November 28, 2010

Wesley W. & Laura Josephine Howe Coffey

I have previously written about one of the sons of this couple.  Readers can view that blog here.


Wesley W. Coffey was born on Dec. 13, 1837 in Clay Twp., Owen Co., IN and died there before 1910.  He enlisted in Co. H, 14th Indiana Volunteers in Clay Co. in 1861 and was on the county tax rolls in 1866.

The following was found in a Clay county source:*
"Wesley Coffey, attorney at law, was born December 13, 1843 [sic] in Clay Township, Owen County.  His parents, Albert (Gooderight) [sic] [Goodnight] Coffey - the former a native of North Carolina and the latter of Kentucky - emigrated to Indiana from North Carolina about 1828.  Four years later they came to Owen County, and located in Clay Township, on a farm where the mother now resides.  The father died in October of 1838.

Wesley is the elder [sic] of two children, and lived at home until 1861, when he enlisted in Company H, Fourteenth Indiana Volunteers, under Capt. J. H. Martin, and was in active service for two years.  Then, on account of ill-health, he was put on detached service, sent to Frederick, Md., and remained there until the close of the war.  He participated in the following battles:  Rich Mountain, Cheat Mountain and battle of Winchester.

At the close of the war, he returned home to Owen County, remained one year, after which he purchased a farm in Clay Township, where he remained two years.  He then sold and went into the grocery business at Spencer with W. R. Stogsdil.  About 1875, he sold his interest and went into the insurance business, and the study of the bar in Spencer.

He was married in April, 1865, to Laura J. Howe, daughter of Amon P. and Harriet Howe, old settlers in Owen County.  Mr. Coffey is a member of the A. F. & A. M., of the K. of P., of the Royal Arcanum, and the Grand Army of the Republic, and was for four years Justice of the Peace of Owen County.  He is a public spirited citizen, and highly estemed [sic] by those [who] know him."
He married Laura Josephine Howe in Owen Co. on Apr. 13, 1865 and appeared there in the 1880 and 1900 census of Spencer in Washington Twp.  Laura was a daughter of Amon Price and Harriet C. Thatcher Howe and was born in July, 1842.  She lived with her parents in Washington Twp. until her marriage to Wesley.  She can be found in the 1910 Owen Co. and, the 1920 census of Indianapolis, Marion Co., IN.  By 1930 she was living with two of her children in San Gabriel, Los Angeles Co., CA.  The city 1939 and 1941 city directories of Los Angeles list Laura, Hallie and Albert at 709 E. Hellman Ave. in Wilmar City.

There were three children born to Wesley and Laura.  The first was Byron Howe, born Jan. 29, 1866 in Owen Co., died July 4, 1945 in Los Angeles.  Click on the above link to read more about him.

The second child was a daughter, Hallie H., born Jan. 14, 1874 in Owen Co.  Hallie died unmarried on Dec. 13, 1969 in Los Angeles.

Their last child was Albert Price, born May 29, 1876 in Owen Co. and was a musician.  He died in Los Angeles on May 30, 1946 at the age of 70.  I have found no record of him ever having taken a wife.  He lived most of his life with his mother or with Hallie, with whom he shared the house on E. Hellman Ave., at least until 1941.


*Charles Blanchard, Editor, Counties of Clay and Owen, Indiana: Historical and Biographical. Illustrated. (Chicago, IL: F. A. Battey & Co., Publishers, 1884), Page 832.  The birth year given in the bio is incorrect.  He was also about a year younger than his sister Julia Ann.

November 26, 2010

Joseph Elzie and Mary Ann Coffey Hays

Joseph's parents were Gabriel Hays, Jr. born c1792 in VA who married Martha Coffey in Adair Co., KY on Dec. 26, 1813.  Martha was the daughter of Cleveland and Jane Witherspoon Coffey.  Her date of birth and death is not known to me, but given the time of marriage, she was likely born around the same time frame as Gabriel.

Martha and Gabriel were the parents of Joseph Elzie Hays, born Dec. 6, 1822 in Russell Co., and died there on Jan. 23, 1904.

Joseph was married three times.  His first was to Sophia M. Saufley on Oct. 19, 1848 in KY.  Sophia was born c1822 in VA and died on Mar. 14, 1853 in KY.  If there were children born to this union, none survived.

