November 29, 2007

Joseph and Mary Jane Coffey Fitzgerald

Joseph was the son of Moses W. and Mary Ann (Polly) Coffey Fitzgerald of Virginia, and probably Nelson Co. He was born Dec. 31, 1861 and died in Nelson Co. in 1937. He married Mary Jane Coffey, a daughter of Robert Wesley and Elizabeth A. Coffey Coffey on Jan. 4, 1884* in Nelson Co.

I have three children for Joseph and Mary: Minnie, born 1870, died Jun. 8, 1930, married J. Elmer Taylor, born 1900 in Virginia; Leona (Lonie), born 1898, died Mar. 15, 1924 in Nelson Co. She married Arthur N. Fitzgerald; and Nancy B., born 1902, died 1931.

Joe, Mary Jane, Minnie and Nancy are buried in the White Rock Cemetery in Nelson Co.**

Lonie is buried in the Andy Allen Family Cemetery in Nelson Co.***

I am searching for information about this cemetery. I would like to know exactly where it is and perhaps who else from this family is buried there.

Please contact me at the e-mail address above to add to or correct any of this information, or to help with information on the Allen cemetery.

*Nelson Co. Marriage Register, Book 1, Page 55, Line 3: "4 Jan 1884, Josiah Fitzgerald, age 22 yrs., to Mary Jane Coffey, age 18 yrs; parents of groom: Moses and Mary A. Fitzgerald; parents of bride: Wesley R. and Elizabeth Coffey"
***; source indicates that grave is unmarked

November 26, 2007

Shelby Moore Cullom

I mentioned Shelby Moore Cullom in the earlier blog on Lewis Russell and Bidant (Biddy) Moore Coffey. He was their grandson and, a son of Richard Northcraft and Elizabeth (Betsy) Coffey.

He is said to have been a Lincoln lookalike as well as a friend of Lincoln when they both served in the Illinois legislature. The photograph tends to confirm at least one of those claims.

The following is information on Shelby that I found on the web while researching Richard and Elizabeth:

Mr. Cullom was known as "Mr. Republican" of Sangamon County during his long political life. After being to the bar in 1855 & elected city attorney the same year, he was elected State Representative & then reelected the following term in which he served as Speaker of the House. In 1865 he was elected to the National Congress where he served 3 consecutive terms. In 1876 he was elected [17th] Governor of Illinois, a position he served 2 terms, resigning in the middle of the second term to become a candidate for the U.S. Senate. He was elected to the Senate in 1883 & served 5 consecutive terms. Cullom, "the man who looked like Lincoln,"was considered several times for the Presidency.

Shelby Moore Cullom*

CULLOM, Shelby Moore, senator, born in Monticello, Wayne County, Kentucky, 22 November 1829. His father settled in Tazewell County, Illinois, in 1830, where he became prominent among the pioneers of the state, a member of the legislature, and a trusted friend of Abraham Lincoln. The son received a classical education, began the study of law in Springfield, Illinois, in 1853, and as soon as he was admitted to the bar was elected City attorney. He practiced law in Springfield, was a candidate for presidential elector on the Fillmore ticket in 1856, elected to the legislature in 1856 and 1860, chosen speaker in his second term, a member of the war commission that sat at Cairo in 1862, and a member of congress from Illinois from 4 December 1865, till 3 March 1871, representing the Springfield district, which before his election was democratic. During his third term he served as chairman of the committee on territories, conducted an investigation into the question of polygamy in Utah, and secured the passage of a bill for the extirpation of polygamy, which failed to come to a vote in the senate.

In 1872 he returned to the Illinois House of Representatives, was elected speaker in 1873, and in 1874 served another term in the legislature. After his return from Washington he became a banker at Springfield. He was a member of the Republican national convention in 1868, and, as chairman of the Illinois delegation, placed General Grant in nomination at Philadelphia in 1872 and General Logan in 1884. He was elected governor of Illinois in 1876, and reelected in 1880, serving from 8 January 1877, to 5 February 1883, when he resigned, having been chosen U. S. senator as a republican, to succeed David Davis, independent democrat, for the term expiring on 3 March 1889. Mr. Cullom has been prominently connected with the question of railroad regulation. As speaker of the House of Representatives he appointed the committee that drafted the stringent railroad law of Illinois, which was one of the first states to take action on the subject.

During his service of six years as governor it became his duty to appoint the Illinois railroad commissioners, and to see that they secured the enforcement of the law, which was sustained by the courts and practically put in operation during his administration. As senator he has been zealous and active in endeavoring to secure national legislation upon the same subject, and in 1885, as chairman of the senate committee on interstate commerce, conducted an investigation into the question of the regulation of railroad corporations by national legislation. His report upon this subject, submitted to the senate, 18 January 1886, is an elaborate review of the whole subject, and has attracted attention at home and abroad, resulting" in the passage by the senate of the bill that bears his name, which was referred to a conference committee of the two houses.

**CULLOM, Shelby Moore, (nephew of Alvan Cullom and William Cullom), a Representative and a Senator from Illinois; born in Wayne County, Ky., November 22, 1829; moved with his father to Tazewell County, Ill., in 1830; received an academic and university training; moved to Springfield, Ill., in 1853; studied law; admitted to the bar in 1855 and commenced practice in Springfield; elected city attorney in 1855; member, State house of representatives 1856, 1860-1861, and served as speaker of the house during the second year; elected as a Republican to the Thirty-ninth, Fortieth, and Forty-first Congresses (March 4, 1865-March 3, 1871); chairman, Committee on Territories (Forty-first Congress); member, State house of representatives 1873-1874, and served as speaker in 1873; Governor of Illinois 1877-1883, when he resigned; elected as a Republican to the United States Senate in 1882; reelected in 1888, 1894, 1900, and 1906 and served from March 4, 1883, to March 3, 1913; chairman, Committee on Expenditures of Public Money (1885-87), Committee on Interstate Commerce (1887-93; 1895-1901; 1909-11), Committee on Foreign Relations (1901-11), Republican Conference Chairman (1911-13); Regent of the Smithsonian Institution 1885-1913; chairman and resident commissioner of the Lincoln Memorial Commission in 1913 and 1914; member of the commission appointed to prepare a system of laws for the Hawaiian Islands; died in Washington, D.C., January 28, 1914; interment in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, Ill.

Few Illinoisans of the 19th and early 20th Century were more famous than Shelby Moore Cullom of Springfield. He served more years in high Illinois public offices than any other person in the history of the state. He was Speaker of the Illinois House for three terms, a member of the U.S. House for three terms, governor for six years, and a U.S. Senator for thirty years. He was born Nov. 22, 1829 in Wayne County, Kentucky. But his family moved when he was less than a year old in 1830 to Tazewell County, Illinois where his father was elected to the Illinois General Assembly. Shelby's father, State Rep. Richard Northcraft Cullom, was a trusted friend and ally of Abraham Lincoln when both served in the Illinois House.

