November 19, 2008

William Coffey - Ireland to Pennsylvania to Wyoming

William Coffey

"A native of Ireland, where his birth occurred in 1849, William Coffey is descended paternally from French ancestry, his mother's people being of English lineage.  William Coffey, his paternal grandfather, was born in France and there married Marcely Plunkett, or Plonquette, also a native of that country.

"Shortly after their marriage this couple removed to the Emerald Isle, where they reared their family and passed the remainder of their lives, both dying a number of years ago in County Westmeath.  Among their children was a son by the name of John, who was born in the above country and there died in 1854.   His wife, also a native of Westmeath, bore the maiden name of Rose Dotten.  She was the daughter of Michael and Bridget (Reed) Dotten of England, both going to Ireland when young and living the rest of their days in that country.

"Mrs. Coffey spent all of her life in County Westmeath, dying there about nine years ago at the age of sixty-three.  William Coffey, of this review, is the son of John and Rose Coffey, mentioned above.  He remained at home until he had attained the age of sixteen, when he left the parental roof and went to England, where during the ensuing five or six years, he worked at coal mining.

"In 1882 he came to the United States, and soon after landing, made his way to the coal regions of Pennsylvania, where he was engaged in mining for a period of five years.  Hearing favorable reports from the mining districts of Wyoming, and being desirous of taking advantage of the opportunities which obtained there, he servered his connection with his Pennsylvania employers in 1887 and came to Sweetwater county, this state, engaging in the mining business near Rock Springs soon after his arrival.

"He continued mining with encouraging success until 1897, when, by reason of injuries which materially affected his eyes, he was compelled to retire from active life and seek easier employment than manual labor.  Meanwhile, in 1892, he was elected on the Democratic ticket as a justice of the peace for Rock Springs and, on retiring from the mines, he devoted his entire attention to the duties of this office, which he has continued to hold by successive reelection to the present time.  He has proved an able and exemplary judicial officer, much importation litigation having been brought to his court and properly adjudicated therein.  His decisions are characterized by a strict adherence to the statutes governing the cases tried before him and few of them have suffered reversal at the hands of higher courts.  He is well versed in the fundamental principles of jurisprudence, has a profound regard for justice, and endeavors always to be guided by equity, as well as by the law, in rendering judgements.

"As a man, Mr. Coffey is genial and courteous in his social relations but very positive in his convictions of right.  He is thoroughly devoted to the interests of his city and county, assists to the extent of his ability all measures having for their object the material, moral and intellectual improvement of the community and stands high in the confidence and esteem of his fellow citizens.

"Fraternally, he holds membership with both the Knights of Pythias and Order of Eagles, being an active worker in each organization and at different times he has held in them important official positions.

"Mr. Coffey is a married man, the father of four children, whose names are Christopher, Rosanna, John and William.  Mrs. Coffey, formerly Miss Catherine Langdon, is a native of Pennsylvania and a daughter of Patrick and Bridget (Bilbo) Langdon, both parents having their birth in Ireland.  The very felicitous marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Coffey was solemnized in 1887."


Progressive Men of the State of Wyoming, By A.W. Bowen & Co, A.W. Bowen & Co
Published by A. W. Bowen & Co., 1903, 965 pages

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