On Mar 25, 1854 in Russell Co., Joseph married Mary Ann Coffey, a second cousin to his mother, Martha Coffey Hays.  Mary Ann was born Jul. 4, 1828 in Russell Co., and died there on May 24, 1869, apparently in childbirth while delivering their fourth child, Rose.  Their first three children were Sophia, born c1856 who became the wife of Judge W. S. Stone; Mary A., born c1866 and Rose L., born c1869, all in Russell Co.

Joseph's third wife was Elizabeth C. Young of Wayne Co., daughter of G. W. and Margaret Pemberton Young.  There were no children.

A biography* of Joseph, published in 1888, reveals that his father Gabriel Hays, Jr. came from VA to settle in a part of Adair Co. that is now in Russell Co.  Gabriel Hays, Sr., was a "native of Scotland" who came to the "American colonies and went into the war of Revolution, arose to the position of major, and served in that capacity until independence was achieved."

An very interesting part of this bio reads: 
"Martha (Coffey) Hays was born in Adair, now Russell County, was a daughter of Cleveland Coffey, a native of North Carolina who was an early settler in Adair, now Russell County, Ky.; he was a farmer and stock-trader, and a son of Joel Coffey, also a native of North Carolina, whose father, Joel Coffey, Sr. was of English parentage.  Joseph E. Hays is of Scotch [sic] descent on his father's side, and of English on his mother's."

Joel, father of Cleveland, was probably born in VA and was married to Martha Stepp/Stapp c 1753,  Certainly, the number of Joel Coffeys floating around between VA and KY in that timeframe makes it extremely difficult to sort them out.

The following are some random notes that I have and which I believe pertain to Joel who married Martha Stepp/Stapp:
Joel, born 1780, m Martha "Patsy"?.  They had 6 children: Nathaniel, m1 Louisa Durham, m2 Nancy Clark; Alvina (Elvira), b 1811, m Martin Wright, Mar 27, 1828.  She died Sep 7, 1869; Caroline, m Unk Summers; Martha L., m Perry M. Stacy; Francis m Jackson Jones; Henry B., m Sara Ann Isbele. Source:  Lee Robert, Nov., 1998.

Joel was b. late 1740's and d. 1789.  Married Martha in 1753. Martha was b. 1737.  Joel was son of Chesley and Jane Cleveland Coffee. Their children were Jesse Cleveland; James, Joel, Nathan, Caty, Frances Jane, Sealey, Nebuzarren, Cleveland.  Source:  Revolutionary Ancestors, 1976; Wood Coffee Will and Inventory.

Joel and Martha are mentioned in The Georgians, Genealogies of Pioneer Settlers, by J. H. Austin.

Joel's will (probate) dated 1789 Wilkes Co., NC.  Children listed as James, Joel, Cleveland, Nathan, Katy, Jane and Celia.  See North Carolina will book C, page 321.

Marvin Coffey wrote in his works that DAR has always listed Joel as born 1730, and married in 1753 to Martha Sealy, born 1737.  Nebuzaradon, their youngest son, was born in 1780 meaning that Martha would have been aged 52 at his birth.

A number of researchers have theorized that Joel married Martha Sealey who died, and he then married Martha Step.  Others have the opinion that Joel married a widow by the name of Mrs. Martha Step Sealey while another group has said that Sealey was a nickname for Celia which was the middle name of Martha.  Another thought is that Joel was born much earlier, about 1750.

Joseph is not listed in Joel's 1789 will (Wilkes Co., NC Will Book I, p260) but does appear in other researcher's works.  He could have been born to Joel's first wife and died before the will was made.  Joseph has also been reported to have gone to Kentucky quite early, and already otherwise provided for by his father thereby not making the will.  And, even if Joel had only one wife, Joseph could still have died quite young.  Marvin noted that there was a Joseph Coffey on early tax records of Adair Co., KY.
The bio paragraph cited above says that Joel (Martha Stepp) Coffey was the son of a Joel of English parents.  To me, this says the belief (among some Coffey researchers) that Joel was a son of the elusive - almost mythical - Chesley Coffey, may not be accurate. I am told that the DNA test results of some researchers who trace their lineage to this Joel are descendants of Edward and Ann Powell Coffey.

