June 5, 2007

Reuben and Mary Jane Coffey Dellinger

Update 2-28-2011:  Sevina W. Dellinger and Eugenia Lavinia (Genie) Dellinger are the same person. I mistook an S for an L in the 1860 census. Thanks to Lloyd Coffey for pointing this out.


Reuben Dellinger was born Oct. 20, 1920 in Lincoln Co., NC, the son of Henry and Katherine Setzer Dellinger. Reuben was a brother to Elkanna Dellinger, born c1818, died 1865, who married Elizabeth (Betty) Godsey of Rockingham Co., NC.

Mary Jane Coffey was the daughter of Jesse and Margaret Edmiston (var.), born Oct. 19, 1827 in Caldwell Co., NC and died Apr. 11, 1859 in Yancey Co., NC. I have not found a marriage date for them, but it was likely c1846 as their first child was born in December of 1847.

Mary's father was a son of Reuben and Sarah (Sally) Scott Coffey; her mother a daughter of William Harrison and Mary Suddreth Edmiston. Reuben was a son of John and Jane Graves Coffey.

Children of Reuben and Mary Jane Coffey Dellinger were:

James Pinkney Dellinger, born Dec. 31, 1847, died Jun. 21, 1896. He married his first cousin, Mary Frances Dellinger on Aug. 24, 1872. Mary Frances was the daughter of Elkanna and Betty Godsey Dellinger. James and Mary's children were (as I have them) Astor Jane, born May 25, 1882, died Feb. 10, 1963 who married her distant cousin, Julius Adore Coffey. The second child of James and Mary was Fannie Mae, born May 3, 1884 and died Oct. 26, 1966 in Watauga Co., NC. Fannie married her first cousin, Leason Elkanah Gragg, a son of David Obadiah and Frances Dellinger Gragg.

Elkana Hunter Dellinger, born c1850 - no other information.

David R. P. Dellinger, born c1853 - no other information.

Melvin William Dellinger, born Sep. 24, 1855 - no other information.

Eugenia Lavinia (Genie) Dellinger, born 1857, died 1897, married her first cousin, Julius Calvin Coffey, a son of Zacheus (Zack) and Margaret (Granny Peggy) Coffey Coffey. They had at least eight children: Mary Adalaide, born c1880; Rachel Carathia, born Oct. 20, 1882, died Feb. 22, 1972; Reuben Zachariah, born Jun. 15, 1884, died Jun. 12, 1961; Serena Leantine, born Apr. 1887; Julius C., born May, 1889; Flavah M., born Dec., 1890; Nora Celia, born 1882, died Feb. 22, 1951; and Zack, no dates.

Sevina W. Dellinger, born c1858 - no other information.

For most of their lives Reuben and Mary Jane lived and raised their children in Watauga Co. (1850 and 1860 census). I understand that Reuben was buried in Mitchell Co., NC. Mary Jane died as a result of being crushed while grinding corn at Reuben's mill.

The following is from Toe River Valley Heritage - North Carolina, Vol. 1, Page 193:
Kathy Gunter Sullivan writes that according to David Dellinger's," (sic) [I believe "Bible" is the missing word] "his mother Mary Jane (Coffey) died on 4/11/1859. The circumstances of her death appear in a personal journal kept by Jacob ("Uncle Jake") Carpenter. Though Mr. Carpenter's recollection of the date differs from the Bible entry, the indelible horror of that day is easily imagined. Here is Mr. Carpenter's account: "1859. Mary Dilinger ag 49 was cilde in mill her tress was cot rond shaf and mashed flat gin trane she lay 3 ours in mill for was fond Jun 11 I holp pol out Jacob Carpenter." The version in modern spelling and punctuation, reads: "Mary Dellinger, aged 49 (actual age was 31), was killed in a mill; her dress was caught round the shaft and she was mashed flat by the gin (engine) in the trane (drain/channel). She lay three hours in the mill before she was found, June 11 (actually April). I helped pull her out. (signed) Jacob Carpenter.
Mary Jane's broken body was laid to rest in the Methodist churchyard adjacent to the graves of Reuben's parents. One family tradition is that her tombstone was erected by son David Dellinger after he became an adult, and there it stands: Mary J., wife of Reuben Dellinger, died April 11, 1859, aged 31 y, 5m, 12d.
David Dellinger spoke of his mother to his grandchildren, who report: "Grandpa said he was only six years old when his Mother was killed in a mill, but he remembered how she would pick him up and carry him to the house when he would follow her to the mill barefooted" (Ruth Dellinger Lamkin). He recalled, too, how his Aunt Katherine (Dellinger) Carpenter had gathered Mary Jane's five bereft children into her own large brood and had mothered them along with her own."
[Update Jul. 5, 2007: Check out the Dellinger Grist Mill website]

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