Shelby attended the Rock River Seminary at Mount Morris, Illinois where he also taught lower grades part-time to earn money for his own tuition and expenses. He moved to Springfield in 1853 to read for the law at the firm of Stuart and Edwards and was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1855. That same year, the newly-minted attorney was elected City Attorney of Springfield at the age of 26. In 1856, Shelby was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives. Shelby was married twice. His first wife was Hannah M. Fisher. They were married from 1855 until her death in 1861. He later married Julia Fisher in May 1863. She was First Lady of Illinois 1877-1883 and died in 1909.

Shelby was re-elected in 1860 and was elected by his peers as Speaker of the House in 1861. In 1862, President Lincoln appointed him as a member of the War Claims Commission at Cairo, Illinois. He was elected to Congress in 1864 and was re-elected in 1866 and 1868. Returning to Illinois, he was again elected to the Illinois House in 1872 and 1874 and again served as Speaker of the House for four years. Mr. Cullom was elected governor of Illinois in 1876 and was re-elected in 1880.

Among the major accomplishments during his administration was the fact that Illinois was debt free and called in the last of its bonds in 1881. Pure food legislation was passed the Board of Dental Examiners and the Board of Pharmacy was created. Pursuant to the census of 1880, the Illinois congressional delegation expanded to twenty U.S. House members and new districts were drawn by the state legislature.

Early in 1883, Gov. Cullom was elected by the legislature to serve as United States Senator from Illinois. He was the principal sponsor of the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 that curbed the power of railroads. He served as a U.S. Senator from Illinois continously for thirty years until his fifth six-year term expired in March 1913. In 1911, he wrote a memoir called Fifty Years in Public Service.

As Chairman of the Illinois delegation to the Republican National Convention of 1872 in Philadelphia, Sen. Cullom placed the name of President Ulyses S. Grant in nomination for president for a second term. In 1884 in the same position, he placed the name of his colleague Sen. John A. Logan in nomination for Vice President of the United States.

During the year after he retired from the Senate, Sen. Cullom served on the Lincoln Memorial Commission but did not live to see its completion eleven years after his death. He also served on the committee to draft laws for the Hawaiian islands.

Sen. Cullom died less than a year after he retired on Jan. 28, 1914 in Washington. He is buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois.

His obituary:


Former Senator's Last Words of Lincoln Duty

Noted Statesman, 85 Years Old Passes Away at Washington After Making Heroic Fight for Life

Funeral at Springfield, Illinois.

Washington, Jan.29th,--Former United States Sen. Shelby M. Cullom, died at his home here.

His last words were a wish that he might have lived to see the completion of the National Memorial to Abraham Lincoln, who was his personal friend.

The end came as the result of a general breakdown after the aged statesmen had fought against death for six weeks. When forced to take his bed the ex-senator's strength slowly began to ebb. He clung tenaciously to life after he had been given up several times. He was unconscious when death came.

At the bedside when the end came were Miss Victoria Fisher, sister of the two deceased wives of the senator, and William Barret Ridgeley, son-in-law, a former comptroller of the currency.

The former senator is survived by two granddaughters, Mrs. Katherine Ridgeley Brown, wife of Phelps Brown of Springfield, Mass., and Mrs. Eleanor Ridgeley Parker, wife of Dr. Henry P. Parker of this city.

Brief funeral services will be held at the Cullom home this morning and at 11:45 o'clock the body will be taken to Springfield, Ill., for interment on Saturday.

In Public Life For Fifty Years.

Former United States Senator Shelby M. Cullom of Illinois, was a figure of national importance for more than thirty years, and held public office for more than half a century.

He began his political career in 1856, when after being admitted to the Illinois bar he was elected city attorney for Springfield. Almost immediately he was elected a member of the house of of representatives of the Illinois legislature and was re-elected in 1860, serving until 1865, when he was elected to the national House of Representatives. He served in the Thirty-ninth, Fortieth, and Forty-first congresses, from December 4, 1865, to March 3, 1871. He went back to Illinois and again was elected to the state legislative in 1872, serving until 1875. In 1871 and 1873, he was elected speaker of the State House of Representatives. He was elected Governor of the state in 1875 and succeeded himself in 1880. He served until February 5, 1883, when he resigned, having been elected to the United States Senate. He took his seat on December 4, 1883, and served continuously until March 3, 1913.

Ex-Senator Was Born in Kentucky

The Collum family, like the Lincoln family, were Kentuckians who emigrated to Illinois early in the thirties. Shelby Moore Cullom was born in Wayne County, Kentucky on November 22, 1829. When the family moved to Illinois he received his education in a little log schoolhouse and at home.

Was Always a Republican

Senator Cullom was always identified with the Republican party and was a strong factor in the party organization; At the end of his thirty years as a senator he left the office poorer than when he entered it. He had no income outside of his salary. The home he formerly owned in Springfield was sold some years ago to help pay his expenses, and lately when visiting the Illinois capital he resided at a hotel or at the home of his son-in-law.

Funeral Arrangements

Springfield, Ill, Jan 29. Arrangement for the funeral of Senator Shelby M. Cullom in this city on Saturday were rapidly completed. The details were announced by Judge J. Otis Humphrey of the United States district court.
The obsequies will be held in Representatives hall at the state house at an hour not yet determined upon. The religious service will be conducted by Rev. Dr. MacLeod, pastor of the First Presbyterian church, and the music will be furnished by the choir of that church. In addition, there will be brief memorial addresses by Senator L. Y. Sherman, Gov. Edward F. Dunne and Clinton L. Conkling

When the casket arrives, it will be conveyed to the residence of Mrs. Charles Ridgeley and later it will be taken to the state house, where the body will lie in state in the rotunda on the first floor.

This obituary was copied from the collection located at the Robinson Public Library. The obituaries themselves are usually not dated. Whoever made the collection has written down the dates by hand. The source of the obituary (i.e. which newspaper) is also usually not included. The obituary was transcribed by Barbara Dix.

Additions and/or corrections can be sent to me at the above e-mail address.

*Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. They rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis.

**Dictionary of American Biography; Cullom, Shelby. Fifty Years in Public Service: Personal Recollections. 1911. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1967; Neilson, James. Shelby M. Cullom: Prairie State Republican. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1962.

Some other sources used:

Illinois Marriages, 1851-1900
US Federal Census Records, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910
Illinois Hall of Fame: Shelby Moore Cullom By Mark Rhoads

Joshua and Mary Coffey Oatts of Wayne Co., KY

The first time I wrote about Joshua and Mary's children, I included a child Sophronia who was said to have first married Cleveland Coffey, then Alexander Bobbitt. Mary (Polly) Coffey was a daughter of Lewis and Biddy Moore Coffey.

After checking census records more closely I find that Sophronia Oatts was born in 1812 and died in 1877. She is buried at the Elk Spring Valley Cemetery in Wayne Co., and not their daughter.

The Sophronia born to Joshua and Polly was 14-yrs old in the 1850 census, indicating a birth year of 1835-36. She is also buried at Elk Spring Valley, and according to the cemetery compilation, she was born Oct. 3, 1839 and died Mar. 14, 1855. This Sophronia appears to not have been married.

So, that leaves me with an unidentified Sophronia Oatts!

The Sophronia Oatts who married Bobbitt can be found in the 1850, 1860 and 1870 census records of Monticello, Wayne Co.

