William, Sr. has sometimes been referred to as a vindictive old man because of the way he disposed of property in his will of March, 1825*:
I William Coffey of the County of Nelson and State of Virginia being of sound mind and disposing memory do make declare & publish this my last will and Testament in maner and form as followith. Item I give to my son Edmund F. Coffey and to his Hiers forever that tract of land that I purchased of Joseph Burger which is the same tract that the said Edmund now lives on containing by estimation two hundred and fifteen acres to the same more or less also a negro boy named John.Although other of his daughters had children out of wedlock, he chose to single out Jane and limit her legacy to "legitament children of her body...". He left property in the hands of his trustees with instructions that William, Jr. receive land in trust during his lifetime but, upon his death it would return to the estate for the benefit of his other children. This effectively left out any heirs that William, Jr. might leave and who would otherwise be entitled to a part of the estate their father had inherited.
Item I give to Edmund F. Coffey and James Montgomery in trust & to their successors for the benefit of my daughter Jane Fitzgerald and the legitament children of her body one half of my tract of land in Nelson County on Cub Creek containing by estimation two hundred and fifteen acres the said tract of land to be equally divided according to quantity and quality. The other moiety of the said last mentioned tract of land I give to my said trustees herein before mentioned & to their successors for the benefit of my son William Coffey during his natural life, at his death to return to the rest of my children or those which I shall name hereafter, each to hold the part they now live on. Item I give to Magret Monroe that tract of land called Briges Place in Nelson County containing by survey one hundred acres be the same more or less also one hundred dollars cash to be paid by my Executors hereafter named to the care and management of George Monroe nevertheless the said Margaret is at liberty to dispose of the said land as she pleases, also one horse of the value of forty dollars & one cow & calf.
It is my desire & request that my Executors hereafter named shall rent to Jordan Coffey my tract of land whereupon the said Jordan has lived he the said Jordan paying to them for the benefit of my Estate five pounds per annum so long as my Executors shall think it prudent to rent it to him but if my Executors shall think it right to sell the said tract of land the proceeds of the said is to go to the rest of children hereafter named. Item I give to Edmund F. Coffey & James Montgomery in trust for the benefit of Elizabeth Bridge & to their successors as also for the benefit of the Hiers of her body forever one moiety of my tract of land in Augusta County on Back Creek the said tract to be equally divided according to quantity and quality. Item I give to Elizabeth Coleman, Anney Coleman, James Coleman, John Coleman, Patsey Coleman, Polley Coleman and Lucy Coleman (who are children of Mildred Coleman deceased who was Mildred Coffey) one dollar each to be paid by my Executors out of my Estate. All the rest of my Estate both real and personal of what kind or naturesoever after my just debts and funeral espenses are paid, I give to Osborn Coffey one eighth part to Edmund F. Coffey one eighth part Edmund F. Coffey and James Montgomery trustees and to their successors for the benefit of Mary Coffey and Elizabeth Bridge one eighth part each also to my said trustees and their successors for the benefit of Jane Fitzgerald and the legatimate children of her body and Winny Hays I give one eighth part each also to my said trustees for the benefit of Frankey Coffey one eighth part, also to my said trustees and successors for the benefit of William Coffey during his natural life one eighth part at his death to return to the rest of my children & my trustees to be divided among them in the same manner as the property heretofore given that was not E________ given nevertheless all those that have received any money or other property heretofore must _____ the same into Hotch pot before any division takes place on their part, except Edmund F. Coffey who is not required to account for any thing received, all the property herein given in trust is to be under the management & sole control of my trustees herein before named and their successors. It is my desire that the County Court of Nelson shall appoint trustees to and in place of those appointed by me in the last will whenever it appears they of inablity to act. Hereby revoking all former wills made by me, I do constitue and appoint my friends Edmund F. Coffey and James Montgomery my Executors of this my last will and Testament. In witness whereof I do hereunto set my hand and seal this second day of March 1825. Acknowed before us William Coffey (Seal)
John Hughes (his mark) Moses W. Hughes (his mark) Benjamin Hughes Peter C. Coffey (his mark)
At a Court held for Nelson County the 28th day of March 1828. This instrument of writing, purporting to be the last will and testament of William Coffey deceased was produced into said court and proved by the oaths of John Hughes, Moses W. Hughes and Peter C. Coffey three subscribing witnesses hereto, and the same is ordered to be recorded and on the motion of Edmund F. Coffey one of the Executors named in said will, who made oath and together with George Williams his security entered into and acknowledged a bond in the penalty of twelve thousand dollars conditioned as the law directs certificate is granted him for obtaining probat of said will in due form of law. And, at a Court held for said County the 28th day of April 1828. James Montgomery, another of the Executors named in said will, personally appeared in Court, and made oath, and together with John Harris (_____" his security, acknowledged a bond in the penalty of $12,000, conditioned according to law and hereupon certificate is granted him for obtaining probat of said will, jointly with Edmund F. Coffey in due form of law. Teste Spotswood Garland Clerk
Some researchers have interpreted the will of William, Sr. to show his disdain for his daughter-in-law, Mary "Polly" Rippetoe or, perhaps the entire Rippetoe clan. She and William, Jr. had been married 38 years when William, Sr. made his will. Why would Sr. make such a stipulation affecting the potential inheritance of his grandchildren?
The children of William and Polly Rippetoe Coffey were: Sarah; Frankey; Nancy; Osborn; Jane and Elizabeth.
I have no information on the first two. Nancy, born c1795 in Nelson Co., Had at least three illegitimate children.* They were Candis W., born c1815 and who married Benjamin J. Coffey on Jan. 28, 1836 in Nelson Co. I have been unable to identify this Benjamin's parents. Candis and Benjamin had at least seven children: Peter J.; Susan; Sarah A.; Paulina M.; George Washington; Caroline Elizabeth; and Beverly. Nancy's second illegitimate child was also a daughter, Sophia W., born c1815 in Nelson Co. Sophia married William Crost on Mar. 23, 1835 in Nelson Co.. I have no children for them. The third illegitimate child was Ann who married James Butler. I have no further info on this couple.
William, Jr.'s fourth child was Osborn, born c1796 in VA. He married on Sep. 20, 1827 to Mary Fitzgerald, his first cousin and the daughter of his father's sister Jane and her husband Benjamin Hawkins Fitzgerald. Their children were Eleanor or Ellen, born c1827; Mary Elizabeth, born c1830; Anna Mariah, born Oct. 28, 1822, died Sep. 12, 1906 in Rockbridge Co., VA; and Jane G., born c1838.
His fifth child was Jane, born c1801 in Nelson Co. She married Edmund Fitzgerald, a first cousin and son of Benjamin and Jane Coffey Hawkins. That marriage took place on Mar. 26, 1832 and resulted in at least four children: Wyatt, born 1833; Benjamin Douglas, also born 1833;** James Alexander, born c1839; and Mariah, born c1842.
The sixth and last child was Elizabeth, born c1810. I have no other information about her.
More information is available for some of these families on the Edward Coffey Project DVD.
Source: Nelson Co, VA Will Book C, Pg 417;Contributed by: Wayne Coffey
*This fact may also be cause for William, Sr. to disinherit his grandchildren by William, Jr.
** I do not believe they were twins or, that they were both born in 1833.