August 14, 2010

John Coffey 1699-1775

All Edward Coffey researchers know that John was Edward's eldest son and that he married Jane Graves.  But, was Jane his first and only wife or, was he married before Jane?

In studying his will, which reads in part:

Imprimis, I order that my just debts & funeral expenses be first paid out of the whole.

Item. I will & bequeath to my sons, James & William Coffey, to each of them five shillings sterling.

Item. I lend to my dearly beloved wife, Jean Coffey, during her widowhood the rest of my estate, real & personal, & at the end of her widowhood to be equally divided among the rest of my children, viz. Thomas Coffey, John Coffey, Edmond Coffey, Reuben Coffey, & Benjamin Coffey, Winifred Moran & Betty Field & the above estate to be sold at said time.
All of John's nine children were named in his will.

The question then is why John chose to leave 5 Shillings to each of his two eldest sons while deferring the legacy of the other seven until their mother died and the estate was sold?  That would probably be normal if the wife were young and children were young and dependent on the surviving spouse for support.  All of the remaining children, with the exception of Elizabeth (Betty) were over 30; all were married and presumably self-sufficient.

Were James and William sons from a first marriage and perhaps more endeared to him?

I don't think we'll ever know!

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