The 1850 Wayne Co. census enumerated Alexander R. Bobbitt, age 38, blacksmith, with wife Sophrona, age 38 [born c1812], and children Jervis T. Coffey, age 17, Mary C. Coffey, age 16, Margaret E. Bobitt, age 12, John Bobbitt, age 9, James W. Bobbitt, age 8, Sarah A. Bobbitt, age 6, Thomas O. Bobbitt, age 1 and Tyre Samson, age 20.

In 1860 she was 46-yrs. old and apparently a widow with children James Bobbitt, age 15, Sallie Bobbitt, age 13, and Therissa [sic] Bobbitt, age 7 in the household. Her age indicates a birth year of c1814.

The Slave Schedule for that year shows Sophronia as owner of one male mulatto, age 12. Next door to her are Lewis Coffey, Jonathan Frisbie, John Frisbie and M.D. Hardin, also slave owners. These are also family names that some of Joshua and Mary's children married into. Nearby is Benjamin F. Coffey with 18 slaves, mostly children. This Benjamin appears to be the younger brother of Mary (Polly) Coffey Oatts and, was born Dec. 10, 1816 and died May 11, 1868 in Wayne Co.

She was enumerated in Wayne Co. in 1870 at age 56. This confirms her approximate birth year of c1814. The only child remaining with her was Theresa, age 18. Lucy Havens, a 20-yr. old black domestic with her child also named Lucy, age 1, were included in the household.

I have no proof other than "tradition" that she married Cleveland Coffey, brother of Mary (Polly) Coffey Oatts, Benjamin Franklin Coffey, and others. Lewis and Biddy Moore Coffey had at least 11 children.

Please contact me at the e-mail address above if you know who this Sophronia Oatts belongs to.

November 17, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanks to all readers, not only for reading Coffee/Coffey Call over the past year, but also for taking time to respond favorably with news and updates on families that appear here.

I will be away for about a week over Thanksgiving so will take this opportunity to wish all of you a very safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Clipart courtesy of

Henley Clay Coffey (1891-1922)

click for larger viewHenley Clay Coffey was a son of John Alfred and Cynthia P. Monk Coffey. He was born Oct. 12, 1891 in Tazewell, Claiborne Co., TN and died there on Nov. 13, 1922.

He married Etta C. Reece, probably in Tennessee around 1910. Etta was born in Dec., 1893 and died Mar. 17, 1982 in Hamblen Co., TN.

When Henley registered for the WW1 draft on Jun. 5, 1917 in Claiborne Co., TN, he gave his age as 26 years, born Oct., 12, 1891. He was a self-employed farmer in Claiborne Co., and was married with four children. He described himself as being of medium build with gray eyes and black hair.

He and Etta were found in Claiborne Co. in the Feb., 1920 census.

1920 Claiborne Co., Dist. 1, ED20, Sheet 19A, dwelling 313, family 315, Coffee [sic], Henly C., head, male, white, age 28, married, born TN, father born TN, mother born unk.; Etta, wife, female, white, age 26, married, born TN, parents born TN; Morgan, son, male, white, age 7, born TN, parents born TN; Clayton, son, male, white, age 6, born TN, parents born TN; Caywood, son, male, white, age 4 yrs, 10 mos., born TN, parents born TN; Alice, dau., female, white, age 3 yrs, 1 mos., born TN, parents born TN; unnamed dau., female, white, age 1 mo., born TN, parents born TN

Although Etta did not die until 1982 I have been unable to find her in the 1930 census record.

Their children were:

Morgan David, born c1913, married Lucy McGinnis, a daughter of Edward Jackson and Dora Coffey McGinnis. Dora was a daughter of Thomas Coffey and Martha Simmerman (Cinnemon?), and was born Nov. 19, 1882 and died Jun. 26, 1963.

Clayton, born c1914, married Bonnie Kate McGinnis. Bonnie is likely of some relation to Edward Jackson, but a link has not been found. Sh was born Mar. 3, 1922 in Grainger Co., and died Feb. 16, 2007 in Hamblen Co.

Her obituary:

COFFEY, BONNIE KATE, age 83, of Morristown, passed away Friday, Feb. 16, 2007, at Morristown-Hamblen Healthcare System. She was of the Baptist faith and was a member of Beech Grove Baptist Church. She was preceded in death by her parents, David Juette and Flossie McGinnis, husband, Clayton (Poodle) Coffey, brothers, Porter McGinnis, Sam McGinnis and Robert (Bob) McGinnis, sister-in-law, Trula McGinnis, nephew David (Pete) McGinnis, great-nephew, Robbie Moore, great niece Danielle June McGinnis. She was a loving aunt to nieces and nephews, Linda Collins and husband Raymond, Kathy Rucker and husband, Claiborne, Cindy Hazeltine and husband Jack, Scotty McGinnis, Portia Russell, Debbie Welch and husband Jerry, Jabo McGinnis and wife, Linda, Rick McGinnis and wife, Cindy, Pam Beeler, Peanut McGinnis and wife Lori, Priscilla McGinnis and T.J. Whitt, Jane McGinnis, Robert (Bo) McGinnis and wife Crystal, Andy McGinnis and wife Jean, sister-in –laws, June McGinnis, Billie Faye Satterfield, several great nieces and nephews and great-great nieces and nephews. Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Monday, Feb. 19, 2007, at Stubblefield Funeral Home with the Rev. Delmer Welch and Rev. Bobby Helton. Interment will follow at Hamblen memory Gardens. The family will receive friends Sunday, from 6-9 p.m. at the funeral home. Family will receive friends after the services at Statem Gap Baptist Church Fellowship Hall. Arrangements by Stubblefield Funeral Home in Morristown.

Caywood, born Dec. 27, 1915, died Apr. 7, 1940

Alice, born about Jan., 1917, married Rev. George Estle Hopson

Pauline, born about Dec., 1922, died Dec. 29, 1990 in Bean Station, Grainger Co., TN. She married Clarence Coffman.

Her obituary:

Pauline Coffey Coffman, 68, of Bean Station, died Saturday, Dec 29, 1990 at Columbia Health Care. She was the daughter of the late Henley and Ettie Reece Coffey; the widow of the late Clarence Coffman and the mother of the late Gillis Coffman. She was a member of Long Hill Missionary Baptist Church. Survivors include her son, G. Howard Coffman of Spring Hill; sister, Mrs. Jewell Reece of Tazewell; brother, Clayton Coffey of Morristown; grandchildren, Ricky, Pamela and Vicky Coffman and Kimberly Rutherford. Services were 1 p.m. today at Smith Funeral Home Chapel in Rutledge with the Rev. Andy Smith and Brother Shelby Mone officiating. Burial was in Dalton Cemetery.

Amos - no further information.

Please contact me at the above e-mail address to add to or correct any of this information.

Vernon H. Coffey (1933-2007)

Vernon H. Coffey was the son of Lester Paul and Mossie Cope Coffey. Lester was a son of Colby C. and Cornelia Harrell Coffey, himself a son of John Jackson and Alsy Nash Coffey. Vernon's obituary appeared in the Nov. 17, 2007 on-line edition of the Hamblen Co., TN Citizen Tribune.

Anyone with more information on this family can contact me at the e-mail address found in the upper right corner.


