May 30, 2009

Check this "View to Hugh" Blog

If you're interested in NC Coffeys and mountain music, check out this latest blog.

Click on the title link.

May 29, 2009

Eligah Columbus & Vina Jane Keith Coffey

Updated Nov. 28, 2010


Eligah Columbus Coffey was a son of Lewis and Elizabeth "Betty" Watters Coffey.  These are Kentuckians who came out of North Carolina sometime in the early-to-mid 1800s.  Lewis was born in NC c1813 and was married in KY to Betty c1831.  Elijah was born in Wayne Co. (probably Eadsville) on Dec. 12, 1843.  My records show that he was the seventh of ten children; the first born in 1832, the last in 1850.  Photo, L-R Front: Roxie Amanda, Eligah Henry, Eligah Columbus & Sally Kate; L-R Rear: Nannie Sophie and Mary Lucy.

The first wife of Elijah was Mirah Emarine Freeman, born in KY on Jan. 9, 1852, died Oct. 15, 1877 in Wayne Co.  She gave him at least three children: 

Elizabeth Jane, born Jun. 8, 1870 in Pulaski Co., died Jan. 8, 1941 in Wayne Co.  She married Rolly Stewart Lair c1895.  Elizabeth was the mother of at least three children.

John Lewis, born Dec. 12, 1872 in Wayne Co.  He died there on Apr. 10, 1948.  His wife was Geneva E. Lair - probably some relation to Rolly - on Apr. 23, 1898.  She gave him at least nine children.

The last child that I have for Elijah and Mirah is Hiram Tolbert Coffey, born Jul. 27, 1876, died 1941.  He married Cordie Thomas, born Apr. 27, 1878, died Sep. 2, 1919.  She was the mother of at least six children.

Elijah took a second wife on Apr. 29, 1881 in Wayne Co.  She was Vina Jane Keith, a daughter of Joshua, and was born Dec. 8, 1863 in that county.  Before she died Vina had produced at least eight more children for Elijah.  She gave birth to her last child in Nov., 1897 and died at age 33 on Dec. 6, of that year.

These are the children of Elijah and Vina:
Edward Cullem, born 1881, died 1966; married Gertie Evana Taylor in 1903.  She was born in 1884 and died in 1955.  They were the parents of at least eight children.

James Hardin, born 1882, died 1942.  He married Lillie Abbie Mounce, born in 1889.  They were parents of at least nine children.

Joseph Joel "Joe", born 1885, died 1953.  He married Rutha Mae Lair in 1907.  She was the daughter of George and Jemima Dodson Lair.  Before she died in 1976, she had given Joseph at least eight children.

Nannie Sophie, born 1887, married William Zackary Lair, born 1908, died 1970.  The age difference is suspect.  I have no children for them.

Mary Lucy, born 1889, died 1972.  She married George Roberts in 1920 and was the mother of at least two children.

Roxie Amanda, born 1893, died 1920.  She married Joseph McClain in 1914.  I have no children for them.

Sally Kate, born 1895, died 1966.  I don't believe she ever married.

Elijah Henry "Lige", born 1897, married Mary J., maiden name unknown.  I have no children for them.
I haven't connected all of the Lairs and do not know if they were all from the same family.  I do have some additional information on the children and grandchildren of Elijah and Vina Jane that I will share. 

Contact me at the above e-mail address for more info or, to correct or add to this information.

May 27, 2009

Roots Magic 4.0

Click on the title link to read the latest information from Roots Magic.

A fairly sized up-date was released last night and, corrected a lot of the problems that I had been experiencing with the original release.

A few "new" features were also added.

I'm not yet ready to offer a great review of the software, but I'd buy it in its present form while hoping for more improvements.

May 16, 2009

Sarah Mackey, wife of Joel Coffey

While working on another project [Stratton], I discovered several new [to me] pieces of information about the parents of Sarah Mackey, wife of Joel Coffey.  This Joel is said to be a son of Chesley Coffey, Jr., and his wife Margaret Baldwin.

Sarah was the daughter of William Lewis Mackey and Elizabeth Ashbrook. 

"William Lewis Mackey, the youngest [of Alexander and Susannah Lewis Mackey], was born in Rutherford county, N.C., about 1773.
Elizabeth Ashbrook, whom he married in Rutherford county, N.C., about the year 1792, was born in 1769 in Rutherford county, N.C.

