The first wife that I am aware of was Nancy Russell, born c1827 in TN to James and Margaret McCarter Russell. She and Eli are thought to have married on Jun. 17, 1852 in Hamilton Co. They were there for the 1860 census of that county. Eli was 32, Nancy 23 and their children were Frances M., age 7, Malvina J., age 5, Louisa E., age 3 and James A., age 5 months. Another child credited to them was Thomas R., born in 1863 and died in 1864.
Melvina Jane was born Jan. 15, 1856 and died Apr. 20, 1932 in Hamilton Co. She married Alexander Franklin "Frank" Laswell, born Oct., 1857 in IL, died in Hamilton Co. in 1905. Their children were James Frank; William A.; Dalton; and Walter. Frank, Melvina and son James Frank are known to be buried at the Rector Cemetery in Walpole, Hamilton Co., IL
James A. was born c Jan 1860 in IL and died Mar. 3, 1929 in Kansas City, Jackson Co., MO. I believe he was twice married, his first wife's name unknown. The 1900 census finds James and then wife Henry Etta [sic] in Benton Twp., Fulton Co., AR. He and Henrietta had been married for only six years yet the oldest child in the home was Saloma [sic], age 13. Children who I believe were born to James and Henrietta were: Ora, c1898; Rosa D., Feb., 1900 and Lora A, c1903. James' death certificate gives his full name as James A. Chiless Coffey, born Oct. 6, 1855. However, we see from the 1900 census that he was born in Oct., 1859. I choose to believe the census record to be more correct. Henrietta's death certificate named her parents as Jack Thomason and E. Blackshire. She died Mar. 14, 1929 in Kansas City, MO, 11 days following the death of James. Both are buried at Maple Hill Cemetery, Kansas City, Wyandotte Co., KS.In the 1870 record for Hamilton Co., Eli was enumerated with a wife (apparently) named Melbonia [sic], age 40. Children were Louisa and James A., from his first marriage, and Mary E., age 4; Samuel, age 2; and Nancy, age 11 mos., all seemingly from this second wife. The only child that I have any info about is Mary. She is said to have married James William Holland in IL c1889 and given birth to at least four: John, Henry, Ella J. and Nellie.
Eli's third wife was Nancy Ellen Foster to whom he was married on Oct. 10, 1872 in Hamilton Co. Nancy was born Nov. 10, 1845 in IL and died in Hamilton Co. on Apr. 15, 1879. Their children known to me were: Modesty Ann, Sarah, and John Eli.
Modesty was born in Oct.,1874 and married c1899 to Thomas Warren McKay, born Jan.,1860 in IL. Their children were: Anna Beulah, Dora E., Melvina, Sarah E., James, William E., and Louis Elton.
Sarah, born Feb., 1876, married Samuel Lloyd Holland, born c1861 in IL and very likely to be close kin to James William who married Sarah's half-sister, Mary E. Their children were: Riley, Jessie, Samuel, Charlie, James, and Sarah.
John Eli was born Jan. 25, 1878 in IL and died in Hamilton Co. on Mar. 22, 1952. He married Sarah E. Shaptaw on Oct. 21, 1900 in Hamilton Co. Sarah was the daughter of Valentine and Lucinda Whitsett Shaptaw and was born in June, 1883, died 1953 in Hamilton Co. Both are buried at the Rector Cemetery. Their children were: Lucinda, John Elvis, Janie Evelyn, Mamie Ellen, Alvin Floyd, Resia [sic] Ethel; Newman Arthur; Othel Leman, and Roy Lee. The only on that I have additional info about is Alvin. He married a lady named Hazel c1927 n IL and they had Grace, born c. Nov., 1927.Hopefully, I have the wives and children sorted correctly. Please e-mail any corrections and/or additions. I would especially like to know who "Mebonia" was.
The Rector Cemetery appears to be about 2.5 miles due east of Walpole at coordinates 37.93385, -88.59622. Cut and paste into Google Maps for exact location. Or, visit Find A Grave to see burials.