Vernon H. Coffey, born Jan. 14, 1933, went to be with his Lord and Savior on Nov. 14, 2007 after a lingering illness. He was retired from Jefferson Federal Bank. Vernon served in the United States Army with the 749th Battalion. He was a longtime member at Fernwood Baptist Church where he served as Deacon and had taught Sunday school and attended regularly until he was unable to attend. He was a devoted husband, father and grandfather.

Proceeded in death by his parents, Lester Paul and Mossie M. Coffey; brothers, Alvis M., Kenneth, Ermon and Bill Coffey.

He is survived by his loving wife of 52 years, Mary Ann; daughters, Mavis (Robert) Taylor and Melissa (Tim) Crews, granddaughter, Heather Crews; brothers, Harold Dean (Ludell) Coffey of Knoxville, H.T. (Ann) Coffey of Morristown and Wayne (Betty) Coffey of Bean Station. Sisters, Mabel Roberts of Talbott and Faye (Robert) Spurgeon of Morristown; brothers-in-law, R.J. (Lois) Crigger and Thomas D. (Vivian) Crigger of Morristown, several nieces, nephews, friends and relatives.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2007 at Fernwood Baptist Church with the Rev. Bobby Kitts, the Rev. O’Dell Davidson, and the Rev. Ricky Dinkins and the Rev. Chris Davis officiating. The body will lie in state one hour prior to the service. Interment will follow in Hamblen Memory Gardens. The family will receive friends on Friday, Nov. 16, 2007 from 6-8 p.m. at the funeral home.

Pallbearers will be: Ron Cameron, Eddie Helton, Tim Kimbrough, Jim Stepp, Tim Roberts and Jonathan Spurgeon.

The family would like to thank all Housecall Hospice staff and nurses for everything during this illness, also a special thanks to Adventa Hospice Service, EMS and doctors and nurses.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Cancer Society.

Truesdell Coffey (1940-2007) (Update)

I have learned from a reader that Truesdell was a grandson of George Washington and Margery Troxell Coffey; George a descendant of Henry Baker and Sarah Elizabeth Dobbs Coffey.

Truesdell was apparently killed in a hunting accident in Pulaski Co., KY.

Truesdell Coffey, 67, of Eubank, Ky., passed away Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2007. He was born in Dobbs Hollar of McCreary County, Ky., on August 25, 1940, to the late Matthew and Alma Smith Coffey. He was retired from South KY RECC as a lineman. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping, gardening, outdoors, family gathering, joking, and welding.

He is survived by his wife, Joyce Coffey Coffey*, whom he married on Sept. 30, 1961, being married for 46 years; three daughters, Loretta (and Bill) Gilliland, Eubank, Margie (and James) Cameron, Somerset, Ky., and Rebecca (and Gale) Whitehead, Nancy, Ky.; three sons, Tim (and Lucie) Coffey, Somerset, Jeff (and Jamie) Coffey, Eubank, and Mark (and Lisa) Coffey, Eubank; 12 grandchildren, Amy Gilliland, Randall Whitehead Jr., B.J. (and Vickey) Gilliland, James (and Amanda) Cameron Jr., Matthew (and Ladonna) Gilliland, Lance Whitehead, Timothy (and Tina) Coffey, Jonathon Coffey, Joshua Coffey, Jordan Coffey, Hannah Coffey, and Kristian Coffey; six great grandchildren, Kionna Scott, Lalie Gilliland, Star Coffey, Chris Gilliam, Kristina Cameron, and Alexis Cameron; two sisters, Iona (and Orville) Cromer, Mt. Vernon, Ky., and Mary (and John) Konworski, Okla.; and numerous friends, nieces, nephews, cousins, and relatives.

Along with his parents, he was preceded in death by a grandchild, Joyce Cameron Scott.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, Nov. 17, at the Chapel of Lake Cumberland Funeral Home at 11 a.m. with Bro. Gale Whitehead and Bro. Dusty York officiating. Singing will be done by Carl Coffey and Jimmy Waters. Pallbearers will be Randall Whitehead, Lance Whitehead, B.J. Gilliland, Matt Gilliland, James Cameron Jr., Timothy Coffey, Jonathon Coffey, and Josh Coffey.

Honorary pallbearers will be Carl Coffey, Gale Whitehead, James Cameron, Bill Gilliland, and Tim Coffey. Interment will follow in Singleton Cemetery. Visitation will be held today, Nov. 16, at 6 p.m. at the funeral home.Condolences can be sent to the family at:

Published in the Commonwealth Journal from 11/16/2007 - 11/17/2007.

*Joyce is a daughter of Carl Homer and Ada Clark Coffey. Carl Homer was a son of Reuben and Mary Alice Vaughn Coffey. Reuben descended from Nelson and Keziah Watters Coffey through their son Joseph.

November 16, 2007

General John E. Coffey of Georgia

Sometime ago I wrote about General John E. Coffey of Georgia. After that blog I received information from one of his descendants, Frank V. Coffey of Florida. Click here to read that blog.

Today I received additional information from Frank:

An important caveat: Gen. John E. Coffee did not take part in the War of 1812.

My ancestor, Gen. John E. Coffee of Georgia (1782-1836), is understandably often confused with his first cousin Gen. John A. Coffee of Tennessee (1792-1833). The Tennessee Coffee, by far the more famous, was Andrew Jackson's best friend, comrade in arms who is often thought to have been the strategic genius behind the Battle of New Orleans, and married (1809) Mary Donelson, Rachel Jackson's niece. Coffee, who played no role in Jackson's presidential career (although he did go to Washington during the nullification crisis in 1833, just before his death), left Nashville and, as part of a land speculation project, moved to Alabama and founded the city of Florence where he died 7 July 1833.

John E. Coffee of Georgia, just as much a Jackson partisan as his cousin, named the town where he settled Jacksonville and served in the US Congress during both terms of the Jackson administration. He fought with Jackson in the Seminole wars in Florida and was also Agent for Indian Affairs for the State of Georgia. The military supply road which he built from his home in Jacksonville, Georgia, to present-day Madison, Florida, is still known as The Old Coffee Road. Following his death in 1836 and the final clearance of the Indians in 1838 (Trail of Tears), most of his family moved down the Coffee Road and settled in Madison where many remain to this day. My grandfather Christopher Columbus Coffee, Jr., was born in Madison but lived
most of his life in Jacksonville, Florida, where I was born.

In the 1920s some ignorant busybody DAR ladies, conflating the history of the two generals, had the remains of my ancestor dug up (he was buried on his Jacksonville plantation) and re-interred in McRae, 20 miles to the north, where they erected an elaborate marker which claims that Gen. John E. Coffee of Georgia was a member of the Tennessee Volunteers and took part in the Battle of New Orleans!

November 14, 2007

Banner Franklin and Hazel Coffey Wyatt

Banner Franklin WYATT was born in Ashe Co., NC on Apr 8, 1917.1,2 He enlisted in the military on Feb 23, 1945 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.3 He died on Mar 12, 1998 in Archdale, Randolph Co., NC. 4,5

This may be the Banner Wyatt, age 2, found in the 1920 household of Millard and Maggie Wyatt, Ashe Co., Horse Creek Twp., NC. Others in the household were Bynum, age 16; Edward, age 13; Fred, age 11; Sidney, age 7; Belle, age 6; Paul, age 4 and, Easter, mother of Millard, age 74.

