November 28, 2012

Captain Dick & Lettie J. McBride Coffey

Captain Dick Coffey
Lettie McBride
Captain was one of the nine sons of Joseph and Beth Ada Strunk Coffey of Kentucky.  He and Beth Ada were parents of at least 13 children, all born between 1854 and 1880 in KY and TN.  Captain was born on Jan. 19, 1872 in Flat Rock, McCreary Co., KY and died in Oneida, Scott Co., TN. on Oct. 25, 1950.  His bride was Lettie J. McBride to whom he was married on Mar. 19, 1901* in Scott Co.  Lettie was born in Oneida in 1881 and died in Scott Co. in Jan., 1926.  Both are buried in the Coffey Cemetery** in Oneida.

I have found seven children for Cap and Lettie.  They were:

Maude, born 1902, Scott Co., TN, died 1990 in Anderson Co., TN.  She married Elmer Davis in Scott Co., 1922.  He died in 1975.

Ada, born 1903, Scott Co., died 1984 in Scott Co.  Married Arnold George Lewis, born 1900, died 1967.

Jefferson, born 1906 in Scott Co., died 1930 in Boyd Co., KY.  Married Nellie Richmond in 1923, Scott Co.

John "Johnny", born 1907 in Scott Co., died there in 1976.  Married Stella Phillips in 1931, Scott Co.  One son I know of, Lee, born 1934 in Scott Co.

Emily, born 1911 in TN, died 1930 in KY.

Walter Othel Coffey
Mamie Matilda Baltimore Coffey
Rev. Walter Othel, born 1913 in Scott Co., died 1974 in Fayette Co., KY.  His wife was Mamie Matilda Baltimore, daughter of Ben and Mamie Donelson Baltimore, born in Sparta, White Co., TN in 1915.  She died in Pine Knot, McCreary Co. in 1986.  They were married in Cooperative, McCreary Co. in 1932.  Children:  Joyce, Shelby, Patricia, Johnny, Ronnie, Phyllis, Charles and Donna Sue (not in birth order).  Walter and Mamie are both buried at Pine Knot cemetery.

Their last child was Ome, born 1916 in Oneida, died 1937 in Boyle Co., KY.

More info is available on DVD or CD.


*"Tennessee, State Marriage Index, 1780-2002," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 28 Nov 2012), Captain Coffey and Lettie Mcbride, 1901.

**Lat: 36.50440, Lon: -84.52310. Look north of the intersection of US 27 (Depot St.) via W. 3rd to Stanley St.

Photos are courtesy of Theresa/Thunderbird584 at Find-A-Grave

November 25, 2012

Edward Coffey Project - Holiday Price Reduction

From today, Nov. 25, 2012 until Dec. 25, 2012 the price of both the Edward Coffey Project DVD and the CD have been reduced from $35 to $25 and $25 to $15, respectively.

The DVD contains all of the lineage plus all documents (death certificates, marriage licenses, etc.) collected to date.  The CD contains only the lineage.


November 24, 2012

James Avery & Mary Jane Lainey Coffey

I noticed today that someone had been searching the blogs for information about James Avery Coffey.  As it happens, I have been trying to fill out his family information over the past couple of weeks.

James was a son of James and Mary Keller Coffey and was born on Apr. 30, 1847 in Caldwell Co., NC and probably in the Yadkin valley. He was married there on Oct. 4, 1872 to Mary Jane Lainey (var.), born in April 1848 to James and Mariah Lainey.

There were at least nine children born to this union, all in the Kings Creek Twp. of Caldwell Co.  Each of them lived to become adults, marry and leave some descendants.  I'll name and report on each of them and their families.

The first born was James Columbus on Aug. 11, 1873.  James married Ann Etta "Etta" Barnett, daughter of Thomas Horton and Sarah Isabella Sherrill Barnett on Sep. 7, 1895 at Kings Creek..  Etta was born May, 12, 1874 in the Yadkin Valley and was the mother of at least two children:  John P., born in 1896, died in 1962 in Gaston Co., NC.  He married Lela Elrod - date not yet known - who was born in NC in 1910 and died there in 1999.  Both are buried at Hollywood Cemetery in Gastonia.  Second was Thomas Frank, born 1898, died 1967 in Kings Mountain, Cleveland Co., NC.  Thomas' wife was Naomi Farris and I have no information about her.  Thomas is buried at Mountain Rest Cemetery at Kings Mountain.


