February 17, 2008

Rufus Gamewell Coffey [Update]

This is an update to a previously written article about Rufus Gamewell Coffey and his wives, Florence Fay Houck and Minnie Ann Welch.

I have been searching for his children by Florence: Forest Jerome, born Apr. 1, 1897; Robert Vanburen, born Aug. 22, 1900; Beulah May, born Oct. 28, 1904; Jack, born c1907; and Mary Edna, born Jan. 22, 1908.

There was a Forrest G. Coffey, born Apr. 1, 1897 who registered for the draft in WW1 in Bryson City, Swain Co., NC on Jun. 5, 1918. He was described then as being tall and slender with brown eyes and dark hair. He was a resident of Almond, Swain Co., where he was self-employed, but did not specify his occupation. Clyde L. Coffey of Almond was given as his nearest relative.

Prior to that, in 1900, he was at home with his parents in Nantahala, Swain Co. In 1910 he was found, along with his brother Robert V., as boarders in the household of the John A. Marr family in Jackson, Cullowhee Co., NC.

I have found no other records for For[r]est.

Neither have I found any records for Robert after the 1910 census.

As mentioned in the earlier article, Florence and Rufus were divorced. Florence returned to Caldwell Co. where she was found with her parents, Robert C. and Belle Houck in the Apr., 1910 census. With her were Beulah May and Jack. Her fifth child, Mary Edna, born Jan. 22, 1908 in Caldwell Co., must have died young or was residing elsewhere. I have not found her in the 1910 census record. Florence on Apr. 5, 1943 in Brunswick Co., NC.

In 1910 Gamewell was divorced, and a resident of Forneys Creek in Swain Co. and was employed as a drug store merchant. Shortly thereafter he married Minnie Ann Welch.

Minnie and he were parents of at least five children: Roby Elbert, born Apr. 1, 1912, Mabel Alberta, born Dec. 6, 1914, died Dec. 30, 2005 (never married), Dora Helene, born Sep. 8, 1918, died May 15, 1989 (never married), Nellie Ruth, born c1920, and Lyle Welch, born May 6, 1926.

Except for Mabel and Dora I have found no futher information on the other children.

Mabel died in Bryson City. Her obituary reports that he graduated in 1935 from Mars Hill College and in 1927 from Carson Newman College in Jefferson City, TN with a BA in English. She and her sisters, Helene and Ruth, operated the Waynesville Hardware Co. in Waynesville, NC.

According to the obituary, brothers Jack, Roby and Rufus Gamewell, Jr. as well as sister Dora Helene all preceded her in death. At the time, one sister, Nellie Ruth Coffey Rogers, and brother Lyle Welch were still living in Waynesville. Except for his mention in the obituary, I have not found a birth record or any othere document for Rufus, Jr.

Dora died on May. 15, 1989 in Haywood Co., NC.

Clyde L. Coffey is a mystery to me. I do not have him as part of this family.

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

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