Banner of the 1920 census also appears in the 1930 census at Horse Creek, Ashe Co., age 12. Parents were Millard and Maggie. Others in the household that year were Fred, age 21; Belle, age 17; Paul, age 14 and, Oren, age 9.

I have seen other genealogies for Banner, son of Millard and Maggie Price Wyatt, married to Darlene Fisher, born c1917 and, show him deceased in Oct., 1995 in Ashe Co., NC.

Banner Franklin WYATT and Hazel COFFEY, (daughter of Larkin C. COFFEY and Lessie BAUGUESS) were married, date not known. She was born in Wilkes Co., NC on Apr 13, 19196 and, died on Mar 31, 2003 in High Point, Guilford Co., NC.

Obituary, The Record, Wilkes Co., NC, Apr. 2, 2003 (Internet Edition No. 177)

Mrs. Hazel Coffey Wyatt, age 83, a resident of Westwood Health and Rehabilitation Center and formerly of Friddle Drive in High Point, died Monday, March 31, 2003 at High Point Regional Hospital. Mrs. Wyatt was born April 13, 1919 in Wilkes County to Larkin and Lessie Bauguess Coffey. She had been a High Point resident most of her life and had attended The True Church of God in Thomasville. Mrs. Wyatt was married to Banner Franklin Wyatt who preceded her in death on March 12, 1998. Mrs. Wyatt is survived by a son, Tommy Wyatt of California; three grandchildren, Tommy Wyatt and wife, Robin of Virginia, Dorenda Reeves and husband, Jack of California, Melissa Corvo of Alabama; six great-grandchildren, Jessica and Nicholas Reeves, Marissa and Morgan Corvo, Rebekah and Alicia Wyatt; a sister, Florine Coffey of Virginia; a special friend, Rosa Walton of Lexington. A graveside service will be at 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 2, at Mountlawn Memorial Park in North Wilkesboro by Reverend David Sparks. Miller Funeral Service is in charge of the arrangements.

Please contact me at the following e-mail address to add to or correct any of this information.

My E-mail Address


1. Register of Deeds. North Carolina Birth Indexes. Microfilm. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina. Roll Number: B_C006_68001 Volume: D-8 Page: 545. Name: Banner Wyatt Date of Birth: 1917 Birth County: Ashe Parent1 Name: Alex Wyatt. 2. Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. 3. National Archives and Records Administration. U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946 [Archival Database]; World War II Army Enlistment Records; Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 64; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. Name: Banner Wyatt Birth Year: 1917 Race: White, citizen (White) Nativity State or Country: North Carolina State: North Carolina County or City: Ashe Enlistment Date: 23 Feb 1945 Enlistment State: North Carolina Enlistment City: Fort Bragg Branch: No branch assignment Branch Code: No branch assignment Grade: Private Grade Code: Private Term of Enlistment: Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law Component: Selectees (Enlisted Men) Source: Civil Life Education: Grammar school Civil Occupation: Geographer Marital Status: Married Height: 89 Weight: 186. 4. North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. North Carolina Death Records, 1968-1996. North Carolina Vital Records, Raleigh, North Carolina. and North Carolina Archives and Records Section. North Carolina County Records, 1908-1967. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina. Name: Banner Franklin Wyatt Death Date: 12 Mar 1998 Death City: Archdale Death State: North Carolina Date Death Recorded: 19 Mar 1998 Birth Date: 8 Apr 1916 Residence City: High Point Residence County: Guilford Residence State: North Carolina Gender: Male Race: White Social Security Number: 183148754 Source: North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics. 5. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Name: Banner F. Wyatt SSN: 183-14-8754 Last Residence: 27260 High Point, Guilford, North Carolina, United States of America Born: 8 Apr 1917 Died: 12 Mar 1998 State (Year) SSN issued: Pennsylvania (Before 1951 ). 6. Register of Deeds. North Carolina Birth Indexes. Microfilm. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina. Name: Hazel Coffey Date of Birth: 1919 Birth County: Wilkes Parent1 Name: L C Coffey Roll Number: B_C104_66001 Volume: 5 Page: 575.

November 13, 2007

James Alexander and Selina B. Fitzgerald Coffey

This James Alexander Coffey was born Mar. 25, 1871 in Nelson Co., VA to James Madison and Esther Jane Smith. He died on Apr. 3, 1959 in Virginia and, was buried at Jonesboro Baptist Church Cemetery in Roseland, Nelson Co.

He was married to Selina B. (Lina) Fitzgerald on Jan. 12, 18931 in Nelson Co. She was born c1874 and died Oct. 24, 1968 in Lynchburg, Campbell Co., VA. Line is also buried at Jonesboro.

Her obituary:

Obituary, Lynchburg News, Lynchburg, VA, Oct. 26, 1968

Mrs. J. A. Coffey MASSIES MILL-Mrs. Selina Fitzgerald Coffey, 95, of Massies Mill died Friday morning at Liberty House Nursing Home in Lynchburg. Born in Nelson County, she was a daughter of Rueben P. Fitzgerald and Emelia Campbell Fitzgerald. She was a member of Jonesboro Baptist church and the widow of James Alexander Coffey. Surviving are two sons, J. K. Coffey of Lynchburg, and Robert B. Coffey of Detroit; four daughters, Mrs. Frank Williams and Mrs. Frances Kemp, of Roanoke Rapids, N. C., Mrs. H. H. Good of Richmond, Mrs. Leo C. Frank of Laurel, Md.; a brother, Conrad D. Fitzgerald of Staunton; six grandchildren and seven great- grandchildren. Funeral services will be conducted at 2 p.m. Sunday in Preston-Parr Funeral Chapel by the Rev. Hugh Boyd. Burial will be in Jonesboro Cemetery.

I have their children as:

James Kimbro, born c1894
Ruby L., born c1896
Ora A., born c1897
Jincy M., born c1899
Robert Bruce, born c1902
Mary S., born c1906
William K., born Dec. 1, 1908

Not much is known about this family and their descendants. They appeared in the 1910 through 1930 Nelson Co. census records.

