June 4, 2010

Mansel Matthews & Georgiana Frances Reynolds Coffee

Amended first Sep. 7, 2010, second Apr. 24, 2011.

This Coffee family descends from the so-far mythical Chesley Coffey who is said to have married Jane Cleveland.  For the most part, this family's surname has been spelled Coffee since at least the early 1800's.

The immediate ancestor of Mansel was Logan McMillon Coffee, born Dec. 7, 1809 in Adair Co., KY, died Jun. 20, 1865 in TX, "the circumstances fraught with suspicions, possibly murder by his companions from the same neighborhood."*  In about 1837, while passing through Alabama heading to Texas, Logan married Mary Elizabeth Ragland.  She was born Jan. 15, 1815 and died in Lavaca Co., TX on Jan. 15, 1879.

From all indications, Logan's family name began as Coffey but left Alabama as Coffee.  My theory is that once they settled (for awhile) in Alabama and began to make records, their family was perhaps thought to be part of the family of General John Coffee, most notably famous for his role at the Battle of New Orleans.  General Coffee, and his Georgia counterpart - also named John - were first cousins, descendants of Peter Coffee.  A recent DNA discovery proves a connection between Peter and Edward, but very distant and well before either came to America.

Mansel M. Coffee
Mansel was the first child of Logan and Mary.  He was born Sep. 12, 1839 in Jackson Co., AL and died on June 5, 1891 in Throckmorton Co., TX.  His unattributed obituary made the claim that "his family was intimately connected with the history of this country as far back as Gen'l Coffee, who was second in command at the Battle of New Orleans in 1816."  Well before the obituary came into my hands, someone over struck that line, knowing as many of us do that it was inaccurate.  This is likely to be the reason why the family surname is spelled Coffee instead of Coffey.

According to that obituary, Mansel was thrown from his horse after it "dashed with great force against a wire fence..." tossing him into the air.  Upon falling to the ground, he struck the back part of his head causing him to fall into a coma from which he never recovered.

Georgiana Frances Reynolds
Mansel's wife was the beautiful Georgiana Frances Reynolds, a daughter of B. F. and Virginia Mayers Reynolds of Mississippi.  Georgiana was born in Rankin Co., MS in Jan., 1845.  She and Mansel were married in Lavaca Co. on Jun. 4, 1861.  Georgiana's younger sister, Emma Gaines Reynolds married Mansel's brother, Robert Marion Coffee.

Georgiana gave birth to at least nine children; seven boys and two girls.  There was, between some of the children sufficient time for her to have borne others, but perhaps they died young or, she was fortunate and did not become pregnant.

Woodson, born Mar 1, 1862 in Gonzales Co., TX, died June. 12, 1953 in Amarillo, Potter Co., TX.  Woodson married Ollie Pickens Stribling on Aug. 14, 1890 in Throckmorton, the daughter of Judge Cornelius Kinchelo and Ruth B. Greenwood Nancy Caroline Stribling Nancy Caroline was a cousin of Judge Kinchelo whom he met during the Civil War.  His first wife had died in 1860 with no children produced.  Ruth Bradley Greenwood was Judge Kinchelo's mother.  She and Woodson had at least nine children: Ruth, Benjamin, Grace, Woodson, Jr., Oran, Roy Coburn, Frank (died young), Ollie and Jack Kinchelow.  Ollie died of influenza on Jan. 23, 1930 in San Antonio.  She and Woodson are buried at the Llano Cemetery in Amarillo.

The second child was Logan Alonzo, born Mar. 5, 1865 in TX, died Feb. 19, 1945 in Miami, Roberts Co., TX.  He married Mary Mildred Harrah, a daughter of J. W. and Emogina Fitch Harrah of Wheeler Co., TX.  Mildred was born there on Nov. 16, 1880 and died in Wichita, Sedgwick Co., KS on Jul. 26, 1922.  Both she and Logan are buried at the Miami Cemetery.  They were parents of at least six sons:  Joseph Logan, Harry M., Tom Leonard, Tas, Marion Clarence, and Dana.