So, it could be that some in the 1888 biography - and who undoubtedly contributed to it - believed they were of English not Irish descent.  We know that Edward was Irish and came to America as an indentured servant and, likely come here through England.  We know that Peter Coffee, an Irishman and Edward's distant relative, came to America from an English prison.  Given that Edward may also have departed from England, seems logical to me that 100-plus year old family tales could have mistakenly told of Edward being of English descent.  Edward may have thought of himself as being English, given the Ireland-England politics of the era.

Continuing with Joseph...

The Bio tells us that his father was a "life-long invalid," and that Joseph was self-educated.  By the time he was 17 he was the deputy county surveyor, working under Hiram Rowe.  He began teaching school at age 19 and at the age of 21 was elected to the Kentucky militia as a captain and, rose the the rank of colonel.  He read law with Gen. Rice Maxey and admitted to the Kentucky bar in 1846.


Being a somewhat wealthy man and the largest slave owner in the county, he was naturally a southern sympathizer during the Civil War.  At the close of the war he returned to his law practice and was appointed "master commissioner of the Russell Circuit Court."  It did not take long for him to recoup the wealth he lost as a result of the war.

His son, Hiram was born on Dec. 7, 1858 and was educated in the law by his father.  He "was admitted to the bar at the age of seventeen years and six months."  He also taught school in Jamestown at the age of 14; spent a year in Texas and returned to KY at the age of 20.  He settled in Monticello, Wayne Co. where he practiced law and became county attorney.

He married Eva Owens, a daughter of Dr. S. R. Owens, a well known physician of the time.  They were parents of one daughter, Mary Owen Hays.  In 1882 Hiram was a candidate for Congress.  While on the stump however, he became ill and withdrew.  He died on Jan. 14, 1888 at the home of Dr. Owens.



* W. H. Perrin, Author, Kentucky: A History of the State: Embracing a concise account of the origin and development of the Virginia Colony; its expansion westward, and the settlement of the frontier beyond the Alleghenies; the erection of Kentucky as an independent state, and its subsequent development, J. H. Battle & G. C. Kniffin, Authors, eighth edition (Lewisville, KY, & Chicago, IL: F. A. Battey and Company, 1888), Pgs 860-861.

November 23, 2010

Happy Happy




Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Children of Francis Marion & Martha Jane Coffey Clark

Continuing with the information received from Jerry Dickinson


2nd Generation



Lola Elzora Clark married William Alexander Gragg, a son of John Riley and Nancy Elvira Taylor Gragg.  William was born on Jul. 14, 1879 in Watauga Co., and died on Jan. 3, 1974 in San Francisco, CA.  A child was Savoy Jack Carl Carlton [sic] Gragg, born Mar. 13, 1912, died Nov. 8, 1974.

Harrison Austin "Harry" married Mary Jane Cable on Jan. 5, 1906 in Pullman, Whitman Co., WA.  Mary was born in Elkmills, Carter Co., TN on Nov. 9, 1880, died in Weiser, Washington Co., ID on Oct. 12, 1954.  Children were:  Russell Burnett, born Sep. 29, 1906 in Chambers, Whitman Co., died Dec. 9, 1922; Cecil Raymond, born May 29, 1908, died Jun. 22, 1981; and an unnamed female.

David Clingman (Jerry thinks middle name may be Clinton) married but wife is unnamed.  Children were Clint, born Jun., 1920, died Jan., 1931; James McDonald, born May 23, 1924, died Sep. 12, 1980.

Millard Ray, married Nellie L. Shawgo on Jun. 1, 1913 in St. John, Washington.  Children were: Joe Edward, born Dec. 30, 1915 in St. John, died Aug. 9, 1997 in Spokane.  Joe married Evelyn Florence Marquardt on Apr. 8, 1939 in Spokane.  Evelyn was born Oct. 27, 1912 and died Jul. 15, 1998 in Eugene, OR.; Lois Nellie, born Dec. 11, 1917, died May, 1962.


