August 31, 2009

Marvel Coffey

As long as I've been researching Coffee/Coffey families I've read that other researchers who are interested in the Marvel Coffey who married Rachel Boone, have concluded that he was named Asbury Marvel Coffey. As one who has taken those researchers to be accurate (for the most part), I continued the search for Marvel's father without any success.

Just recently, with thanks to Janet de la Peña and Bonnie Culley, I received a copy of the Jesse Boone will. Jesse was the father of Rachel. In his will Jesse divided his estate between Daniel Boon [sic], Israel Boon, Jonithan Boon, Marvel Coffey, Jonithan [sic] Wilson, Smith Coffey, William Gregg [sic] [Gragg], and William Coffey. The will was written on Nov. 23, 1829 and recorded in McMinn Co., TN.

Jonathan, Daniel and Israel were his sons. Smith Coffey was his son-in-law, husband of Hannah, Jesse's daughter. William Coffey was also a son-in-law, husband of Anna Boone. William "Buck" Gragg was a son-in-law, husband of Celia Boone and Marvel Coffey, a son-in-law, husband of Rachel.

Jonithan Wilson may be the John Wilson who married Rebecca Coffey. Rebecca was the daughter of John Franklin Coffey, another son of Thomas Coffey and Elizabeth Smith.

Jesse appointed Asbury M. Coffey and his son Israel as executors of his will.

It is likely that many people reading this will believe that Asbury M. Coffey was the son-in-law, Marvel. However, Asbury M. was really Asbury Madison Coffey, an attorney in McMinn county at that time and believed to be the son of Eli and Hannah Allen Coffey. Asbury Madison later achieved fame in Kansas and Missouri.

In 1830, the McMinn county census lists only two Coffeys as head of household: Asbury M. and Marvel. We know that both Marvel and Asbury Madison relocated to McMinn county, so this - in my opinion - proves that the two of the Boone will were different people.

Now, how do we determine who the father was of Marvel? I can only speculate and offer the following:

Thomas Coffey, a son of John and Jane Graves Coffey, was twice married. His first wife was Elizabeth Smith with whom he had six children:

Elizabeth "Betsy", born 1763, died 1850 in Indiana, married David Allen.

John Franklin, born c1765, died c1812 in Wilkes Co., NC, married Hannah Wilson. Parents of Rebecca who married John (Jonithan?) Wilson. Several of John Franklin's children married children of Reuben Coffey, another son of John and Jane Graves Coffey.

Thomas Jr. born c1767, married first Margaret Coffey (parents not yet known) and 2) Nancy Pendley. born c1800. There were two Nancy Pendleys, both married Coffey men. However, the two were born about 18 years apart. The second Nancy was born c1818 in NC and married a Marvel Coffey who was the son of James Coffey and Delilah Ferguson. This Marvel remained in NC throughout his lifetime. Thomas, Jr. and his Nancy named one son James Asbury Coffey.

James, born c1772, died c1840 in Wilkes Co., NC is the son who married Delilah Ferguson and were parents of Marvel who married Nancy Pendley. James and Delilah's other children were Thomas, Lovancy, James, Jr., Eli, Myra and Louisa.

Mary, born c1775, died c1828 in NC, married William Coffey, born c1775 in Burke Co., NC, and a son of Benjamin Coffey and Mary "Polly" Hayes. Benjamin was a brother to Thomas making Mary and William first cousins.

Thomas' last child with Elizabeth Smith was Smith Coffey, born c1776, died 1839 in Cherokee Co., NC. He married Jesse Boone's daughter, Hannah.
It is interesting to note that James and Delilah named a son Marvel, and Thomas, Jr. and wife Nancy named one son James Asbury.

It is also interesting to me that of the nine children born to Thomas Coffey and second wife, Sarah Fields, the first four were born pretty much like clock work; e.g., every two years between c1780 and c1788. The next five were also born more or less like clock work, every two years. There is a gap between Elijah - fourth child, born c1788 - and Sarah, the fifth child, born c1792, that Marvel, born c1790 would fit into pretty well.

All of this assumes, of course, that the given approximate birth years for these children are somewhat accurate.

So, let me see if I can sum this up correctly!

- James Coffey was a son of John Coffey and Jane Graves

- James and wife Elizabeth Cleveland were parents of Eli, who married Hannah Allen and were parents of Asbury Madison Coffey.

- Thomas Coffey, also a son of John Coffey and Jane Graves.

- Thomas married 1) Elizabeth Smith and were parents of Smith Coffey. Thomas married second to Sarah "Sally" Fields.

- Thomas and Sarah "Sally" Fields Coffey were parents of William Coffey who married Anna Boone.

- William Coffey, Smith Coffey and Marvel Coffey, along with Asbury Madison Coffey all involved in the Jesse Boone will.

- A gap exists between the first four and last five of Thomas and Sally Fields Coffey's children; a gap that Marvel could fit into given that birth years are somewhat accurate.

Could it then be concluded from this somewhat preponderance of evidence that Marvel Coffey was a son of Thomas and Sarah "Sally" Fields Coffey?

Your opinions would be greatly appreciated!


  1. Anonymous2:25 AM


    I THINK I've got it, but I want to know why Eli and Hannah Allen are thought to be Asbury M.'s parents and not Marvel's.

    I am related to Martha, d/o James and Elizabeth Cleveland Coffey and know that Eli went to Wayne County KY with (later or earlier) his sister, Martha and her husband, Mastin Durham. I don't disagree with your explanation. But since Marvel and Rachel Boone Coffey were in Wayne at the same time as Eli and then they both showed up in McMinn TN for the 1830 Census, I just assumed Eli was his father....

    Also, I need to check out your Allen surnames. Mastin's son, John, married an Elizabeth Allen and I haven't been able to I.D. her line. I didn't know Eli had married Hannah Allen...Hmmmm!

    Barb Durham Smith

  2. I found Marvel William Coffey [1928-2007] buried at Monocacy Cemetery in Beallsville, MD but I don't have his parents or family information.

    Could you please email me at if you can help me?

    Thank you,
    Glenn Wallace
    Monocacy Cemetery Archivist

  3. Marvel William was a son of James Elmer, born Sep. 20, 1887 in Mount Vernon, Rockcastle Co., KY and died in Cincinnati, Hamilton Co., OH on Oct. 19, 1950. His wife (no marriage date) was Mary Amy Anderson, born Mar. 5, 1897 in Yosemite, Casey Co., KY. She died Oct. 28, 1931 in Rockcastle Co. James is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Glendale, Hamilton Co., OH. Mary is buried at the Marvel Coffey family cemetery in Hummel, Rockcastle Co.

    James Elmer was a son of Marvel and Abigail “Abby” Jordan Coffey. This family remained in Rockcastle Co. Marvel descends from Benjamin who married Nancy Hayes; Abby from Enoch Jordan and Alice Coffey. Alice was a daughter of Bennett Coffey and Sarah “Sally” Ferguson. Bennett was a son of Benjamin and Mary “Polly” Hayes Coffey. Bennett was a grandnephew to Marvel.

    Benjamin was born c1747 in Spotsylvania Co., VA and was a son of John Coffey and Jane Graves. John was a son of Edward Coffey and Ann Powell. Edward is considered to be the oldest of this Coffey line and was an indentured servant in Essex Co., VA.


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