January 21, 2007

William Columbus Coffey

William Columbus Coffey was already a principal merchant in Boone, Watauga Co., NC when that town was incorporated on Jan. 23, 1872. William's brother Thomas Jefferson was among the first appointed town commissioners.

He was born near Patterson in Caldwell Co. on Apr. 3, 1839. After sometime in TN, William joined the 26th North Carolina Regt. in which he served until 1863 when he was transferred to the 58th North Carolina under the command of Col. J. B. Palmer.

After being elected Second Lieutenant in Apr., 1864, he surrendered at Greensboro with Johnson's Army in Apr., 1865.

That Nov. he returned to Boone with his brother Thomas Jefferson and opened a store in the J.W. Councill building. He left Boone in 1866 and opened a branch store at what is now Zionville in Watauga Co. He remained there until 1869 when he returned to Boone to assist his brother in opening the Coffey Hotel and Store.

In 1866 William married Carrie L. Curtis, daughter of Hezekiah Curtis of Wilkesboro. After Carried died he married Mrs. Ada Penn in Jul., 1908.

The photograph appeared in the July 3, 1972 Centennial Edition of the Watauga Democrat, and was contributed by Mrs. Nell Linney.


  1. I recently found this article about W. C. Coffey's first wife Carrie in the 27 December 1888 The Chatham Record. The text reads as follows:

    "Boone Democrat: Mrs. W. C. Coffey came near being drowned in Yadkin River on her way home from a visit to her parents. Her father, Mr. Curtis concluded the river was too deep for her team and buggy and so sent a boy with a tall buggy and very large horse of his to take her across. This horse on striking the current choked and fell and broke the shafts out of the buggy. The horse recovered and turned back for the bank from whence he came leaving Mrs. Coffey in the buggy in the deepest part of a very swift and dangerous ford. Fortunately Fin was on hand with his buggy and drove in and took his mother out not hurt but badly scared." Source: http://library.digitalnc.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/chatham/id/1747/rec/1 page 3 3rd column, halfway down.

  2. The link doesn't work for me, Peter.


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