suddenly a wing tip gouged a tree on the hilltop. Down the ship crashed. It broke apart, caught fire. In an instant Stewardess Libby Wurgaft had the cabin door open. Four times she entered the blazing cabin, each time helped bring out an injured passenger. But nobody could save Dr. Coffey and the other two passengers on his side of the cabin. All three were killed by the crash.

* Fortnight ago Department of Justice agents said they were convinced that an underworldling had traveled in the plane several days before the crash, had concealed an explosive among the blankets in the plane's lavatory, for fear he would be searched at his destination. The explosive lay among the blankets until it fell to the floor.

† No kin of San Francisco's Dr. Walter Bernard Coffey, he addressed the American College of Surgeons last month on his method of draining the kidneys through the intestines in cases of cancerous bladder, and on his "surgical quarantine" of healthy tissue during treatment."

Robert and Clarissa had four children:

- Dr. Jay Russell Coffey, born May 31, 1896 in Idaho, died Mar. 9, 1985 in Warrenton, Clatsop Co., OR. He married Josephine Richardson c1915 in OR. She was born c1897 in TX, and died Oct. 19, 1934 in Portland, OR. They had three children: Jay, Jr., born May 31, 1915, died Jun. 1978; Thomas R., born c1917; and John Fellows, born c1919.

- Wilson Bryan Coffey, born c1898 in Idaho, died Sep. 1, 1959 in Lane Co., OR. He married Marjorie Campbell on Sep. 15, 1920 in Multnomah Co., OR. She was born Apr. 8, 1900 in Washington state, and died Nov. 2, 1995 in Pierce Co., WA. Their children were Joan C., born c1925 and Mary E., born c1927. There were probably others that I have not yet found.

- Robert Mayo, born Dec. 18, 1906, died Sep. 12, 1972

- Herbert Spencer - no other information.

Additions and/or corrections are requested.

Update, Jan. 1, 2013:  It seems that prior to her death in 1934, Josephine Richardson Coffey gave birth c1931 to a fourth son.  That child, Joel R. Coffey, was still living in OR and was mentioned in the obituary of his brother, retired Marine Corps Lt. Col. John Fellows Coffey.  Col. Coffey died on Jul. 26, 2000 in Norfolk, VA and is buried in Chesapeake, VA at the Churchland Baptist Church Cemetery.  Joel appears as a nine-year old with his father and step-mother Martha Handley Coffey in the 1940 Portland, Multnomah Co., OR census.

According to his WW2 draft registration card, Dr. Jay Russell Coffey was born on Jun. 24, 1894 in Moscow, Latah Co., ID.  Josephine Richardson was born May. 3, 1896 in TX.

Jay Russell Coffey, Jr., was born May 31, 1915 and died Jun. 15, 1978 in Portland.  He is buried at River View Cemetery in Portland.  His military marker tells us that he was a Captain in the US Army during WW2.

Dr. Jay's second son was Thomas Richardson "Tom" Coffey, born Oct. 15, 1917, died Jun. 24, 1944.  He is buried at River View as well.  His military marker tells us that he was a First Lt. in the 4th Marine Division during WW2.  In June of 1944 the 4th Marines were engaged in taking and cleaning up the island of Saipan.  Tom was awarded the Silver Star as well as The Purple Heart medals.  He was unmarried.

Third son was John Fellows Coffey, mentioned above.  He enlisted in the US Marine Corps on Sep. 12, 1940 and retired on May 31, 1966 at Marine Corps Headquarters in Arlington, VA.  He was twice awarded the Bronze Star medal for Valor, the Navy Commendation Medal, three Presidential Unit Citations and the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with 12 stars.  Each star represents participation in a major campaign; there were 48 in the Pacific by the Navy and Marine Corps.


Daniel Silvester Coffey - Update 11/21/09

Daniel Silvester Coffey was the second son of Drury Dobbins and Harriet Elizabeth Collett, born May 20, 1866 in Caldwell Co., NC and died Apr. 16, 1945 in Dakota Co. (probably), MN. He was buried there in the Acacia Park Cemetery.

Daniel married Daisy Skadden in Jul., 1906. She was born Apr. 21, 1882 in Harrison Co., OH and died Oct. 30, 1959. She is also buried in the Acacia Park Cemetery. Daisy was the daughter of George A. and Marinda Estep Skadden who can be found in the Jun. 26, 1900 census for Freeport Twp., Harrison Co., OH.

I have found only one child for Daniel and Daisy. That is Charles Finley Coffey, born Jan. 5, 1920, died Feb., 1984 in Scottsdale, Maricopa Co., AZ.

Additional information and/or corrections are requested..

Finley Hezekiah Coffey

Finley Hezekiah Coffey was a son of Drury Dobbins and Harriet Elizabeth Collett Coffey. He was born Apr. 20, 1861 in Caldwell Co., NC and died Aug. 4, 1943, also in Caldwell Co. He married Rose Frieze, who was born Apr. 7, 1866 and died Jun. 15, 1948.

Together, Finley and Rose had at least five children:

- M. Irene, born c1895
- Herbert Frieze, born unknown
- Harold F., born c1899
- Ethyl, born c1901
- Daniel Archie, born Jun. 10, 1904, died Jun. 21, 1960

Finley was the first chairman of the Caldwell Co. Board of Public Welfare, and one of the county's most prominent citizens. A 1942 article described Finley:

“Finley H. Coffey, president of the Kent-Coffey Manufacturing Company, prominent in the manufacturing, banking and government interests of Caldwell County, was born in this county, the son of the late Drury D. and Harriet Collett Coffey, both of whom were natives of Caldwell....When he was twenty-two he opened his own store in this area, operating it until 1887 when he came to Lenoir and established a general store where Efird’s is now located.

About seven years later Mr. Coffey went to Kansas and took over the management of a farm owned by his father. In 1907 he returned to Lenoir, and he, with others, founded the Kent-Coffey Manufacturing Company.

Active in the civic affairs of Lenoir and Caldwell County , Mr. Coffey has served a number of terms on the board of aldermen of the city of Lenoir ; was chairman of the county draft board during World War I, and was for many years a member of the Board of County Commissioners, serving as chairman for some time. He was a member of this board until 1928 when he entered the State Legislature where he served on the Finance Committee.

At present Mr. Coffey is president of the Kent-Coffey Manufacturing Co., president of Union Mirror Co., president of Union National Bank, vice-president of Mutual Building and Loan Association, chairman of the County Welfare Board, Vice-chairman of the State School for the Deaf and chairman of the building committee. He is also a member of the Knights of Pythias and the Kiwanis Club and an active member of the Presbyterian Church.

To Mr. Coffey, perhaps more than any other living citizen, Caldwell County is indebted for much of the progress made during recent years. During his term as a member of the county Board of Commissioners he was instrumental in establishing the Bureau of Vital Statistics in Caldwell County and in doing away with the indebtedness of the county and placing it once more on a sound financial basis. When he became a commissioner there were only two jobs in the county outside the actual operating force in the courthouse, and these were a Farm Demonstrator and one Welfare Worker. During his administration the county was given a well-rounded administrative force.

The wide diversity of Mr. Coffey’s interests are well demonstrated in the offices which he holds today, and Lenoir and Caldwell County are indeed fortunate in having such a citizen as Mr. Finley H. Coffey.”

Mr. Coffey was still in office at the time of his death at age 82 in 1943. Minutes of the Caldwell County Welfare Board meeting after his passing refer to him as "the beloved Chairman."

Input concerning Finley and Rose's marriage date and place, or their burial sites, as well as other pertinent information on their children may contact me via e-mail.

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