July 27, 2010

Meredith Coffey - Son of John & Rebecca Ragsdale Coffey

I have written about this family before.

Recent correspondence with a descendant of Meredith (b1822 TN-d1892 MO) through his son David, indicates that Meredith went to McDonald Co., MO with John, his widower father in 1835 and never returned to TN.  Other researchers have claimed that John was one of the first white settlers in that county*.

Meredith's mother, Rebecca Ragsdale Coffey had died, perhaps around the time of his birth.  He is said to have been their only child but, I have seen other claims that say a second child, an unnamed female, was born to them in 1824.  Perhaps this is when Rebecca died.

A death date for Rebecca has not been found.  However, we know that she and John W. Coffey were married on Feb. 24, 1821 in Grainger Co., TN.  We know also that John Coffey was born c1798 in Grainger Co.

The claim that John and Meredith were in McDonald Co., MO as early as 1835 cannot be accurate because the county did not exist that early; it was not organized until 1849!*  We know Meredith was in TN in 1841 when he married Elizabeth "Betsy" Hopper, and that they were there through the 1850 census.  They first appeared in a McDonald Co. census record in 1860.  In 1861 Meredith was on that county's tax rolls for property he had settled in TS21, R31.

John the father is said to have married Jane Hopper, the sister of Meredith's wife, Betsy in MO sometime around 1840.  The claim that they married in MO and all of their children were born there cannot be accurate because they appeared in the Hamilton Co., TN census for 1850:  John, age 52, Jane, 36 and children: John, 9; James, 7; Henry, 5; and Mary 2, all born in TN.  By 1860 they had arrived in McDonald Co., and were enumerated as John, 63; Jane, 37 [sic]; John W., 19; James M., 18; Henry M., 16; Mary J., 17; Rice, 12; Sarah, 7; and Mira, 2.  All but Mira were born in TN.

So, if one believes the census records, John Coffey and his father married and had large families in Hamilton Co., TN long before they arrived in McDonald Co., MO.  In fact, they did not get to McDonald County until just about 1860 - no earlier than 1855 - and brought those large families with them.

Note:  If you have one of my CDs or DVDs, I mistakenly followed John and Rebecca through Wayne Co., KY for 3 decades.  I will soon be working to correct that error and place that family in its proper place.

*McDonald came out of part of Newton county and, there were settlers there as early as the late 1820s who continued to reside there after it became McDonald Co.

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