February 29, 2008

Rev. Theodore Cornelius Coffey (IN1847-AZ1930)

The Rev. Theodore Cornelius Coffey was born the third child and second son of Cornelius and Margaret Smith Coffey. Cornelius was the son of the Rev. Reuben A. and Martha (Polly)Dowell Coffey.

Copernicus Coffey, Cornelius and Margaret's eldest son, died in Jun., 1864 while serving with the 22d Missouri Regiment (Union) during the Civil War. Susan, second born married C. W. Ives, and fourth born, Sarah B., is said to have married Everett Blood. I have only found family information on Theodore.

Theodore married Julia Ann Valette on Jan. 28, 1875 in Upper Alton, Madison Co., IL. She was the daughter of Frederic Augustus Vallette and Marcy Ann Field. Frederick was born Feb. 9, 1817 in Cincinnati, Hamilton Co., OH and died Jun. 25, 1890 in Glen Elder, Mitchell Co., KS. Marcy Ann was born Mar. 15, 1816 in South Scituate, Province Co., RI. She and Frederick were married Jul. 23, 1845. The book Bronsdon and Box Families* by Lucius B. Marsh, published Lynn, MA, 1902, had this to say about Frederick:

"Frederick A. Vallette was employed by his brother Henry in the hat and fur trade until 1855, when he removed to Belleville, Ill., and engaged in the lumber business. He sawed the lumber on an eighteen-acre tract of land north of Cairo, Ill., and made cracker boxes to send hardtack into the soldiers of the Union Army. he was much annoyed by attacks from a band of guerillas led by the noted Jeff Thompson. Twice his mill was burned. Mr. Vallette much resembled his mother in many of her finer traits. He belonged to the Baptist Church. His widow resides at Glen Eldere, Kans., with her son, Thomas Bronsdon Vallette."
Within a year or so of their marriage, Frederick, a Baptist preacher, relocated to Appleton in Outagamie Co., WI where Marion Grace, the first of their five children was born on Jul. 5, 1878.

Grace remained with her parents until she married in c1917 to Clifton F. Ward. There is some indication that she may have married prior to Clifton but I have not found that marriage. She was nearly 40 at the time of her marriage to Clifton, who was then 47 years old. However, they did have one child, a daughter named Marjorie, born c1918.

Grace and Clifton remained in Vermillion, LaSalle Co., IL probably their entire married life. At first, Clifton was a farmer but later was in the business of making stoneware. Grace was first a school teacher then a music teacher.

Roy Valette, second born saw life on Oct. 25, 1879 in Spencer, Owen Co., IN. He was with his family through 1900. Sometime after that he married Hazel Buckey.

Roy and Grace were members of the 1897 class at Pittsville High School in Pittsfield, Pike Co., IL.

I found Roy in St. Louis, MO on Sep. 12, 1918 when he registered for the draft. He was described as being tall and slender, unmarried and employed as a school teacher in St. Louis, MO. He was married to Hazel about 1919 and they continued to live in St. Louis until at least 1930. There were apparently no children born to the marriage, effectively ending any male descendancy of Theodore and Julia.

In 1914 Roy wrote and published a book on education with the fantastic title of:

Preparatory educational requirements for collegiate training in business: With special reference to articulation between the high-school and college courses

The book is currently out of print.

Margaret Ruth was third, born Aug. 28, 1883 in Sabetha, Nemeha Co., KS. She married Frank Allen Cutler.

Fourth was Carrie Laura, born Jul. 20, 1886. No further information.

The last child born to Theodore and Julia was May Alice, born Griggsville, Pike Co., IL on Jun. 15, 1890. She died on Dec, 27, 1891 in that state.

In 1850, Theodore moved from Owen Co. to Monroe Co. where he was found at age 12 in the household with the Lum Mayfield family. After he and Julia married in 1875 they moved to Madison Co., WI. five years later they were in Burlington, Coffey Co., KS where they remained for a number of years. In 1900 they were in Eden, LaSalle Co., IL. By 1910 they were in Macoupin Co., IL; first in Virden Twp., then Bunker Hill by 1920.

In 1920 Theodore was 72 years old but apparently continued to preach. I don't know when Julia died, but Theodore died in 1930 at age 83 in Tucson, Pima Co., AZ. The Chicago Tribune reported his death in a one line paragraph:

Pana, Ill. - News was received here of the death at Tucson, Ariz., of the Rev. T. C. Coffey, widely known Illinois Baptist preacher.

I continue to search for the other children of Theodore and Julia. Corrections and or additions re requested.

Update July 23, 2010

Sarah, born Apr. 11, 1850 in Indiana was married late in life to Everett Judson Blood.  Everett was born in IL in Mar., 1846 and died in 1932 at Ottawa, Franklin Co., KS.  Sarah preceded him in death on May 24, 1917 at Ottawa.  Both are buried there at Highland Cemetery.  In the 1900 census, Sarah said that she was the mother of one living child.  However, the only child in the household was 11-year old Caleb, born in KS, parents in IL.  It appears then that she clearly accepted Caleb as her son, but he probably was the result of an earlier Everett marriage to someone else.

Sarah's older sister Susan married C.W. Ives but nothing is found about him.  There was a C.W. Ives who fought for the Union during the CW but he was still living in 1923 and probably isn't the C.W Ives to whom Susan was married.

Susan may have married earlier than Sarah but by 1900 was a widow living with Sarah and her family in Allen Co., KS.  Sarah died in 1917 in Ottawa and was buried at Highland.  Susan and Everett remained together at least through Jan., 1920. 

*This book contains much more information on the Vallette [sic] families that may be useful to other researchers of this line.

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