I would appreciate information on the children. Additions and/or corrections can be sent to me at the following e-mail address:

My E-mail Address

1 Marriage Register, Nelson Co., VA, Page 81, Line 5: 12 Jan 1893, J. A. Coffey, age 20 yrs., to S. B. Fitzgerald, age 19 yrs.; parents of groom: J. and E. J. Coffey; parents of bride: R. P. and Amelia H. Fitzgerald


1910 Nelson Co., Massies Mill Dist., ED98, Sheet 6A, dwelling/family 80, Coffey, James A., head, male, white, age 38, married once for 17 yrs., born VA, parents born VA; Selina B., wife, female, white, age 37, married once for 17 yrs., mother of 7, 7 living, born VA, parents born VA; James K., son, male, white, age 16, born VA, parents born VA; Ruby L., dau., female, white, age 14, born VA, parents born VA; Ora A., dau., female, white, age 13, born VA, parents born VA; Ginny (Jincy?) M., dau., female, white, age 11, born VA, parents born VA; Robert B., son, male, white, age 8, born VA, parents born VA; Mary S., dau., female, white, age 4, born VA, parents born VA; William K., son, male, white, age 1, born VA, parents born VA

1920 Nelson Co., Massies Mill Dist., ED108, Sheet 7A, dwelling 126, family 133, Coffey, James A., head, male, white, age 47, male, born VA, parents born VA; Selina B., wife, female, white, age 46, married, born VA, parents born VA; James K., son, male, white, age 26, single, born VA, parents born VA; Robert B., son, male, white, age 17, single, born VA, parents born VA; Mary S., dau., female, white, age 14, born VA, parents born VA; William K., son, male, white, age 11, born VA, parents born VA

1930 Nelson Co., Massies Mill, ED6, Sheet 1A, dwelling/family 10, Coffey, Alex, head, male, white, age 68, married at age 20, born VA, parents born VA; Selina, whife, female, white, age 57, married at age 19, born VA, parents born VA

Samuel and Ella Nore (Noria) Wright McCroskey

Samuel Wiley McCroskey

Noria was a daughter of Thomas A. and Margaret Ann Coffey Wright. According to the Caldwell Co., NC Register of Deeds, she was born c1879 in that county. She died there on Dec. 18, 1942.1

Sarah first married Henderson Phillips in Watauga Co., NC on Oct. 16, 1896.2 I have no information on Henderson but, do not believe any children were born to this union. Sarah's second husband was Samuel Wiley McCroskey, born Apr. 10, 1869 in Bluff City, Sullivan Co., TN, died Apr. 14, 1926 in Caldwell Co., NC.

Samuel had been previously married to Eva Trique3 [sic] on Mar. 7, 1896 in Knox Co., TN. I have no information of Eva and, to my knowledge there were no children.

In the June 1900 Knox Co., TN census Noria was found in the household with the Ed. Haupt family, her sister and brother-in-law. She was enumerated as 21 years old and single. She married Samuel, and by 1910 they are in Caldwell Co. where they lived out the remainder of their lives.

Noria died Dec. 18, 1942 and was buried in the Boone Fork Baptist Church cemetery in Watauga Co. Sam died well before that, on Apr. 14, 1926. He too is buried at Boone Fork.

Sam and Noria had at least eight children:

1 - Raymond R., born May, 1902, died Feb. 16, 1926

2 - Mae, born Jul. 11, 1904, died Jul. 17, 1983. She married Samuel Woodie (date unk) and gave birth to at least five children: Wyley, Odis Eugene, Esta, Roy and Ernest, all born between c1922 and c1928, and probably all in Avery Co. Sam died in Jul., 1966 and May in Jul., 1983.

3 - Lula Nevada, born Apr. 15, 1907, died May 2, 1987 in Blowing Rock, Watauga Co. She apparently married very late in life to Floyd Whisenant. She is buried at Boone Fork.

Her obituary:

Mrs. Lula McCroskey Whisenant, 80, of Route 1, Blowing rock, a former resident
of Colletsville, died Saturday evening, May 2, at Blowing Rock Hospital after a long illness. Mrs. Whisenant was the widow of Floyd Whisenant and was a member of the Boone Form Baptist Church. She was born April 15, 1907 in Caldwell County, a daughter of the late Wiley and Ella Nora Wright McCroskey. Surviving are several nieces and nephews, including the Mae Woodie family of Jonas Ridge, the Ester and Mack Coffey family and the Earl and Mary Lois McCroskey family of Blowing Rock and the Edith Townsend family and Lawrence McCroskey family of Lenoir. Services will be conducted Tuesday afternoon at 2 at the Boone Form Baptist Church. The body will lie in state at the church from 11:30 until 2 p.m. Officiating will be the Rev. Everett Little. Burial will follow in the Boone Fork Cemetery. The family will receive friends this evening from 7 until 9 at Reins-Sturdivant. Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Directors are in charge of arrangements.
4 - Earl Lemuel, born Feb., 1909, died Jan., 19675 in Caldwell Co. Earl married Gladis [sic] L. Hatley in 1929 at Shulls Mill in Watauga Co. Gladis was the daughter of Jackson Sidney (Jack) and Drusilla Phillips Hatley. I am not yet certain whether Gladis died or, if they were divorced. Together, they had at least four children: Dorothy Louise, Roger, Daniel and David. Earl married for a second time to Mary Lois Coffey, a daughter of Thomas Leroy (Tom) and Alice Sanders Coffey. Mary was born Mar. 10, 19264 in Caldwell Co., and died Apr. 16, 2005 in Blowing Rock. Mary and Earl are buried at White Springs Cemetery in Watauga Co.

Mary's obituary:

Mrs. Mary Lois McCroskey, 79, of 6130 Highway 221 South, Blowing Rock, died
Saturday night, April 16, 2005, at Blowing Rock Hospital. She was born March 10, 1926, in Caldwell County, a daughter of the late Thomas LeRoy and Alice Sanders Coffey. Mrs. McCroskey was a member of First Independent Baptist Church in Blowing Rock. Survivors include two daughters, Estie Ruppard and husband, Dwight, of Blowing Rock, and Joy Martinez and husband, Tony, of Granite Falls; one son, Mitchell Coffey of Blowing Rock; two step-sons, Roger McCroskey and Daniel McCroskey, both of Hudson. She is also survived by 13 grandchildren; 23 great-grandchildren; and a number of nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Earl McCroskey; one daughter, Jessie Price; one step-daughter, Louise Harrison; one step-son, David McCroskey; two granddaughters, Lisa and Tammy Coffey; four sisters; and four brothers. Services will be conducted Monday afternoon at 2 o’clock at Hampton Funeral Home Chapel. The body will lie in state from 1-2 p.m. Officiating will be the Rev. Darrell Miller and the Rev. Vance Triplett. Burial will follow in White Springs Cemetery. The family will receive friends Monday afternoon from 1-2 p.m. at the funeral home, prior to the service. At other times, friends may call at the McCroskey residence, 6130 Highway 221 South, Blowing Rock. Hampton Funeral Service is in charge of the arrangements.
The children of Earl and Mary Lois were three:

Jesse Irene, born Feb. 6, 1946, died Jul. 30, 1997; Estie Rosie, born Feb. 23, 1952; and Joy Lela, born Feb. 8, 1962.

5 - Lany Esther married Clayton McDonald (Mack) Coffey in Mountain City, Johnson Co., TN. Lany was born Dec. 13, 1910 in Watauga Co., and died there on Jun. 7, 1978. She is buried at Boone Fork. She and Mack had eight children. More info can be found by clicking on Lany's link.

Edward Lawrence McCroskey

6 - Edward Lawrence, born Mar. 15, 19156 in Caldwell Co., died Apr. 11, 1941 in Bluefield, Mercer Co., WV. He married Jackie [or perhaps Lockie] Delana Hatley, another daughter of Jack and Drusilla Phillips Hatley. They had at least two children: Edward Dean and Pansy.

