January 6, 2008

Ellis Empsey Marshall Coffey


In this photo, L-R, is: Herman Herbert Coffey, born Apr. 3, 1902, died c1919; Ellis Empsey Coffey, and Josie Ella Coffey, children of Henry and Sarah Jane.

I have previously written about the parents of Ellis, Henry Kelly (Caleb) and Sarah Jane Gragg Coffey. Ellis was the seventh of 10 children of Henry and Sarah, and was born Sep. 18, 1895 in the Globe township of Caldwell Co., NC.

Ellis married Zora Alice Phillips (marriage date not found, but probably c1920). She was born Dec. 8, 1896 in Ashe Co., NC and died Dec. 24, 1928 in Watauga Co. Her death occurred just about eight months following the birth of Edna Faye, leaving Ellis alone with five children, all under seven years. Zora was buried at Brown's Chapel in Watauga Co.

Sometime shortly after Zora's death he married Hettie Taylor, born Mar. 7, 1907, died Jul. 29, 1972. She is also buried at Browns Chapel.

There were three known children born to this union: John Thomas, born Mar. 4, 1933; Dorothy Louise, born May 1, 1937; and Dan Graham, born Apr. 13, 1939.

The birth record for the first child gives Hettie's surname as Taylor. The records of the next two gives her name as Hettie Harrison. She may have been previously married.

I did find a birth record for a male child born to Hettie Taylor and Ellis Harrison in 1933. This is likely a name entry error because their son John Thomas, was born that year. The given name Ellis for Mr. Harrison is also a bit too coincidental.

Ellis died Apr. 7, 1965 in Watauga Co. His headstone reveals that he was a WW1 veteran and recipient of the Purple Heart medal.

Ellis and Zora were parents of at least five children:

Arthur Henry, born Feb. 8, 1921, died Jul. 16, 1993 in Jefferson Davis Parish, La. In 1930 he was still living with his parents in Watauga Co. I have no further information.

Herman Eugene, born Jun. 20, 1922 in Watauga Co., died Mar. 6, 1989 in Winston-Salem, Forsyth Co., NC. He married Sally Kate Greer (marriage date not found, but probably late 1940s). Together they were the parents of at least three children: Sam Curtis Coffey, born Oct. 10, 1950; William Ellis Coffey, born Oct. 27, 1952; and Martha Jean Coffey, born Jul. 24, 1957, all in Watauga Co. Sally Kate was the daughter of Arnet and Hazel Snow Eggers Greer and was born Jul. 24, 1930 in Watauga Co.

Twins Ida Mae and Ella May, born Mar. 1, 1924. [Larry Williams, in an e-mail on Nov. 7, 2010, informed me that Ida and Ella were the same person: "Mama disliked Ila (or Ida) so much that when she was grown she listed her name as Ella."

Edna Faye, born Apr. 20, 1928. Edna married Quinton Jones Wheeler on Dec. 6, 1947 in Watauga Co. I have found only one child for them: Mary Adinia Wheeler, born Jul. 17, 1950 in Watauga Co.

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

Photos courtesy Mary Ann Sherfey Westerman

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