3d Generation


Lola Clark Gragg's son, Savoy Jack Carl Carlton Gragg, born Mar. 13, 1912 in North Carolina, died Nov. 8, 1974 in San Jose, Santa Clara Co., CA.  He married Erla Armina Rathvon, a daughter of Lloyd Ashton and Edith Gertrude Walton Rathvon.  Erla was born Feb. 4, 1914 in Penticton, BC, Canada and died on Mar. 27, 1987 in Longview, Cowlitz Co., WA.  Children were: Jacquelynn [sic] Marie "Jackie" Gragg, born Jan. 25, 1932 in Longview, died Oct. 6, 2008 in Gig Harbor, Pierce Co., WA.  She was also known as Jackie Sorrensen.  Her husband was Stanley M. Thurman, born Sep. 26, 1923, died Jun. 30, 2001 in Bothel, King Co., WA.  They were married on Nov. 12, 1965. [Sorenson may have been a previous spouse]

Harrison's son Cecil Raymond, was born May 29, 1908 in Midvale, Washington Co., ID and died on Jun. 22, 1981.  He married Rose Erikson on Aug. 19, 1929 in Clarkston, Asotin Co., WA.  Rose was born Mar. 18, 1912 in Weston, Oneida Co., ID and died Dec. 13, 1994.  Children were: Dennis Cecil, born Feb. 25, 1930 in Lewiston, Nez Perce Co., ID, died in June 19, 1995 at Payette, Payette Co., ID.  He married Barbara Lee Adams on Mar. 6, 1952 in Winnemucca, Humboldt Co., NV.  She was born on Dec. 30, 1932 in Wendell, Gooding Co., ID and died Feb. 18, 1988 in Milton-Freewater, Umatilla Co., OR; Norman Harry, born Sep. 18, 1940 in Weiser, died Mar. 2, 1965.

The unnamed daughter, child of Harrison in previous blog, was the mother of Carol Ann Bledsoe, now Carol Ann Van Voorde.

Lois Nellie was a daughter of Millard Ray.  She was born Dec. 11, 1917 in St. John, Whitman Co., WA and died in May, 1962.  She married Lee Hemingway, born Nov. 4, 1909, died Dec. 25, 1989.  A son was Jack Edward Hemingway, born Sep. 30, 1940, died Oct., 1977 in Spokane, WA.

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?

November 7, 2010

Francis Marion & Martha Jane Coffey Clark

UPDATED 11/23/2010 with info received from Jerry Dickinson


Francis Marion "Marion" Clark* was the eldest child and a son of John Wesley and Nancy B. Williams Clark.  He was born Apr 5, 1854 in Montezuma, Watauga Co., NC. He married Martha Jane Coffey on Jan. 2, 1875 in Lenoir, Caldwell Co.  Martha was born May 5, 1859 in the Globe to Silas C. & Eleanor or Ellender "Nellie" Green Coffey.  Martha died Apr. 11, 1900 and is buried at Newland in Mitchell Co.

After the death of Nancy Williams Coffey, John Wesley Coffey married a widow with two children: Joseph Green, age 11 and Laura, age 8 in the 1870 Watauga Co. census.  I have not yet identified her first husband but, he was likely related to Nellie.

Marion and Martha's children, all born in Montezuma, were**:

James W. (Will), born Nov. 21, 1875; Francis Newton (Newt), born Aug. 22, 1877; Lola E. (Elzora) born Nov. 25, 1879, died Nov. 22, 1968; Kenneth, born May 28, 1882 and Harrison (Harry), born May 10, 1884. Harry was the grandfather of Carol Ann Bledsoe Van Voorde, the owner of the family photo shown here. He died on May 10, 1931 in Weiser, Washington Co., ID and is buried there at Eastside Cemetery in Midvale. His wife was Mary Jane Cable, married Jan. 5, 1906 in Pullman, Whitman Co., WA. She was born Nov. 9, 1880 in Elkmills, Carter Co., TN and died in Weiser on Oct. 12, 1954. She is also buried at Midvale. Other children were Harrison, born May 1884; David Clingman, born Jul, 20, 1886, died Jul. 8, 1971 in St. John, Whitman Co., WA; Roby Edward, born Mar., 1888; Luther Evans, born May 1890; Millard Ray, born Mar. 23, 1892, died Feb. 27, 1986 in Spokane Co., WA. He married Nellie L. Shawgo in Whitman Co. on Jun. 1, 1913. She was born May 5, 1895 in Ewan, Whitman Co. and died Jan. 6, 1981 in Spokane Co.; Lula Essie Lovina, born Jan. 25, 1895 and Martha Agnes, born Feb. 15, 1900.

