Theresa tells me that Joel's headstone was broken and in poor condition. The cemetery commissioner at Fern Prairie, Mr. Will Zalpys, had the good piece preserved and set into another headstone that was placed where the original marker had stood. I think you'll agree that it is a beautiful stone!
For some, it may be difficult to read the obverse inscription in the photo. It reads as follows:
Joel CoffeyThis cemetery was first the Van Vleet family plot, adjacent to their farm. Joel was the first recorded burial.
1789 - 1855
Joel Coffey was born June 15, 1789 in Wilkesboro, TN, the son of Chesley Coffey and Margaret Baldwin. His wife, Sarah Mackey, died in 1851 in Boonesville, MO. He took his children; Amanda, Elizabeth Angeline, Alexxander L., Terrel Mackey, and Mary Louisa across the Oregon Trail, arriving in Clark County, WA in 1852. Coffey received a 160 acre land grant in Fern Prairie. Shortly before his death, his daughter Elizabeth married into the Van Vleet family. He was laid to rest in what is now known as Fern Prairie Cemetery.
You can read more about Joel and his family by clicking on the title link. Van Vleet information can be found here.
Contact me at the above e-mail address to add to or to correct any of this information.