Descendants of William Coffey Berry, born Oct. 19, 1796, have long claimed that he was the son of Rice Coffey, born Apr. 17, 1766 in Amherst Co., VA, died Jul. 24, 1853 in Bedford Co., TN.
Evidence provided for this claim was a letter alleged to have been written by William to his son, Joseph M. Berry on Jan. 30, 1870. The letter was carried by Joseph to OK where it passed to Joseph's daughter, Lillie Belle Berry Clark in 1917. In 1915 the letter was entrusted to Lillie's niece, Ruth Hope Parker Lessley. Ruth had been raised from infancy by Lillie and was the daughter of Laura Berry Parker.
Many who had never seen the original document were skeptics and, for the most part descendants of Rice were unconcerned. It remained then for the Berry descendants to prove their case.
And they have!
DNA testing has now proven that a known direct male descendant of William Berry Coffey does indeed match DNA of other Coffeys in the Edward Coffey line.
Click on the title link for more information on William Coffey Berry.
Click here for more information on the Coffey DNA project.