Wm. L. Mackey was about six feet in height, of fair complexion, with black hair and blue eyes, and weighed one hundred and sixty pounds. After his marriage he remained in Rutherford county until after the birth of his two eldest children. In 1795 he emigrated to Tennessee through the wilderness without a road or a guide, in company with one or two other families, and settled in Christian county. From thence he moved to Robertson county, then to Smith, then to Bedford, and finally settled in Maury county, where he died in 1862 or 1863. He worked a short time at Tuscumbia, Ala., and helped to put up the first log-cabin that was built at that now flourishing city. While engaged in putting up this log-cabin, above mentioned, he cut his knee with an ax.

After his death the following obituary notice was published at Columbia, Tenn.:

William Lewis Mackey, the subject of this obituary, was born in Rutherford county, N.C., near what is called 'the foot of the mountain,' in 1773.

Death is at all times fearful to behold, in whatever form he may appear, yet he may be dissolved of many terrors by a holy, consistent life. Such was the case with the present subject. He was a worthy citizen, upright in all his dealings - in a word, an honest man, the 'noblest work of God' Though not a member of the church, he entertained no fears of hereafter, but spoke often, calmly and with resignation of his departure. Having lived the life of a good man, the king of terror was disarmed, and he could look with an eye of faith to the haven of eternal rest, where, free from the trials of earth, the 'weary find rest and the wicked cease to trouble' It is a source of unmistakable gratification to his surviving friends to feel, after having fought the battles of life, he is at rest, and that if faithful they may one day meet the kind friend on the banks of everlasting deliverance, in the pure realm where parting is unknown. May each member of his family be constrained to follow in his footsteps, imitate his worthy example in all things, emulate his noble virtues, and, when called hence, may no fears arise, no lowering clouds obscure the horizon, but with the armor of faith sustain by hope the peaceful anchor of the soul. May they launch their barks on the tempestuous waves, feeling sure of safely anchoring at home."

"Obituary of Mrs. Elizabeth Mackey.

Died, In Maury county, Tenn., on the 17th of January, Mrs. Elizabeth Mackey, wife of William L. and mother of Alexander Mackey, Jr., in the eighty-seventh year of her age. The deceased was a native of North Carolina, where she embraced the Christian religion and connected herself with the Baptist church, in the faith of which she died, confidently anticipating a blissful immortality beyond the grave. A Friend"
Unfortunately, I was unable to find a death year for Elizabeth.

Click on the title link of this blog to read a previous entry for Joel and Sarah Mackey Coffey.

Source for this information is Lewis, Wm. Terrell, Genealogy of the Lewis family in America (Louisville, KY: Courier-Journal Job. Print Co., 1893)

May 12, 2009

Murder of James Hardy Coffey

According to the book, Until He Is Dead: Capital Punishment in Western North Carolina History, by James Thomas Rusher, and published by Parkway Publishers, Boone, North Carolina, 2003, Ernest Reid Coffey was the first and only person ever convicted of first degree murder in Avery Co., NC.

He was accused of and sentenced to death for the assassination of his uncle, James Hardy Coffey. James was the younger brother of Reid's father, John Wesley Coffey. They were sons of Thomas Avery and Louisa E. Gragg Coffey.

During the evening of April 5, 1936 someone fired a single shot from a 12 gauge shotgun into the living room of the Hardy Coffey home, near Linville, NC, killing Hardy, a deputy sheriff in Linville. At the time, Linville was a resort area and Hardy was responsible for assuring the homes of absent owners were safe from thieves.

Reid Coffey, and some of his pals, were known trouble makers in the area and circumstances of the day and evening of the murder made him the prime suspect. The author's description of the law, the background and sentiment of the people of those days in North Carolina are not discussed here, but Coffey researchers should find the book to be a valuable connection for their library.

The author dissects the trial quite well, pointing out discrepancies in testimony, the appeals process and the then governor's commutation of the death sentence as well as the eventual release of Reid from prison. Intermingled in all of this are described the efforts of Reid's father to see that his son did not unfairly die for a crime of which he believed his son to be innocent.

To my knowledge, no one else was ever charged with the murder of James Hardy Coffey.

This murder was not the first tragedy to affect this family. Thomas Avery Coffey was a son of Austin and Mary A. Blalock Coffey. Before her marriage to Austin, Mary had given birth to two illegitimate children: William McKesson (Keith) Blalock in 1837, and Mary in about 1842.

When she and Austin married, Austin raised the children as his own. During the Civil War Keith fancied himself a Yankee and made plans to help the Union cause. He and his wife, Malinda Pritchard joined the Confederate army - she disguised as a young boy - and both hoped to defect to the Union side whenever their CSA unit was near or engaged with a unit from the Union side.

