March 15, 2007

Jesse and Elizabeth Riffe Coffey

Jesse Coffey, born May 26, 1784 to Osborn and Mary (Polly) Nightingale Coffey, married Elizabeth Riffe Feb. 16, 1805 in Pulaski Co., KY. He died Jul., 1850 in Casey Co., KY. Elizabeth, who some researchers have named Tabitha, was born Jul. 3, 1758 in Lincoln Co., KY, and died Sep. 29, 1842 in Casey Co.

Jesse is also said to have fathered a daughter named Sally, and two sons, C.R., and Jesse, Jr. Their mother is unknown to me.

Jesse was a Colonel in the War of 1812, a state senator in 1834, and a member of the delegation that wrote the Kentucky state constitution in June 1850, a month before he died .

"Probably the most prominent of the early settlers was Colonel Jesse Coffey, a soldier of the War of 1812, who fought in the Battle of Thames in Canada, in which the famous Indian chieftain, Tecumseh, was slain, as was also the noted pioneer Kentuckian, Colonel William Whitley, who founded Whitley's Station near Crab Orchard."

"Colonel Coffey owned a large boundary of good land in and around Middleburg and it was he who built the old watermill, so long a landmark in the little town, on the site occupied by the modern water-power mill now owned and operated by Mr. L. F. Young. Colonel Coffey's mansion, built at about the same time as the old water-mill, stood on the hill just behind the home now owned by Mr. J. W. Short, and was the scene of the famous wedding of Polly Coffey as related in Peter B. Riffe's History of Casey County."

Jesse and Elizabeth's first child was Osborn N. Coffey, born Feb. 4, 1807 in Casey Co. He married Jane L. Bell on Sep. 4, 1829 in Lincoln Co. They were parents of at least seven children:

William, born KY c1832
Grizzell (Grace?), born KY c1834, married John F.
Jane, born MO c1837
Jesse, born MO, c1839
Bettie Lee, born
MO, Apr. 30, 1841, died MO Aug. 15, 1911
Ann Robb, born MO, c1846
L., born MO, c1849

One source had this information about Osborn:

Osborn N. COFFEY, an old and respected citizen and an early settler of Lincoln County, Mo., was born in Casey County, Ky., February 4, 1807, and is the son of Jessee and Elizabeth (RIFFLE) [sic] COFFEY, both of whom were natives of Kentucky. Their ancestors were from Virginia and Pennsylvania, respectively. The father was an extensive dealer in hogs, which he used to drive to Richmond, Va., a distance of about five hundred miles. He was a colonel in the War of 1812, was for two terms a member in the State Legislature, and a member of the Constitutional Convention of Kentucky. Both were members of the Missionary Baptist Church, and lived to a good old age. They reared a large family of children, of whom Osborn N., is the second. While growing up, he had very poor opportunities for schooling, though he aided himself very much in that direction after attaining his growth. At the age of eighteen he began for himself, and soon after engaged as clerk in a store, where he remained two years. In 1829 he married Miss Jane L. BELL, a native of Lincoln County, Ky., and in their family were seven children who lived to be grown. One of the sons served in the Confederate Army and was twice severely wounded. In 1831 Mr. COFFEY moved to Missouri, and three years later to Lincoln County, where he opened a store in Louisville. At the same time he dealt in hogs and tobacco, but failing in this he purchased the place where he now lives, which consists of 363 acres of land. Both he and wife are members of the Presbyterian Church, and for many years he was a magistrate. He has done quite well, financially, though he has had many reverses and losses.


W. M. Watkins, editor, The Men, Women, Events, Institutions & Lore of Casey County, Kentucky (Louisville, KY : 236 pgs: Standard Print Co., 1939)

History of Lincoln County, Missouri (Chicago: Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1888)

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