Next was George Wesley, born in 1875.  His spouse was Lula Jane Barlow and they were married on Jun. 17, 1911 in Caldwell Co.  Lula was born to John Horton and Martha M. "Mattie" Grubb Barlow on Oct. 10, 1895 in Kings Creek Twp.  Their children were Nora Lee, born Nov., 1912, died May 7, 1944.  Here spouse was Lee Otis Keller, a son of Anderson and Emma Mayberry Keller, born in Yadkin Valley in 1893.  They were married c1933 in Caldwell Co.  Nora died in Lenoir in 1944, Lee in 1958. Both are buried at Kings Creek Baptist Church Cemetery [KCBCC].  I know of no children.  Nora Lee was followed by Charles, c1915; Viola, c1917; Callie, c1919; Ellen, c1922; Annie, c1924 and Clara Mae, c1928.  Clara Mae married George Lincoln Smith and died on Mar. 21, 2012 at Hickory in Catawba Co.  She was buried at Woodlawn Memorial Gardens in Lenoir.  Her obituary reports that she had a son and two daughters.


Third born was Mary Genelia in 1878.  She married Finley Green Andrews [date not known], who was born on Apr. 22, 1882 in Watauga Co., NC.  He was a son of Avery J. and Sarah Knight Andrews.  He and Mary had at least five children:  Troy Lawrence, 1907 in Caldwell Co., died 1946 in Forsyth Co.  His wife was Edna M. Mooney.  No other information.  Following Troy was Elizabeth, c1910; Roy Green, c1912; Sarah Jane, c1916 and Marvin Pershing, c1918.  Mary died in 1946 and Finley in 1961.  Both are buried at KCBCC.


Julia Emma was fourth.  She was born in 1879 and married Rufus T. Barlow, a son of Horton and Nancy Maltba Barlow.  Rufus was born in Lower Creek, Caldwell Co. on May 11, 1864 and they were married there on Dec. 8, 1901.  Their children were Nellie Mae, born 1904, died 1940.  She married James Fox on Nov. 1, 1924 in South Lenoir Twp., Caldwell Co.  James was born c1899 but I have no death information. Nellie is buried at KCBCC.  James is probably there as well.  Nellie's sister, Hattie Emma, was born c1908 and married Ralph Raymond Clippard in 1927.  He was born c1902 in NC.  I know of two children:  Richard, born c1937 and Maynard, born c1939..  I do not know where Hattie and Ralph are buried.  There were probably other children born to Rufus and Julia, but the last one I know of was Jack Christie, born 1915, died 1978 in Caldwell Co.


Amanda Lou followed Julia in 1992.  She married Joseph Hamilton Kirby in 1906.  He was born in 1883, a son of William Jackson Kirby and Nancy Emma Nelson.  Their children were:  William Avery, 1907-1968, married Ruth Eva Montgomery, 1918-1998.  Both are buried at KCBCC.; Luther Iron, 1909-1958; Mallie Filmore, 1912-1978; and Edgar Lee, 1915-1969.  Edgar's wife was Gladys Lola Barlow, daughter of John Walter and Frances Ella Prestwood Barlow.  She was born in 1910 and died in Wilkes Co. in 1992.  They were apparently not married until 1964 and are likely to have been previously married to others.


Robert Lee was next, born in 1885.  His wife was Bessie Church to whom he was married in Valmead, Caldwell Co. on Oct. 15, 1911.  He died in 1937 and was buried at KCBCC.  Bessie was born c1895 but I have no other information about her.


William Henry "Will" was born in 1886.  His first wife was Naomi Genely [sic] Keller, daughter of Milas and Demaris Barlow Keller.  She was born in 1883 and died in 1933.  Her two children were Albert L., born c1907 and Mary Ethel, born 1910.  In c1938 Will, age 52, married 15 year old Annie Mae Summerow, a daughter of Joe F. and Florence Kincaide Summerow.  Annie was born in 1923 and gave Will at least five children:  Thelma Lore, 1939-2011, married James Garlen Laws; Ira Lee, 1940-?; and infant son, born 1943; Steve Wilson, born 1946 and Stanley Edward, birth date not known.  Annie died on May 2, 1989 in Hickory, Catawba Co. and was buried at Littlejohn Methodist Church cemetery in Hickory.  Will died on 1959 and was buried at KCBCC.  Sometime after Will's death, Annie married Gurner Walter Hamby, 1910-1996.


Elisha Elmore was born in 1888 and c1919 married Fannie Bell Kirby, a daughter of William N. and Sarah G. Kirby Kirby.  Fannie was born at Kings Creek in 1898.  They were parents of Edgar Lee, born 1922; Toye Mae, born Dec., 1925, died 1987.  Toye (or Toy) married Earl Pearson in 1948; and Claude William born 1928.  Claude married Clara Dean Walker, daughter of Oscar Walker, on Mar. 26, 1954 in Granite Falls.  Claude died on Oct., 2010 at Rhodhiss, His burial place is unknown and there were no services scheduled.  Elisha is buried at KCBCC.  Fannie is likely there as well.


