February 23, 2009

Henry Sanford Coffey

I've been attempting to figure out the family of Henry Sanford Coffey, born Feb. 4, 1878 in Wayne Co., KY, died Jun. 12, 1961 in Madison Co., KY.

He was a son of John Ausburn and Mary Elizabeth Branaman Coffey.  John was a son of Ausburn and Matilda Dalton Coffey, born Oct. 24, 1836 in Fayette Co., TN, died Dec. 18, 1884 in Rockcastle Co., KY.  Mary was born Jun. 24, 1845 in Rockcastle Co., and died Sep. 19, 1933 in Wildie, Rockcastle Co.  Henry was their seventh child and third son.


Some genealogies report that Henry Sanford was married to Lottie Belle French, and was the mother of Sarah Hester Coffey, born around Nov. 1908 in Rockcastle Co.  And, I do have a death certificate for Lottie Belle Coffey, daughter of Thomas French and Martha Jane Merritt.  It reports that she was married at the time of death but does not give her husband's name.  It also reports that the informant was her "step daughter," but does not give her name.

Census reports for Henry Sanford show him in the household with his parents in 1880 and 1900.  From 1910 through 1930 he is enumerated in Rockcastle Co. with his wife Bessie and their children.

There is a death record in Madison Co., KY for Henry S. Coffey who died on Jun. 12, 1961.  A headstone in the Merritt Cemetery at Wildie, Rockcastle Co. marks the graves of H. Sanford Coffey, born Feb. 4, 1878, died June 12, 1961 and Bessie Coffey, born Feb. 3, 1887, died May 11, 1952.

So, was Lottie Belle French Coffey who died May 11, 1952 and Bessie on the headstone one and the same person?  Seems like it, but how did the death certificate come to name her Lottie Belle while she was always know as Bessie in the census record?

Was Sarah Hester, mentioned above, the same Sarah Hester Coffey who married William L. Proctor of Rockcastle Co.?

Please contact me if you can help unravel this (to me) puzzle.

February 21, 2009

Macedonia Church, Coffeytown, VA

Macedonia Church @ Coffeytown
This photo of the Macedonia Church was taken recently by Joe Malloy, a trustee of the church.  It was forwarded to me by John Taylor, whom I have mentioned many times in this blog.

If you attended last year's Coffey Cousins' Reunion and made the trip with us to Coffeytown, you'll be certain to recognize the scene.

Some of us ate lunch on the rear deck while others ate under the trees to the right in the photo.  Others of us ate lunch along side the mountain stream that flows in front of the church.  On the other side of the stream, and directly across from the church is "Fiddler's Green," the old homeplace of Daniel Rufus Coffey, a descendant of Jordan Coffey, founder of Coffeytown.

This photo is just too beautiful not to share!

Samuel Anthony & Lora Destimonia Coffey Aldridge

Lora, a daughter of Joseph Reubin and Martha Elizabeth Gragg Coffey, was born Mar. 3, 1888 in the state of North Carolina.  She died Jun. 12, 1967 in Lenoir, Caldwell Co., and was buried in the Hibriten Baptist Church Cemetery at Lenoir.

Samuel was born Feb. 22, 1893 in Watauga Co. to Harrison and Mary Etta Buchanan Aldridge.  He died Mar. 16, 1966 at Lower Creek in Caldwell Co.  Harrison was a son of Harrison, Sr., and Jincy Clark Aldridge.

He and Lora were married in 1915 in Caldwell Co.  He is buried at the Aldridge Family Cemetery in Watauga Co.

Together, he and Lora had at least eight children:

Howard Glenn, born Sep. 13, 1916 in Watauga Co., and died Jun. 6, 1995 in Catawba Co.

Murphy Lail, born 1918 in Watauga Co., and died 1997 in Caldwell Co.

Edith Flo, born Jan. 24, 1920 in Watauga Co., and died Dec. 11, 1995 in Newton, Catawba Co.  She married Roy Alvin Lowman, born Feb. 2, 1919 in Burke Co., and died May 6, 1982 in Catawba Co.

Audrey Claire, born Sep. 8, 1921

Darrell Claude, born Jul. 28, 1923

Gerald Guy, born Jan. 9, 1926 in Watauga Co., and died Jun. 5, 2005 in Morganton, Burke Co.