Martha Jane like died at the birth, or shortly after the birth of Agnes.  There may also have been a child born between Lela and Harrison, but it does not appear in any census record with the family.***

Francis Marion Clark Family

This photo is of Francis Marion and Martha Jane with their first five children.  I have not found a child named Harry nor one named Kenneth.  Harry may be short for Harrison and Kenneth may be first or middle name for Clingman.  Please drop me a note if you can clear up that bit of confusion.  Also needed are the death dates and burial places for Marion and Martha.


The photo is the property of Carol Ann Bledsoe Van Voorde

1880 Mitchell Co., Linville Twp., ED146, Page 20, dwelling/family 176, Clark, Marion H. [sic], white male, age 26, married, farmer, born NC, father born NC, mother born GA; Martha J., white female, age 21, wife, married, keeping house, born NC, parents born NC; James W., white male, age 4, son, born NC; Francis N., white male, age 2, son, born NC; Lela E., white female, age 7 mos., born Nov., dau., born NC; Clark, Sarah L., white female, age 18, sister, single, born NC, father born NC, mother born NC [sic]

1900 Mitchell Co., Linville Twp., ED98, Sheet 9B, dwelling 166, family 171, Clark, Marion, head, white male, born Apr., 1854, age 46, widower, born NC, father born NC, mother born GA, farmer; Newton, son, white male, born Aug., 1877, age 22, single, born NC; Harrison A., son, white male, born May 1884, age 16, born NC; Clingman, son, white male, born Jul. 1886, age 13, born NC; Roby, son, white male, born Mar 1888, age 12, born NC; Luther, son, white male, born May 1890, age 10, born NC; Ray, son, white male, born Mar., 1892, age 8, born NC; Lula, dau., white female, born Jan., 1895, age 5, born NC; Agnes, dau., female, white, age 4 mos., born NC; Clark, John, father, white male, born Dec., 1828, age 71, widower, born NC, parents born NC; Pendley, Minnie, servant, white female, born Jun 1879, age 29, single, born NC, parents born NC; Foyarten (?), Edith, inmate (?), white female, born Aug., 1833, age 66, single, born NC, parents born NC


*The surname is sometimes found as Clarke.
**Montezuma, founded in 1883, is currently in Avery Co., NC.  It was once a part of Watauga Co., formed in 1849 then Mitchell Co., formed in 1861.  Avery Co. was formed in 1911.
***Jerry shows William Henry Clark, born Nov. 21, 1875 in Boone, Watauga Co., died Jun. 11, 1946.  His birth date is the same as James William, but Wm. Henry does not appear in the 1880 census.  Jerry also shows a son Washington Canada Clark, born May 28, 1882, the same date as Kenneth.  He too must have died early because he does not appear in the 1900 census.

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.

November 1, 2010

Sheridan L. "Sherd" Dobbs & Sarah "Sally" Coffey

Sherd Dobbs
Sarah Coffey Dobbs
Sherd Dobbs was born Sep. 4, 1844 in Wayne Co., KY and died in McCreary Co. on Dec. 17, 1941.  He and Sarah Coffey were married and were parents of at least four children.  Sarah was the daughter of Nelson N. and Keziah "Kizzie" Watters.  She was born c1846 in Wayne Co., and died Jan. 23, 1910 in McCreary Co.

Their children were:

Benjamin Franklin, born about Feb., 1870, married Luraney Coffey, born c1878 to Henry Baker and Sarah Elizabeth Dobbs Coffey.  Sarah Elizabeth was sister to Sherd and therefore, an aunt to Benjamin and, Benjamin a double first cousin to Luraney.

