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.