Finally, we arrive at the last child, Millard Monroe, born 1889.  He married Mary A. Nelson in 1909 at Watauga Co.  She was born in 1892 to Thomas and Elizabeth Davis Nelson.  Their children were Rosa Bell, 1909-?; Mamie Bell, 1910-1993, married William Lee Turnmire in 1925, a son of John Calvin and Fannie Green(e) Turnmire.  They were parents of one unnamed, 1926-?; Grady, 1927-?; Nina, 1929-2009; Eugene, 1931-1969; Vilas, 1933-1940; Pauline, 1936-2002; William, Jr., 1938-1996; Lucille, 1940-?; and Edity, 1944-?.  Everett Turner follower Mamie in 1914, Watauga Co..  His wife was Thelma Green and they had at least one child, Lee Roy, born/died in Jan., 1937.


So, that's what I have on this family.  There are more exact details available.

Additions and corrections welcomed!


November 23, 2012

John D. & Margaret Ann Walton Coffey

Marcus Lafayette Walton, born Mar. 4, 1844 in Estill Co., KY, married Rachel Hopkins, born 1850 in VA, the daughter of Jonathan and Jamima Simmons Hopkins.  Year of marriage was probably around 1868-69 but I haven't found an exact date.  They first appeared in the 1870 Irvine, Estill Co., census and were still there in 1880.  Marcus died on Dec. 6, 1895*.  Rachel lived an additional 50 years, passing away on Oct. 26, 1945 in Blackburn, Estill Co.  She was buried at Boian Cemetery in Irvine.

They were parents of at least seven children:  Margaret Ann, David, Mary, Nancy, Melvina, Evie and Nettie.

Margaret Ann, or Maggie, was born in May of 1870 and died in March of 1958 in Madison Co., KY.  Her husband was John D. Coffey, born Dec. 20, 1859 in Estill Co., to whom she was married on Oct. 10, 1889 in Irvine.**  John died in 1909 just before his last child was born in 1910.

John D. Coffey was a son of John T. & Elizabeth Jane Walton Coffey.  John T. was a son of Colby and Mary Ann Adams Coffey.  Colby was born in Wilkes Co., NC, married Mary Ann in Grainger Co., TN and lived out the remainder of their life together in Estill Co.  Elizabeth Jane was a daughter of David and Elizabeth Warford Walton.  I have not yet investigated a connection between Elizabeth Jane and Marcus, but odds are the were related.

John D. siblings were 1) Thomas Jefferson, 1858-1932, married Julina C. Walton in Irvine, 1881.  Julina was a daughter of William Jackson and Thursy Ann Coffey Walton.  William Jackson was brother to Elizabeth, wife of John T. and mother of John D.  Thursy Ann was a daughter of Colby, and sister to John T.  2) Elizabeth Jane, born 1862 in Estill Co., said to have married John Andrew Adams and died in Dawson Co., NE.***  3) William A Curtis, sometimes found as W.A.C. Coffey, born 1865 in Estill Co., married Sarah Frances Walton, another daughter of William Jackson and Thursy Ann, in 1890.  She died in 1900.  He remarried to a lady named Esther but I have no further info about that union.

There were at least 12 children born to the marriage of John D. and Margaret Ann Walton:

The eldest was John Dillard Coffey - perhaps John Dillard, Jr.? - born Dec. 16, 1892 at Jinks, in Estill Co.  John married Jessie Lu [sic] Carr on Nov. 29, 1917.  I have not found them in any census record.  He died in 1968 and she in 1976, both in Richmond, Madison Co., KY.  Both are buried at the Richmond cemetery.

David was the second child, born Aug. 15, 1894 at Jinks.  In about 1929, at age 35, he married a young girl by the name of Kitty, who was 17 years old.  The age difference apparently made little difference to either because they remained husband and wife until David's demise in 1974.  Kitty passed away in 1983.  Both are buried at the Richmond cemetery in Madison Co.  They apparently had only one child, Annie Ruth, born c1933, the only child to appear with them in the 1940 census.

Bertie Land, born 1895, apparently never married.  His mother lived with him in 1940 in Madison Co.  He died in Jul., 1982 and is also buried at Richmond cemetery.

