July 31, 2010

Meredith Coffey - continued

Meredith appears to be the only child born to John W. and Rebecca Ragsdale Coffey.

At some point in time, this family began to spell their last name Coffee and may be a result of their move from TN, where there was an abundance of families with the Coffey surname to an area where there were few.  I suspect that they did not consciously change the spelling; it merely evolved that way after years of making public records in which the Y was dropped in favor of the double-E.  Today, descendants continue to use the double-E spelling.

Elizabeth "Betsy" Hopper is said to be the daughter of John David Hopper, who also had a daughter named Jane who married John after Rebecca's death.  I have not found a specific record documenting the birth dates of these girls and it has been difficult determining the approximate year of their birth. 

In the 1850 census Elizabeth was age 30; in 1860, 33; in 1870, 59; and in 1850, 63.  Likewise, in 1850, Jane was 36; in 1860, 37; and in 1870, 57.  In Jane's case, it's easy to see how the enumerator might have written 37 instead of 47, making her age progression somewhat acceptable as far as census accuracy goes. Elizabeth is another case entirely.

I'll step out on a limb and predict that Jane was the eldest, born c1816 and that Elizabeth was born c1818.


The census record shows Meredith and Elizabeth in Hamilton Co., TN in 1850, Pineville Twp., McDonald Co., MO in 1860 and, in 1870 and 1880 in White Rock Twp., McDonald County.  Meredith died c1892. I do not have a death date for Elizabeth.

Their children, all born in TN, were:

Eliza, born 1842, died May 9, 1880.  She married William Henry Bullard on Oct. 4, 1875 in McDonald County.  Some info that I have read - but remains unconfirmed - reports that William was born in 1842 at Dog Hollow, Pineville Twp.  His slave-owning family later moved to Benton Co., AR where he enlisted in the CSA.  He is said to have been part of Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg.  He was never wounded during his four years of service.  His first wife was Susan Caudill, sister to Hillead, the wife of William Harrison Coffee, the next child born to Meredith and Elizabeth.

William Harrison was born Feb. 24, 1843 and died Jul. 6, 1921 in Pineville Twp.  He married Hillead Oakley Caudille on Jan. 22, 1868 in McDonald Co.  She was a daughter of Jacob and Mary Kirby Caudille and was born Jan. 26, 1850 in Robinson Co., KY and died Feb. 6, 1912 in White Rock Twp.  She and William raised at least 13 children.**  Both William and Hillead are buried in the Jane, McDonald Co., MO cemetery.

Josiah A. (some say his name was Joseph*) was the third child, born Mar. 25, 1845, died May 5, 1913 in White Rock Twp.  He married Elva Tennessee Clark who was born Jun. 13, 1853 in AR and died in Bentonville, Benton Co., AR on Mar. 16, 1936.  They too are buried at Jane Cemetery.  Their children were:  Florence Bell, born 1870, died 1923, married William Henry Bunch.  William was born in 1867 Arkansas and died in Indian Territory, OK in 1890.  Their burial places are not known to me.  They were parents of two sons, Price, born 1888 and Martin born 1890.  Josiah's second child was Sara, born 1872 and for whom I have no additional info.  The third child was Prissa, born in June, 1879.  She married a Mr. Cook and had Larna, Howard and Toonsie.

Following Josiah was Madison, born c1848 and died sometime between 1860 and 1870, perhaps in the Civil War.

David was born c1849 and died in 1918, McDonald Co.  David married Maria Paralee Clark, the daughter of Wat Clark and his wife Nancy.  She was born Jan. 13, 1853 in AR and died in June, 1919 at Jane.  Both she and David at buried at the Jane cemetery.  They were parents of seven children.

Mary Rebecca was child number six and was born in Oct., 1852.  She married James Smith "Whiskey Jim" Davenport in 1869.  He was born in Aug., 1850 in MO. Rebecca died on May 29, 1914 and was buried at Jane.  Jim's death date and burial place is unknown to me.  They had at least seven children:  William, 1870; Thomas, 1872; Laura, 1874; Eliza, 1878; Josiah, 1880; Viola, 1884 and Goldie, 1885.

James Milo was the last child born to Meredith and Elizabeth.  He was born in Jul 1857 and died in May, 1913 and was buried at Jane.  His wife was Harriet J. Russell for whom I have no information.




*His death certificate reads Joseph.  In 1850 his name was Joseph.  After that, and until 1880 he was enumerated as Josiah.
**More info later

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.

July 19, 2010

Robin Leslie Coffee (1953-2010) of the Cherokee Nation

 I am attempting to reconstruct a family history for Robin using information from his obituary as well as information found on Find-A-Grave and other Cherokee websites.  This is what I have found thus far:

Eli Tadpole, who fought for the Union side as a Captain in the 2nd Regiment, Indian Home Guards, Kansas Infantry, died in service in 1863.  Eli left a widow Waddle Pann and a minor daughter, Jencie Tadpole.*  Jencie apparently married a Coffee and George was born on July 10, 1884 in Mayes Co., OK.

George Coffee married Lucy Watkins, both of the Cherokee Nation.  Their son Eli was born Aug. 25, 1921 and died Aug. 26, 2001.  He was a Navy veteran of WW2 and was buried at the Fort Gibson National Cemetery in Muskogee Co., OK.

