August 13, 2009

Hice Frederick Coffee/y - Revised

In the census record and on their headstones, this family and their descendants spelled their surname with the double-E ending. The change seems to have come after the descendants of John W. and Rebecca Ragsdale Coffey moved from Grainger county in Tennessee to McDonald county in Missouri.

Did they really change their name?

In the past I have discussed these "name changes" with other researchers who insist that the change was a conscious decision. I maintain that when the Coffey families moved from Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, or from anywhere in the south and southeast to middle America and the southwest, the surname was not a familiar one to county officials. Therefore, records for these families, which were being created by those officials, had their names spelled like the drink those officials were familiar with!

Many of our ancestors who lived in the 19th and early 20th centuries could not read or write. Consequently, they did not really know how their names were being recorded. The double-e ending then became more or less official as younger children started attending school and learned how to read and write (incorrectly) their names.

All one has to do is look at the majority of those families who remained in the south and southeast to see that their surname spelling never changed from the ey-ending. It did happen, but you have to look at where it happened. Even in a state so populated with Coffey families as Tennessee and Kentucky, if the families ended up in some "remote" county in those states where no one with that surname ever lived before, chances are the spelling changed!

So, I repeat: I do not think any name change (spelling) was intentional and that it just occurred as families moved into unfamiliar surroundings.

Back to Hice

Some researchers report that Hice was a nickname.  However, his WW1 draft registration card shows his name as Hice F. Coffee.  He apparently struggled to sign his name at the bottom, and it ended up looking like this:

Hice was a son of David and Miriah (Mariah?) Paralee Clark Coffey, born Jun. 28, 1883 in McDonald Co..  He was married c1903 in Missouri to Nora Gertrude Ford, a daughter of Harvey Lafayette and Elizabeth Jackson Clark.  Nora was born Feb. 17, 1884 in McDonald Co., and died in Bentonville, Benton Co., AR in Dec., 1977.  Hice died in 1953 in Jane, McDonald Co.  Hice and Nora are buried in the cemetery in Jane, McDonald Co.

Their children, all born in McDonald Co, were:

Lillie Fern, born c1904, died Dec. 25, 1925, buried in Jane Cemetery.

Maude, born c1906 - no further information.

Vaud (?), born c1906 - no further information.

Fred, born Jul. 15, 1908, died Jan. 1, 1910, buried in Jane Cemetery.

Earl Owen, born Apr. 25, 1913, died Jun. 26, 1984.  He married Lillian Sparkle Yeargin (var.) on May 21, 1932 in McDonald Co.  Lillian was born Dec. 20, 1913 in MO and died in Jane on Jul. 1, 1970.  Both are buried in the Jane Cemetery.

Price C., born Mar. 29, 1915, died Mar. 12, 2001, buried in Jane Cemetery.

Cleo Ralph, born May 13, 1918, died Apr. 27, 1992, buried in Jane Cemetery.

Harvie N., born c1921 - no further information.

Nora V., born c1923 - no further information.

Leta O.(?), born c1925 - no further information.

Truman E., born c1927 - no further information.

If you would like to change or add to this information, drop me a line at the above e-mail address.

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