James Allen, born Oct., 1896, died Aug., 1968 in Jefferson Co., KY.  His wife was Margaret, born 1910, died 1974.  Both are buried at La Grange, Oldham Co., KY in the Valley of Rest cemetery.

With the exception of one, I have very little info on the next four children:  Myrtle A., born 1896; Hobart L., born Mar, 1899, died Oct., 1900, buried at Garrett Cemetery at Jinks; Betty F., born c1902 and, Alma (Alva or Ava?), born c1903.

Child number nine was Clark W., born May, 1905, died Jul., 1974 at Richmond.  Clark married Zelma Lee Marshall of Madison Co. in c1925.  There were at least two children:  Louise, born c1927 and William J., born c1927.  William died in Sep. 2000 at Madison Co. and is buried at Richmond cemetery.  Zelma died in Sep., 1984 and is buried with Clark at Richmond.

George P, born in Aug., 1906, was next born.  He married a lady whose surname was possibly Wren, given name Hazel.  George died rather suddenly in June, 1930 while living with Hazel at Duncanon in Madison Co.  They had one son, Kenneth B., born c1929.  George is buried at Fairview cemetery in Conway, Rockcastle Co., KY.  In 1940 Kenneth was residing with some Wren relatives, headed by Arthur Wren, an uncle, in Rockcastle Co.  Hazel likely remarried or died but I have not been able to locate her after 1930.

The last two children were Robert H., born Mar., 1908, died Nov., 1991 and, Beulah B., born Mar., 1910, died Oct., 1997.  Both married but I have not yet been able to locate family information.

Additions and corrections welcomed.


**"Kentucky Marriages, 1785-1979, 1839-1960".  Groom's Name: John D. Coffey Bride's Name: Maggie A. Walton Marriage Date: 10 Oct 1889 Marriage Place: Irvine, Estill, Kentucky Indexing Project (Batch) Number: M01192-6 System Origin: Kentucky-EASy Source Film Number: 1760330 Reference Number: p 146
***John Adams first married Mary Ann Alcorn, daughter of Albert Gilbert Alcorn and Matilda Coffey another daughter of Colby.  Mary Ann died c1888 in Estill Co. after birthing five children:  Etta Bell, William Henry, John H. and Anna.  John's second wife was Elizabeth Jane with whom he had Sarah, Nannie, Mary Grace and James B.  More info is available.

November 21, 2012

I'm wishing a...

Happy Thanksgiving

To all Coffey Call

Followers and Friends


November 19, 2012

Dorinda and Malinda, the Wheat ladies

Hiram Taylor Wheat and his wife Elizabeth Richards, both of Russell Co., KY, had a number of children, including Dorinda, born Nov. 20, 1881 and, Malinda, born Nov. 8, 1884. Both of these ladies married into the Edward Coffey line of descent.
James & Dorinda Wheat Mar Record

Dorinda L. married James W. Coffey, a son of Golson Wilson and Mary C. Allen Coffey, on Jan. 30, 1902 in Adair Co., KY.  Compared to the "normal age" of about 20 for the males and 14-15 for the females of that era, Dorinda and James married late in life.  He was 27 years old, she was 20.  Their first child was named Taylor Wilson Coffey, born Feb. 15, 1909.  Unfortunately, the child did not live even a month and died on Mar. 10, 1909 and was buried at Mount Pleasant Methodist Church Cemetery near Russell Springs.

Except for that visit to Adair Co. to marry, James and Dorinda lived the remainder of their lives in Russell County, always near Russell Springs.  Both he and Dorinda were faithful members of the Mt. Pleasant Methodist Church.

Their second and last child was Loriston, a son, born May 29, 1914 in Russell Co.  He died on Jun. 30 1989 in Jefferson Co., KY and was brought home for burial at Mt. Pleasant. I have no information about any family that he may have had.

A young man by the name of Willis Conover first appeared with James and Dorinda in 1910 and was enumerated as their ward.  He was four years old.  I have not yet determined who his parents might have been, but there was a William Conover who married Sarah Stapp in Adair Co. who may have been his parents.  William and Sarah did have a daughter, Sarah Emma who married Samuel Marion Coffey, brother to James W.  Willis continued to appear with or very near James and Dorinda through 1930 when he was their neighbor with his own family, wife Helen, and young son Wilmer.

