November 16, 2010

Eli Charles Coffey

Eli was born on Jan. 8, 1832 in Georgia, probably Pickens Co., to Jesse S. and Winifred Crumpton Coffey. Jesse was a product of Wilkes Co., NC where he was born on Jul. 19, 1799 and where he married Winifred on Dec. 22, 1821.

By trade, Eli was a stone cutter and worked in the quarries in Pickens Co. most of his adult life.  He was the fifth of at least seven children born to Jesse and Winifred.  His older siblings were Thomas Walton, Larkin D., Lewis Elbert and William R.  Those younger than him were Martin Van Buren and John Gordon.

Aaron Bonville Coffey (L)
Eli married Susan Tribble c1859.  In 1860 and in 1870 Eli was enumerated in Pickens Co., GA without Susan and child Aaron, who had been born on Jan. 12, 1860.  Susan and Aaron have not been found elsewhere in Georgia for 1860 or 1870.  Eli married for a second time in 1872 to Frances Bradford and then died before the 1880 census.   His son Aaron first appeared in a census record in 1880 when he was found living with a Crockett family in DeKalb Co., GA.

This seems to indicate that Susan died about the time of Aaron's birth and that he was perhaps farmed out to other family members while Eli pursued work as a stone cutter.  Just months after Eli died in Aug., 1874, Frances Bradford Coffey gave birth to his son, Eli, Jr.  Frances remarried c1877 and in 1880 Eli, Jr. lived with her and his step-father John Howell in Pickens Co.

Eli and Frances were buried at Long Swamp Baptist Church Cemetery at Marble Hill in Pickens Co.  Susan's burial place is unknown.*

George Aaron Coffey (l) & Ava George
Aaron Bonville Coffey was married c1890 in GA to Florence C. Johnson, a daughter of George W. and Vashti P. George Johnson.  A daughter Marie was born to them in Mar., 1891 and a son, George Aaron. in Dec., 1895.  Both births occurred in Lithonia, DeKalb Co.  Marie died in 1911 at age 20 and was buried in the Lithonia City Cemetery.  George married Bessie "Bess" Chupp and died in Lithonia in 1963; Bess died in 1975.  Both are also buried in the Lithonia City Cemetery.

Eli Charles Coffey, Jr. married Margaret Gertrude Shumate on Feb. 20, 1902 in Whitfield Co., GA.  She was born on Nov. 24, 1877 in Dalton, Whitfield Co. to Ignatius and Elizabeth Gertrude Bitting Shumate.  Junior died Oct. 9, 1948 in Whitfield Co.; Margaret died there on Nov. 13, 1940.  Their burial ground is unknown to me.  I know of one child, a daughter, Lou Shumate, born c1907 in Dalton.

Source for photo of Aaron and George Aaron: "Interior of the Lithonia Banking Co.," (circa 1912) & interior of George's Dry Goods Store.  Photographs from "Vanishing Georgia"; Georgia Archives, 5800 Jonesboro Road, Morrow, GA 30260. 
*There is a grave for a Susan T. Coffey at Lithonia. The stone simply reads "Susan T. Coffey 1840-1891."  Susan Tribble who married Eli was born c1840.  If this is Eli's wife, they apparently divorced extremely early in their marriage, but where did she go?  I found a Sue Coffey in DeKalb Co. residing with her brother, but his surname was Webb.  Do we have an incorrect maiden name for Susan?  Where were her parents?

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