May 25, 2011

Charles Clark Coffey

Coffey, Charles Clark, of Fayette, is serving his fourth term as circuit clerk of Jefferson county [MS], and is one of the well known and popular citizens of his native county.  He was born in Fayette county, Jan. 27, 1853, and is a son of Chesley Shelton and Mississippi Seraphine (Davis) Coffey, the former of whom was born in Tennessee and the latter in Mississippi.  The father came to Mississippi as a youth and was one of the citizens of this State who volunteered for service in the Mexican war, in which he became a member of the Second Mississippi regiment, commanded by Col. Charles Clark, in honor of whom the subject of this sketch was named.

He [Chesley] was a planter and followed farming all his life, owning a large tract of land in Jefferson county.  He died Feb. 25, 1869, aged fifty-two years, having never recovered from the wounds received in the Confederate service.  His wife died in November, 1884.  At the outbreak of the war between the States Chesley S. Coffey showed his loyalty to the Confederate cause by organizing Company D, Nineteenth Mississippi infantry, this having been one of the first companies which left Jefferson county.  He continued in active service until the battle of Williamsburg, where he was wounded and taken prisoner, being held in captivity several months after which he was exchanged.  He then returned to the army and was later discharged because of disability.  He was captain of his company in the Mexican war and also in the Civil war.

Charles Coffey was the second of six children, one of whom died in infancy.  They were, in the order of birth:  Bradford Davis, who was graduated from the law department of the University of Mississippi and died a few months later; Charles C., the subject of this sketch; Chesley Shelton who practiced law at Fayette for a few years and then died; John Mott, a planter and stock-breeder, residing on the old homestead; Sallie O., who lives with John M.; Edgar N., who attended the agricultural college at Starksville, Miss.

He [Charles] was a druggist at Fayette until the Spanish-American war, at which time he was made captain of the military company at Fayette and went out in the First Mississippi, and remained at Chickamauga Park and was later sent to Kentucky where the regiment was mustered out.  Captain Coffey then applied for a presidential appointment and received a commission as second lieutenant in the Thirty-third Texas volunteer regiment, and went to the Philippines where he remained two years, and was in forty-five skirmishes and engagements, having assisted in the capture of Aguinaldo and his cabinet.  While in the Philippines he was commissioned captain of his company.

Upon the return of his regiment to the United States they were mustered out at San Francisco.  He then returned to civil life for about six months when he again applied for presidential appointment and received a commission as second lieutenant of cavalry and was assigned to the Twelfth regiment of U. S. A.  Later he was ordered to Ft. Leavenworth, Kan., to attend military school for two years and received a commission as first lieutenant and assigned to the Second cavalry, U. S. A., with which command he again went to the Philippine Islands, spending nearly two years.  His regiment is now in the United States and is considered one of the best cavalry regiments in the United States service.

Charles C. was afforded the advantages of the University of Mississippi, which he attended three years, having been in the junior year at the time he left school.  He has been identified with various lines of business enterprise in his native county and has held offices of distinctive trust and responsibility.  He served one term as sheriff of the county and he is now serving his fourth term as clerk of the circuit court of Jefferson county.  Mr. Coffey is a stanch [sic] supporter of the principles and policies of the Democratic party, is affiliated with the Masonic fraternity, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias, and both he and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, South.

On Feb. 25, 1880, Mr. Coffey was united in marriage to Miss Olive S. Bullen, who was born and reared in Jefferson county*, being a daughter of James Bullen.  Of this union have been born eight children all of whom are living except one, their names, in order of birth, being as follows:  Charles Lamar, Coralie Alma, Anna Olive, Irma Lucile, Charles Clark, Jr., Willie Elma, Sidney Davis (deceased) and Eugene Vernon.


*Actually, Olive was a native of what is now West Carrol Parish, LA.

Biographical Source: Mississippi, Vol, III, Biography, planned and edited by Dunbar Rowland, LL. D., Page 147-48, The Reprint Company, Publishers, Spartanburg, SC, 1976

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