Eli married Elizabeth Johnson, a daughter of Harpley Johnson of the Creek Nation and Amy Johnson of the Yankton Sioux Nation.  Robin was their son.  Their other children identified in the obituary, are Leonard, Jim, David, Steven, Linda and Deena.

To complete the genealogy of Robin's Coffee ancestry I need to find which Coffee married Jencie Tadpole. 





From the Tahlequah Daily Press, June 24, 2010

Robin Leslie Coffee
TAHLEQUAH — Robin L. Coffee, of Tahlequah, was born Monday, Oct. 5, 1953 in Lawrence, Kan. to Eli and Elizabeth Johnson Coffee and went to be with his Lord and savior Tuesday, June 22, 2010, in Tahlequah, at the age of 56 years, 8 months and 17 days.

Robin was a published author and was the owner of Whitebird Publishing Company. Robin attended Sequoyah High School and graduated from NSU with a degree in physiology. Robin worked at Talking Leaves Job Corps and Hasting Behavioral Health Clinic. He enjoyed spending time with his family, fishing, playing cards, going to church at Steely Springs General Baptist Church in Tahlequah, going to football and basketball games at Sequoyah High School and writing poetry. He was currently working on another book. Robin received the Cherokee Medal of Honor in 2000.

Preceding him in death is his mother and father; grandfather, Harpley Johnson, a Creek Indian from Okmulgee; grandmother, Amy Johnson, a Yankton Sioux Indian from Wagoner, S.D.; grandparents, George and Lucy Hawkins Coffee, Cherokee Indians of Tahlequah; niece, Leigh Michelle Solomon and her infant daughter Darlene of Bellingham, Wa.; nephew, Sean Ray Sarren and brother-in-law, Vincent Edward Sarren of Tahlequah.

Robin is survived by his daughter, Crystal Amy Dawn Drywater and her husband Matt and their daughter, Nadia; four brothers and two sisters, Leonard Coffee and his wife Roberta of Vacaville, Calif., Jim Coffee and his wife Mary of Columbus, Kan., David Coffee and his wife Nora of Tahlequah, Steven Coffee and his wife Janelle of West Siloam Springs, Linda Sarren of Tahlequah, Deena Johnson and her husband Sam of Tahlequah; six nephews, Eric Vann and girlfriend Shelby Blossom of Tahlequah, Christopher Coffee and his wife Amy of Lenexa, Kan., Vincent Sarren of Tahlequah, Mike Weaver of Tahlequah, Jamie Settlemyre of West Siloam Springs, Donald Aaron Settlemyre of West Siloam Springs; seven nieces, Kelly Vann of Tahlequah, Lindsey Coffee of Santa Clara, Calif., Elizabeth Houser and her husband Stephen of Joplin, Mo., Jody Sarren of Miami, Elaine Veales and her husband Robert of Tahlequah, Amy Romo and her husband Keegan of Tahlequah, Amber Settlemyre of West Siloam Springs, and Nova Birdtail of Tahlequah. He is also survived by several great nephews and nieces; two aunts, Ginger Gaither and Deloris Crawford of Fort Worth, Texas.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m., Friday, June 25, 2010, at the Reed-Culver Funeral Home Chapel, with Rev. Bill Drywater and Rev. Aaron Robinson officiating. Burial will follow in the Green Leaf Cemetery with Eric Vann, Christopher Coffee, Jamie Settlemyre, Donald Aaron Settlemyre, Matt Drywater and Robert Veales serving as pallbearers. Honorary pallbearers will be Leonard Coffee, Jim Coffee, David Coffee and Steve Coffee.

Online condolences may be left at www.reedculver.com.

Reed-Culver Funeral Home, 117 W. Delaware, 456-2551.



*National Archives and Records Administration. Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2000.  The index names Rachel Tadpole as his wife. 
Robin's photo courtesy of "Mary" at Find-A-Grave, member no. 47025884


A short time ago - probably about the time I pressed the "Publish" button for this blog - someone contacted me via e-mail to say that Jencie's husband was also a "full blood" and his name was "Ga? li ska wee Coffee."  I'm presuming that the "?" means that they are unsure exactly how that name was spelled.  The e-mail went on to explain that the Coffee surname probably came from the way his name was "interpreted" by an English speaking person.  Another source wrote George Coffee claimed "on his Eastern application that his father was name[d] Gar-le-ske Kaw-whe."

July 12, 2010

Bean Station, Grainger Co., TN

Why do they call it that? is a column written by Jim Matheny which appears from time-to-time on the WBIR.com website.  This week the subject is Bean Station in Grainger county, TN.

Jim begins:

"Officially incorporated in 1996, the City of Bean Station is one of the newest municipalities in Tennessee.  Yet, with origins that date back to the American Revolution, its history goes deeper than almost anywhere else in the state.

"The root of the name "Bean Station" has nothing to do with legumes.  In this area beside Cherokee Lake in Grainger County, you are much more likely to come across wild berries than any kind of bean.

"Of course, the name comes from William Bean.  He moved his family here in 1776 and they became the first white settlers in the state of Tennessee," said Ken Coffey, an expert on Grainger County history.  "The thing about William Bean is he did the same thing as Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone, but he never got into politics so he never actually got credit as an early pioneer."

Click here or, on the title link to read the remainder of this interesting article.

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