Finally, in 1940 James and Dorinda were alone once again.  He died on Apr. 18, 1951 of a coronary occlusion and Dorinda on Feb. 22, 1961.  Both were buried at Mt. Pleasant.  One puzzle however was found in her obituary.  That reports that she was not buried until Apr. 24, 1961.  I am wondering if it was too cold and ground too frozen in February to dig her grave and the thaw did not come until late April!?
Mrs. Dorinda Wheat Coffey, widow of the late James W. Coffey, died at her home in Jamestown on Saturday, April 22.  She was 79 years of age.
She and Mr. Coffey were married in 1902 and two children were born of this union - Taylor Wilson Coffey, who died in infancy, and Loriston Coffey.  In addition, Willis Conover, now living in Brooklyn, Ind. grew up in the home of Mrs. Coffey and she was as a mother to him.  Mr. Coffey died in 1951.
In addition to her son and foster-son, she is survived by six grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.  Two sisters and one brother preceded her in death, and one sister, Mrs. Ann Coffey of Montpelier, survives.
Mrs. Coffey was a member of the Mount Pleasant Methodist Church and lived a devout Christian life.  Funeral services were held Monday afternoon, April 24, in her church, conducted by the pastor, Rev. D. A. Payton.  Burial was in the church cemetery.
Pallbearers were Guy Calhoun, Horace Angle, Ray Wheat, Talt Jones, Glaud Grider, and H. C. Coffey.  Rottetoe Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
[Judy Lynn]

James W. Coffey was born August 7, 1874, lived 76 years, eight months and 11 days, when his spirit passed from this earth, April 18, 1951.
Mr. Coffey is survived by his wife, Dorinda Wheat Coffey, one son, Lorista [sic] Coffey, and a boy whom he raised, Willis Conover.
There were seven brothers and one sister.  Four of his brothers are still living, John Coffey, Same Coffey, Andy Coffey and Arthur Coffey.  He survived one son, Taylor Wilson Coffey, three brothers, Pink Coffey, Herschel Coffey, Martin Coffey, also one sister, Della, preceded him to the grave.
James W. Coffey and Dorinda Wheat were united in holy wedlock January 30, 1902, where they lived together for 49 years.
Mr. Coffey professed Christianity at an early age.  He was a devout Christian who attended church at Mt. Pleasant where he held his membership.  His last statement was, "I am ready to go.  There is nothing in the way." 
Funeral and burial was at Mt. Pleasant, with Rippetoe Funeral Home, Russell Springs, in charge of all arrangements. [Judy Lynn]

Andy & Malinda Wheat Mar Record
Dorinda's sister, Malinda Ann, sometimes called Ann or Annie, was born in Russell Co. on Nov. 8, 1884 and died in Adair Co. on Mar. 26, 1976.  She married Andrew J. "Andy" Coffey on July 18, 1909 in Adair Co.  Andy was also a son of Golson and younger brother of James W.

From the time of their marriage until death this couple resided in Adair Co but, both were returned to Russell Co. for burial in the Methodist church cemetery with others in their respective families.

This couple appears to have had only three children:  Pinkey, born c1914, who I believe married a Grider and had two children, Nadine and Arvis.  These two children appeared in the 1940 census as grandchildren with Andy and Ann.  Nadine was age 4 and Arvis was age 2.  Their parents were not present in the household.

In addition to Pinkey there was Leslie, a son, born c1918 and Alvis, another son, born c1924.

Andy died on Jul. 20, 1963 and Malinda on Mar. 26, 1976.


Berry Green & Emily Jane Coffey Coomer

A recent e-mail inquiry about this family gives me an opportunity to write a bit of what I know about them.

Berry Green was born c1828 in Stokes Co., NC and married on Feb. 16, 1854 in Adair Co., KY to Emily Jane Coffey, a daughter of Ananias "Nias" and Jane Hindman Coffey.  Jane was born c1824 in Adair Co.

She and Berry had at least six children, all born in Adair Co.

Junius S., born c1855, married Martha Clem on Apr. 15, 1879 in Pike Co., IN.

Grubb-Coomer Marriage Record
Louisa Jane, born Jan. 6, 1857, married John Wesley Grubb on Jul. 21, 1876 in Columbia, Adair Co.  John was born Jul. 27, 1855 in Union, Pike Co., IN and died on Jul. 21, 1912 at Princeton in Gibson Co., IN.  Louisa Jane died on Apr. 1, 1936 in Clay Co., IN.  Both are buried at Little Zion Cemetery at Union in Pike Co.

William Green, born Oct. 17, 1858, married Cora Evelyn Hartsey.  She was born in Louisville, Lay Co., IL on Nov. 27, 1877 to Joe and Eliza Jane Richards Hartsey.  William died July 11,1948 at Arbor, Welsh Twp., Cape Girardeau Co., MO and, Cora died on Jul 28, 1952 in Wayne Twp., Bollinger Co., MO.  Both are buried at Plainview Cemetery at Perkins in Scott Co., MO.


