January 19, 2010

John Nelson & Laura Ann Finley Coffey

The following information about the John Nelson Coffey Family was found in an undated document titled The John Nelson Coffey Family, prepared by Mr. Howard M. Day, 3532 28th Parkway, Temple Hills, MD 20748.

The John  Nelson  Coffey Family

The John Nelson Coffey Family
John Nelson Coffey was born 7 Aug 1858 in the  Kings Creek  District of Caldwell County, N.C.  He was the son of Larkin Coffey (b1830, d.1863) and Sibby Wyatt (1831- ). His progenitors can be traced through his grandfather, Thomas Coffey, Jr. (b1804) who on 22 Sept 1823 in Wilkes Co., N.C. married Nancy Barlow (b1804). Thomas Coffey Sr. is thought to be the son of Thomas Coffey from Essex Co., Va. (b7 Mar 1742, d 1825) and his first wife, Elizabeth Smith. He in turn was the grandson of the Coffey who immigrated from Ireland to Virginia about the year 1690 according to a compilation by Laurence H. Coffey.*

*"Thomas Coffey (b7 Mar 1742) and his second wife Sally Field along with six children moved to the area of present day Wilkes County sometime between 1775 and 1780 settling on the Upper Waters of the Yadkin River where he died in 1825 at the age of 33”.

Thomas Coffey (b 1777) was married first to a Coffey and second to Nancy Pend1ey .

Larkin Coffey died of diphtheria while serving in the Confederate Army and is buried in Lafollette, Tennessee, His widow raised their family in the old home place, and on 14 Nov 1875 at the age of 44 married Joseph Isenhour of Wilkes Co. who was then 60 years of age and had a family of his own. In fact on 10 Jan 1875, just 11 months prior to their marriage, her first son, Gilum W. Coffey (b1855), was  married to Sarah Jane Isenhour ( b1853) . To the union of Joseph and Sibby Isenhour was born one son Solomon Tilden Isenhour.  .

The children of Larkin Coffey and Sibby Wyatt were: Gilum W. (bl855); John Nelson (1853); Candus who married Lee Cook; Cordey who married Larkin Cook; Mary Ann who married William West; and Lue who married John West.

John Nelson Coffey came to Watauqa County around the year 1880 probably to work on the Moses H. Cone estate. In Blowing Rock he soon met Laura Ann Henley (10 Apr 1863, 2 June 1936) who 1ived with her mother, Loany Greene Henley (5 Feb 1836, 14 Nov 1917), the widow of Henry Henley (2 June 1821, 5 May 1865).  Henry Henley was a member of the Home Guard who was killed in the raid on Hamby's Fort at the end of the Civil War (2). Laura and John Nelson were married 23 Sept 1881 and took up residence at the old Tom Henley place near where Loany Henley 1ived.

John Nelson Coffey was described as a strong willed man, a little stubborn you might say, but he was known to take great pleasure in his work and his family. He was, of necessity, a subsistence farmer, but he also made shoes and worked on the Cone Estate to fill in. Like many of the local farmers in those days he grew more produce than necessary for his family and hauled it down the mountain with horse and wagon to markets in Lenoir. Members of his family often spoke of taking turns living with and taking care of Grandma Henley since she lived alone until her death in 1917. Soon thereafter Nelson and Laura moved to their last home which was at Cook's Gap east of Boone near the Mt. Vernon Church community.

Apparently Nelson and Laura Coffey were musically inclined because several of their [children] played string instruments and loved to dance. My mother, Bertha, knew many traditional mountain songs which she often sang while accompanying herself on the guitar or banjo.

The progeny of John Nelson Coffey and Laura Ann Henley together with the spouse and children of each are as follows: Henry Edward (23 June 1832, 20 Sept 1960) m. 20 Dec 1903 to Elizabeth Foster with whom he raised three children: Malory James, Marjorie and Edward, George F. (23 Oct 1334, 10 Dec 1941) m. 23 April 1905 to Emma Greene with whom  he raised two boys: Arnold (-) and William Franklin (4 Sept 1923); Essie (9 Jan 1837, 5Feb 1972) m. 25 Dec 1904 to Carol Herman with whom she raised 8 children: Fannie Lee, George Alton, Tracy, Bonnie, Marvin, Edith, Phylis and Dessie; Delia (9 Oct 1889, 10 Now 1973) m. 22 July 1909 to Jacob Dillinger (12 Oct 1833, 14 April 1945) with whom she raised six children: Earl, Margaret, Inez, Jay, Wi11iam R. and Robert L. ; Stella (30 April 1393, 21 Oct 1965) m. 3 July 1914 to Grover Walters with whom she raised 5 children: Elizabeth, Verdola, Clifford, Norman and Robert; C1ara (31 Oct 1896, 3 Dec 1977) m. 18 Jan 1914 to George Danner with no children;,Bertha R. (24 Sept 1899) m. 23 Dec 1917 to Howard Day and they had 3 children: Obed, Dorothy and Howard Jr.; Bernice (29 May 1903) m. 29 June 1921 to Charlie Watson, they raised 6 children: Mary Helen, Kathleen, Carma Lee, Bobby, Clemmon and Harold, (three additional children: Laura Mildred, Charles W. and Claude Wayne died in infancy; Milton (1904..,) m. 9 May 1924 to Bell Gilley (1906), who raised one child, Harvey Edward (27 May 1925). After the death of her husband Bertha married Charlie Cook in 1932 with whom she had one child, Kenneth (b 1 Jan 1933). On 22 Feb 1959, after the death of her husband, Delia married Robert Bratton (1904,1960).

Contact Form


Email *

Message *