September 10, 2011

Ephraim Ellison & Elizabeth Coffey

The Characters:

Nathan Coffey, born c1760 in Rowan Co., NC, died 1823 in Jackson Co., AL.  Married Mary Saunders c1823 in Wilkes Co., NC.

His daughter Elizabeth, born c1791 in NC, died 1837 in Jackson Co., AL.  Marriage records in Adair Co., KY show that “Betsy Coffey, daughter of Nathan Coffey, married James Coffey on Mar. 4, 1804.  James is said to have been a son of Joel and Martha Stepp/Stapp Coffey.  Joel is said to have been a son of Chesley and Jane Cleveland Coffey.

Salathiel Coffey, currently believed to be a brother to Nathan and Joel, was born between 1750 and 1855, died Jul. 28, 1784 in Wilkes Co., NC.  Married Elizabeth Gore and also had a daughter named Elizabeth, born between 1781 and 1784 in Wilkes Co.  She is said to have married Rutherford Coffey, son of Nathan on Mar. 17, 1891 in Green Co., KY

Newton Coffey, born c1773 in Wilkes Co., married Sarah Meredith c1802 in Adair Co., KY, a son of Salathiel.

Longtime Coffey researchers and readers of this blog will know that no documents have ever been found that proves Chesley existed.  The fact that a Chesley, Jr. did, makes that a clear possibility, however.



Ellison-Coffey Mar Lic
Ephraim Ellis-Elizabeth Coffey
Marriage Bond
Ephraim Ellison posted bond to marry Elizabeth Coffey in Wilkes Co. on Dec. 18, 1799; Thomas Cole was the bondsman.  I have been unable to determine who Elizabeth’s parents were.  I have a theory that she is somehow closely connected to Salathiel and Elizabeth Gore Coffey, and is perhaps their daughter.

Salathiel died intestate in 1784 in Wilkes Co.  Elizabeth Gore Coffey was named in the administration of the estate but no children were.  Following that, Elizabeth Gore Coffey and her children moved to that part of Green Co., KY that in 1801 became Adair Co.  Salathiel and Elizabeth had a daughter named Elizabeth.

A marriage record exists in Green Co., KY that shows the marriage of an Elizabeth Coffey to a Rutherford Coffey on Mar. 17, 1801.  Rutherford was a son of Nathan and Mary Saunders Coffey.  Nathan also had a daughter named Elizabeth but it is unlikely that Rutherford married his own sister.  Nathan's Elizabeth married James Coffey, son of Joel and Martha Stapp/Stepp Coffey.  Joel is thought be a brother to Salathiel and Nathan.

The best information that I have shows Rutherford was born in 1786*, meaning he would have been 15 years old at the time of his marriage to Elizabeth, who would have been between 17 and 20 years old.  Reatherford [sic] Coffey does appear in Adair Co. on Dec. 30, 1802 as a witness to Nathan’s obligation to obtain a property deed.  I suspect that he would already reached majority age in 1802 meaning that he was born closer to 178o or 1782.

So, Rutherford’s marriage to Elizabeth Coffey in KY is after Ellison’s marriage to the Elizabeth Coffey in Wilkes Co. making it a bit unlikely that Ellison’s Elizabeth is the same one that married Rutherford.  Either Elizabeth could be Salathiel’s daughter but, which one.

In Oct., 1805 Ephraim Ellison named Newton Coffee [sic] of Adair Co., KY as his attorney to “…demand…amount of a bond or obligation I have on William Dudley and Thomas Robins of Wilks County” NC…for $300 or a young negro.  This was witnessed by Joel and Ely Coffee.

On Dec. 16 of that same year, Ephraim again appointed Newton Coffee [sic] as his lawful attorney to “manage any suit or suits in the county court for the County of Wilks and State of N. C. either for or against me… To collect…the proceeds of a bond dated the 20th day of December 1804 and signed by William Dula and Thomas Robins and purported to have by them executed to me for a young negro boy or girl… or 300 dollars…”

This makes it clear that Ephraim Ellison and his Coffey wife were closely connected to Newton.

It is possible that Elizabeth and Ellison did not follow through with their marriage plans and that Elizabeth then married Rutherford once they arrived in KY.

Looking for clues! 


*Traditional birth year, but some researchers believe he was born much earlier, e.g., 1779 or even earlier.  However, Nathan and Mary Saunders did not marry until c1785 calling into question even the 1782 birth year.  Perhaps another Coffey's son?

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