Albert Lucas Coomer

Robert Bosley, born c1861, married Flora Louisa Mayhugh on Aug. 5, 1886 in Pike Co., IN.*  I do not have a death date or burial place for Robert.  Flora, a daughter of Jim and Mary Smith Mayhugh, was born Nov. 9, 1863 at Princeton, Gibson Co., IN and died Mar. 27, 1951 at Burfordsville, Wayne Twp., Cape Girardeau Co.

Albert Lucas was born Sep. 28, 1862 and died on Dec. 10, 1938 at Petersburg, Pike Co., IN.  His wife was Laura Belle Swain, born Feb. 23, 1869 (where?) and died Nov. 20, 1933 at Union in Pike Co., IN.  Both are buried at Mount Tabor Cemetery at Wheeling in Gibson Co., IN.  They were married Mar. 27, 1890 in Gibson Co., IN.*

Harriet "Hattie", born c1865, was the last child of Berry and Emily.  She married John Henry Earls c1886 in Indiana.  I have not found a marriage record or, their death and burial information.

I am also seeking accurate birth and death information for Berry and Emily, as well as their burial location.

Additions and corrections welcomed!


*Indiana Marriages, 1780-1992, Items on line at (, 2010.

November 18, 2012

James Granville & Lois Ann Dancy Coffey

James and Lois had at least nine children, including Charles Earnest Coffey, born Apr. 17, 1897 in Freeman, Mercer Co., WV.

Charles Earnest Coffey Death Certificate
Chas. Ernest Coffey Death Cert.
Charles was married to Lockie B. Quesenberry in Coalwood, McDowell Co., WV on Jul. 28, 1921.  Charles, a coal miner, died of a broken back on Oct. 1, 1923 in Beckley, Raleigh Co. and she died in Mar., 1985 in Raleigh Co., WV after having married twice more.

Her child with Charles Earnest Coffey was Charles Raymond, born c1922 in Raleigh Co. Charles married Jane Bush on Dec. 13, 1945 in Raleigh Co.  Jane was born c1924 in Mullens, Wyoming Co., WV.

After Charles' death, Lockie married William Henry M. Wickline on Jun. 15, 1925 in Mullens.  He was born c1899 and died in Beckley on Apr. 24, 1946.  They had at least two children:  Pebble, born c1926 and Jacqueline, born c1928.

Her third husband was Allen Gerald Smith to whom she was married on Apr. 16, 1960 in FayetteCo., WV. He was born there in 1888.

Lockie was a daughter and probably only child of Thomas Henry Quesenberry and his wife, Lucinda "Lucy" Quesenberry.  The couple were likely related but I haven't investigated that possibility.

Thomas was apparently a notorious and unrepentant "moonshiner" in Loudoun Co., VA.*  In 1930 he went to prison in Waupun, Dodge Co., WI, sentenced to 27 years for killing two men in that state.  He is said to have escaped sometime before 1935 and returned to VA where he restarted his bootlegging operation.  He was recaptured and charged with the murder of a revenue agent.  He was returned to prison on Jul. 30, 1935 at Hillsville, Carroll Co., VA.

The story I read is that he shot and killed the agent "at a distance of about a quarter of a mile."  He was apparently not returned to Wisconsin because in 1935 he was in the VA State Penal Farm at Hillsville in Carroll Co. and, in 1940 was in the VA State Prison at Richmond.

I suppose that at the height of WW2 prisoners were being considered for the draft.  Thomas was registered on May 27, 1943 while still in the Virginia State prison.  He was described then as being 6' 1" tall and weight about 195 lbs.  He was a big man for that era.  He was mistakenly recorded as a "negro" with "blue eyes" and "gray hair."

Charles Earnest Coffey is buried at Premier Cemetery at Welch, McDowell Co., WV.  I would appreciate however, hearing from anyone who might know where any of the other folks are buried.


*Eugene Scheel, Thomas Balch Library, 208 W. Market St., Leesburg, VA 20176, The History of Loudoun County, Virginia ( : Viewed 18 November 2012), "Mountains Full of Moonshiners".

November 14, 2012

Spotswood B. & Nancy (Carr?) Fitzgerald

The Fitzgerald and the Coffey families of Nelson Co., VA are forever tied to one another. Sometimes, it's very difficult to figure out which James, Elizabeth, Martha, Mary Coffey married which John, James, Mary or Elizabeth Fitzgerald. As I go back and forth between the Virginia Coffey families and those elsewhere, I invariably find some family error that I have created or a link that I didn't understand the first time around.

