Reuben Coffey was born in North Carolina in 1790 [sic]1. In early life he learned the blacksmith trade. Soon after his majority he began to preach. In 1830 he moved to Owen County, Ind., and after living there for a short time he removed to Monroe County, and, having resided in the latter ten or twelve years, he returned to Owen County and abode there until his death, which occurred in 1854,
Brother Coffey was a pastor of the Bethel Baptist Church for a long series of years; also pastor of Macedonia Church for a long time. He never received pay for his ministerial services, except from missionary funds, which gives evidence that he was in full sympathy and missions. He was noted for soundness in doctrine and earnestness in his work. It is said that he was the first real "missionary: Baptist preacher in his section, and that he was looked upon with suspicion on account of his advocacy of missions and the right of those who preach "to live of the Gospel." In education he was personally deficient, while he saw its importance and did all he could by argument and the bestowal of means to promote it in the denomination by means of educational institutions. He was father of a family of ten children, and a very large number of Baptists in the State bear his name; and, as a family, they are strongly in favor of the college he aided in establishing, and several of them have been members of its classes.
Source: The Board of Trustees, Franklin College - First Half Century - Jubilee Exercises 1834-1884 (Cincinnati, OH: Journal and Messenger, 1884)
1 A birthdate of Sep. 15, 1785 was given in Tennessee Cousins by Worth S. Ray.