According to history however, their CSA unit was sent to an area of NC where action was limited. Malinda was discovered to be a female when during a skirmish she was shot in the shoulder. She was discharged and a month later Keith was discharged. He is said to have undressed and rolled around in poison ivy. The result was that he became so sick the CSA had to let him go home.

Upon his return home, he and some of his henchmen began to transport Union recruits through the Confederate lines. Between August, 1864 and February, 1865 Blalock's gang became responsible for a reign of terror that resulted in many deaths, including his own uncle William Coffey, brother to Austin. Elisha Coffey, Keith's cousin and probable son of Joseph and Isabella Lindsay Coffey, is said to have been a member of Keith's "bushwacker" gang.

As that war is often described, it was really brother against brother, father against son.

Click on the title to read an earlier blog about James Hardy Coffey.

May 11, 2009

Tracey Jack & Nellie Juanita Estes Coffey

Tracey Jack Coffey was a son of Columbus (Lum) Alexander and Mary Alice Woodruff Coffey. He was born Jul. 7, 1923 in Newland, Avery Co., NC and died on Aug. 30, 1994 in Caldwell Co. He was buried on Sep. 4, 1994 in the Blue Ridge Memorial Park at Kings Creek in Caldwell Co.

He married Nellie Juanita Estes, a daughter of Theodore and Laura Bean Estes in 1962. Given the age of both at the time of marriage (he as 39, she was 34) it is likely that both were previously married. I have not found any record of children born to this union.

Laura was born Jun. 1, 1928 in Caldwell Co. and died on Saturday, May 9, 2009.

Her obituary:

News Topic Lenoir N C May 10, 2009

Nellie Coffey

Nellie Juanita Coffey, 80, of Lower Creek Drive, Lenoir, died Saturday, May 9, 2009 at Gateway Nursing Center. She was born June 1, 1928 in Caldwell County to the late Theodore Estes and Laura Bean. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Jack Coffey, four brothers, and four sisters.

She attended Crossroads Community Church and was a prayer warrior who was very active in church and her community.

Survivors include a brother, Stephen Bean of Charlotte; a loyal and faithful niece, Ms. Camilla "Sissy" Coffey, and special friend, Mike Triplett, both of Lenoir.

Funeral services will be Monday, May 11, 2009 at 2 p.m, at Greer-McElveen Funeral Home Chapel conducted by Pastor Rick Bowman. Interment will follow in Blue Ridge Memorial Park Cemetery.

The family will receive friends Sunday from 7-8:30 p.m. at the funeral home.

Serving as pallbearers will be Odell Watson, Jesse Suddreth, Joe Hoyle, Ross Winkler, James Wilfong and Donnie Kiefer. Honorary pallbearers will be Jerry Willis, Carroll Clontz and H.C. Ledbetter.

Memorial contributions may be made to Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care at 902 Kirkwood Street, Lenoir, NC 28645 or Crossroads Community Church at 1509 SW Norwood Street, Lenoir, NC 28645.

Online condolences may be left at Greer-McElveen Funeral Home and Crematory is in charge of arrangements.

Theodore Estes was born in North Carolina in 1857 and died in Lower Creek, Caldwell Co. on Jul. 30, 1937. Death was caused by uremia. He was buried on Jul. 31 in Confidence Church Cemetery at Lenoir in Caldwell Co.

I have been unable to find any birth or death information for Laura.

Columbus Alexander Coffey was a son of Eldelano (Lano) and Mary E. Austin Coffey. Mary Alice Woodruff was a daughter of James and Minerva (LNU) Woodruff.

May 6, 2009

Genealogical Search Engine

Have you ever scrolled down to the very bottom of one of these blogs?  If not, take a look now.

You'll find a specially designed search engine that uses Google to hunt down genealogical leads.

Give it a try!  At the same time, you'll be helping support the Coffey Cousins website. This blog space is free and only my time is expended using it.  However, I have to pay for the CC website.  Each penny collected from advertisers when you click on one of the ads helps pay that bill.

Funds received from the purchase of the Edward Coffey Project CD are used to buy blank CD's, jewel cases, mailers and postage.  Anything left over is also used towards paying the CC website bill.

Thank you for your consideration!

Coffey Cousins' in 2011

Are you willing, or could you be enticed to host a Coffey Cousins' reunion in 2011?

No kidding, the job is really easy!

The area where the reunion is to held should have some connection to the Coffey family, be it Edward, Peter or some other such as Hugh, etc.