7 - Virgia Edith, born Apr. 10, 1917 in Caldwell Co., died Nov. 12, 1970 in Lenoir, Caldwell Co. She was first married to Wilburn Clarence (Web) Townsend c1937. Their children were at least seven: Ethel Delana, born 1937, died 1964, married Forest Columbus Crisp; Wilburn Eugene, born Aug. 1939, died Mar. 2007; James Robert, born Jan., 1941, died 2000; Thomas Earl, born Sep., 1942, died 1944; Frances Mae, born Dec. 1944, married Robert Rash; Murray, born Jul., 1946; and Jerry Wilson, born Apr., 1952, married Wanda Hatley. Web had been previously married to Bessie Bennett.

Roy Lois McCroskey
8 - Roy Lois, born Oct. 27, 19217, died Jul. 15, 1970


1 North Carolina Vital Records, Raleigh, North Carolina. and North Carolina Archives and Records Section. North Carolina County Records, 1908-1967. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina.

2 Marriage Register of Watauga County, North Carolina 1873-1954 (Boone, Watauga Co., NC: Dept. of Hist., Appalachian State Univ., Boone, NC, 1995)

3 As spelled on marriage license; copy in my possession

4 Register of Deeds. North Carolina Birth Indexes; Roll Number: B_C017_66001 Volume: 13 Page: 103

5 ibid, Death Index, Book 54, Page 190

6 ibid, Birth Index, Roll B_C017_66001 Volume: 2 Page: 4

7 ibid, Birth Index, Book 8, Page 121

8 North Carolina Vital Records, Raleigh, North Carolina. and North Carolina Archives and Records Section. North Carolina County Records, 1908-1967. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina.

Please contact me at the e-mail address below to add to or correct any of this information.

My E-mail address

November 12, 2007

William B. and Delilah Trentham Coffey

I received the following from Jo Ann Hatch in Arizona. Jo Ann is seeking help in locating ancestors and descendants of William and Delilah. If any reader has information that might be helpful, please contact Jo Ann at jashatch1 [@]*

Coffey family of South Carolina, Georgia and Texas

(I am searching for a Coffey male descendant of this family to submit a DNA test that we might know where to go with our search from here. I will pay for the test.)

In 1998 proof was found that William B. Coffey is the father of the Texas Coffey family of Rich Coffey. This and many other items have come to light, that make the correction on this Coffey line.

William B. Coffey md. Delisey (Delilah) Trentham in Hall Co. Ga. in 1822. Delilah Trentham is the daughter of Absolom Trentham, in whose family Bible the birth of Richardson "Rich" Coffey is recorded. There is also a note in that Bible that the Coffey family moved to Texas.

William appears on the 1840 U.S. Census of Campbell Co., GA.(now Fulton County). Land deed shows William B. of Fayette County buying land in Chatooga Co., GA.

William B. and Delia appear on the 1850 U.S. Census of Chatooga Co., GA. South Carolina is given as the birth place of both William and Delia.

William B. and Delia appear on the 1860 U.S. Census of Parker Co., Texas. The birth place of William is again given as South Carolina, but, Delia's birthplace is Georgia on this census.

The birth date of Delily Trentham (20 Nov, 1804) is from the family Bible of Absolom and Mary Williams Trentham This same Bible has the birth of Delily's first child, Richardson Coffey recorded as 14 Feb. 1823. It also states that Delily married M R Coffey, which I take to be Mr. Coffey and in the margin is a note (Texas) indicating to me that they moved to Texas.

There is a headstone in the Dean SW Cemetery in Parker County Texas which says: “William B. Coffey, 12/20/63. Early Pioneer Family.”

After her husband died Delila went to the Colorado River area of Llano Co., Texas with daughter Jane's family. She died 21 January 1873 and is buried in the Bluffton Cemetery in Llano County.

William B. and Delilah Coffey were the parents of five children:

Richardson (Rich) Coffey who married Sarah Greathouse and became a well known rancher in Coleman, Parker and Concho Counties in Texas.

Elizabeth Coffey who married Joseph Warren Beddo and is a widow with two children living with her parents in the 1850 Chatooga Co. Ga. Census. Her two Beddo sons went to Texas with their Uncle Rich. Elizabeth may have gone also, or remarried. I cannot find her after the 1850 census.

Clominda Jane Coffey born 4 Nov 1827. She married Solomon Geeth Maxwell.

Thursa M. Coffey married Joseph E. Sentle on 9 Oct 1851 in Chatooga Co., Ga.

John Henderson Coffey married Mary Elizabeth Gray 10 Sept. 1865 in Parker Co. Texas.

*Remove the brackets and form a proper e-mail address

November 11, 2007

A Great Idea wasn't so good!

The idea that I posted here a few days ago about sending Christmas cards to GI's at Water Reed has been shot down [absolutely no pun intended]!

According to, the U.S. Postal Service will not accept mail addressed to "Any Soldier," "Any Wounded Soldier," or the like because it could be providing a way for someone to do hard to them.

So, a good idea becomes a bad idea.

Check out the "rest of the story" by clicking on the above Snopes link.

Perhaps readers can still do something by contacting their local American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), etc. for ideas about how to cheer up a vet over the holidays.

I'm sorry for this, but being a vet myself it sure sounded like not only a good idea, but a great idea.

Coffey Deeds in Iowa

The following e-mail was received on Nov. 8, 2007:

I am a collector of old paper items and I have been sorting through several boxes of items from the 1800's.

I found five deeds from Iowa with a host of Coffey names on them.

Davis Coffey
Louisa T.Coffey
J.L. & Susan Coffey
J.N. & Laura E. Coffey
John T & Sarah A.
V. H. & Anna

One is from 1898, the other four are 1899.

For more information please contact Richard Martin at

November 7, 2007

A Personal Request (Updated)

Please ignore this! The information is bad. Check out later blog for more information or, visit

Old Glory

When sending Christmas cards this year, please consider sending an extra one or two to the following:

A Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue, N
Washington,D.C. 20307-5001


Jack Coffee

SSGT, US Army 1959-1968

November 4, 2007

Jesse Filmore Coffey

Jesse Filmore Coffey was born Oct. 22, 1858 in North Carolina to Austin and Mary A. Blalock Coffey. He married at least three times.

His first wife was Mattie Storie, born Mar. 26, 1852, died Apr. 25, 1892. I have not found their marriage date, but it should have been sometime prior to Aug. 4, 1882 for that is the date of birth of their first child, Edna.

Edna married J. E. Hodges on Oct. 2, 1903 in Watauga Co., NC. She died Mar. 3, 1942 in Boone, Watauga Co., and is buried there at Boone Fork Baptist Church Cemetery. I have no additional information.

Edna's obituary:

Mrs. Edna Hodges Dies on Tuesday

Brief Illness is Fatal to Well-known School Teacher; Rites at Boone Fork Church

Mrs. Edna Coffey Hodges, aged 67, died at Watauga Hospital Tuesday after a brief illness. Cancer was given as the cause of her death.

Funeral services are to be conducted from the Boone's Fork Baptist church and burial will be in that section when the weather permits.

Mrs. Hodges was a daughter of the late Filmore and Mrs. Coffey and was raised in the vicinity of Foscoe. She had taught in the public schools of Watauga and adjacent counties for a number of years, and was well known and held in the highest regard by her many acquaintances.