A friend, Wayne Coffey of Georgia, formerly of Virginia, has been a great help to me in figuring out who is who.

Working with these families is much like attempting to unravel a thousand yards of twine that has become tangled and re-tangled over a century or two and, each tangle a Gordian knot. Working on them from the disadvantage of being 800 miles from valuable sources - not otherwise available on the web - probably makes the tangled twine maybe twice as long.

This blog is about Spotswood B. and Nancy Carr Fitzgerald. They had three children, two of which married into the Coffey families of Nelson Co. Spotswood was a few years younger than Nancy; in fact by about 10 years. He was born in Virginia c1811 and she c1801.

The marriage record for him and Nancy reports Aug. 8, 1838 in Nelson Co. and, it gives Nancy's surname as Fitzgerald. I'm lost as to whether she was originally a Carr who married a Fitzgerald and then sometime later married Spotswood. I do not have a source for the Carr surname which means somewhere back in the dawn of this project I found it "somewhere" but did not record the source.

I find them in the 1850 and 1860 census only, both times in Nelson Co. It appears they had only the three children: Joshua, born c1840; Mary Jane, born c1843 and Lewis Perkins, born Jan., 1845, each in Nelson Co.  I have not found a death record for them and do not know where they are buried.

Joshua enlisted in the Nelson Light Artillery Battery, Rives Company, on Aug. 31, 1861. The record reports that he was "mustered out" on Feb. 18, 1862, but did not survive the war.

Mary Jane married David Alfred Coffey, a son of Holloway Stewart* and Catherine Fitzgerald Coffey. I suspect that Catherine, born c1814, and Spotswood, born c1811, were brother and sister, making Mary Jane and David first cousins. But, I have no proof of that yet.

David was born in Nelson Co. in 1832 and married Mary Jane on Nov. 16, 1858 in that county. He died there in 1894 and was buried at White Rock Cemetery in Montebello, Nelson Co. Mary Jane survived until 1923 and was also buried at White Rock.

The children that I have so far located for them are: 1) Dilly Jane, born c1860; 2) Vanessa or Vernice "Nicey", born Jan., 1866, married Andrew J. Bryant on Nov. 21, 1883 in Nelson Co. One of their daughters married Wesley Robert Coffey, son of Edmund and Martha Snead Coffey. Wesley was Mary Etta's first cousin, twice removed. 3) Nancy, born c1864; 4) Eli Davis, born 1871, died 1942, married first cousin Frances Catherine Coffey, daughter of Alexander S. and Sarah Ann Fitzgerald Coffey. 5) Mary J., born c1872; 6) Malinda F., born c1874; 7) Fletcher Floyd, born May 1879, died 1934; married Mary Wyatt "Mollie" Fitzgerald on Dec. 29, 1925. Both had been previously married; Fletcher to Viola Bertha Fitzgerald with whom he had at least six children and, "Mollie" to Ernest Hope Fitzgerald in 1898, with whom she had at least five children. 8) M. Belle, born c1884, married Gilbert Thompson in Nelson Co. on Jun. 19, 1922. Belle was 38 yrs. old; Gilbert was 26. They had at least one child, Ester, born c1824.

Lewis Perkins was the third and perhaps last child born to Spotswood and Nancy. He came along in Jan., 1845. I haven't found an enlistment record for him as he was apparently too young to serve when the war began. He lived until 1926 and was buried at White Rock. He and Mary Ann Coffey were married Mar. 5, 1867 in Nelson Co. She was born in 1845 and died in 1925 and was also buried at White Rock.  Mary Ann was a daughter of Edmund and Martha Snead Coffey.

There were at least eight children born to them:

1) Nettie, born Feb. 1868, died Apr. 1965, married John Emmett Taylor in Sep, 1892. Parents of at least five children born between 1894 and 1912. 2) Jasper N. (Newton?), born 1871, died Oct., 1896. He married Elvira F. Coffey, a half-sister to David Alfred Coffey.  Elvira later married Elliot Walker Fitzgerald (1902) and died in 1960. 3) Eliza Jane, born 1873, died 1900, apparently never married; 4) Martha Elizabeth, 1876-1909, married John Cyrus Fitzgerald; 5) Mary Alice, born 1878, died 1968, married Holloway Stewart Coffey, Jr.; 6) Sally Jane (Henry?), married Mayo Cabell Fitzgerald in 1899.  He died in 1955, she in 1925.  He is buried at White Rock; I am unsure where Sally is buried.  They had at least seven children: Arthur, Savannah, Isaac Harrison; Ezra; Carrie, Waverly Ann; and Chester Martin.  7) Teressie, born 1887, died 1989 in Waynesboro, VA.  Married Charles Austin Coffey, another son of Holloway Stewart Coffey and Virginia Bryant.  Charles was born in 1878 and died in 1953.  Both are buried at White Rock.  Their children were at least four:  Eula Beatrice; Gladys Green; Woody Austin and Myrtle Virginia.

