November 3, 2010

Samuel and Mildred "Milley" Coffey Coleman

Samuel Coleman was born c1752 in Albemarle Co., VA to James and Elizabeth Leake Coleman.  According to one Todd County Kentucky history1, Samuel was a Rev. War veteran, a Todd Co. pioneer and a grandson of Samuel Coleman and his wife Ann Mourning Christian.

James and Elizabeth had at least two other children; Maskey2, born c1750 who was married c1780 to Bartlett Fitzgerald, a native of Orange Co., Virginia.  Bartlett was the son of John Joseph and Mary Hawkins Bartlett Fitzgerald and a brother to Benjamin Hawkins Fitzgerald who married Jane Coffey, a daughter of William and Elizabeth Osborne Coffey of Nelson Co., VA.  Readers may recall that Jane is considered to be the mother of Jordan Coffey, founder of "Coffeytown."

Maskey's sister was Lucy who married Evan Thomas Watson (1759 VA-1834 Bowie Co., TX) on Jan. 4, 1772 in Albemarle Co., VA.  They named a son Coleman Watson, born Jan. 23, 1800 in Logan Co., KY, died Jul. 6, 1876 in Grayson Co., TX.  There is a problem with either Evan's birth date or their marriage date.  The dates given here mean that Evan married at age 12!

In any event, Coleman Watson married his first cousin Lucy Mildred Coleman, the daughter of Samuel and Mildred Coffey Coleman, in Kentucky on Sep. 23, 1821.  They were parents to at least nine children:  Morton Price; Emily E.; Mary Susan; Samuel, Jr.; Evan Thomas; Lucy Ann; Louisa Jane; Nancy Margaret and Edward A.

Another daughter of Samuel and Mildred Coffey Coleman was Elizabeth Leake Coleman - obviously named for her paternal grandmother.  Elizabeth was born on May 6, 1786, probably in Virginia, and died Aug. 2, 1862, probably in Texas.  She married Collin McKinney, a man who was destined to become a Texas legend.  An article in a Daughters of the Republic of Texas source on Collin3, submitted by member Maryln Jones Cherry, reads:

Collin McKinney (1766-1861) was born in New Jersey, the second of 10 children born to Daniel McKinney (1735-1809) and Mercy Blatchley (1745-1825).  He married twice and had 10 children.  Proor to 1824, his adult life was spent in Tennessee and Kentucky, where he owned a trading post and managed the vast Nashville estates of George W. Campbell, who had been appointed by President Madison as Minister to Russia.

In 1824, Collin, with his brother, Daniel and their families, began the long trek down the Southwest Trail, first settling in Arkansas, believing themselves to be in Texas, later moving to present Bowie and Red River counties.  On Aug. 4, 1830, Collin McKinney took the oath and signed the Register of the Wavell Red River Colony, Aug. 4, 1830 [sic].

He became the close confidant of Benjamin Rush Milam, a fellow Kentuckian, and the first survey Milam ran from his new land office was for Collin McKinney in present Bowie County.  Collin's youngest daughter, Elizabeth, married Milam's nephew, Jefferson Milam, a surveyor for Wavell County.  In 1835, when Ben Milam journeyed to Moncolva, Mexico with the colonists' land petitions, he left his business and personal papers in care of his friend, Collin McKinney.  (The original document signed by the Red River colonists each pledging $5 toward Milam's expenses is the McKinney-Milam Papers at the University of Texas at Arlington.)  By December of that year, Santa Anna's invasion of Texas was well underway; the Red River Colony was asked to raise $200 to equip a company of riflemen to join Sam Houston's army.

In January 1836, a mass meeting was held at Collin McKinney's plantation to elect five delegates to attend the general convention 300 miles away at Washington-on-the-Brazos on March 1, 1836.  Collin, age 70, was the oldest elected delegate and was destined to outlive most of his colleagues.  He traveled with Richard Ellis, who was elected president of the convention.

Collin McKinney was one of five men to draft the Texas Declaration of Independence, and as the oldest of the 59 signers, was presented the signing pen.  He represented Red River settlements in four congresses of the Republic of Texas.  During his 95 years, he was a planter, land surveyor, developer, merchant, deacon, lay preacher, politician and a citizen of eight different governments - born a subject of King George III of England; a citizen of the Thirteen colonies; a citizen of the United States; a citizen of Mexico; a citizen of the Provisional Government established by Texans in 1835; a citizen of the Texas Republic; after annexation, again a citizen of the U.S.; and when death came in 1861, it found him (against his will) a citizen of the Southern Confederacy.

Along with his nephew, H. C. McKinney, he was active in establishment of the Disciples of Christ Church in his last home community.  The Rev. G. Gates, a visiting minister from Indiana, in a letter to his church journal, wrote:  "Brother McKinney, an old disciple from Kentucky...noted for his integrity, hospitality and good works as a Christian, is the natural elder to preside over his flock...The old gentleman had a number of slaves who are, I believe, members of the church and love their master as they would a father."  Archibald Burton, a cousin back in Lincoln County, KY, wrote to Collin, "Collin McKinney, I want to see you more than any man alive."  The town of McKinney and Collin County are name for this remarkable Texas Pioneer.

Collin and Elizabeth Leake Coleman McKinney had a number of children, including:  William C., Annie, Amy, Peggy, Elisa and Younger Scott.

I believe some of the Colemans, McKinneys, Coffeys and Watsons must have known some of my own Coffee family members.  Some of them must have moved together into Arkansas down the Southwest Trail into Hempstead Co., AR, as well as into Bowie and Red River Counties in TX.  My paternal great-grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Bowman Coffee married a Watson in Bowie Co. following the loss of her first husband, James M. Coffee.  Her father and grand-father (Joseph and Jesse Bowman, respectively) are known to have been in those counties in the same period, and were active in the battle for Texas independence.

1Todd County Kentucky Family History, Vol. 1, Turner Publishing Co., Paducah, KY 1995, p161
2Apparently named for her maternal grandmother, Judith Mask or, perhaps her uncle, Mask Coleman
3Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Compilers, Daughters of the Republic of Texas: Texas History, Vol. 1 of many (New York & Nashville: Turner Publishing Co., n.d.), Page 192.

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