August 23, 2009

A case of two Kelleys

In my records - which translates to The Edward Coffey Project - I had Killey "Kill" Massey Coffey as a son of Peter William and Mattie A. Demastus Coffey.  That was an error.  Killey - real name Kelley - was really a son of Henry Lee and Mildred Ann "Millie" Campbell Coffey.

That Kelley was born on Apr. 1, 1901 and died on Jul. 9, 1970 in Nelson Co.  He married Lena Gaynell Fitzgerald.  She was born May 18, 1905 in Whiterock, Nelson Co., VA and died in VA on Jan. 22, 1997,

Both are buried at Mountain Top Christian Church Cemetery in Nelson Co.  This church is located off the Blue Ridge Pkwy at the Love Road.  If you use a GPS, the coordinates are 37° 52' 56.00" N and 79° 0' 57.00" W.

I discovered the Kelley Massey error while searching for other Coffeys in Staunton, VA and stumbled over the headstone for Kelley Elwood Coffey.  A little research showed that Kelley Elwood was the son of Peter William.

Kelley Elwood was born Jul. 17, 1903 in Augusta Co., VA and died Feb. 17, 1977 in Staunton.  He married Ada Lavell Hyden, born Feb. 8, 1903, died Jan. 31, 1971. 

To add a bit of confusion to this, there are two headstones for Kelley Elwood in the Sherando Methodist Church Cemetery at Staunton.  He shares one with Ada but his death date is not engraved.  He shares another with  Blanche Hyden and it is engraved with his death date.

I am thinking perhaps the two Hyden girls were related, but were not sisters.  If you can provide a connection, drop an e-mail to me at the above address or, leave a comment here.

Headstone photos courtesy JLB and


  1. Connie1:38 AM

    Hi Jack,
    I'm totally confused by this one. Peter William Coffey was my grandfather's brother, so I really want to get this one straight. Is Kelly Elwood Coffey buried at Love or at Sherando? BTW, Sherando is not in Staunton, it is in Augusta County, though. It is at the bottom of the mountain below Love.

  2. Thanks for the location correction, Connie! According to info found at, the two headstones are at Sherando. The photos of the headstones were submitted to that site by someone using initials JLB. You can find both stones by using their memorial numbers; stone with Ada is no. 35271355 and with Blanche is 35271392. I've corrected my files to show the cemetery in Augusta Co.


  3. Anonymous9:38 PM

    Kelly Elwood Coffey, Sr.’s was married to Blanche Elizabeth Hyden (1903 - 1954) resulting in a son Kelley E. Coffey Jr. I don’t know Kelley Jr.’s wife’s name but his son is Roy Dale Coffey. I imagine the name “Roy” comes from Blanche’s father, Joseph Roy Hyden (known as Uncle Roy to my Mom). Joseph Roy Hyden (1877 – 1950) is the oldest child of David Marshall Hyden and his first wife, Sarah Isabell Fellers (her middle name is spelled “Isabelah” on her tombstone). Joseph Roy Hyden was married Ida Virginia Balsley (1879-1965).

    After Blanche died in 1954, Kelly Elwood Coffey, Sr. married Ada Lavell Hyden (1903-1971) (who was my great aunt). Ada was the youngest child of David Marshall Hyden and his second wife Hannah Susan Smith. So that makes Blanche (Kelley’s 1st wife) the aunt of Ada (Kelley’s 2nd wife). They were both born the same year. One was the oldest granddaughter David Marshall Hyden, while the other was the youngest daughter of the same man, David Marshall Hyden.

    Kelly Elwood Coffey, Sr. was the 2nd marriage for Ada Lavell Hyden. Her first marriage (in 1925) was to Walter Demastus. She gave birth to a baby girl in 1928 but, as the story goes, the doctor was drunk and dropped the baby, killing her. The infant is buried at the Methodist Church Cemetery in Sherando, which is located across Howardsville Turnpike from the Church building itself.

    I was wondering about the two headstones for Kelly Coffey. Is he buried next to Blanche or Ada? I thought maybe he had visitation rights to go see his other wife on the weekends. Ha.

    Talking about David Marshall Hyden got me thinking about the grist and saw mill he built with his father and used to run in Sherando. The mill was located on the west side of back creek, just north of the Howardsville Turnpike in the greater Sherando metropolitan area. The mill was built in 1869 or 1870 and burned in 1943 after 73 years of continuous operation. My mother has fond memories of visiting her grandpa Hyden at the mill as a little girl. Does anybody have a picture of this mill? If you do, could you please let me know? Thanks.

    Eric Henderson

  4. Eric, Thanks for the update! I suspect KEC Sr. is buried next to Blanche. His death death has not been chiseled into the double headstone marking Ada's burial but, was into the stone marking Blanche's grave site.


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