Lyle Byard, born Feb. 20, 1928

Ula Dade, born Aug. 14, 1931 in Watauga Co., and died May 25, 1997 in Catawba Co.  She married Billy Jackson Hewitt on Dec. 23, 1949 in York Co., SC and are the parents of several children.

Another of Harrison and Jincy's sons, James A., was born Feb. 1, 1853 in Caldwell Co., died Dec. 20, 1939 in North Carolina.  He married on Jun. 6, 1874 Sarah Gragg, a daughter of Johnson P. and Nancy Jane Cuthbertson Gragg.  James and Sarah's son, Arthur Blaine Aldridge, born Jun. 16, 1884, died Jun. 11, 1947, married Rosa Lee Coffey, a daughter of Jesse Filmore and Martha E. (Mattie) Story Coffey.  Both Arthur and Rosa Lee died and are buried in Tacoma, Pierce Co., WA.

Harrison and Jincy's daughter, Sarah Jane Aldridge married Baird Simeon Gragg, a son of Johnson P. and Nancy Jane Cuthbertson Gragg.

Please contact me at the above e-mail address to add to or to correct any of this information.

Henry Clay and Sophronia Tate Coffey Coffey

Sophronia Tate Coffey
Henry Clay Coffey
Henry Clay Coffey, born Dec., 1841 in Caldwell Co., NC was a son of McCaleb and Elizabeth Collett Coffey.  He married his second cousin, Sophronia Tate Coffey on Jan. 28, 1864 in Caldwell Co.


"Henry Clay Coffey was in Co. F of the 26th NC CSA Infantry of Lee's army and took part in the July 1, 1863 attack at Gettysburg where he was the 86th of 87 wounded or killed of a total of 88 men. 


Company F directly attacked the Minnesota Iron Brigade on McPherson's Ridge and ultimately broke the Iron Brigade on the left side of the Union line about the same time CSA's Jubal Early attacked the Union right side and crushed the Union flank. These two actions sent the Union forces running through the town of Gettysburg en route to Cemetery Hill where they would regroup with the rest of Meade's Union army for the next two day's Confederate disaster. Henry Clay Coffey was captured on July 1, 1863 and exchanged later that year. He married Sephronia on 1/28/1864 and then rejoined Lee's army by 3/1/1864 and was present at Petersburg siege in 1865

According to later family stories Sephronia ruled the home roost with an iron hand probably because she was still miffed (my opinion) at his leaving so soon after they were married."

Sophronia was the daughter of Daniel Boone and Clarissa Estes Coffey.  She was born Oct. 20, 1841 in Caldwell Co., and died there on Nov. 23, 1928.  She is buried in the Coffey Cemetery in Lenoir, Caldwell Co.

I do not have a death date for Henry, or his burial location, but suspect that he is also in the Coffey Cemetery, adjacent to Sophronia.

Charles McDaniel Coffey
Meta Belle Critcher
Henry and Sophronia were the parents of two children:  Charles Daniel, born Mar. 5, 1869, died Jul. 8, 1950, and Dr. Laurence Henry Coffey, born Dec. 23, 1875, died Sep. 3, 1944.

Charles married Meta Belle Critcher on Oct. 5, 1892 in Watauga Co., NC.  She was born c1871 in North Carolina and died Feb. 25, 1958 in Wilkes Co., NC.  Their children were Charles McDonald Coffey, born Jun. 5, 1894, died Jun. 7, 1967, and Carl Sylvester Coffey, born Jun. 5, 1899, died in 1939.










Charles McD & Lura Finley Coffey


Charles McDonald married Martha Lura Finley on Feb. 28, 1917 in Wilkes Co.  Martha was born Jun. 25, 1894 in Wilkes Co., and died there on May 22, 1967.  She was the daughter of Thomas B. and Caroline Elizabeth Cowles Finley.  Their children were Lura Finley Coffey, born Apr. 17, 1918, died Apr. 15, 1988, and Charles McDonald Jr., born Nov. 16, 1927.









The quoted text and photos are courtesy of Jim Deans, a descendant of Henry Clay Coffey.  

