January 11, 2008

Abram and Mahala Cantwell Parris

Abram and Mahala May Cantwell Parris were parents of 12 children, two of which married into the Coffey family.

Abram (Abraham in the 1900 census) was born in Oct., 1826 in the Spartenburg district of SC. He died Apr. 16, 1915 in Missouri. Mahala May was born Jan. 22, 1830 in the Spartenburg district and died Sep. 23, 1909 in Grainger Co., TN. According to one source1, Abram went to MO to live with some of his children with a promise that upon his death he be returned to Grainger county to be buried with Mahala.

We know that Abram served the Confederacy during the Civil War. What isn't clear is which unit. Some genealogies that I have seen place him in Co. K, 16th NC Inf. Regt. However, there was also an Abram Parris who enlisted in Co. M, 7th Bn. Reserves Inf. Regt., in SC. I haven't researched enough to know which is accurate.

In 1860 the family lived in NC so the one who enlisted in Co. K is likely the one of interest here. The census for that year places them in Cooper Gap, Polk Co., NC. By 1870 they were in Grainger Co., TN and in 1880 in Claiborne Co. The family remained in that county until sometime after 1910. Abram the widower was found there in the 1910 household with his daughter Mahala Samantha Parris Cope.

An extract of the 1900 census:

1900 Claiborne Co., ED8, Sheet 15B, dwelling 168, family 270, Paris [sic], Abraham, head, white male, born Oct., 1826, age 73, married 52 yrs., born SC, parents born SC, farmer; Mahala, wife, white female, born Jan., 1830, age 70, married 52 yrs., mother of 12, 9 living, born SC, parents born SC; West, Allen, servant, white male, born Jan. 1879, age 21, married 3 yrs., born TN, parents born TN, farm laborer; West, Liddie E., servant, white female, born Jun., 1879, age 20, married 3 yrs., mother of none, born TN, parents born TN, house keeper; Milligan, Hobart, g-son, white male, born Dec., 1896, age 3, born TN, parents born TN


Both he and Mahala are buried in the Condry [Cope] Cemetery2 in Grainger Co.

The two daughters who married into the Coffey family were:

Dorcus Elizabeth, first born and eldest daughter, was born Oct, 30, 1847, died May 7, 1927. She married John Jackson "Stumpy" Coffey, Jr., c1868 in TN. John was born May 26, 1845 in Grainger Co., and died there on May 10, 1929. Both are buried at McGinnis-Harrell Cemetery3 in Grainger Co.

I have four children born to this family: Mary Elizabeth, born Dec. 4, 1868; Etta Elsie, born Jun. 12, 1870; William Lemmie, born Mar. 22, 1872, died Dec. 21, 1932 in Washburn, Grainger Co.; and John Landrum, born Oct. 22, 1874, died Jul. 16, 1909.

- William Lemmie married Caroline Hopson, a daughter of Jesse and Julia Ritter Hopson. She was born May 1, 1875 in Thorn Hill and died Aug. 28, 1945 in Pontiac, Oakland Co., MI. Both are buried at McGinnis-Harrell.

Their children were: William Tarrance; Maude Delia; Parlin John; Amanda Elizabeth; James Nelson; and Julia Isabell.

- John Landrum married Mollie E. Condry on Oct. 7, 1891 in Grainger Co. She was born Feb. 28, 1876 in Grainger Co., and died Sep. 24, 1953 in Morristown, Hamblen Co., TN. Although John is buried in the Condry [Cope] cemetery, Molly was apparently buried in the Jarnigan Cemetery in Morristown.

Their children were: John Zolley; Myrtle E.; James Henderson; Jesse Morris; and Carrie Mae.

Abram and Mahala's third born and third daughter was Sarah Emily Ann. She was born Oct. 20, 1852 in TN and died Aug. 3, 1905 in Thorn Hill. She married Colby C. Coffey, a brother to Stumpy. I haven't found a marriage date but estimate c1870.

Their children were: John Alfred; Cora; James Orlander; Mary; Nelson; Dillard D.; and Della.

I have some descendants of the children of Colby and Sarah as well as Dorcas and John.

A son of Colby, James Orlander Coffey, James Orlander Coffeymarried Orlena Cope c1898. They had at least eight children, the youngest of which was James Carson, born Apr. 9, 1918, and who died on Jan. 8, 2008 at the age of 89. I found his obituary this morning in the Middletown Journal, Middletown, OH:

James Carson CoffeyCOFFEY, James Carson Age 89, of Middletown went to be with the Lord at Atrium Medical Center on Tuesday, January 8, 2008. James was born on April 9, 1918 in Tazwell, TN, the son of Orlando and Orleana Coffey. The youngest of eight children, James was a veteran of the United States Army during WW II. He was an assembly worker for General Motors for 20 years, retiring in 1980. James attended Towne Blvd. Church of God. He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers General, Emmet and Paris Coffey; sisters Lillie Dalton, Ella Carpenter, Delta Coffey and Elsie Jaynes. James is survived by Beulah Seal Coffey, his devoted wife of 64 years; daughter Mary Hall and husband John; son Tony Coffey and wife Faith with grandson Carson Coffey. Visitation will be Thursday, January 10, 2008 5:00-8:00 at Baker-Stevens Funeral Home. A Celebration of Life Service will be Friday, January 11, 2008 at 10:30 am also at the Funeral Home. Interment will be at Woodhill Cemetery. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.baker-stevens.com.

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








1Claiborne County Historical Society, compiler, The People's History of Claiborne County, Tennessee 1801-1988 (: Claiborne Co. Historical Society, 1999, Second Printing)

2There are at least two cemeteries with the name Condry. One is located off Hwy 131W on Hayes Mountain Lane, and almost due west of Thorn HIll. The other is found off Condry Bend at 36:22:18N, 083:29:29W more or less NW of Thorn Hill, near Beech Grove

3This cemetery is located off of Campground Road, west of Thorn Hill.

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