Update Oct. 15, 2011:  After Dana came Lona, a daughter born Apr. 22, 1912; Merle R., a son, born May 14, 1913 and David, born Nov. 20, 1918, all in Miami, Roberts Co., TX.  There remains some confusion on my part about the child Merle.  Some genealogies name him Mansel.  However, I have found two documents, both relating to births on May 14, 1913:  One reports only on the birth of an unnamed male child on that date.  The second document was created on Mar. 10,1951 as a correction to the original birth certificate.  This document reports the birth of Merle R. Coffee on May 14, 1913 to Logan and Mildred.  The document was sworn to by Logan before the Roberts Co. clerk of court on Mar. 10, 1941.  So, was the first document for the unnamed child for one named Mansel that died at birth and the one for Merle as a surviving twin?

Next came Cleaveland C. (probably Charles), born in TX on Oct. 26, 1867.  He married Mattie Lenora Swagerty, daughter of W. T. and Lucy King Swagerty, on Dec. 31, 1890.  She was a native of Hunt Co., TX, having been born there on Dec. 15, 1871.  She died Jul. 21, 1959 in Amarillo and was buried at Miami.  Cleaveland is probably there as well; I just haven't located him yet.  Their children were nine:  Clyde M., Norman, Floyd Thomas, Effie Lelia, Hattie G., Bessie Lucy, Ada, Mattie Lenora and William J. "Bill."
Children of Mansel and Georgiana Reynolds Coffee

Fourth was Henry Coleman, born Nov. 7, 1869 in TX, died Jul. 4, 1956 in Pampa, Gray Co., TX.  He married Mary Eppie Thomas, born in TX in Aug., 1871, died in Ochiltree Co., TX on Jun. 21, 1904.  Henry was buried at Miami while Mary rests in an unmarked grave at Ochiltree Cemetery, Perryton, Ochiltree Co., TX.  Their children were Vida, Frances, Albert Mansel, Eugene L. and Raymond Oliver.  Raymond was a musician and died in an automobile accident near Amarillo in 1922.  According to cemetery records, Eppie is buried next to Raymond.  There is an open area next to him, but no marker to indicate anyone is buried there.

Fifth, and first daughter, was Hattie C., born Apr. 15, 1874, died in 1887.  Nothing else is known and she is thought to have died young.

James Volney was sixth.  He was born Aug. 15, 1875 in Lavaca Co. died Oct. 26, 1957. He married Alice Gertrude Tidwell, daughter of Will and Josephine Kendrick Tidwell.  Alice was born in TX on May 7, 1878 and died in Potter Co. on May 10, 1931.  Alice is buried at Miami; I'm still looking for James' final resting place.  Their children were:  William Cleveland, Joe F., Guy T., Volney Lanius, and Allene G.

Glenn L. was number seven, born in Dec., 1878.  He married a lady by the name of Mary Gentry, born c1883 in TX. but nothing more is yet known of this couple. Their children were Georgia Lee, Glenn F. and Katheryn Jean.

Mansel Reynolds was next.  He was born in Throckmorton on Oct. 28, 1885 and died in Perryton on Jun. 26, 1948.  His wife was Lillian Lee Long, born Nov. 28, 1889 in TX, and died at Perryton on Jun. 25, 1959.  Both are buried there in the Ochiltree Cemetery.  Their children were Doris Lorene, Mansel Reynolds, Jr., Mary Margaret and Georgia Nell.

Mary Virginia Coffee Locke
Mary Virginia was the last child.  She was born Feb. 28, 1888 in Throckmorton and died in Big Spring, Howard Co., TX on Oct. 26, 1965.  She was buried there in Trinity Memorial Park.  She married Claude B. Locke, a son of Judge Newton F. and Dora Barton Locke of Roberts Co.  Their children were Winnie, born c1907, Claude, Jr., born c1909 and Dorothy F., born c1912.  One of the daughters married Adolph Swartz and was the informant on her mother's death certificate.

My opinion:  There appears to be somewhat of a very tiny element of veracity to the Chesley Coffey/Jane Cleveland theory.  They are said to have had a son named Jesse Cleveland.  Joel, also thought to be Chesley's son, named a son Cleveland.  Joel's son James named a son Cleveland.  Logan, brother to that Cleveland named one of his sons Cleveland, and Mansel, son of Logan named one of his sons Cleaveland [sic].  Interesting to note however, is that none of the descendants name a son Chesley.

All photos belong to Kathy Coffee Simmons and used with her permission

*"On the Headwaters of the Lavaca and Navidad, Paul Boethel,Von Boeckmann - Jones, Austin, Texas c. 1967

No. 996

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