February 19, 2009

Shelby Dave & Bessie Mae Coffey Oatts



Shelby Dave Oatts


Shelby Dave Oatts was born in Kentucky c1885. He married Bessie Mae Coffey there in c1909. She was born in that state c1889 to Cleveland McKendrie and Mary Elizabeth Coffey Coffey.



Cleveland was a son of James Lewis and Sarah Alloway Strange Coffey, and Mary Jane Elizabeth was a daughter of Shelby and Zerilda Emarine Meadows Coffey.











Bessie Mae Coffey
James Lewis and Shelby were brothers as well as double third cousins.

In addition to Bessie Mae, Cleveland and Mary Jane Elizabeth also has Obadiah; Grover Columbus* who married Florence Lemon; and Vera who married Lee Ingram.

Children of Shelby and Bessie May were:

Nell Oatts, born Sep. 8, 1910, died Sep. 8, 1974
Emma C. Oatts, born Dec. 16, 1912

Shelby D. Oatts, born Aug. 11, 1916

Margaret Oatts, born Jul. 20, 1920 and, Lewis Oatts, born Apr. 5, 1923

These families were all natives of Wayne Co., KY.





Grover Columbus Coffey
Update Nov. 3, 2011:  Grover Columbus served in WW1 as a Wagoner.  It is unclear if his service was stateside or overseas.  He was born Sep. 28, 1893 in Monticello, Wayne Co., KY and died Mar. 30,1989 in Contra Costa Co., CA.  His wife was Florence B. Lemon, a daughter of William and Pearl May Goode Lemon, born Jun. 21, 1903 in CA and died in Sacramento Co., CA on Jan. 26, 1990.  William Lemon was born in Scotland in 1866 and emigrated to the United States in 1885.  In Apr., 1930 he was a widower living with Grover and Florence in Albany, Alameda Co., CA.

Both Grover and Florence are buried at the San Francisco National Cemetery at the Presidio of San Francisco.









February 8, 2009

This Blog

Some of you are probably wondering where I am, or what I'm doing!  Then again, maybe not!

I addition to the on-going efforts to get "things" in order at the new house, I've been working on sorting out some non-Coffey families in Colonial Virginia.  This has involved lots of hours and effort, especially since I'm in Louisiana with few records from that time and place.

Google Books has been a great help.  What I haven't been able to find there, I have sometimes had luck finding on Heritage Quest.  What I have learned so far is that researchers from the 18th through the 21st centuries all have something in common.  They are not short on facts, but are short on sources.  Much like today, it appears that some compilers found the earliest book published to that date, copied it and added their own family.  The next compiler found that second book, copied it and added his or her own family.  Pretty soon, all these books began to look alike and sorely lacking in accuracy.

On the otherhand, I have found several books where the compiler researched every deed, every marriage record, every will, etc. and listed those as sources for nearly everyone in their book.  These books are rare!

Sometimes, I believe that compilers made up their own numbering system.  It's been difficult sometimes to follow a genealogy when the children of every sibling in a family is numbered 1a, 1b, 1c, etc. 

For example, John and Mary Smith had three sons who married and each had three children.  One numbering system that I found looked like this:

John and Mary, their issue:
   1a. John, Jr.
        married Betsy Jones, their issue:
         1a Bob
         1b James
         1c  Lawrence
   1b. James
         married Patsy Brown, their issue:
         1a Fred
         1b Joseph
         1c  Michael
   1c.  Joseph
          married Molly Peters, their issue:
          1a James
          1b Eli
          1c Franklin

This can fast become confusing, especially if the compiler decided to also enter the spouse and all of the descendants for 1a Bob before getting to 1b James.  That could take 10-15 pages, or more.  By the time I bounce back and forth between pages a dozen or more times, I'm totally confused.

So, that's where I've been, and what I'll probably be doing for the next month or so.

In the meantime, if anyone has any Coffee/y information, including photos, they would like to share, I can be reached via e-mail at the address above.

Russell Co., KY

Fred Coffey is working on a project to link census records to tombstones in Russell Co., KY.  The object of the exercise, as I understand it, is to eventually solve the Chesley Coffey mystery.

If you are researching in that area, check the file just posted by Fred by clicking on this blog's title.  If you possibly have information that Fred can use, contact him here.

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