Surviving are one daughter, Mrs. Louise Aldridge, and the following brothers and sisters: Mrs. Eva Coffey, Jessee Coffey, Mrs. H. H. Berry, Sanford Coffey, Shulls Mills; Mrs. George Williams, Johnson City, Tenn, Mrs. Blaine Aldridge, Tacoma, Wash.

Other children were:

Rose Lee, born Feb. 9, 1886, died Jan. 16, 1946. She married Arthur Blaine Aldridge on May 19, 1906 in Watauga Co. He was the son of James A. and Sarah Gragg Aldridge. Arthur is thought to have died in Wisconsin in 1947. Their children were Jerome Marvin, born Nov. 11, 1909 and Beulah J., born Sep. 3, 1912.

Jesse Lawrence, born in Watauga Co. on Feb. 29, 1888, died there on Nov. 16, 1956. He is buried in the Calloway Cemetery in Watauga Co.

Jesse's obituary:

Jesse L. Coffey, 68, passed away Friday evening at 8:30 o'clock at the home of a sister, Mrs. H. H. Berry, 112 Ervin avenue.

A native of Watauga County, he was born on February 29, 1888, a son of the late J. Philmore Coffey and Mrs. Mattie Story Coffey. His wife is the former Miss Florence Clark. He was a member of the Boone Fork Advent Christian Church in Watauga County.

Surviving are a son, Warren Coffey of Manerva, O.; four grandchildren; three sisters, Mrs. Berry, Mrs. George Williams of Johnson City, Tenn., and Miss Eva Mac Coffey of Shulls Mills; and a brother, Stanford Coffey of Shulls Mills.

Funeral services will be held Sunday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock at the Christian Church at Shulls Mills, with the Rev. Horace Harris officiating. Interment will be in the Callaway cemetery.

Mr. Coffey served in the United States Army from 1911 through 1921, being stationed in China, the Philippine Islands and Siberia. He was a retired employee of the Timpken Roller Bearing Company of Canton, Ohio.

The body was removed to the home of a sister, Miss Eva Mac Coffey, at Shulls Mills this afternoon from Lenoir Funeral Home.

Clarence Olen, born Aug. 28, 1889. He married Beulah Berry on Jul. 3, 1922 in Watauga Co. No other information.

Sarah Ethel, born Mar. 1, 1892. Married Harden Berry. No other information.

Jesse' second wife was Jane Harrell. They were married Nov. 26, 1892 in Watauga Co. No other information.

His third wife was Harriett Melissa Calloway, born May 9, 1862 in NC, died in that state on Oct. 22, 1949. They were married Dec. 5, 1893 in Watauga Co.

Harriett Melissa Calloway
Harriet Melissa Calloway

At least four children were born to this marriage:

Mollie Bell, born Nov. 24, 1895, died Mar. 9, 1974. Mollie married George Quincy Williams on Sep. 12, 1917 in Watauga Co. He was born c1894 and died Feb. 3, 1967 in Washington Co., TN. Their children were: Frank Tipton, born Jul. 27, 1918, died Jan. 31, 1987; Jack Quincy, born Mar. 8, 1921, died Mar. 3, 2001.

Some sources list Harriet Marie, born Jul. 21, 1945 and Melissa Jane, born Mar. 20, 1956 as children of George and Mollie. That is problematic however, as there were 24 years between birth of Jack and Harriet and, 11 years between Harriet and Melissa.

[I have learned today (12-31-07) that Harriet and Melissa are grandchildren of George and Millie; children of their son Frank. I do not yet know who their mother was and, am working on that. ]

Eva Mae, born May 11, 1899, died Jan. 9, 1975. No other information.

Stanford Councill, born Oct. 24, 1901, died Dec. 29, 1988. Stanford married his second cousin, Minnie Lee Ella Coffey, a daughter of William Pinkney and Nancy Caroline Gragg Coffey. Minnie has been previously married to Herbert Spencer "Hub" Wagner. Hub had been sentenced to prison for the murder of Earl Moody and Letcher Byrd in Christmas Day, 1926. Hub had also been previously married to Ruie Ellen Coffey, a daughter of Charles Frederick* and Saphronia Phipps Coffey. It is believed that Hub relocated to West Virginia after serving his prison term. I do not know of any children born to Stanford and Minnie.

The last child born to Jesse and Harriet is thought to be Minnie Lee, born Jun. 9, 1904, died Jun. 9, 1992. No other information.

Please contact me with additions and/or corrections at the e-mail address below.

*Update Nov. 8, 2007: I have been rather rudely informed that Charles' middle name was not Frederick.

November 3, 2007

Doctor Hill Wright

Doctor was a son of Thomas A. and Margaret Ann Coffey Wright. He was born April 1, 1889 in North Carolina and died Oct. 4, 1949 in Watauga Co., NC. He married twice, first to Virgie Nona Gragg, a daughter of Leonard L. and Alva Sims Gragg. She was born Oct. 18, 1897 in North Carolina and died Nov. 13, 1945 in Watauga Co. They were married May 13, 1913 in Watauga Co.

They had at least four children:

Meda Virginia*, born May 22, 1914

William Paul, born Jun. 19, 1918

Agnes Adele, born Aug. 15, 1921, died Jan. 15, 1988. Addie married James Bynum Coffey, a son of James Hardy and Lillian Mae Gray Coffey on Jul. 5, 1939 in North Carolina. James was born Apr. 28, 1912 in Watauga Co., and died there on Apr. 26, 1986. There were at least two children born to this union: Patricia Joe Ann, born Mar. 21, 1941, died c1996, and James Robert, born Sep. 27, 1942, died Nov. 11, 1999.

Thomas Hill, born Dec. 20, 1930

Doctor's second wife was Sally Phillips, but I have no information on her except that she also married Austin Blaine Coffey on Nov. 13, 1951 in Watauga Co. Doctor and Austin were first cousins.

Hill Wright registered for the draft in Watauga Co., NC on Jun., 5 1917, and was described as being tall and slender with gray eyes and black hair. He gave his age as 28 yrs. old, born Apr. 1, 1889. He farmed and lived with his wife and one child in Shulls Mill at the time of registration. He also claimed support of his mother.

He and Virgie appear in the 1920 and 1930 census in Watauga Co. They divorced sometime after the 1930 census was enumerated and Hill Married Sally Phillips.

By 1942 Hill and Sally were living in Talbot Co., MD. Hill was employed by and gave his address as George Jopp's Restaurant on Philadelphia Road. He described himself as being 52 yrs. old and, 5' 9.5" tall with blue eyes, gray hair and ruddy complexion. He weighed 160 lbs.

He and Sally returned to Watauga Co sometime after 1942 where he died on Oct. 4, 1949 and was buried there in the Boone Fork Baptist Church Cemetery. Virgie apparently never remarried and died Nov. 13, 1945 in Watauga Co. Virgie is buried at White Springs Cemetery in Blowing Rock, Watauga Co.

 *Meda's birth record lists her name as Meda Virginia, born May 22, 1914. I have been told however that her middle name was Geneva and perhaps her birthyear was 1913.

Contact Form


Email *

Message *