It does not have to be held in a large metropolitan city, although such cities are not out of the question.  We've met in such cities as San Antonio, Baltimore, and Calgary in Alberta, Canada.

A host is charged with finding a hotel that is willing to provide rooms for 30-40 people at a reasonable price.

The hotel should have a meeting room that they provide free of charge in return for a given number of room reservations.

The hotel should also have a dining facility.  Continental breakfasts are probably good, but lunches and dinners should be either buffet or ordered from a menu. 

The hotel should be able to furnish and serve a meal on Saturday night before the business meeting.  Typical meals are fish, beef or steak.  There should be at least two to select from.  The rest of the meal can be bread, vegetables, salads, iced tea and/or coffee.  Prices, including gratuity should not be more than $15 to $20 per person.  The cheaper the better, but the meals should not be skimpy. 

If you live in a small town and hotels with such facilities are not available, the meal can be catered.

Tours are not necessary unless the host believes there is something the group just has to see.  Many of our cousins are restrained by age from walking great distances, or even driving in large cities.  A tour bus that can transport everyone is sometimes necessary.

Advance fees for buses, holding a block of tickets to a performance, or whatever else the host/hostess plans will be advanced by Coffey Cousins.  Actual tour costs, tickets, etc. are payable by each cousin attending, but a host/hostess is not required to put up their own money to assure services for us.

There should be a couple of good restaurants near the hotel; maybe something like TGI Fridays, Bob Evans.  Places that have a national reputation for being clean with good food and reasonable prices are very acceptable.

The host or hostess is typically the "leg man."  Someone local to the reunion is needed because only they are familiar with facilities in their area.  More guidance from the likes of me and hosts of past conventions is readily available via phone call or e-mail.

The host/hostess also runs the event up until Saturday night when the president takes over.  But, there are more volunteers than a host can shake a stick at, so he or she is never left alone to figure out what comes next.

If you are at all interested but would like more info before committing, drop me an e-mail.

If you live in Chattanooga and would like to host, someone is likely to give you a big hug as well!

More about the 2009 Reunion

Gail Bachman was reelected Vice President.  I have already posted a photo of Nelda, who was reelected to the secretary's job and of Jean Coffey Mower, our 2010 president.  The ladies are a monopoly this year.  The only male officer is Danny Coffey, reelected treasurer.

This is stitched on Gail's cap. 

Ellen and Marguerite, aunt and mother of Gail.  They are all wearing the Coffee caps.

 Rita Popplewell Johnson of Russell Co. was the after dinner speaker.  She listed a long resume of research as well as numerous offices held in genealogical societies and lineal organizations such as DAR.  She outlined the history of  the county and affiliate counties from which it "descended."

And finally, the snakes showed up but didn't cause any panic.  This fellow or gal, as the case may be, was lying in the pathway between me and dinner!  In case you are wondering, it's a Copperhead.

May 5, 2009

More Photos from 2009 Coffey Cousins' Reunion

Bonnie Culley, with outgoing president Ed Coffee in the background. Bonnie was celebrating her 20th year as editor of the Coffey Cousins' newsletter. She recently placed issues 1 to 93 on CD. Price and subscription information is available from Bonnie.

A view of Lake Cumberland from the Lure Lodge dining room. Many Coffey Cousins spent a lot of time in this room. The lodge staff maintained a great buffet for dinner, a large salad bar and lots of good deserts.

Nelda prepares a large basket of Louisiana products for each year's silent auction. This year's basket was especially beautiful. The successful bidder was Jim Culley, Bonnie's husband.

Reams Goodloe, editor of the newsletter index, will be 91 years old in June. He drove alone from Washington State to Jamestown, KY to attend the reunion.

May 4, 2009

A Few Pix from the 2009 Coffey Cousins' Reunion

Our hosts, Glenda and Danny Coffey of Jamestown, KY. My wife Nelda is to their left.

Danny Coffey and me in front of his office in Jamestown. Danny has been a Shelter Insurance representative for about 39 years. He is also a real estate broker.

Lure Lodge where the reunion was held. It is on Lake Cumberland. This photo doesn't do real justice to this fine facility.

Jean Mower, Nelda Coffee and Wayne Mower, Jean's Husband. The photo was taken in the dining room at Lure Lodge and overlooks Lake Cumberland. Jean was elected president to serve from the end of the 2009 to the end of the 2010 convention. She and Wayne are hosting the 2010 convention in Delaware. Watch this space and the Coffey Cousins' newsletter for details.

More photos later...

Contact Form


Email *

Message *