Ben and Luraney's children were:
Alice, born c1898; Katie (or Roxie?), born c1901; Florida, born Aug. 19, 1903 in Wayne Co., died Apr. 5, 1963 in Fayette Co., KY.  Florida kept it in the family and married Edgar Dobbs, Benjamin's triple first cousin, once removed and double sixth cousin, once removed.  Edgar's parents were Joseph Dobbs and Polly Ann Coffey, a daughter of Joseph and Louisa J. Jones Coffey.  I know of one child born to Edgar and Florida, a son Howard, born 1927, died Dec. 21, 1984 in Pulaski Co.  The last Ben-Luraney child that I am aware of was Ester Loraine, born Feb. 14, 1910, died Oct. 7, 1911.
Eli Dobbs
Eli, born c1872, married c1912 to Lettie (LNU), born c1894. Their children were Willer, born c1913; Austin, born c1918; Arthur, born c1920; Myrtle, born c1925 and Clifford, born c1929. Myrtle and Clifford may have been born in Florida.

Angelina, born Nov. 7, 1876 in Wayne Co., died Jan. 28, 1958 in McCreary Co. She married on Dec. 20, 1900 James C. "Jim" Coffey, born Jun. 6, 1879 in Wayne Co. Jim was the son of Richard Henderson and Catherine C. Jones Coffey. Jim and Angelina were first cousins; his father was her uncle.






Angelina and Jim were parents to at least eight children:

James Beecher Coffey
Ollie, born Oct. 16, 1901, Wayne Co., died Jan. 4, 1988 in McCreary Co.; India, born Dec. 7, 1902 in Wayne Co., died Jan. 1, 1987 in Kentucky; Saphronia Katherine "Frona" born Apr. 7, 1906 in Wayne Co., died Oct. 6, 1978 in McCreary Co.  She married George Washington Worley, born Mar. 11, 1901 in Wayne Co., died Jul. 24, 1974 in Scott Co., TN.  Their children known to me were Lona, Carrie and Lonzo.  Following Saphronia was Marie, born Aug. 31, 1910, died Apr. 11, 1976; James Beecher, born Mar. 8, 1911 in Wayne Co., died Aug. 6, 1971 in Kentucky.  He married Anna Young on Dec. 23, 1940 in McCreary Co.  Roberta, born May 7, 1913, died Mar. 22, 1914, McCreary Co.; Raymond R., born Jan. 29, 1915 in McCreary Co., died Oct. 15, 1937 in Danville, Boyle Co.; and finally, Lillie, born c1918 in Kentucky.

Thomas was the last child that I am aware of that was born to Sherd and Sally.  He was born Dec. 14, 1877 in TN and died Sep. 6, 1950 in Cooperative, McCreary Co., KY.  He married Julia Jones, a daughter of Charlie and Lizzie Jones, on Jan. 28, 1900.  Julia was born Feb. 19, 1879 in Slavans, McCreary Co., and died Feb. 21, 1940 in Cooperative.

Their children were:
Lillie, born Nov. 20, 1910 in Whitley Co., died Sep. 19, 2000 in Stearns, McCreary Co.  Lillie married  John Herbert Coffey, a son of Reuben and Mary Alice Vaughn Coffey on Nov. 23, 1933 in McCreary Co.  Lillie and Reuben were first cousins, once removed and second cousin to here husband, John Herbert.  I know of one child for Lillie, a son Dallas, born Nov. 1, 1944, died Oct. 4, 1947.
Following Lillie was Parker, born Jul. 10, 1913 in McCreary Co.  No further info.
Ester was next.  She was born Sep. 4, 1918 in McCreary Co., died Nov. 24, 2003 in KY.  She continued the family tradition by marrying Sterling E. Coffey, another son of Reuben and Mary Alive Vaughn Coffey.
The fourth child of Thomas and Julia was another daughter whose name I believe to also be Ester, or Dora Ester and have possibly confused the same child as two different people.  Whether or not they are the same, Dora Ester married Clyde Estill Coffey, still another son of Reuben and Mary Alice Vaughn Coffey.  Clyde was born Dec. 26, 1918 and died Dec. 22, 1968 in McCreary Co.  He and Dora were married on Jun. 11, 1941 in Stearns.
I plan to further check the "case of the two Esters."



Unless otherwise indicated, photos are courtesy of Theresa/Thunderbird584

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