Corrections and additions welcomed!

*Holloway Stewart Coffey was married at least four times. He had at least six children by Catherine Campbell; one by third wife Delilah Sneed and at least four by fourth wife, Virginia Bryant.

Additional information is available.

November 5, 2012

Thomas Henry "Tom" & Ethel Marie Nichols Coffey

Tom & Ethel w/grandchild
who donated the photograph
Thomas Henry "Tom" Coffey was the first son and fourth of nine children born to Robert Finley and Crettie May Ritch* Coffey.  Robert was a son of Thomas Hall and Cora Ellen Tolbert Coffey and, Crettie was the daughter of James Henry and Candace Genelie [sic] Chester Ritch.

Tom was born Sep. 2, 1925 in Yadkin Valley and died in Lenoir, Caldwell Co., on Aug. 28, 1999.

Ethel was born May 4, 1927 in North Carolina to Lennie Lee and Henrietta "Ettie" Curtis Nichols.  Ethel died May 26, 2004 at Granite Falls.  Both she and Tom are buried at the Robert Coffey Cemetery** [35.95201,-81.60796] near Lenoir.

Tom and Ethel were married Oct. 27, 1945 in Caldwell Co.***

Ethel's obituary:

Ethel Marie Nicholas [sic] Coffey, 77, of Melrose Street, Lenoir, died Wednesday, May 26, 2004 at Camelot Manor Nursing Home.

She was born May 4, 1927 in Bath Co., Va. to the late Rev. Lenny Lee Nichols and Henrietta Curtis Nichols. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Thomas Henry Coffey; a brother, Richard Nichols and a sister, Lucy Summerow.

Mrs. Coffey retired from Bernhardt #7 and was a member of Mt. View Baptist Church.

Survivors include a son, Tommy Carroll Coffey of Hudson; a daughter-in-law, Deana Coffey of Hudson; daughter and son-in-law, Brenda Marie Fox and husband Tommy of Maiden; three brothers, Eddie Nichols and George Nichols both of Lenoir and Clarence Nichols of Granite Falls; a sister, Joncie Swearingin of Lenoir and three grandchildren, Marty and Amy Coffey and Robbie Fox.

Funeral services will be Saturday, May 29, 2004 at 11 a.m. at Pendry's Funeral Home Chapel with the Rev. J.B. Crouse and Rev. Jeff Hoyle officiating. Burial will be at Coffey Family Cemetery.

The family will receive friends today, May 28, 2004 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Pendry's Funeral Home.

Memorials may be made to Caldwell County Hospice, 902 Kirkwood St. NW, Lenoir, NC 28645 or online condolences may be made at

Pendry's Funeral Home and Crematory is in charge of arrangements.

Thomas' siblings and their spouses were:

Mary Belle, 1920-2012, married Lennie Edward Nichols c1943
Unnamed infant female, born/died Feb. 19, 1922
Beulah Evelyn, 1923-2009, married George Wesley Nichols, May 9, 1942
Jay Finley, 1927-2012, married Gertrude Clark, Dec. 24, 1948
Lillie May, 1930-?, married James Monroe Greene, 1930-1994
Lena Faye, 1932-?, married Homer Colfax Clark, 1927-2001.  Homer's first wife was Frances Louise Minton (1931-1991).  Faye's first husband was Joseph Cicero Greene (1928-1999).  They were married in 1948.
Beadie Oden, 1934-?, married Ralph Clark
Robert Claude, 1936-?, married Annie Ruth Watson, 1937-?

Corrections and/or additions welcomed.


*Surname sometimes spelled Rich
**Directions to this cemetery were described in June of 2012 by Bradley Ingells:  From Hwy 90 (Collettsville Road), take Mulberry Creek Road at Mount Olivet Methodist Church. Go to top of the hill (just after 2032 Mulberry Creek Road) and turn right on Robert's Place (dirt road). Go all the way to the end of the road (you will go past a small cemetery in the woods on the left [Philyaw Cemetery]). Keep going to the end, cemetery is on the left in an open area. Well maintained.  To locate, cut and paste coordinates into google maps.
***"North Carolina, County Marriages, 1762-1979 ," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 05 Nov 2012), Thomas Coffey and Ethel Nichols, 1945.

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